Jessica Brozek, Lab Manager/SQF Practitioner
- Hydrite Chemical Co.
- B.S., Chemistry Viterbo University, LaCrosse, WI
After receiving a bachelor’s degree in chemistry with a minor in environmental science, Jessica Brozek found her first position through a science-degree recruiter. In fact, both of her science positions since graduation have begun as temporary positions, with contracts enabling her to transition to full time positions. Since graduation, she’s earned several professional certifications as well including a Safe Quality Food certification and Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point certification.
Brozek is active in her ACS local section, and has found that ACS has contributed not just networking opportunities, but friendships as well. “I just volunteered to be general chair for a Great Lakes Regional Meeting in Wisconsin. It went amazingly well! I love the scientists I meet, and I have made many friends through the Society. I love the traveling too!
Today, Brozek is a Lab Manager at Hydrite Chemical Co., an industrial chemical manufacturer. She also recently accepted a promotion as Laboratory Manager of their newest location in California.
I am a manager responsible for two chemists. I spend 40% of my time in meetings or on conference calls, 25% writing reports, and 20% doing lab maintenance (i.e. running samples, ordering supplies, cleaning, and calibrations). About 15% of my time is spent trouble-shooting employee issues.
Daily I use Word, Excel, auto-titrator, density meter, and email.
I work in a chemical production plant. Drums, totes, storage bulk tanks, and hoses occupy most of the space. The lab is located off of one of the finish product warehouses. After samples are mixed in production, a sample and paperwork are turned into the lab to see if it meets pre-determined specifications. I employ two bench chemists who handle samples and other requests. I have auto and manual titration stations, a density meter, APHA color determination, and a turbidity meter.
As a manager, I typically work 45 hours per week and overtime is sometimes required. The environment is based on customer demands, so it is sometimes fast-paced, and sometimes relaxed, but there is always site maintenance to be completed. I travel 1-5 days each month for job-related training for advancement in management, leadership skills, or updating certifications.
I try to learn as much as I can about the work of the company, even if it’s not related to my job description. We all work together.
Make your name known early. Always follow through and reread everything before sending it out.
I work really well with many types of people. I am not afraid to get my hands dirty. If the lab isn't busy, you can find me working or cleaning in the plant. There is always something to do. Always!
Understanding not to have an “I know everything” attitude. Respect the people who have worked in the business for 20+ years and learn as much as you can, while you can. Listen to everyone’s side of the story before you form your own judgments.
I really enjoy the toolkits and keeping up with the current research of chemistry. Working in industry, I need those resources to stay current on new findings.
Respect the people who have worked in the business for 20+ years and learn as much as you can, while you can."