Speakers' Bureau Directory: BECHANKO

ROBIN BECHANKO
Degree: MS
Employer: NSF International
ANN ARBOR, Michigan  48105-9308

 

Primary Employer: Other; Other Certification Laboratory
Scientific Specialty: Public Health; Other N/A
Job Title: Laboratory Manager, Microbiology
Years in position: 2
Presentation Type: N/A
Video Call Type:N/A
Day to day responsibilities:
Coordination of staff- hiring, assignments, motivation
Communication with business units and clients
Lab financials- set and maintain budgets
Determine resource availability for projects- staff, equipment, supplies
Management of quality system including audit coordination and responses
Evaluate new technology and methods for feasability of use


What do you love about your job?
I love that even after 13+ years in my laboratory, I still learn new things every day. Sometimes these will be non-technical, such as improving my communication and people skills. Most often these will be technical because in a test only lab new test methods and R&D projects are continually requested.
I am also very fortunate to have senior management who are committed to advances in technology so that the lab can evolve with the microbiology field.


Degrees, experience, license(s), and skills required for position:
Bachelor's degree in microbiology, biology, or equivalent and 6 years related work experience or Master's degree and 3 years related work experience or a PhD
If degree is not in microbiology, at least one college-level microbiology laboratory course in which environmental microbiology was covered
A minimum of two weeks training at a Federal agency, State agency, or academic institution in microbiological analysis of drinking water or 80 hours of on-the-job training in water microbiology at a certified laboratory, or other training acceptable to the
State or EPA
A minimum of two (2) years supervisory experience
Knowledge and experience with laboratory QA/QC plans, manuals, and procedures
Understanding of, and experience with, laboratory information management systems (LIMS)
Experience with technical presentations


Tips/Advice for how to secure a job in microbiology upon graduation:
Opportunities become more rare every day, so take advantage of every single opportunity that comes along. Different types of labs (R&D, clinical, production) will be quite different so try to gain experience in each area. An individual's personality may be quite suited to one type of lab, but not another and it is important to find an environment that one can thrive in. On-the-job experience outside of academia will be invaluable in understanding this.

Also, consider aspects of past jobs and how they can be suited toward a lab career. Maintaining sanitary conditions in a food establishment is (in theory) not that dissimilar to maintaining aseptic conditions in a lab. Similarly, working in a food establishment can demonstrate an ability to work under pressure and quick timelines which is useful in a production lab.

 

 


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