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Florence, manager of the chemical analysis group in Cerdato

What has been your career path?

I have a post-graduate diploma in organic chemistry from the University of Rouen, and after that I did a PhD in NMR in Lausanne and a post-doctorate in Toronto. I worked in Sanofi before joining Arkema 10 years ago.

 

What is your job about?

I manage an R&D team in the field of chemical analysis, and we work cross-departmentally with other teams (synthesis, development, plants) to make new polymer products or new applications, and to assist our plants and customers. The objective is to understand the chemistry from the raw materials to the finished product used by the customer, and to guarantee the product's lifespan. For example, castor oil becomes a monomer and then a polymer (in granulate form) to be integrated into textiles, sports footwear, bra straps, or beer filters.

What is your typical working day like?

I work in the field, whether in the lab or one of the plants. I lead technical meetings, manage our human resources, write and validate reports, and so on.

What are your teams' areas of research?

Their assignment is to characterize and quantify the components of our polymers. This means finding answers to a multitude of questions: 

  • What is the quality of the produced polymers?
  • Can I use them to make a finished product?
  • How will it age?
  • Can I make it more durable?
  • What is the nature of the pollution that we can observe?
  • Why does the polymer exhibit atypical behavior?
  • Why is it this color or why does it produce that odor?
  • Can I compile an analytical file for market authorization?
  • Can it be sold in contact with foodstuffs?
  • Etc.

What do you like about your job?

In the short term, what I am interested in is assisting the plants and the customers. In the medium and long term, what I like is all the teamwork with people in very different professions (chemical engineers, plastics engineers, developers, salespeople, process engineers, regulatory experts) internally, as well as in the broader Arkema Group or from universities or the European authorities.

What impresses me is the analytical clout that we have when we are all working at the same time on an urgent case!

What do you like about Arkema?

The company had faith in me from the outset and that has continued ever since I joined the Group and moved to different positions in it. It also gives me the chance to work across departments with colleagues who have a variety of perspectives—both long-term and very short term—concerning a very wide range of products.

One of your qualities and one flaw?

Quality: my spontaneity. Flaw: my spontaneity!

Do you have a motto in your work or life in general?

Never give up!

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