Claire Bartman - Quality Analyst-Analytical Chemistry Lab

Claire Bartman

Quality Analyst-Analytical Chemistry Lab, McCormick Canada

I was born/grew up in: Windsor, ON, Canada

I now live in: London, ON, Canada

I completed my training/education at: University of Western Ontario, B.Sc Chemistry

Describe what you do at work.

As an analytical chemist in the quality lab, it is my responsibility to make sure the highest possible quality of all in process spice and spice mixes that are made in the Canadian branch of McCormick. The blends that are produced at our plant include direct to consumer goods, or the spices and mixes that everyone enjoys on a daily basis. We also make a variety of industrial products that are sent to larger restaurants and fast food chains.

My daily routine in the lab is to test various chemical and physical properties of spices and spice mixes. This is to ensure they fall within the tight specifications set out by McCormick. We do many different tests such as making sure the appearance of the product is correct. We also measure the salt and fat content of different products. Another example would be analyzing vanilla extracts for ethanol concentrations and analyzing flow and granulation properties of different spices and mixtures.

My university degree was critical to the knowledge and understanding of the methods and experiments I perform at work on a daily basis. My background in chemistry not only taught me the theoretical knowledge required in my job, but also gave me extensive analytical skills required in problem solving.

When I was a student I enjoyed:

How does your job affect people’s lives?

The role of a quality analyst is important to the everyday operation of McCormick. This is not only to be able to exceed customer satisfaction with consistent good taste, but to also ensure the products we make are safe for our consumers to enjoy.

What motivates you in your career?

I take pride in my job knowing that I am ensuring both the safety and best possible taste of the products we produce. It is exciting to know that the products I am performing analysis on are ones that my own family and friends have on their dinner plates on a daily basis. I am also extremely grateful that I am able to use my degree at a company that truly values innovation and engages me to be a forward thinker.

When I was a student, I would have described myself as someone who:

Describe your career path to this career.

One of the main things I think help me in finding such a great job was having the opportunity to complete a twelve month internship program after my third year of university. This internship was with Labatt Breweries of Canada and during this time I had the role of Packaging Quality Technician. Although the work was extremely fast paced and demanding, it taught me so many important and transferable skills that I use to this day. I cannot recommend applying for internship and coop programs during your post-secondary education enough. This is especially important if your career plan is to work in industry. This experience is what allowed me to secure a job at the same company after graduating university and also gave me experience that I could put toward my current job.

What activities do you like to do outside of work?

One of my favourite things to do to relax outside of work is running. I started running after grade 11 in high school and used it as a stress release from school work and studying from exams. It is something that I was able to keep up through university and I hope to eventually train for a half marathon.

What advice or encouragement would you give others seeking a similar career?

Explore your options in chemistry, engineering or food science programs as a post-secondary option. Try to involve yourself in job fairs and career days and speak to people in the food and beverage industry to see what opportunities they may have for internships and coop programs.

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