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He calls himself the PID guy. Other people call him “a real-life superhero.” His invention saves lives.

 

In 1973, Jack Driscoll, president and chairman of PID Analyzers, invented and commercialized the first portable photoionization detector (PID). The hand-held device helped address the “vinyl chloride crisis,” a serious safety concern caused by vinyl chloride, a then-newly-identified carcinogen. And the invention turned photoionization into a major analytical technique. 


Growing up in Massachusetts, Driscoll fell in love with science at a young age. After earning his MA in physical chemistry from Boston University, Driscoll worked on various contract projects at GCA Technology Corp and Walden Research. While working on EPA- and NASA-sponsored projects, he found his true passions: environmental safety and photoioionization-based instrumentation.


Following his passion, Driscoll went to work for Orion Research, a company that manufactured instruments. But after realizing that the only way he could do what he wanted to do was to become his own boss, he quit. Six months later, he, along with one partner, Fred Spaziani, incorporated HNU Systems, the predecessor of PID Analyzers. And later a number of engineers Driscoll met at Orion Research joined him in his business. 


“I could not find the job that I wanted, so I started my own company,” says Driscoll. The job he really wanted? Developing photoionization-based instruments that can detect and analyze volatile organic molecules, many of which are pollutants like vinyl chloride.


To support his business, Driscoll worked as an industrial hygiene consultant during the daytime. But at night, he worked hard to build a prototype PID in his office. Back then, there were many issues associated with the type of instrument that Driscoll wanted to build. But he was determined to solve all of them. Eventually he did.

 

“It is interesting to note that in the 1960s many researchers had tried to develop a photoionization detector for gas chromatography but by the late 1960s all agreed that the technology was not sensitive enough to replace the flame ionization detector (FID) and had no future,” says Driscoll. “HNU introduced the first commercial PID for GC in 1976. And this detector was 50-100 times more sensitive than the FID.”

 

However, finding suitable applications for his PID, in other words, a market for his business, turned out to be as challenging as, if not more than, solving the technical problems. But after a visit to the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, Driscoll found a golden opportunity, and he seized it.


During the NIOSH visit in 1974, Driscoll learned that vinyl chloride was recently determined a carcinogen, and that the permissible emission limit of the compound was subsequently dropped from 500 ppm to 1 ppm. But the problem was, none of the available technologies could detect the toxic compound at that low level.

 

“If someone had a portable analyzer that could measure vinyl chloride monomer at 1 ppm, they would have had a gold mine,” today Driscoll still vividly remembers hearing a NIOSH scientist tell him this during the visit. The next day, Driscoll drove to Matheson Tri-Gas' Gloucester facility and bought a cylinder of vinyl chloride. That afternoon, a simple test showed that Driscoll indeed had a gold mine.

 

Driscoll and his partners quickly developed a portable, battery-operated PID that weighted only 10 pounds, which is super light compared with NASA’s photoionization-based mass spectrometer that weighed nearly half a ton. The portable PID almost immediately became a standard tool for detecting and analyzing vinyl chloride. And it turned out the device could detect many other toxic compounds in the environment as well.

 

After further improving their technique, Driscoll and his team started shipping their PIDs worldwide. As a result, HNU became profitable 6 months after they shipped their first PID. That was only 15 months after the formation of HNU, an amazing turnaround time in the startup world. With more than 30,000 units sold worldwide, the light weight portable PID, not surprisingly, became a very successful product for HNU.

 

In the following decades, Driscoll continued developing new methods and products to measure pollutants in the environment. A few years ago, he discovered that his method could also detect Arsenic in food and drinks at a remarkably low ppb levels. Sensing another great opportunity knocking at his door, Driscoll quickly developed a PID analyzer for detecting Arsenic in food, water, and air. For this potentially life-saving discovery, in 2013 he won one of the prestigious R&D 100 Awards, which are considered the “Oscars of Invention.” In 2014, he and his team expanded the analyzer’s usage to measure dozens of other harmful metals in air, water, and food.


Building on HNU’s success, Driscoll, along with his partners, subsequently formed a number of other domestic and global business enterprises. Another star company among these startups is Nova Biomedical, a Waltham, Massachusetts-based company that develops, manufactures, and sells sensitive blood-testing analyzers. With its advanced technology, Nova Biomedical has become the world’s largest privately held in vitro diagnostic company. Today Driscoll continues serving on Nova’s board of directors.


