Celebrating 25 Years of Progress: Get to Know the Anatune Team
2021 sees Anatune celebrate our 25th anniversary. To help celebrate, we’ve sat down with members of our team to give you an insight into who they are, what they do, and how Anatune is looking to build on 25 Years of Progress. In this edition, we speak to our new Account Manager for our customers in the Water & Environmental sector, Johnson Otuonye, to find out all about his analytical chemistry career to date, and discover how Anatune has achieved a quarter of a century in business.
Johnson Otuonye, Account Manager, Water & Environmental
Many thanks for your time, Johnson, and welcome to Anatune! As a new member of the team, what are your principal responsibilities?
My core responsibilities are to assist our customers in the Water and Environmental sector to benefit fully from the wonders of automated sample preparation and analysis, whilst also collaborating closely with them to solve their problems and present them with novel ideas.
In some cases, customers have simply come to us with a list of problems they are facing and a scope, and we’ve gone back to the lab, worked some magic, and returned back to them with solutions. This is something I’ll like to continue to encourage as chances are that even if we do not have the answer(s), we’ll be able to point them in the right direction.
What led you to a career in analytical chemistry?
It’d be easy for me to discard the path that led me to a career in analytical chemistry as random, but I actually think it’s what a man of faith would describe as predestined!
From a very young age, I was always intrigued by science and its ability to improve the quality of life. And so when the time came to choose a maximum of four subjects to study for my A Levels, Maths and Chemistry were two no-brainers. I later populated the rest of my choices with Biology and Physics.
After my A Levels, I had to choose a course to study at university. Aversion to the sight of blood wrote me out of studying anything to do with the medical profession, and I always thought Physics to be too abstract, leaving me with Chemistry and Chemical Engineering as two strong alternatives. Unable to select between the two, I decided to study both. It was during this course of study that I became enchanted with Analytical Chemistry, and decided to pursue a career as an Analytical Chemist. Studying a master’s degree in Analytical Chemistry helped me further develop critical and independent reasoning that I’m now often able to apply to real life problems.
What have been the most significant industry changes since the start of your career?
The most significant changes since the start of my career has been a great call to action for sustainability, and an even greater call for thoroughness and safety. Whilst these are not mutually exclusive, it does make the already demanding job of the average Analytical Chemist even more challenging.
David Hinton, CEO of South East Water, perfectly elucidates this by explaining how most water companies that are already facing challenges with asset age, lead standards, climate change & effect, now also have to deal with emerging pollutants such as PFAS and microplastics, whilst also balancing good quality raw water with increasing environmental standards.
I believe that the way to stay on top of this is through innovation and collaborative efforts.
25 Years of success is a fantastic feat and Anatune is very proud to have achieved it – what was it that attracted you to Anatune?
The reason I became an Analytical Chemist was to use my skills and knowledge for the benefit of society through services that were dependent upon sound and quality analysis, hence, the early part of my career was spent in a laboratory as a Research Chemist in the Water and Environmental industry, until more recently.
The desire to develop my career lead me towards organisations that are in a position to offer me the opportunities to further my academic training, have a history of providing products and services in line with my existing strengths, and are key industry players. Anatune were able to offer me all these things, as well as the opportunity to continue to serve the science community behind the scenes.
As a leading solutions provider for automated analytical instruments and applications, we are a team of experienced analytical chemists and the Anatune way is about supporting you for the life of your instrument. We are small enough to care and now, with the recent acquisition of our parent company by Element Materials Technology, we are also big enough to cater to all your needs.
What are your predictions for the future of the industry over the next 5 – 10 years?
GC, LC, & MS are techniques that have been around for decades, since the early 1990s, and I reckon they’ll continue to be around for years to come. These analytical techniques will continue to be refined to accommodate our needs but one thing that’s guaranteed is an increased demand for automation. We are already seeing a paradigm shift in this, with the ever increasing role of automation even in our everyday life, from simple tasks such as household thermostats controlling boilers, to more advanced technology of self-driving cars.
As the demand on the average analytical chemist for quicker and better results grow, working hard won’t be enough. Companies will have to think of smarter ways to work. Automation can be of particular help in routine and complex sample prep/analysis as analysts can then spend their valuable time interpreting results. Benefits also include more reproducible results with less inclination to human error.
Which three of the world’s biggest brands do you admire the most and why?
Mercedes, Rolex and Microsoft.
Mercedes for continuing to manufacture beautiful and high performance cars that do not compromise on comfort. Rolex for the time and effort they put into producing such an intricate/extremely high quality product. Microsoft for being able to stay relevant through subtle technological advancements in an ever-changing world, and also for their philanthropic work.
Which three people, dead or alive, would you invite to your fantasy dinner-party? And why?
Sir Winston Churchill, Mahatma Gandhi, and Whitney Houston.
I’ve always found it intriguing and worthwhile to listen to people with opposing viewpoints debate and articulately lay out their differences. A conversation over dinner between Sir Winston Churchill and Mahatma Gandhi would certainly provide plenty of insight, and Whitney Houston should be able to ease any left over tension, with her soft voice and beautiful soul.
Which three hobbies or interests help you to relax when you’re away from the office/laboratory?
I used to enjoy the occasional late night drive after a long day at work, but I’ve since cut down on these in an effort to reduce my carbon footprint. Other hobbies now include cycling along my local canal and playing competitive rugby.
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