Under The Lab Coat with Maria Thompson
Maria is a Lab Technician in our Waterbury, Connecticut facility.
Learn how Maria compares her love of baking and working in the lab and how she solved a plating issue for a customer by troubleshooting and lab analysis.
Educational & Work Background:
I graduated in 1981 from the Inter American University of Puerto Rico where I obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Biology and Teaching.
After moving from Puerto Rico in 1988, I worked as Lab Technician with Mac Dermid for 8 years. I thought I wanted to be a teacher so I gave that a go but I quickly realized I missed the lab. I then got a job at Hubbard-Hall where I have worked since 1997.
Interests & Hobbies:
I LOVE to bake! In some ways I think baking is similar to working in the lab, everything must always be timed perfectly and very precise measurements is crucial. My favorite things to make and also eat are cookies and cheesecake. I also listening to 60’s music and to travel, every year I go to Puerto Rico to visit my sister.
Your Current Title at Hubbard-Hall:
What are your main job duties as a Lab Technician at Hubbard-Hall? :
- Analyzing plating solutions for customers
- Hull-cell analysis
- Providing reports & recommendations to customers
- Preparing reagents for testing
- Troubleshooting with customers who have issues with their plating baths
This week I am actually going to be doing something that I have not done in the past. I am going on-site to train a customer how to use a new surface tension meter that they have just purchased.
A fact that most people don’t know about you? :
I am not on Facebook and I don’t plan to join anytime in the near future.
Another fact that most people don’t know about me is that I could barely speak English when I moved to America in 1988. I could read and write in English but I did not have much practice speaking it. I mainly learned how to speak English when from working in the lab and from reading the English chemistry books.
What do you like most about your job?
I love what I do! I always wanted to work in a lab.
I also like the organization of working in a lab, everything has its place….most of the time. Another benefit to my job is that I enjoy working with everyone else in the lab and at Hubbard-Hall, they are like a second family.
What is a recent challenge that you solved?
A plating customer that we do plating analysis for called me because they were getting a haze deposit on their parts in their 500 gallon acid zinc bath. After doing some troubleshooting with the customer over the phone they were still having issues.
They sent in a sample for me to test and after some research I discovered that they had too much carrier and brightener together in their bath. The only solution, which is usually a last resort, was to cut the bath by 25% and then to adjust the chemistry to get it back to normal.
Sometimes when parts are not coming out bright enough, customers add more brightener but this can actually make the problem worse. I always try and let customers know this so I can prevent it from happening to them.