Internships, co-ops, or research experiences as an undergraduate:
I worked in two wet labs as an undergraduate, and was really glad I did. It exposed me to that type of work, and I realized I did not like doing it. Of course, I am fortunate to have had those experiences, as they helped me confidently choose my own path early on, and now give me insight into the decisions I make for my software company.
Primary job responsibilities:
My major responsibility is to keep everything running at iChemLabs where we create cheminformatics software. My job entails many different things, from programming to meetings to marketing. Every day is different.
Typical day on the job:
There isn’t really a typical day on the job. It can include working to resolve issues customers are having with our products, talking with my VP or CBO regarding sales trends, working with a developer on a project, teaching interns, or participating in interviews. I wear a lot of hats, and have to be able to move from one activity to the next, usually repeatedly throughout the day.
Typically, I spend one week a month away. Sometimes the travel is business-related, and other times it’s for pleasure.
In terms of sitting down and working, depending on the situation, it can be anywhere between 20-80 hours. Of course, as an entrepreneur I am always thinking about my company, and constantly coming up with new ideas.
iChemLabs is a distributed company, with employees around the world. So we all work from home offices. My work environment is tailor-suited to what I do. It is optimized for getting work done and is ergonomic. Health is very important to us, so having the right equipment to enforce good posture is essential. Especially for programmers, bad posture leads to back and neck pain, as well as acid reflux. My relationships with my employees are very good and I work hard to keep everyone healthy and happy.
What you like most about your job:
I like that I am solving a real need for access to quality chemistry software among students; there was a serious lack of access to such essential resources when I was an undergraduate.
Best productivity trick:
I like to talk to users of my software and hear what they have to say. It is often inspiring and helps guide me in deciding what to do next.
Best career advice you've received:
Maciej Haranczyk, my advisor at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory when I was at UC Berkeley, noted one busy summer that I should take a break or I would burn out. Of course, I ignored that advice and eventually burned out, and it was not a fun experience. So I now take that advice to heart and stay aware of my current workload and stress levels. It is important to keep things balanced, as it keeps me energized, happy, and able to do my best work.
Skills or talents that make you a good fit for your job:
I guess it would be my spontaneity. I like to take on new challenges and try new things every day. This helps me cope with unexpected problems, and then work toward solutions.
Favorite ACS resource:
This would be the Journal of Chemical Information and Modeling. Succinctly, it is the best journal in my industry, and all the material interests me.
How you've benefited from being an ACS member:
I have been an ACS member for 5 years and have found it to be an invaluable resource for networking and finding professional solutions. iChemLabs also helps individuals from various parts of the ACS with their software needs. I'm looking forward to ACS Publications accepting our software file formats.