Our latest employee spotlight is on Jim Stevens, Molecular Biology Field Application Specialist at VH Bio! Find out about his role, background and his love for rock concerts:
Describe what your job entails.
Promoting and demonstrating molecular diagnostics/products. Visiting hospitals and institutions to help further their research by supporting our Molecular biology range.
What is your career and/or education background?
I joined AstraZeneca after my A-Levels and they sponsored me through University studying for HNC and then a Molecular Biology degree in Manchester. I worked as a scientist in the DNA sequencing group and later I integrated further into the genetics group and personalised health care/biomarker department. After 15 years at AZ, I joined Qiagen in their molecular diagnostic developed team before joining VH Bio 3 years ago.
What is your favourite part of the job?
Visiting the customers and labs across the country discussing the new products and innovated solutions. Oh and not doing my expenses on time in order to annoy Phil our finance chap!
In your opinion, what is the greatest advancement in the history of science?
I’d probably go for the printing press. Printing is really an invention rather than a scientific discovery, like penicillin is, and is more associated with social revolution due to the widespread distribution of Bibles in local languages. However, the social changes brought about by the printing press with the ability reproduce and distribution information was critical to scientific advancement. Computing has, and is, having a similar effect now – NGS is pretty useless without Bioinformatics.
When you were younger, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A rock star, still not too late!
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
I’ve got three children, two of which are in nappies so there isn’t much spare time. Most weekends I am usually at a zoo, castle or museum spending the majority of the time supervising my children in the play area or gift shop?! However, I do manage to get go to a few rock concerts, I have tickets to Def Leppard, Ozzy, Kiss and Bon Jovi line up in the next few months. I also like to watch rugby (now I can’t play anymore).
If you could be any animal, what you be and why?
To be honest it’s not something I’ve given a lot of thought to. When I was fourteen we had an adorable grey cat called Boris, my older brother would bring his friends round to our house and all these young beautiful women would come around, coo over the cat and stuff him in their bosoms, I was very jealous of Boris the cat so maybe I’d be an adorable cat.
What was the first car you owned?
I drove the family Volvo estate for my first few years of driving, then at 22, my Nana gave her Kia Pride to me. The Kia Pride was an awful car but was dirt cheap to run so I stuck with it while saving for a deposit on my first house. I scrapped the Pride in 2009 in the scrappage scheme for a Smart car, I had the Smart for 5 years before getting my awesome Honda Civic. As you can tell I’m not a car person, they depreciate and I like investments that appreciate!
Describe your perfect weekend.
Most of my weekends are pretty much perfect anyway spent with my wife and kids. However, I would very much enjoy an Iron Maiden concert on the Friday. A trip to watch England beat the Ozzie’s at Twickenham Saturday before going out for curry and karaoke; all sponsored by Trooper Ale. Rounding it up with a picnic at a castle on a sunny Sunday.
What annoys you?
Closed-mindedness. You should always challenge your views to avoid cognitive bias and not jump on bandwagons. If you stop people and ask them for their opinion on a matter, even something very complicated, they’ll form one (if they don’t have one already) based on no reliable information nor facts. People don’t like to appear ignorant and so quickly form an opinion but will rarely change their mind later down the line when some or new information presented, they are closed minded to this new information.
Oh and the X factor!
If you were king or queen for a day, what one law would you change or introduce?
I’d be tempted to remove all the comments sections you find on news websites or social media, as it encourages closed-mindedness. People can say stupid things like, “if we arm school children with AK47s there would be no more mass school shooting” get a few ‘likes’ and believe they’re absolutely right and brilliant.
But in actual fact, I’d think I’d just move all electric beer pumps to under the bar. Seriously beer pumps are ridiculous now, they are above head high, and covered in ice, why?!! It is just marketing so they get in your face. Pumps used to sit just on top of the bar and the bar steward could just flick it on and leave it to fill. They are now so high I have to stare into the armpit to the person pouring the drink, you have to do a funny arm dance around them when you are handing drinks or money back and forth and they come covered in lights and ice. If the beer was any good you wouldn’t need a ridiculous pump to promote it with the flavour freezing out of it before you can drink. We shouldn’t have to put up with this nonsense any lager, sorry longer.
If you had to eat one meal, every day for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Sausage and mash in a giant Yorkshire pudding, with veg and gravy.
If you were stuck on an island what three things would you bring?
That’s a real tough one. Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean had a gun with one bullet, Rum and Keira Knightley, it seems to work out well for him so I’ll have the same.
What is the first concert you attended?
Green Day, Manchester Apollo 22nd Sept 1995. In November I saw Iron Maiden.
5 famous people – dead or alive – that you would invite to a dinner party?
No one from too long ago; personal hygiene was poor and the smell would be overwhelming.
Oscar Wilde, he seemed like a lot of fun.
Holly Willoughby, they would make for a great evening