How long have you worked at the U of L?
I’ve worked at the U of L for three years and 10 months. I joined the University right after my PhD in June 2016 to work as a post-doctoral researcher with Dr. Ute Kothe from the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry. Last May, I took on the role of managing the University of Lethbridge Science Stores that inaugurated alongside our newly built Science Commons. I did continue research over the weekends until December, but manager of the University of Lethbridge Science Stores is my one job now.
What are your main duties?
I procure scientific supplies for U of L research and teaching and find cost savings by improving and initiating vendor relations and by pursuing specialized quotes. I also order traditional supplies at a bulk price and sell them retail. All of the savings are passed on to the end user. I bring vendor bio-bar/freezer programs to the U of L Science Stores, thereby eliminating the wait times for procuring life science research products.
I organize scientific equipment/supply tradeshows to promote knowledge exchange between the vendors and the research community on the latest scientific technologies. I also maintain chemical inventory tracking across campus to accurately track chemicals from cradle to their grave. In doing so, I help reduce redundancy in procurement of chemicals by different labs, and provide up-to-date information to users and Campus Safety Services on chemical hazards specific to all designated areas on campus. I help Risk & Safety Services manage space for bulk chemical storage, implement the chemical and cryogen storage/transport policy, and promote overall chemical safety awareness within the Science Commons.
In addition, I procure dry ice and compressed gases, manage liquid nitrogen supplies for research use on campus and provide a one-stop shopping experience for all teaching/research supplies on campus.
How have your duties changed in light of the COVID-19 pandemic?
Not a lot! I still work regular hours on campus daily to support the business continuity. I am still ordering scientific supplies, providing dry-ice, liquid nitrogen, and compressed gas for continuing research and to maintain research programs that are currently shut down. Additionally, I am helping the university administration and the Emergency Operations Committee with procuring Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for use by our on-campus staff. Thanks to a collective effort, a major chunk of the PPE that we were able to accumulate was dispatched today to help support our provincial healthcare system.
What's one thing you've learned from this situation?
To stay prepared! By staying organized and informed about the situation on hand, one can carefully plan and execute steps required to come ahead of any situation. My favorite quote for this situation: “Tough times don’t last, tough people do!”