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Alumnus Darin Moody Helps Expand Lilly’s Global Impact

June 11, 2013

Darin Moody

Thinking Ahead: Darin Moody’s latest role with Eli Lilly and Company is serving as vice president of corporate engineering and continuous improvement. (Photo provided by Eli Lilly and Company)

When Darin Moody took his bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering to work for Eli Lilly and Company in 1987, he didn’t have to travel far, starting at the company’s Clinton Laboratories near Terre Haute. In the 26 years since, his journey with Lilly has taken him around the world.

As vice president of corporate engineering and continuous improvement, Moody is responsible for the engineering activity at Lilly manufacturing plants around the world. He previously spent about three years as general manager of a plant in Liverpool, England. Though he’s based in Indianapolis now, Moody spends about a quarter of his time on the road, often in very faraway places.

“We have manufacturing operations on five different continents, and I am also responsible for all of our delivery of capital construction projects,” he says. “We have construction projects going on at our various sites around the world.”

Later, he adds, “I’ve been able to walk on the Great Wall of China, and stand next to the Sphinx and the Great Pyramid at Giza. Growing up in Jeffersonville, Indiana, I never thought I’d be doing those kinds of things.”

The percentage of Lilly’s activity outside the U.S. has grown significantly during Moody’s career. That makes his work challenging and intriguing. “We regularly work in teams that come from different parts of the world, which teaches you to not make assumptions about people having the same experience,” he says.

“You really have to understand the various cultures where your operations are, and understand how the cultures affect how the work is done,” Moody further explains. “How do you operate with consistent standards across so many cultures? How do you acknowledge the aspects of their cultures while maintaining a consistent approach?”

Safety at construction sites is a good example. “Around the world there are very different perspectives on safety and risk. It presents a challenge to have a consistent level of performance from a safety perspective,” he says.

Moody notes that his first significant exposure to people from other cultures came through his Rose-Hulman experience. He’s pleased to see the institution increasing its international opportunities. “There is a much greater emphasis and exposure to international perspectives on campus now,” he remarks.

Lilly, a Fortune 500 company based in Indianapolis, has about 900 practicing engineers on the payroll, with about 40 percent of them outside the United States. “I’m proud of the fact that Lilly is the largest employer of Rose-Hulman graduates,” says Moody, noting that more than 200 alumni have found work at Lilly.