Decades of devotion to photoionization-based instruments has earned Driscoll many recognitions and awards. Over the years, he has obtained more than 35 patents and published more than 75 publications on PID, which is about ten percent of all the publications in the area.


As successful as he is, Driscoll doesn’t seem to be ready to sit back and relax. His goal for the next 5 years? Developing photoionization-based methods and instruments to analyze pollutants like Arsenic (As), lead (Pb), Cadmium (Cd), Mercury (Hg), Beryllium (Be), and more.

 

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Yanni Wang is a principal scientific writer and the owner of International Biomedical Communications, a company dedicated to translating research data into clear messages. Yanni has a PhD in chemistry and writes about biomedical research-related topics for professional audiences and the general public.

ACS Industry

Changing Jobs in China

Posted by ACS Industry May 22, 2015

April and May are the busy season when it comes to people changing jobs. People have endorsed their bonus checks and sold their stock shares; it’s time to move on. One of my colleagues, also a good friend in the company, is preparing to start his own company.  The business partnership is lined up, the money is in place, the office and lab space are rented, and of course, the name of the company has long been in his mind.  The entrepreneurial move is a little risky and maybe not for everyone, but he is certainly not alone in making the leap.

 

Many other people opt for a somewhat more secure way to move their careers forward, by changing between companies.  Last year, a senior scientist from our company became the CEO of an external company after six years’ collaboration.  Another scientist on our project left the company to take a management role in a competing company.  Even people in high management positions are moving around. Two department heads in two leading companies recently announced their plans to move.  One will resign from the management position and move back to the United States while the other will fill the vacancy.  

 

This may sound normal for any middle-class professional market in the world, but the unusual part of switching jobs for white-collar workers in China is the frequency.  According to a Linkedin survey, the average stay for a professional in a position is about 1.5 years in Shanghai (the number in the United States is more than 4 years).  This means a person lands on a job, gets warmed up, and then works less than a year before looking for the next job.  Although the turnover rate is slower in pharmaceutical R&D, due to the often long project cycles, it still falls short of the global standard. In the developed countries, people may talk about the good old days when a person worked for the same company for 30 years before retiring with a lump sum pension.  Even in Japan, once the land of shushin koyo, or job for life, transient employment is ever more common. However, China’s situation seems to be to the most extreme.  Most tenured jobs have disappeared since China’s opening in 1979.  The reasons for the accelerated job moving seem to be multifaceted.   For my entrepreneurial friend, his decision is catalyzed by the recent countrywide propaganda aimed at increasing productivity through technology innovation and business venture creation. He was also likely influenced by his successful entrepreneurial friends, who helped him to secure the necessary seed money. The recent loosened IPO regulations, particularly in regards to high-tech companies, may just add more kindling to the fire.  For job switching professionals, there are a lot changes and growth in China’s health care system and pharmaceutical industry.  They may find it easy to locate more suitable positions with better salary.  On the other hand, many Chinese companies do not invest as much to develop their internal talents as their western counterparts.  Rather, they would like to hire talents with know-how and offer them high salaries.  The situation forced many white-collar workers to take the attitude of “get something done and move on”.  In addition, the cost of switching jobs is likely relatively low compared to the United States because most of the jobs for middle-class professionals are concentrated in China’s big cities.  Landing in a different position may just mean walking into a building across the street from the previous one.

 

What does this mean?  Companies may need to try harder to keep talent around so they can get things done.   However, for the society as a whole, the fast moving jobs may better assemble the resources and knowledge, which is definitely good news for productivity increase.  This is too much to calculate and it probably best if we leave the job market to economists.  As for me, I do have mixed feelings about colleagues’ leaving.  I am happy for them when they find more suitable positions or opportunities to help them work towards their professional dreams, but also feel a little let down to see a strong team member leave.

 

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Quan Zhou has studied and worked in the pharmaceutical center of Boston and biotech center of San Diego for eight years. He moved back to China in 2014 and started his career as a drug discovery scientist.

