Interview: Paolo Navaretti
How and when did you join Zurich Instruments?
I joined Zurich Instruments in 2014 as Application Scientist, following my second postdoc at ETH Zurich. I have a master's in electronic engineering from the Politecnico di Torino and a PhD from Sheffield University, UK. My background is broad and covers semiconductors physics as well as engineering: I worked on optoelectronics and MEMS, studying their characterisation and fabrication. After academic and industry positions, I decided to focus my career on industry. I stumbled upon an Application Scientist job advertisement from Zurich Instruments and I thought it may be something interesting for me. I didn’t really know what to expect from the interview, but I felt a really good connection from the very beginning. As I had no previous experience in sales or marketing, I realized that this move would be a big jump and a professional challenge – but I wanted to give it a try. The connection with the team was amazing: joining Zurich Instruments was certainly a great decision.
What does your job look like, and what is the most important aspect of it?
The application scientist role at Zurich Instruments is very interesting for a science enthusiast like me: it is not only a sales job because there is a consulting aspect to it too, and every day you speak with scientists from all fields of research. Their requests and needs are unique and can vary significantly: this kind of interaction with researchers from all over the world is one of the most motivating parts of my job.
Right now, I am moving away from the application scientist’s main remit as I have become Product Manager for the Lock-in Amplifier product line. My responsibility is to ensure that our products fulfil the needs of the market segments we serve and to find new segments where our instruments can be useful, but also to coordinate the lock-in amplifier promotional efforts. