“You have to be a technophile if you want to explain technology”

Marco F. tells us about his daily work at EUROIMMUN Academy.

Please introduce yourself and tell us what you do at EUROIMMUN.

My name is Marco and I’ve been working for 1.5 years at the EUROIMMUN Academy. My business card says Application Specialist for Laboratory Automation. Basically, this means I train guests from all over the world in using and maintaining our automated laboratory instruments.

How did you come to EUROIMMUN?

I wanted a change in my professional life. I browsed the internet for job offers and found the vacancy at the Academy. I sent in my application and all went very very fast. Just about 30 minutes after the job interview I was actually offered the job and said yes right away.

What did you do before?

Before this job, I worked in a little company from the field of medical technology which produces incubators suitable for use in magnetic resonance tomographs. This is worldwide unique. In that company I built up the entire service structure and have also worked in service myself. It was a very interesting experience. However, after 15 years of travelling the world on business trips, I was a bit tired of it. Therefore I was happy to find my new position at the Academy.

So you think it is an advantage for you that you don’t have to travel that much any more?

Yes, that is really great! Now I only go on trips every so often. For example, I have held trainings in America, or sometimes in Dubai. Before, I was always travelling, sometimes for 1 or 2 years in one country. That doesn’t work well if you have a family. I am very happy that I travel very rarely now.

And still, even without all the trips, I sometimes feel like I’m travelling the world: We have guests from many different countries every week. So I get to meet many people from different cultural backgrounds. The difference is, they come here, and I don’t fly there, which is very convenient for me.

What did you study?

I studied energy electronics and process automation and have worked for many years as a software engineer in the process automation. I only ended up working in the medical branch by chance.

How important is it to have prior knowledge to do your job?

I don’t think that is absolutely necessary. The laboratory and the biology part of it was completely new to me. In the technical trainings, it is of course an advantage for me that I studied something technical. You have to be a technophile to explain technology.

Can you describe your work day at the Academy?

I usually come in around 8am. Then I do one hour of office work, where I prepare or revise things. At 9am, the guests are brought over by our driver and the trainings start. The routine depends on the device to be trained, and the day. The guests are trained in using the instruments and also in how to install and service them. We train everything at the instrument, very practical. We get a screwdriver and disassemble the device and assemble it again. This is the best way of teaching about an instrument, not using a PowerPoint presentation, as is the case in other companies. The daily training goes until 4pm. Then, the guests are picked up and I have time to revise some things, e.g. to correct manuals, or prepare for the next day.

Do the trainings differ depending on the participants?

Every training is different, even when the guests are from the same country. This is because I never know before what knowledge they have. One person may be an engineer and another a biologist. The biologist may have great knowledge about the essays, but doesn’t know the technical background, and in the case of the engineer, it may be vice versa. The engineer may know everything about the technical part, but when I explain about the tests might say something along the lines of “Very interesting, I have never heard about that. Please could you explain again?” In some instruments, we first incubate manually so the participants know and understand what happens in the instrument. Sometimes, there is a participant who has never used a pipette before. In that case, I start with the basics. There are always new challenges, which makes the work interesting and never boring. Even if I train the same instrument for three weeks, it doesn’t get boring since I always work with people from different cultural backgrounds.

Which prerequisites are necessary for your job?

I think empathy is essential. And to be a team player. Our big team shares an office, so it is important that everyone gets on well. You should be able to adapt to different people and characters and to be technophilic. Moreover, you should be able to teach and transfer your knowledge to others. This also means that you need to be able to explain the same topic in different ways so that in the end, everybody understands. That is obviously our aim: That everyone takes much new knowledge with them.

What do you like especially in your job?

I especially like to get in touch with people from abroad. You always get to know people from different cultural backgrounds.

When I compare my previous and my current job directly, I am glad I do not have to deal with technical problems in service anymore. I like to come back after the weekend and not have 20 new emails in my email folder with help requests such as “This is not working, this needs to be dealt with immediately…” etc.

What do you like best at EUROIMMUN?

I really like that people use the informal German “Du”. That’s very much like me. Mainly in the English speaking countries, it is common that everyone is addressed with “you”. Since I exclusively speak English with most of our guests, it is convenient not to have to swap between the English “you” and the German “Sie”.

I also like the friendly atmosphere  amongst colleagues, also between different departments. This is very easy-going. Everyone is open-minded and helpful – so much you sometimes even feel surprised by it. I once went to the production with a guest, late on a Friday afternoon. Almost all the production units were shut down already so that the guest could not see the production of BIOCHIPs anymore. The colleagues actually turned all the machines on again, only to show the production process to the guests. I was very impressed by that. In other companies, that wouldn’t happen since everyone is almost off into the weekend already on a Friday afternoon.

What does EUROIMMUN offer you as an employer?

I think EUROIMMUN is a very reliable employer, which gives you a good feeling. Of course, the food in our company restaurant is a great plus: There is excellent food at unbeatable prices. And I like to participate in the sculpting classes and play football in the company team.

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