Sitting Down With… Andrew Whitley, Vice President of Sales and Business Development, HORIBA Scientific, Piscataway, New Jersey, US
You are a classically trained scientist with a PhD in analytical chemistry, but it was business development that ultimately captured your attention. Why did you pursue this career path?
My PhD at the University of Durham (sponsored by Shell) involved looking at some interesting applications of Raman and infrared spectroscopy to study the viscosity of model lubricants as a function of inter and intramolecular interactions. I found I was really drawn to the instrumentation side of things and I was good at it – the ideal combination.
After my PhD, I didn’t want to get stuck on a bench, focusing on one area of research, so I decided to broaden my skill set by applying for a customer-facing role at Bruker. It turned out to be a good fit. It wasn’t just regurgitating brochures, as I had feared – Bruker really focused on the science behind their instrumentation. FT-Raman was really starting to take off, so I had an exciting three years. I really enjoyed interacting with people and helping them with their research. And that’s still the best part of my job.
And how did you end up in your current role?
After Bruker, I joined Renishaw to help set up their global sales network for Raman microscopes. They then asked me to head up Raman for them in the US in 1995. My job was to grow the business from out of California and into the rest of the States.
In 1999, HORIBA headhunted me for a job in New Jersey and I’ve been here ever since! I started off as the North American Raman product line manager at the time when dispersive Raman microscopy was starting to really take off. FT-Raman had acted as the catalyst for a renewed interest in Raman, but FT-Raman microscopy was not sensitive enough for most applications. Because of the early success of these systems, I later became VP of Sales and, eventually, VP of Sales and Business Development.
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