Head of Business Development and Research
After more than a decade at Germains, Dale is still as passionate about making a difference in science and research as he was when starting his career as a Research Chemist many years ago. From his childhood ambition to what makes him proud to be working for a seed technology firm today, we caught up with Dale for a chat:
Hi Dale, thanks for taking the time to speak to us. So, let’s start at the beginning, have you always wanted to be a scientist?
“Yes absolutely, I was the kid aged seven that had a chemistry set! I thought it was amazing to see a crystal grow or watch a colour change when things reacted – and from then on, my passion was in science. Mind you, I also wanted to surf and sail for a living, but I’m glad I followed my first passion in the end!”
Can you tell us a bit about your journey from a research chemist at a pharmaceutical business to your current role as Head of Research and Development for a seed technology company?
“As part of my first job after graduating as a research chemist, there was a team of three of us whose role it was to try and discover new pharmaceutical products for specific projects that we were allocated. It was exciting and fascinating at the same time, seeing our ideas being tested. Naturally, my career progressed from lab experiments to more sophisticated process equipment when I moved to work in a pilot plant, before transferring to a full-size manufacturing facility. Both settings, I believe, taught me so much about engineering, process control, analytical chemistry in addition to my organic chemistry background that I continued to work for other companies in my career vacillating between production management and research. I’ve worked in such different businesses, from manufacturing liquid gel capsules, to the largest bulk Ibuprofen manufacturing plant in the world before finally joining Germains in a completely new field to me of seed technology.”
Wow, what a career so far! What appealed to you about seed technology and now having been an employee for over a decade, what are you most proud about?
“To be honest, seed technology wasn’t an area I’d planned to explore, nor was it an area I knew existed. But I think the appeal that I have grown to appreciate is the impact on the world we live in. It makes so much more sense to add microgram quantities of a pesticide to each individual seed instead of aerial spraying hundreds of acres. It’s more environmentally friendly and gives an equal, or better, benefits to the grower and all of us as end consumers. Looking more broadly, the appeal is the work, the science, the people I work with and the company I work for. Seed technology as an industry has a multitude of opportunities for the business to grow and that is one of the most appealing aspects.
“You also asked what I’m most proud of and it’s actually how cool the science is! I am still amazed that we can influence the growth of a plant through seed technology. I’m proud too of the organisation, the products we make and the impact we have on the planet.”
How interesting, thank you Dale for sharing. If you were to look back on your career to date, has there been one memorable experience that stands out to you?
“There have been many if I think back over the years, but one that stands out the most is being let go from a company. Not for doing anything wrong but being part of a reduction in labour due to economics. I had to quickly grapple with the thoughts that my contributions, no matter how strong, sometimes are not enough to overcome things outside of our general control in life. It’s important to remember that no matter what happens, you must look beyond and know your own potential. Another door will always open and you need to look forward to ensure you see it opening.”
What a great note to end our chat on. Dale, thank you for taking the time to speak to us about your career and experiences, we hope you enjoyed the trip down memory lane too!
To find out more about Germains Seed Technology please visit their website.