28 Apr 2015
Martin first joined SCI in 2009. He was elected as a member of the Yorkshire and the Humber (Y&H) committee that year. In the following year, he joined the Science and Enterprise Group (SEG) Committee. He became the Hon Secretary of the Y&H Group in 2013 and earlier this year was elected Chair of SEG. More recently, he was co-opted onto the Membership Affairs Committee (MAC). He is a director of Chemical Relations Ltd., a company he set up to help emerging and growing chemistry related businesses in the fields of business and organisational development. He graduated in Applied Chemistry from Brighton Polytechnic and is also a Member of the Royal Society of Chemistry.
When and why did you become a member of SCI?
I joined the Society of Chemical Industry in 2009, now known as SCI, as I had been asked to help establish the Yorkshire and the Humber Group. Although I live in Twickenham, I have business interests in the region.
Why did you decide to get involved in an SCI Committee?
I felt that I had something to contribute. Ideas, skills, experience, contacts that could help to ‘make things happen’ for a wider benefit. In my career, I have found that people in the Chemical Industry have been very non conditional, i.e. if they could help, they would do and not expect anything in return. I have been very fortunate in being able to learn as a consequence of that. In a way, this allows me to ‘put something back’.
How do your SCI activities reflect your personal/professional interests?
I am a great believer in the benefits that Chemistry and the Chemical Industry bring to society. Products, processes, solutions to issues. The opportunity to be a part of an organisation that has as part of its charter the advancement of the science of Applied Chemistry and related science for public benefit fits well with that belief.
What has driven your continued involvement?
The evolution of the industry and its future. Despite the belief of some, we still have a strong and vibrant industry. The launch last year of the Chemistry Growth Partnership with all parties pulling together gives all of us great reason for optimism for the future. SCI has made a positive contribution through the excellent efforts of Joanne Lyall, SCI Executive Director (2010-2013) and her team to this. It is our responsibility to build upon this. I look forward to working with SCI’s new Executive Director Sharon Todd, to build on this and ensure SCI’s long-term position in the industry.
How has being involved in SCI activities impacted on your career?
I have been fortunate to have had the opportunity to contribute to initiatives of several forums involving the industry; Chemical Industries Association, Chemistry Innovation Knowledge Transfer Network, CEFIC (the European Federation), Royal Society of Chemistry, to mention a few, as well as SCI. Involvement has allowed me to develop a broader and deeper view of what is happening, as well as assisting in developing my network of contacts.
How do you think that your contribution has helped to shape your Group or SCI as a whole?
It is a bit early to comment upon this as I have only been Chair of SEG for a very short time! I have been fortunate to follow some excellent people in my position as an Officer (Chris Drew at Y&H, and Rob Andrew and Peter Reineck at SEG, to mention but two). My responsibility is to build upon the legacy that they have left.
By being involved on a committee, what opportunities have been presented to you which you would not have otherwise had?
One of the most enjoyable aspects of my career has been meeting people and building my network. Being involved in committee work has introduced me to some good people who I might not have met.
I have been fortunate to address Science Oxford at their last two meetings, which SCI co-sponsored, through the Thames and Kennet Group, and I hope I have helped some people at the start of their careers to see the potential benefits from following a career in the chemical sciences.
I also sit on UK Chemical Stakeholders Forum for SCI, which advises government on managing risks to the environment and to human health via the environment that may result from the production, distribution and use of chemicals.
How do you balance your SCI commitments with your job and workload
Aah, that’s a difficult one. Management of expectations is the most important component of that. Don’t commit yourself to what you cannot deliver, recognise that you are part of a team and that sometimes you have to look at a different way of delivering. Be prepared to negotiate timelines. It is better to speak early about an issue and address it rather than bury your head in the sand and expect that something will turn up.
What is the most important lesson you have learnt by being an SCI committee member?
We have a responsibility to the previous generations from our great industry to continue the work they have done. We, like that industry, have to evolve. The clock cannot be turned back and SCI has to continue to work at having relevance and making a contribution to today’s society. We cannot stand still.
What advice would you offer to anyone thinking about becoming involved in an SCI Group or Standing Committee?
Do it! We all have an opportunity to make a difference, this could be yours!
If you want to find out more about Martin or get in touch with him, you can contact him via the Members’ Directory (you will need to sign in to view). If you need help searching the directory please click on the how-to guide.