Explore: Science

Market Analyst
Johnson Matthey

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Dan C

00:00:03 My name’s Dan C, I’m a Market Analyst for Johnson Matthey’s Precious Metal Marketing Group. Basically what we do is we track the global supply and demand of platinum group metals. So the core business for Johnson Matthey is precious metals – platinum, palladium, and rhodium. And they’re dug out of the ground in places like South Africa and Russia. Once you’ve processed that rock, you can make a concentrated solution or powder of the precious metals, and then use that for myriad of different products. This is an example, it’s a catalytic converter you might find on a car or van, and the precious metals themselves are coated onto a ceramic block. The exhaust gases will pass through, and the more harmful chemicals in the environment can be cleaned up.

00:00:50 I did Chemistry at University, finished my degree and went on to do a PhD. Also in Chemistry, in a slightly more specialised area. From my PhD, I pretty much decided I didn’t want to stay in Academia, that I wanted to move into industry. So that was a – a sort of a critical turning point, I think, for me.

00:01:13 I’d been familiar with Johnson Matthey during my PhD because I’d used some of their products, and saw a job advertised, and went for it in their development laboratories, making catalysts for the oil refining industry. I spent two and a half years in that job, and was sort of itching for a little more wider exposure to the different parts of the business, and the opportunity came up in Market Research, which enables me to cover all the markets that Johnson Matthey do, plus the areas that we don’t currently sell into, as well. And throw in a bit of world travel along the way.

00:01:48 I never had a really well-defined career path. The careers advice that I’d got in school was sketchy at best, I would say. So if you’d spoken to me while I was at school, the last thing I would have said I would be doing right now is the job I’m doing right now. I knew I enjoyed Chemistry, and sort of that’s why I continued on that track through University, because it’s something I found interesting. And I still use it today.

00:02:14 It’s difficult to say who would be sort of a single influence or inspiration for me. But I’d probably have to say my parents, for just supporting me through the choices I made during my life. So if I decided I wanted to do something, then they would get behind me a hundred percent. And neither of them are scientists – my Dad’s an engineer, Mum’s a language teacher – so they didn’t really understand what I could do, or where I was going with the subject. But nonetheless were perfectly happy to get behind me, and back me up on that.

00:02:46 I think the work/life balance here that I have is very good. I joined Royston Rugby Club three years ago, and barring the occasional injury that I seem to pick up now I’m getting a bit older, that’s still good fun. That’s something I hadn’t done since I’d been at school. While I’d been at University I hadn’t played rugby for a long time, but the guys down here are dead welcoming, and it’s nice to be able to walk around town and see people that aren’t from Johnson Matthey. When people work here it’s easy to see the only people you know are actually your work colleagues as well.

00:03:15 If I could retire early, I’d love to move to New Zealand and run a vineyard. I went to visit a friend down there earlier this year, and took a camper van touring around for two weeks after we’d seen him, and just had the best time. So it’s just a really nice place to be really.

00:03:37 Success – it depends how you measure it. If you’re liked and respected for what you do and what you can offer other people, and you are able to help people whenever you can with their jobs, and they come to you for advice, then I think that’s pretty successful in itself. It’s always nice to move on and be recognised formally for the things that you can do, but there are other ways of measuring it, I think, as well.

00:04:02 ENDS

Dan C is a Market Analyst for Johson Matthey’s Precious Metal Marketing Group. He tracks the global supply of the platinum group metals which Johnson Mathey use to manufacture their products. This involves going to places like South Africa and Russia where the metals are dug out of the ground. Dan studied chemistry at school and university, because he enjoyed the subject rather than with a particular career in mind. After he’d done his PhD he realised he didn’t want to become an academic so he went to work for Johnson Matthey.

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