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What's your background?

I'm originally from Ireland and moved to Edinburgh in 2009 to complete a BSc (Hons) degree in Pharmacology at Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh.

Shortly before finishing my degree, l spotted the advert through ScotGrad for a position as Trials Co-Ordinator at Advanced Microwave Technology (AMT). I had been looking all over the UK and Ireland for jobs, but luckily I didn’t have to go very far!

What project were you involved in?

My work with AMT has given me a unique insight into the food industry in the UK, Ireland, Europe and in the US. When I first began at the company, I spent several weeks learning how to use the trial equipment.  I collected a huge amount of data about various operating parameters of the machine such as flow rates, temperatures, pressures, and the use of different auxiliary equipment.  This has stood me in good stead, and was good experience before undertaking the trials for real in front of customers.

My knowledge of the technology has been developing all the time.  I've also been involved in the design and execution of a large Scottish Enterprise funded project to explore the use of heat recovery. This was very successful, and increased our knowledge of how the capacity of our machines can be increased without losing any of the other benefits such as retention of nutrients, flavours and shelf-life.

I've also been able to work on several projects, funded by Innovate UK (formerly TSB), which have covered everything from dairy, to vegetable products and more.

In your opinion, what kind of impact has your role had on the company?

Trials are one of the main selling tools for AMT, as clients want to know that the technology works on their specific product before making the financial investment. My role has been to show the client that the technology works, and prove the benefits of using this technology. My role as Trials Co-Ordinator has benefitted the company greatly, and I now have very detailed knowledge of how to get the best from the MVH technology across a broad range of applications. 

Furthermore, as I have taken on the responsibility of arranging and managing the trials programme, other members of the AMT team have been able to focus on other aspects of the business.

What skills do you feel you have developed?

I have most definitely made the transition from a university student to a hard working member the work force! Not only has my knowledge about the food industry increased, but I have learnt a lot about taking new technology to market and how to tackle all the ups and downs that it involves. I have grown in confidence and have developed a wide range of skills that include management, project planning, food science, processing design, and networking. Rather unexpectedly I seem to have an aptitude for converting what we have achieved in trials into the design and scaling up of large systems for clients!

Finally - where are you now?

I am still part of the AMT family, but now have been promoted to the position of Trials Manager.