Tell us about a typical day in your role at James Cropper.
The only thing that’s typical about my day is that I’ll always start and end it with a cup of tea while I check and answer my emails!
Being an integral part of research and development, my role involves different projects, researching a range of concepts and then developing them to fruition - so the day varies dramatically.
When it comes to researching a concept, I’ll be sifting through hundreds of scientific papers and applying my chemistry background. The next step involves the testing on a lab scale. This is to test the viability of a project and whether it works. It’s fascinating!
Most of the remainder of my time is spent in meetings, liaising with other departments to reach the goal of a completed project. For example, this could be liaising with the marketing team to determine market demand/needs for a particular idea.
Another consistent part of my day involves establishing and maintaining contact with research fellows, universities, and potential companies. This helps me to stay informed about the latest research within the sector. This allows me to formulate new ideas, research and design projects which can keep the creative flow of the development moving forward.
During your career at James Cropper, what has been your most memorable highlight?
Lately I have been working on a project involving naturally derived dyes which is incredibly exciting. At the very start of the project, work done with a number of naturally derived dyes, resulted in white sheets of paper and dye washing away in the backwater. There were challenges with several properties of these dyes and how they behaved which made the process of research and design really interesting.
I established the understanding of the science behind the dyes and managed to find ways around the issues we came up against. As a result we could produce a high quality sheet of paper coloured with naturally derived dyes – amazing! It is important to note there is still some work to do on this project but the progress we’ve made has been staggering.
Who do you most admire in the industry?
Hardev S. "Doug" Dugal, a pioneer in the paper industry. With a chemistry degree he not only set up several environmental courses but pioneered a research and development department like no other. He put research and development at the forefront, understanding that this is the key to breaking new ground and offering something different from the competition.
Which three things would you take to a desert island?
1. My close family
2. A fully stocked and supplied boat
That’s the ultimate holiday!
What’s your guilty pleasure?
Gaming! That’s how I wind down from a busy day