每年的四月和五月总是跳槽的最忙季节。大家领了年终奖,兑换了股票;是时候开始新的旅程了。公司里的一个同事和好朋友最近忙着准备着自主创业。生意伙伴已经找好了,钱到位 了,办公室和实验室也租好了,哦,当然,公司的名字也早就起好了。自主创业有风险,也许不是每个人都适合。但是他绝对不是唯一跳槽的人。很多人通过换一个工作单位来推动他 们事业的前进。去年,公司里的一个资深科学家去了一家与他合作了六年的外部公司做了CEO。年轻的科学家也不甘示弱。我们项目上的一个科学家最近离开了公司,到一家竞争公司担任了管理岗位。甚至那些在高级管理岗位的人们也在流动。本地两个领先公司的部门领导最 近宣布了他们的新去向。其中一个辞去了现在的位置准备回美国,另外一个来接替这个空缺。


所有这些现象看起来和其他国家中产阶级职场没有什么不同,但在中国,白领的跳槽频率却要频繁得多。根据领英中国的调查,上海白领在一个岗位的平均停留时间是一年半(这个数 字在美国是四年多)。这意味着一个人开始一份新工作,热热身后,工作不到一年就开始寻找下一份工作了。虽然在药物研发的岗位,由于项目本身周期较长的原因,辞职跳槽的频率 要长一些,但还是比国际标准要频繁一些。在发达国家,大家感叹那种在一家公司工作三十年然后从同一家公司拿到一大笔退休金退休的日子一去不复返。即使在终生工作制盛行的日 本,短期的职位也越来越流行。但是,中国的情况好像是最极端的。中国改革开放以来,终生职位已经逐渐消失了。跳槽频率加快的原因看起来是多方面的。中央最近对通过科技创新 和创业来提高生产力的大力宣传催化了我同事兼朋友下海的决定。同时,他那些帮他搞定前期资金的成功创业的朋友们也给了他很大影响。中国对高科技公司IPO监管的放松更像是火上浇油。对于跳槽的朋友来说,中国的大健康行业现在正经历很多的变化和增长。他们很容易找到一个更适合,工资更高的职位。另一方面,和国外的大公司相比 ,很多中国的公司不愿意在内部人才的发展上大力投资。相反,他们愿意花大价钱从外部请专家。这样的情况使得很多专业人士在岗位上采取“做点事情然后离开”的态度。另外,在 中国换工作的成本可能相对比美国要低一些,因为绝大多数中产阶级的工作都集中在为数不多的几个大城市里。换个工作可能只是意味着明天到原来公司对面的那栋楼里面去上班。


所有的这些意味着什么呢?中国的公司可能得在保留员工上下更大的功夫,好让决策能够得到执行。但是,快速的职位变化也许可以更好的分配社会的资源和知识,这对整体生产力的 提高绝对是一件好事。这种计算太复杂。我们还是把工作市场留给经济学家去考虑好了。对我来说,同事的离开让我有了复杂的感受。我为他们能找到更好的位置而为他们高兴,同时 也为这些强力队友的离开而感伤。

 

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Quan Zhou has studied and worked in the pharmaceutical center of Boston and biotech center of San Diego for eight years. He moved back to China in 2014 and started his career as a drug discovery scientist.

Dear Graduates:


Congratulations on becoming a member of the professional chemistry family. Welcome to the club!  It’s not an easy path on which you have embarked but you have now completed the first step.  What lies ahead are endless possibilities and your future is mostly in your hands. Luckily, there are many members of the chemistry family to help you navigate your path. If you haven’t already, of course, you should become a member of the American Chemical Society. Think of it as your union card. Now let me pass along a few lessons that you might find useful as you grow as a professional chemist.


People are going to lie to you. Let’s just get the ugly stuff out of the way first. It’s true, people will lie; in fact, I’ve already lied to you. You’re future career might not be mostly in your hands. We like to think that it will and as people managers, we like to tell our people this. But, the truth is, there are factors outside of your control that might prevent you from a certain career path. Desired roles might not open at the time when you are ready. You might work hard on a particular career path only to find that corporate strategy has changed and what you wanted to do is no longer part of the plan. That doesn’t mean the end of the road. Think broadly about where you want your career to progress so that there’s always something interesting in your sphere of possibilities.


Forget about the letters on your degree. If you use your Bachelor’s degree and start your career, go confidently into the field knowing that your training has prepared you well to be a contributing member of the chemistry community. If you decide to pursue an advanced degree, congratulations; you have an exciting time ahead of you. When you are done, you will be expected to lead. But don’t forget where you came from. Many times, the Bachelor’s and Master’s scientists will be the ones that keep the lab/project moving forward. You will have the added responsibility to contribute to the continued development of the non-Ph.D. members of your lab.  None of us started at the top and we all had someone help us achieve our position.


