In this month Employee Spotlight we speak with our Quality Assurance Manager Damien Barrett as he reflects on his career at Redox.
When did you start working at Redox, and what was your first role?
My first day was 22 February 1993, and I was a QA Chemist. Soon after I started, we received a complete set of updated Specs from Union Carbide (there were hundreds!), so I got a chance to hone my skills at spec entry!
How did you land in the Quality Assurance role?
I’d finished university and was actively looking for a full-time job. I knew I never wanted to work in a lab, but I still wanted to work in the chemical industry.
I applied for all sorts of jobs, but a sales role initially attracted me to Redox. Unfortunately, I was young, inexperienced, and introverted, so I bombed out at the 2nd interview.
A week later, I got a call and interviewed for the QA Role. Looking back, I’m not entirely convinced I’d still be here if I were in sales – QA was a much better fit.
What’s the average day of a QA manager look like?
Fighting fires! It’s hard to plan to do anything specific as so much comes at you throughout the day. You’ve got to deal with a lot of different priorities for sales & marketing, as well as my team.
I’m processing Workflows (Stock Adjustments, Tariffs), handling enquiries about processes and staff, overseeing decisions in QPs, responding to tariff enquiries from our Customs Broker, working on Procedures when time permits, reviewing Audits, preparing reports etc.
What are some of the more challenging issues you deal with around compliance across so many different products?
The changing regulatory environment is a big challenge – particularly considering the permutations of products, industries and countries in the mix. My fear is the unknown-unknowns.
Whilst our Reg Affairs team is trying hard to manage existing as well as come up to speed with the emerging markets, there is still the (slight) possibility we overlook something. However, advances in our Permit system continue to improve our defence against this.
Tariff classification is another one – so many products that “seem the same” and are placed under the same group often have different classifications. This multiplied by each Country contributes almost to an entire job in itself.
How have things changed over the years concerning regulations of chemicals, especially in the United States?
Everything is much more regulated these days – on the whole, that’s a good thing. But supposed harmonisation (or lack of) throws spanners in the works.
The problem is the slight differences in regulation between States (particularly in Australia). I imagine we will come up against this more and more as we continually increase the product base in the US.
These differences mean State-based Redebiz Permits require increasing set-up and maintenance work. The one advantage we have in the US is that we went into what could be considered the most heavily-regulated State – California – so that’s given us a good starting point.
What would you do (for a career) if you weren’t doing this?
I love cooking as it relaxes me and frees my mind after being at work. I enjoy seeing my family and friends enjoy my food, but after seeing my son, who is a chef and all the stress it entails, I’d avoid that as a profession—exploring my beer-brewing skills with a small craft brewery, perhaps?
My Spotify favourites is filled with an eclectic mix which has always been my ‘flavour’ and very much dependent on my mood. I’m essentially an 80’s/90 music guy, but some of my favourites:
The Cure, Bauhaus, Siouxsie and the Banshees, The Smiths, Depeche Mode, Nirvana, Metallica, Linkin Park, Shakira, Celia Cruz.
As far as individual songs, my funeral requests:
Comfortably Numb (Pink Floyd),
I’ll Be Missing You (Diddy, Faith Evans) and
One More Light (Linkin Park)
Do you have a nickname?