A year or so ago, I was sitting comfortably in a classroom proctoring an exam. Freshly tenured, a few books and articles written, and now an associate professor in the humanities, I should have been feeling pretty content. My former Ph.D. student self would have thought so…yet, my mind was wandering. As students filled out their exams on film history, I couldn’t help but ponder what necessary standards potentially were used for the bottled iced coffee with milk beverage that I was drinking that evening. How was the milk procured? What did their facility look like where they brought these ingredients all together? Did they monitor temperature during transport? Was it properly handled when it was shelved at the convenience store? How had pH levels been monitored throughout the process?
Yes, this would just seem like neurosis to many; however, there was something more going on…The past five years I had been doing research and writing for Nelson-Jameson on the side, in the hopes of filling in some economic gaps left by my then current position. Over the course of those several years, my research heavily focused on food safety and quality control/assurance. Far from neurosis, the clouds parted that night when I realized I was staring into the face of a passion that had developed (no, not an appreciation of iced coffee), the want to help provide a safe, quality food supply.
I suppose slowly, the research methodologies and patterns of critical thought/engagement I was so comfortable with in my work at the university, seeped into pursuing this topic. Yet, I had never seen this path coming. So when I had the opportunity afforded to me to continue on this trail as a manager of the Laboratory Products area, I jumped on it.