This is not the end. You have worked hard to get your degree and are ready to contribute to the advancement of the field of chemistry. One of your primary responsibilities now is to continue to grow personally and professionally as the field advances technically. If you want to have the most satisfying career, you need to make sure that you are not the same chemist you were on the day you graduated. Continue learning and don’t let the field pass you by. Your employer or funding agencies will expect you to grow professionally. Luckily, there is an abundance of people to help you. Last week’s blog post spoke to the importance of mentors. Enlist as many as needed. The ACS provides numerous resources for professional growth and development, so take advantage of your membership. Most importantly, never lose the curiosity that spurred you to pursue a career in science.


During your professional career, the population of Earth will grow to almost 10 billion. We face great challenges as a result of this projected growth. Many of these challenges can be solved by creative applications of science. As a trained chemist, you have a set of tools that will allow you to contribute broadly to many of these problems. Congratulations, good luck, and do well. The world is counting on you.

 

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Jeff Seale is a Science Fellow at Monsanto where he has worked for 18 years building world-class protein engineering platforms and developing the next generation of science leaders. Outside of work he enjoys watching his children's artistic and athletic endeavors, sailing with friends and working to end extreme global poverty with the ONE Campaign.

It’s very difficult to be a CEO in today’s rapidly changing world.  Even retailing will be very different in a few years’ time.  One of the world’s largest and most successful retailers, the UK’s Sainsbury, told analysts last week, “Today we’re in a market where there’s a huge degree of uncertainty”.

 

Retailing has been one of the ‘Happy Valley’ type of industries that I discussed in the ‘Four Valleys’ matrix in my March post.  It has been a business where development lead times were short, and sales growth seemed endless.  So the disruptive change hitting retailers is a warning sign for us in the ACS.  After all, they are the ones who sell many of our products to the end-consumer.

 

So let’s suppose you are CEO for the day for a major retailer. What would be your priorities?  You’d probably start by asking your top team for a quick summary of opportunities and threats.  They’d almost certainly focus on the threats:

 

  • Online retailers such as Amazon cutting prices
  • Malls closing as shoppers move online and no longer need to visit stores so much

 

Their conclusion would be that even industry leaders such as Wal-Mart were now finding it very difficult to grow sales, and so were being forced to adopt new strategies.

 

But what about the opportunities?  This is why you’re the CEO, after all.  You might pull out this chart and challenge your team.

consumer diagram.png

 

“Aren’t the changes more fundamental than just pricing policy and shoppers’ behaviour?  Shouldn’t we focus on responding to these underlying trends, and reinvent our business model, if we want to be successful in the future?”  “What about 3D printing?” (also known as “additive manufacturing”),  you might add, as an example of the changes you see as being underway.  “This will be a $1.5B consumer market opportunity by 2017 and a $6B market in total”.

 

You might then illustrate your point by highlighting developments at Wal-Mart.  As well as selling printers and supplies, they plan to actually use the technology themselves in-store, to manufacture slower-selling product ranges on demand. The value proposition for this is two-fold: not only will it free up working capital for use elsewhere in the business, but it will also reduce the $3B they currently lose each year from ‘shrinkage’ – as nobody can steal what hasn’t yet been made.

 

You might also highlight how another ‘Happy Valley’ type of company, Boeing, is already using 3D printing to manufacture 20,000 different aircraft parts.  They have recently even filed a patent application relating to the database required to store all the detail required for this activity.  Like Wal-Mart, they can see that establishing local manufacturing capability – in this case at major airports - will provide massive cost savings, and reduce delays for passengers.

 

So what does this mean for your own business?  The arrival of 3D printing is set to stimulate major change in most current supply chains.  Obviously the plastics industry will be one of the first to feel the impact. But it won’t be long before it hits an industry like pharma, as a way of managing the trend towards more personalised medicine.   Your day as CEO of a ‘Happy Valley’ retailer will have given you plenty of food for thought, as you return to your own company next day.

 

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Paul Hodges is chairman of International eChem (www.iec.eu.com), trusted advisers to the chemical industry and its investment community. He is a member of the World Economic Forum’s Industrial Council on chemicals, advanced materials and biotechnology, and presents the ACS ‘Chemistry & the Economy’ webinars.

ACS Industry

Choosing Mentors

Posted by ACS Industry May 8, 2015

Finding professional mentors is not a concept unique to entrepreneurship, but it is particularly important for startup founders, since they are constantly dealing with so much uncertainty. Having seasoned hands to guide critical decisions is at least reassuring, and can sometimes be the difference between success and failure. Finding mentors sounds simple enough, but a lot of founders are unsure how to develop these relationships, whether or not they should give mentors equity, how many they should have, and which industry professionals they should approach. Fortunately, a lot of other entrepreneurs have been through this process and have developed a collective wisdom that can help you look for your perfect mix of mentors.

