Today is our final highlight in this week’s career series celebrating National Chemistry Week. We hope you’ve enjoyed learning about many roles in the chemical field. Today, Jesse Walker joins us to share why he decided to pursue chemistry (it’s a sweet story!) and the cool project he is currently working on.

Other careers in this series:

Why did you pursue a career in chemistry?

Believe it or not, as a young boy, even as far back as I can remember, I was always obsessed with and loved candy! I admired and would read books about famous candy makers and thought it was one of the most fascinating things someone could do with their life. As I grew older and learned more about what I loved, I recognized that what I enjoyed most in life was making things from scratch and working with proverbial building blocks to make useful things. It was around this time I decided to pursue my B.S in Chemistry and begin my journey and career as a chemist.

What does your job entail?

The short answer: Chemistry ?!! More specifically, I formulate and work with customers and raw materials to create commercialized products or improve already commercialized products.

What aspect of your job do you find most interesting?

Working with real-world manufacturers to develop and qualify the products people use on an everyday basis.

What does a typical day look like for you?

No day is typical at the Brenntag Specialties ACES/Construction Lab! Honestly, we cover and have experience in such a large portfolio of applications and products that there isn’t a simple, straightforward answer. We look at each customer and project as unique and develop a solution to drive their projects and products success.

Tell us about a cool project on which you’re working.

I am working on a very interesting surfboard coating now! The coating would give the board more flexibility, and the rider would feel more response when riding it. It removes the need to wax your board and would ultimately prolong the lifetime of your board. This project really hit home for me, an avid snowboarder and surfer.

What is your favorite part of your job?

My favorite part of my job is the satisfaction I feel when I know I’ve help someone solve a problem that has been giving them stress. To know my work is directly impacting the world around me makes me feel fulfilled.

How does your career allow you to give back to your community and society?

My job involves product development for the construction and building materials industry. By testing and choosing the proper raw materials, I can contribute to making the world a better, safer place. My company also has a corporate sustainability initiative, which helps guide my choices in raw materials and reduces the global environmental impact.

What would you say to a student considering a career path in chemistry?

Go for it! We need more brilliant minds in this field.