The Practicality of Science

April 23, 2014

I am coming up on my second year anniversary here at J&J – and what a ride it has been!  I have been involved in projects handling materials ranging from nylon powder to pharmaceutical formulations to hay.  And every project has familiar yet unique characteristics.

Unique because the challenges faced by most industries are incredibly diverse – disparate materials behave differently and so the methods used to handle them will vary.  And familiar because I continue to help clients produce better, safer products more efficiently.  And that is one of the aspects I love about my job – I get to help people solve problems every day.

One of the most gratifying experiences so far in my career happened after a meeting at a client site.  The company called us in because they were having trouble feeding their powder from an IBC to a jet mill.  And so, there I was in a meeting with the director of technical operations, the engineering manager, and a senior scientist.  We were discussing what had happened that morning during a production trial and the path I suggested to come to a solution.  It was a great meeting, and we decided to continue with the trials that afternoon.  On our way to the production facility, the director of technical operations asked me when and where I had gotten my Ph.D. and what my thesis was about.  So we chatted a bit about my thesis, as well as his.  And then he turned to me and said very matter-of-factly: “For a Ph.D. you are very practical in your recommendations”, which I took to be a complement, and he concurred.

With most of the projects that I have been involved with, our clients want a solution to their challenges first – the science behind it becomes secondary.  And so, while we at J&J understand and dig deep into the science of bulk and granular materials, our unique approach of providing real and practical solutions to our clients, sets us apart.

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