Kenyon does for a living. No, he is not a
superhero from Krypton, or a billionaire
is the Vice President of Manufacturing for
unsure of his next step, Kenyon enrolled in
MCC's Biotechnology Program, opening a
window into a world of opportunity he never
knew existed, leading to a successful and
rewarding career with an industry leader.
developing, manufacturing and marketing
drugs to fight neurodegenerative,
hematologic and autoimmune diseases
like multiple sclerosis, hemophilia and ALS.
sit through 12 meetings in a row. But then,
a little boy comes in and tells us one of our
drugs is making it easier for him control his
hemophilia and is allowing him to be a
regular kid, and you tear up a little,"
Kenyon said during a recent interview in
his Cambridge office.
wants to play soccer like the other kids. It is
about the patients."
about the biotech industry. His career path
had a rocky beginning before leading him to
Middlesex. "It all started with some guy on
Jackson Street in Lowell saying, `Hey, you
should go into biotech'," Kenyon said.
1985 and enrolled at the University of Lowell
to study business. He dropped out after his
sophomore year and went to work as a finish
carpenter, building houses with his brother,
Bill, until the economy crashed.
got him a job on the assembly line building
missiles. Four years into that gig, defense
spending dried up and he found himself
taking advantage of the Economic
Dislocation and Worker Adjustment
Assistance Act, a federal program for
dislocated defense workers.
counselor (that guy on Jackson Street),
suggested Kenyon look into biotechnology.
The federal program offered to pay for
him to enroll in MCC's Biotechnology
in Massachusetts, the Middlesex Biotech
Program was established in 1990 at the
urging of U.S. Sen. Paul Tsongas. There
are currently 200 students enrolled in the
program, which has been awarded a Platinum
endorsement from the Massachusetts Life
Sciences Education Consortium.
to know each other well," Kenyon said of
the certificate program. "The foundation we
received at Middlesex was very helpful. It
was set up to really help us understand what
is done in the business."
in October 1994, he was placed in an
Biogen. Eleven months later, he was hired full
time, working the 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. overnight
manufacturing shift. There were 30 people
working in manufacturing at that time.
Today there are 1,000.
his associate degree from Middlesex in
1996, and in 2000 his bachelor's degree in
biomedical laboratory and clinical sciences
from Boston University.
a fun way to go to school," he said. "I was
learning concepts about the business in the
classrooms and in the labs, and then going
to work at night and seeing it all in practice.
That made it more interesting and made a
big impact on how I was able to learn.
intersection of biology and engineering,"
Kenyon said. "It was like I had found
Biogen, becoming Director of Manufacturing
in March 2004. Four years later, he was part
of an interesting experiment: He was asked
to trade jobs with Director of Quality John
Dirienzo. Kenyon went to quality, Dirienzo
laughing. "It was really eye-opening and a
great education to see the business from the
quality side," he said.
of BioPharm Development, working on the
development of drugs like Avonex and
Plegrity, both used to treat re-occurring
multiple sclerosis. In August 2013, he was
named Vice President of Manufacturing.
pushing buttons and pulling levers," he