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My job explained: Manager

chemistry managerMark Gronnow explains why perseverance is key to success in chemistry and describes just how diverse the job can get.

What inspired you to study chemistry?

The laboratory practical work, and I’m not talking about undergraduate practicals which, whilst they are a great learning experience, are no where near as enjoyable as investigating your own ideas or using your own initiative to solve issues.

How long did it take to train and what did the training involve?

My training has been ongoing since I started school and it hasn’t finished. It would be naïve to believe I am fully trained. I use skills learnt during my degree, my PhD, attended audit, management and project management courses and continuously look to the people I work with for further skills and methods.

Can you describe a typical working day?

No – there is no typical day. In the past year I have managed the production department, ran two projects, gathered validation data, presented my work in the UK and Greece, provided emergency technical support by telephone/email and in Italy, conducted audits, completed a management course and solved numerous problems.

What's the best thing about your job?

The variety, I am a chemist, a presenter, provide technical support, a man manager, a production manager and a project manager.

What have been the challenges in getting to where you are now and how have you overcome them?

My biggest challenge was getting a job whilst finishing my PhD. I ended up taking a junior technician position in a biotechnology company; however, four months later I was taken on permanently and have created a role I love which brings my chemistry skills into the technical team.

What qualities and skills do you think are important for your role?

Ability to think calmly and logically whilst under pressure.

What advice would you give to someone thinking about following in your footsteps?

Do the PhD – work hard and play hard! Keep the faith when job seeking, there is the dream job out there for you, and don’t be afraid to join a company and cut your own furrow.

What is your favourite chemistry related invention?

Nearly every product involves chemistry at some point in its life cycle. One of my favourites, as a keen walker and mountain biker has to be Gore-Tex.