Andy Scothern (Analytical Laboratory Manager)
I’m a scientist at heart.
Andy Scothern has worked for British Gypsum for more than nine years, the past six as Analytical Laboratory Manager. He manages a team of scientists who analyse rock, mineral and product samples from all over the world, whether it’s to find the sample’s chemical composition, any discrepancies in its manufacture, or the physical effects of specific ingredients within it.
This international nature is an exciting part of Andy’s work; when asked what he enjoys most about his job, he replies: “The samples from all over the world – they present different challenges every day with different materials that we can test and attempt to puzzle out what we want to know.”
Andy’s enthusiasm is very clear, he often refers to being a ‘scientist at heart’, so it is perhaps logical that it is this nature of analytical work, using and testing geological materials from across the globe in the hope of unlocking its ‘puzzle’, suits Andy’s character and interests.
However, while British Gypsum has provided Andy with the opportunity to exercise and explore his geological interests within a professional environment, the business has also presented him with a challenge.
Before his time with British Gypsum, Andy worked as an XRF (X-Ray Fluorescence) Applications Scientist for Bruker UK and as an Assistant Scientific Officer for the British Geological Survey. The roles required independent concentration on a specific task, a style of work best suited to Andy’s ability to ‘get [his] head down’ and focus.
However, his role as Laboratory Manager presented Andy with the most challenging prospect of his career: the transition from being a member of a team to being the leader of the team. While Andy had been able to rely on his scientific knowledge as the basis of his work previously, entering British Gypsum tested his ability to develop the skills of leadership and management. And yet, although undoubtedly a challenge, Andy has succeeded in the transition, and now has six years of leadership experience
The greatest help in this? “My excellent team”, Andy replies. “The pleasure of working with great individuals has been a big help throughout.”
It is evident that his colleagues have played a significant role in Andy’s enjoyment of his work, to the point where the prospect of leadership is no longer unchartered waters, but familiar territory. This notion of co-operation is again present in his advice to anyone hoping to progress in the business: something he describes as “looking to the horizon”.
He stresses the importance of “getting out there and meeting as many people as you can… to get the most out of working here, you need to talk to a lot of people to find out what’s happening – whether that’s people in Finance, HR or in Operations – so you can gain a better understanding of the company as a whole, where you fit into it, and to help decide where you want to take your career.”