Analytical Science news

Joy testing veterinary products for antibiotics in the 1980s
14 February 2018

Reflections from Cawthron’s longest serving employee

As Joy moves to a new role, she reflects on the Analytical Services Quality Manager job and her time at Cawthron to date. As the Institute's longest serving employee, there's a lot to tell!

Joy started with Cawthron back in January 1970, as a lab technician in plant chemistry. She worked under renowned Chemist Joyce Watson FNZIC, supporting her study on the foliage eaten by NZ’s native birds. In this role she obtained her New Zealand Certificate of Science and went on to work in the micro laboratory. Demand for microbiological testing services was growing, and Joy worked her way up, eventually becoming Micro Section Head. In the 90’s shellfish food safety was an emerging focus for the Institute, so she was leading the team at an interesting and varied time. 

Chemist Joyce Watson FNZIC at work at Cawthron

Joy then moved into the Quality Manager role and said the job has grown in recent years, “Being a Quality Manager means striving for continuous improvement. Just because you’ve got accreditation doesn’t mean you can sit back and relax. Continuous improvement is a never-ending process.”

She’s grateful for the opportunities given to her by the Institute over the past 48 years. “It’s hard to narrow down just one highlight. I would have to say overseas trips, helping developing laboratories in the Pacific has been quite rewarding, and more recently I’ve been involved in supporting other female scientists and technicians,” said Joy. 

Joy proudly showing her Quality Manager uniform

Since she joined Cawthron, the number of staff has increased from around 25 people, to now over 220. It’s a diverse team representing over 30 nationalities across multiple science disciplines. When asked what has stayed the same over the years, Joy mentioned on-going change, “Over 48 years Cawthron has constantly changed and adapted its areas of work. It just keeps evolving. As a science organisation, this change is part of what makes us successful.”

Joy will continue to work at the Institute in her new part-time role with the Cawthron Natural Compounds team.