 

Who to Approach

A lot of founders assume that their mentors should be as high profile as possible. While high-level endorsements do greatly improve your credibility (e.g. Sir Richard Branson backed the startup TransferWise, so they put his picture and endorsement on their homepage), shooting for celebrities or industry titans isn’t always the best approach.

 

First of all, it will be difficult to connect with these people and convince them to listen to you for five minutes, let alone be an ongoing mentor. Secondly, even if you secure them as a mentor, celebrity entrepreneurs and CEOs inherently do not have a lot of time, so you may not get many (or any) chances to actually dig into your startup’s issues with them.

 

Top dogs can also lose touch with the trenches. For example, during his MBA studies, a friend of mine attended a lecture by Donald Trump. During the Q&A, one student asked what a small company could do to raise barriers to entry in order to deter new entrant competitors. Trump recommended acquiring all competitors. Potentially sound advice for gigantic companies, but impractical for the little guy.

 

Instead of the celebrities, it can be more practical to look for successful people that are 2-5 years ahead of you in the same vertical of the same industry. They will more easily remember what you are going through, will have likely faced some of the same challenges, and are much more likely to have time to speak with you in depth.

 

You Don’t Ask, You Develop

Ok, you’ve found the Who, now how do you make someone a mentor? Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as sending an email that says “Hey, will you be my mentor?” The relationship should develop more organically. Get a warm introduction to your potential mentor and see if they are willing to talk you through a challenge. If they are helpful, stay in touch, keep them updated on your company (without spamming them), and see if you can help them with anything. Once another challenge arises, they will probably be open to helping out again. Some mentors will continue supporting you out of pure kindness, but most will fade away unless you give them an incentive to stick around, which is why it is important to consider giving mentors a little equity.

 

Retaining a Mentor

It is not an official rule, but many in the startup world agree with VC and former founder Jason Lemkin’s two and a half concept: “after 2.5 times they help...you need to “pay” or they go away.” That is, you can get free advice from solid mentors two or three times before they stop dishing out free help. After that, if you want to retain them, you should offer a small percentage. There are no official rules for how much equity to offer, but the Founder Institute did come up with a mentor contract template, which includes the table below. If you’re going to give a mentor equity, definitely create a contract that lays out expectations and vests their shares - just like you would do for a new founder. 

 

Founder Institute Mentor Equity Suggestions

Advisor

Performance Level

Stage

Idea Stage

Startup Stage

Growth Stage

Standard

____ ____ (0.25%)

____ ____ (0.20%)

____ ____ (0.15%)

Strategic

____ ____ (0.50%)

____ ____ (0.40%)

____ ____ (0.30%)

Expert

____ ____ (1.00%)

____ ____ (0.80%)

____ ____ (0.60%)

 

The important thing to remember is that your mentors should have some continued incentive and motivation to help you. Paying cash is more appropriate for a consultant, and no matter how charming you are, you shouldn’t realistically expect anyone to stick around forever for free.

 

Get a Mix of Mentors

You will likely want and need several mentors, who can advise you on different aspects of your business and connect you to the right people in your space. According to Inc.com, many startups benefit from having about four mentors that each specialize in one of the following: Sales, Operations, Business Development, and Entrepreneurship. For startups in the chemical space, the optimal mix is probably more like: Product Development, Sales and Marketing, Intellectual Property, and Operations. That specific mix of four roles isn’t set in stone, but it should help you think about which parts of your business will likely need the most help going forward.

 

Mentors will likely become a critical part of helping your startup grow and succeed. While it is tempting to reach for the titans of your vertical, it is often more useful to find entrepreneurs that are 2-5 years ahead of you on the same path - they will have more time and more relevant advice for you. Once you identify the right people, you should develop a relationship with them and see if they are a good fit as a mentor. If they are, you will likely need to offer a little equity (about 0.1% - 2%) to keep them around. Ideally, in time, you will have a mix of mentors that can advise and accelerate each aspect of your business. Successful businesses are built on strong teams, and mentors are part of that team. Choose them wisely.

 

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Jack Fischl is a co-founder at Keteka.com - a website that connects travelers with authentic tours and activities in Latin America and allows them to book their experiences online.

