Neil, why do you feel so strong about helping people as part of your job?
I consider myself extremely fortunate to be a healthy person, and take great pride in being able to maintain all aspects of my health. Through worldwide travel and having lived across 3 continents (so far) in my life I have seen multiple situations where there are people who are far less fortunate than I am regarding their health, and being part of the Evonik family allows me to help those who are less lucky. I think of myself a giving person, who takes immense pride in being able to help others as part of my daily work. I’m proud to be a small cog in the large machine that makes the strides in medicine that helps to improve the lives of others. To be able to go home knowing I, as part of a team, made a difference is an immensely rewarding feeling.
What is the most fascinating piece of your work that keeps you going?
The non-stop nature of change, and the diverse nature in which medicine is developed is awe-inspiring. Using COVID-19 as an example, the world went from zero to 1.7 billion vaccine doses in 6 months, using the delivery technology Evonik has been involved in for many years. We literally have potentially millions of clients! COVID-19 has demonstrated and validated the use of Lipid Nanoparticles (LNPs) to encapsulate mRNA as a robust and safe way to deliver life-changing medicine, and this is the Evonik Vancouver facility specialty field. We are a leading site for the development and optimization of lipid constructs to help fight diseases, and we are proud of the number of clients we have helped move from conceptual or benchtop scale through to making the product to support clinical trials. The Vancouver sites’ abilities are as diverse as the team that works here, and I feel fortunate to work with so many experts in so many different areas from Development through Quality Testing, through Manufacture to Quality Assurance, through Equipment Design to Facility Engineering. By playing a part in ensuring we all pull in the same direction it’s amazing to see the results we achieve.
Mountains, lakes and the Pacific Ocean is overwhelming and characteristic for Vancouver. How does this impact you as a person and in your role as a Director at the Vancouver Site?
I moved from the UK almost 17 years ago as someone with a huge passion for the outdoors. Moving to Vancouver has given me access to some of the world’s best mountain biking trails and some world renowned ski hills. Dealing with the weather can be a bit of a challenge, but winter rains in the city usually means snow on the hills, so there is ALWAYS a silver lining! I rarely sit still for very long and never envisaged my career involving 4 walls and a computer, but working here I am seldom very far away from open space where I can recharge and decompress, be it riding my bike in the rainforest or strapping into my snowboard. I am very cognizant of balancing my important work life with my equally important personal life, and being able to be active in such a beautiful part of the world allows me to be my best at both all year round. I really embrace the challenge of being able to positively impact our customers’ lives in the same way as nature has positively impacted mine!