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When passion and persistence collide

Author: Shi Jingwei, National Maintenance Manager, Bruker Daltonics, China

When passion and persistence collide

For those with an enquiring mind and an appetite for working as a service engineer in the scientific instrument industry, read on. Here, Shi Jingwei, National Maintenance Manager at Bruker Daltonics, shares the wisdom he has gained during his professional journey.

Where there’s a will, there’s an opportunity

Back in the early days of my career, I was engaged in drug analysis and quality control (QC) as a manager of a pharmaceutical factory’s QC department. Broken equipment was par for the course and the sight of an engineer fixing the lab’s analytical instruments was, therefore, a regular occurrence.

During each engineer visit I made a point of observing their work, as I found the troubleshooting process fascinating – so much so that I constantly queried each step to better my understanding of a fault and its remedy. Gradually, I increased my knowledge of an instrument’s structure and hardware principles so that eventually I was able to fix the faults myself – my moment of self-discovery. It was at that point I decided to change course and follow a different career path.

This assimilated knowledge and practical ability enabled me to become an entry-level service engineer supporting products and, as I became more specialist, I grew my role to become service manager.

My interest in scientific instruments brought me to Bruker as a National Maintenance Manager. Bruker has a comprehensive range of world class mass spectrometry instrumentation – quadrupole, ion trap, time-of-flight, matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization (MALDI) and Fourier-transform mass spectrometry (FTMS) – as well as nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), small animal imaging, infrared, XRD, atomic force microscope and other industry leading products. Quite simply, for people who share my passion, working at Bruker is the dream career choice.

Commitment to supporting others

In the 19 years since switching my focus to scientific instrumentation, my willingness to learn and meet the needs of customers have provided me with a rewarding and progressive career. I am not alone in this – the Bruker family of like-minded people all share a strong desire to succeed and a commitment to supporting others, whether colleagues, customers, or our wider communities.

Service plays a significant role at Bruker, and it fulfils three functions. The first is to apply our professional skills and knowledge to meet customers’ needs, deepening our interaction with customers and furthering our understanding of their requirements and expectations. Secondly, we serve colleagues across other Bruker departments. Through interdepartmental co-operation we improve internal efficiencies, making us more agile in our response to customer needs and fluctuations in the external environment. Finally, through our work, we are the eyes and ears of the factory; that is, we are ideally placed to provide feedback regarding any issues we have encountered. As reporters of this rich source of information, we help facilitate the company’s cycle of continuous improvement, which ultimately benefits everyone.

So, how to become a Bruker maintenance engineer

As an experienced service engineer and manager, I am often asked two things: what it takes to become an exceptional service engineer and whether working for Bruker is a sound career move. I’d say that you must have patience and a sense of professional responsibility; these qualities are in addition to motivation for self-study, logical judgement, and appropriate application knowledge. Understandably, given the nature of our work, engineers must also possess effective communication skills. The frequent business trips will also open up exciting possibilities for travel, as well as the skills needed to balance life and work.

In exchange, Bruker offers its engineers high rewards. The company policy of continuous improvement extents to our employees: as a business we invest in people by funding their technical training.

At Bruker, engineers can choose one of two development paths. Those interested in technology can follow the route to becoming a technical expert. Alternatively, engineers can opt for the management route, which enables them to hone their skills and expertise to become department managers.

Whichever route is chosen, we must have the courage and confidence to take responsibility for our work and a willingness to help and respect others. To keep the wheels of innovation turning, we endeavour to capitalize on strengths while working together to find solutions to challenges. In this way, Bruker continues its course of development and innovation, to the benefit of the scientific community it serves.