TEA BREAK WITH…. Alex Larkin, Technical Graduate
We sat down with Alex Larkin, Technical Graduate and asked him 5 questions.
Tell us about a typical day in your role at James Cropper.
It always starts with coffee! By the time we have our first virtual morning meeting at 9am I’ll be on my second/third of the day and feeling ready to take on the world!
The meeting serves as a good indicator as to where everyone will be and what they’ll be working on, highlighting any potential gaps that need addressing and we then set goals for the day. I always come off the call feeling energised and motivated for the day ahead!
I will then get on with some lab work, which I love because no two days are the same. It generally consists of fibre, chemistry analysis through a variety of techniques, spot tests and reactions. I could be testing new potential materials for use in the mill or be going into the mill and working on a scheduled trial production which I may be leading.
James Cropper is a company that is willing to push the boundaries and innovate in new and exciting ways, and for me that makes every day incredibly enjoyable.
During your career at James Cropper, what has been your most memorable highlight?
One moment stands out for me and that is working on a trial for the Rydal Packaging Range, a collection of papers for premium packaging, including an option with the ultimate 100% post-consumer waste recycled fibre. It’s a range that I have been attached to since I started here.
We planned to trial the use of a chemistry on the machine. I had done all the lab work to suggest a positive result was possible and the support system I had in place with engineers, operators, managers was really encouraging.
The trial got started at around 7pm one Friday evening and the result was emphatically good!. The opportunities it has opened for us as a business and how it could help us with working with recycled fibre is incredibly exciting! That was my favourite moment by far, seeing something that I had put a lot of work into, paying off in such a big way was brilliant.
It was definitely worth staying late that Friday!
Who do you most admire in the industry?
I admire the people in the industry who tend to go under the radar but are the ones who significantly contribute to amazing things happening. These people have incredible knowledge and skills and are fascinating to work with and be around.
Which three things would you take to a desert island?
1. A football (which I imagine I’ll lose fairly quickly)
2. My record collection (just in case there’s a record player on the island somewhere!)
3. A Flare Gun.
What’s your guilty pleasure?
Floral Gums, anyone who knows what they are knows how ashamed I should be to say that!