- The Washington Times - Monday, March 3, 2003

Gail O'Mullan might have been jaunting around Europe, but she quickly was taking on her role as vice president of human resources for PRA International Inc. by meeting with managers of the company.
Mrs. O'Mullan's new program initiatives for PRA will affect the 2,000 employees and the direction of the company's growth as a clinical research firm with headquarters in McLean.
The company forecasts 20 percent to 30 percent growth in the next year, said Bucky Walsh, senior vice president of the company's human resources.
Upon accepting the job, Mrs. O'Mullan, 43, visited the company's original office in Charlottesville. "You can always get a good idea of what the company was originally trying to do by talking with the people there," Mrs. O'Mullan says. "That trip gave me insight into the direction this company is still headed and how I can help achieve it."
She then jetted off to the company's offices in Madrid; Paris; Mannheim, Germany; Wales; and Cambridge, England, to meet with upper management and researchers.
"It's really about getting a better idea of what kind of worker we are employing and how we can use that information to strategically plan on bringing in qualified workers in the next few years," Mrs. O'Mullan said in a phone interview from Paris, where she had met 50 researchers and executives that day.
Mrs. O'Mullan comes to the job with a familiarity in the way large companies operate.
She previously worked at Aventis Pharmaceuticals Inc., an international drug development company with 71,000 employees, as director of business operations, human resources and administrative services.
Prior to Aventis, she was an employee relations manager at Shell Oil Corp. and a training manager for Mobil Oil Corp., now known as Exxon Mobil Corp.
"One of the reasons I chose Gail was her knowledge of how corporations function and her zest for meeting the actual workers," Mr. Walsh says, noting that Mrs. O'Mullan had requested a liberal amount of interactive time with researchers.
Mrs. O'Mullan said that is 95 percent of her job. "With any of the training sessions or new programs I enact, I need equal face time with the real people."
When she was with Mobil, Mrs. O'Mullan implemented an English training program for cashiers of the company's gas stations in Miami.
"There is a large dependency on Spanish there, and it was important for our workers to be equipped with English not only to help them but to better serve the public," she says.
Mrs. O'Mullan returns to the North American headquarters this week to begin initiating some employee surveys and training sessions in addition to establishing a schedule to visit the nine offices nationwide.
Mrs. O'Mullan lives in Fairfax with her husband, Neil, and their dog, Lacy.

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