Hi I'm John Andrews a member of the committee. My company sells a range of molecular spectroscopy systems, mainly for process analysis (PAT) applications and research. Working in this market, rather than supplying “plain vanilla” laboratory instruments, means you never know what you will be measuring and what technique you will be using next time. I particularly enjoy the wide range of industries and applications that we find ourselves working with (or trying to!) Over the past few months we've been looking at such diverse problems as which spectroscopic technique could be used to quantify the four ingredients in a liquid consumer product, monitoring and controlling the blending of two industrial polymers, improving the performance of a crystallisation and looking at the UV-Visible spectrum of inks without a dilution step, to mention but a few.
As well as the diversity of applications, working as a vendor gives you the opportunity of working with the latest instrumentation and sometimes even influencing it's development. Salesmen can play a key role channelling feedback from end-users to the people involved in product development. Then, when something new is developed, the salesman needs to understand what it can (and can't) do and get the message out there. Feedback from the early adopters of new spectrometers is important too, both from the point of improving a new product and also finding new applications for it.
For me the downside of sales is that travelling , especially by road, seems to be getting slower and slower as the roads become more congested. However, I’ve recently become a convert to rail travel and use trains whenever I can – I’m actually writing this blog on a train. My green credentials and my productivity are improving!