The first in a series of interviews with our staff, we talk with Olu Ogunjimi a Project Manager, here at Microsaic. Discover what motivates her, and her undercover talents for lecturing!
Olu Ogunjimi, Project Manager, Microsaic Systems Plc.
Hi Olu, thanks for taking the time to talk with us. Maybe you can tell us a bit about your background?
I came to the UK in 2002, to study for my Masters, and then PhD – both in analytical chemistry. The latter was at London Metropolitan University (LMU), and I specialised in Mass Spectrometry. I also did a year’s post-doc at LMU.
So did you go straight from there into industry?
Actually, while doing my post-doc at LMU I became part of a group of entrepreneurs, who saw an income generating opportunity to utilise the analytical equipment at LMU’s chemistry department. Namely, we started a business whereby we contracted-in chemical analysis from a range of clients across industry, provided training to customers on chromatographic techniques and collaboratively worked with industries on natural products method standardisation. For my part, I was responsible for business development, and really enjoyed networking and pitching our business at industry conferences.
It was an exciting time, and it was then that I realised that I wanted to bridge the worlds of science & technology and business.
I did this for two years and used this experience to get my next role at Syngenta where I worked in their ’Open Access Lab’ facility. Here, I helped organic chemists analyse their data. Often, they needed help with their sample analysis, particularly in structural elucidation – this is where my background in MS was invaluable!
Thanks Olu. You joined Microsaic in 2014, can you believe how fast the time has gone?
That’s right, I initially took a role in software quality assurance. I wanted to get ’underneath the skin’ of MS technology, and this was a great introduction.
Microsaic’s point-of-need MS really is very compelling. The core technology is based on silicon, which means that the vacuum chamber is smaller than anything on the market today. This means that there’s less vacuum needed, creating massive savings on internal space. Our pumps and computer are all included in one box, and the system is designed to be easy to use and maintain.
Coming from a MS background I knew about big, noisy floor pumps (which are never shown in sales literature!), and that the user would be plagued with down-time for days at a time during maintenance.
Even so-called ’compact systems’ on sale today aren’t really that compact. Our MS systems at Microsaic are very different.
The role drew heavily on my MS knowledge, and I represented a ‘typical’ MS user. This meant that I could offer advice on MS usability. Software interaction can be very defining in terms of the user experience, particularly as customers increasingly consider ‘ease of use’ as a top priority.
I worked very closely with marketing and engineering helping convert user requirements into software specifications. Microsaic is an ISO company, and so software test and traceability is very important. I took responsibility for creating all the test plans and related testing. Latterly, I also learned software programming and have been able to contribute to the coding.
And then in 2018 you were promoted to Project Manager. Tell us a little bit about your role.
In my SQA role I was already performing a significant planning role, but I was ready for more responsibility. Project management is like a mini-MBA. You take a mini-business from concept through to commercialisation; you have to understand the business drivers, the market, the customer needs, and the technology. Most importantly, it’s a very people-oriented role, which I really like.
And you’ve already been really busy, what’s happened in your first year?
Yes it certainly has!
During the first part of the year, the business transitioned from ISO 9001: 2008 to ISO 9001: 2015.
Microsaic is very focused on product innovation, and is therefore R&D-centric. We needed to ensure that all our processes and procedures were transitioned so that we maintained a robust product development system. It was a lot of work, but Microsaic already had a good process in place to build on.
Additionally, we have introduced a new product development process, which is based on a well-established approach called PACE. This is a ‘waterfall’ product development methodology, which ensures all aspects of the business are combined in every product development, and which has strict gate reviews signed off by our senior management.
I think most of all, I am really enjoying the customer interaction which comes with the role, across a range of end markets in chemical analysis and life sciences.
I’m also aiming to get my Project Management Institute certification this year.
And you were an adjunct Lecturer at Westminster University?
Until recently, when the demands of a young family took priority, I was lecturing part-time in Pharmaceutical Analysis and QA at Westminster. I really loved seeing students grow during their degrees, and it was always fantastic to hear back from them on their new adventures after graduation. I hope to do this again, when I get the time!
And finally Olu, what do you like about life at Microsaic?
Aside from the impressive technology, Microsaic is a great place to work, both intellectually and socially.
The company is supportive if you want to grow, and it’s a great team. Importantly for me, the company offers me the flexibility I need at this time in my life.
Microsaic encourages diversity in its workforce. Talk to us about how you can be part of the team!