Anatune Developments: Meet Our New Account Manager Team Leader
As part of Anatune’s continued development and efforts to serve our customers better than ever before, we are delighted to announce that Sean O’Connor has been promoted to become the Team Leader of our Account Management team. Sean’s skills, experience and analytical instrumentation expertise will be extremely valuable as we grow into the future and continue to develop our provision of automated solutions to analytical laboratories across the UK.
For our customers in the Midlands and South East, fear not; Sean will still be providing you with the level of service he has built his reputation on!
Read on to find out more about Sean’s career to date, his recipe for success, and just what he will be looking to achieve in his new role.
Sean O’Connor – Anatune Account Manager Team Leader
Hi Sean, many thanks for your time. How long have you worked at Anatune and what are your current responsibilities?
I have worked for Anatune since 2013 where I started as an application chemist. I moved to Sales at the end of 2015 where I have covered both the South East, South West and the Midland. I have specialised in the past in the FMCG markets building on my experience in my previous career.
My day to day tasks include assisting our customers in developing solutions which improve their test results, reduce solvent use, reduce cost and increase analyst productivity.
In your new role, how will your responsibilities change and what will you be looking to achieve?
In my new position I will be mentoring the regional account managers ensuring that they deliver as part of the one team approach to the customer and also developing their individual roles. I will be encouraging a consultative approach to building relationships with customers to ensure all our Account Managers continue to help them to improve their laboratories through automated solutions.
What led you to a career in analytical chemistry?
After enjoying science at school, I joined a Flavour laboratory as a quality control technician using wet / phyisal chemistry techniques to ensure the quality of flavours. As part of this, I worked up to using chromatography, both liquid and gas, for quality testing but also developed my skills using mass spectrometry to match competitors flavours. This is where I first came across the use of GERSTEL MPS systems.
Following this, I moved to Unilever where I spent 11 years developing methods for environmental degradation studies and REACH registration for Unilever FMCG products. Whilst at Unilever I completed my BSc and MSc in Analytical Chemistry. I spent many years at Unilever using GERSTEL (Anatune) products and when I got the opportunity I moved across to Anatune to use the most cutting edge equipment and develop my skills further.
What have been the most significant industry changes since the start of your career?
The industry has moved from an 9-5 or shift in the lab to a fully automated, easy access 24-7 approach. When I began the skill was in rapid manual injections ensuring minimal band broadening, and also fitting injections around lunch and tea breaks.
Autosampler and then advancing on to fully automated sample preparation and novel sample introduction techniques like DiLLME, DHS and SPME allow labs to get far more data from 1 sample, and run far more samples, than I could have imagined with my GC syringe and a timer in my lab coat pocket.
GC ovens are also far more reliable and controllable, but it’s more the diagnostics and safety features which have improved over the progression from the 5890 I started with compared to the 8890 which is available today.
Mass Spectrometry has developed in sensitivity and quantity, growing to be one of the most popular techniques, whereas when we got our first MS, only senior staff were allowed to even look at the source let alone clean it.
25 Years of success is a fantastic feat; what are the attributes that have enabled Anatune to achieve this?
Anatune has been around about the same amount of time I have been in the lab and it has moved with the progress of technology and also having a consultative approach helping customers for the entire time (not just since it became fashionable). I knew as customer before, that when I picked up the phone I would be talking to someone who knew the equipment or how to get the answers. After joining, I knew this was because Anatune only hire the best and there was a nurturing culture allowing growth of the individual and the company in knowledge as well.
What have been your proudest moments at Anatune so far?
I have two proud moments at Anatune above all. The first was the company being associated with the research that Perdita Barran did, bringing Joy Milne in to determine the volatiles that she used to determine if people had Parkinson’s disease and playing a part in research which may lead to earlier diagnosis of the disease.
Secondly, my proudest personal moment was selling the first Agilent 7250 QTOF with GERSTEL automation.
What are your predictions for the future of analytical chemistry/GC,LC,MS over the next 5 – 10 years?
Analytical chemistry has two drivers. Simpler and more data. Being able to produce more data with a push button approach will be the bulk of the market. To enable the data produced to be usable automated sample preparation will become a natural part of both GC and LC as the autoinjectors have taken over from manual injection. All solutions will be required to have minimal human interaction between sample and data out put be that a single result or part of a model.
The impact of COVID-19 will be the increase in automation solutions and the ability for the lab to analyse and process samples with minimal staff in the building or at least having the option for a lab to run with only one scientist in the room for a period of weeks.
What do you envisage Anatune achieving in that time-period?
Anatune will continue to grow as part of the element group building on the larger group of analytical chemists available for problem solving as part of the Element group. The automation of sample preparation for remote processing / analysis of samples is already possible but this will become the norm. As we grow into the Element Materials Technology we will benefit from all that a larger Group brings, but we will still have the customer care and outlook that people would expect in a small company.
Which three of the world’s biggest brands do you admire the most and why?
Apple: I am not a brand loyal person but I have to admire Apple not because it’s products are necessarily the best but they have pushed everyone else to do better.
Adidas: I do like as pretty much every pair of football boots I have owned in the last 20 years (Yes, I still kick a football every so often!) has been made well and, whilst they are not as flashy or as over advertised as some brands, I like a classic which is what they deliver.
IKEA: I try and avoid buying my furniture from IKEA every time but apart from a few items, I find they have an answer for everything! This capability for supplying simple furniture at multiple price ranges to meet the customer needs every time has to be admired.
Which three people, dead or alive, would you invite to your fantasy dinner-party? And why?
Eric Morecambe: This man is probably the funniest comedian but also a talented entertainer.
Kenny Dalglish: He’s the main reason I am a Liverpool fan and I have been since I was a child. This means he has been responsible for a number of my highest highs and lowest lows throughout my life.
Victoria Coren-Mitchell: A woman I respect for her intelligence, her poker skills and her ability to drink most men under the table whilst still oozing class!
Which three hobbies or interests help you to relax when you’re away from the office/laboratory?
I like to go to watch my local football team, Kettering Town, and in a life before children I used to travel far and wide to do this. I also enjoy watching my son’s team (which is lucky as I have to do this in rain or shine!)
Prior to the pandemic I regularly visited the museums in London and when studying for my masters used to spend my lunch hour walking around the British Museum.
I enjoy listening to music and find this relaxes me. I like an eclectic mix from indie and rock to a bit of 90’s dance depending on the mood.
If you’d like to contact Sean to discuss your instrumentation or automated solution requirements, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
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