Sometimes when I’m doing career counseling, the topic turns to non-traditional jobs in chemistry, and students are interested in what they are and how you might get one.  I think many people know I’m the poster child for such things, especially those who have heard my talk for the Chemistry and the Law Division: “Lab to Lobbyist and Everything In Between.”

 

So, non-traditional? Yeah, I’ll cop to that.  I’ve been in the lab; I’ve licensed technology in Asia and South America; I’ve had a startup business; I’ve worked for an advocacy group in Washington; I’ve taken fire fighter training; I’ve sorted garbage on a manual recycling “picking” line and burned it in landfills in Mexico and China to sample the combustion gases; and that doesn’t even touch my work with ACS over the last 15 years.  I think there are now, and have always been, more non-traditional careers in chemistry—at least in industrythan what we think of as traditional careers.

 

So how did I find that path? Well, maybe a little history helps. In high school I loved speech, debate, and theatre and I was fully on board with a career in law and politics until I took chemistry from Bob Conard at Crown Point High School in Indiana.  I was hooked, and wanted to be just like him. But my mother wanted me to be a doctor like her (bad idea on a number of counts).  I had a triple major as an undergrad: chemistry, physics, and fun. My GPA and GRE scores would support chemistry grad school (barely) and physics not at all.  Rather than go back to selling cars, off I went to a grad school that would have me.  And I got into research.   I got my PhD after a couple of stops and went into industry, as you know, where I fetched up in the polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastic business.

 

Something that was true then and may well be true now for almost any business is that there are issues—controversy—and there is typically a need for science to resolve the controversy. In the early 1980s in the plastics business, the issue was plastics in house fires.  “Are today’s fires more toxic than those of thirty years ago, and do plastics create supertoxic agents when they burn?”

That should sound like a research project to you, and it was.  In addition to my company responsibilities for product R&D, I got the chance to oversee research at an independent lab studying combustion and combustion toxicology on behalf of an industry association.  The research was pretty interesting and, while it’s too long to reproduce here, what kills people in fires now is what always did: carbon monoxide, low oxygen, and heat.  Maybe a small contribution of hydrogen cyanide from burning materials that contain nitrogen, but not a raft of unknown supertoxic agents.

 

Well, once the research was done, someone had to write it up and someone had to take it on the road to talk to the mayors, code officials, fire fighters, and others who were interested in the work.  So the guy who was an adequate scientist, but pretty good at explaining technical things to non-technical people - that would be me, in this case - got the responsibility. I taught courses for fire company officers on the chemistry of fire and products of combustion.  I debated firefighters’ union officials on local TV and radio.  And it was not always a box of doughnuts, either. Sometimes the debates were tough and direct.  One day, I got thrown out of the city of Pittsburgh by the President of the City Council.  Maybe that’s a story worth telling someday.

 

So what does this have to do with non-traditional careers in chemistry?  I guess Yogi Berra is alleged to have said it best: “When you come to the fork in the road, take it.”  I’m pretty sure that there are opportunities that present themselves to all of us, and it probably happens quite often.  Unfortunately, not all of them are labeled “opportunity.”  Some are labeled “more work,” “pain in the neck” or “another darn thing.”  Some pass more or less unnoticed.

 

But I always kept my peripheral vision sharp.  There was no added responsibility I wouldn’t take if it looked like I could learn something; that’s how I got into fire science.  And here’s the second tip—once you gain a little expertise, never let it atrophy.  Even when the fire issue went into remission I still read the literature and stayed up with the players and still do thirty years later. Throughout my career I had the chance to add a lot of other things to my toolkit and I always came upon them that same way.  Personal growth into an adjacent space where there was a need for someone with a little energy.  Do this enough times and it turns into a non-traditional career.

 

So that’s the advice. You may not fall into this kind of career on day 2, but I’m willing to bet that if you’re observant, by day 500 a number of opportunities have presented themselves in the guise of “more work” or “another darn thing.”  Work on your peripheral vision and make sure you see what’s out there for the opportunity it could be. Then take the fork in the road and don’t look back.

 

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Dr. William F. Carroll, Jr. holds a Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from Indiana University, Bloomington, IN. He received an M.S. from Tulane University in New Orleans and a B.A. in chemistry and physics from DePauw University in Greencastle, IN. He holds two patents and has over sixty-five publications in the fields of organic electrochemistry, polymer chemistry, combustion chemistry, incineration and plastics recycling.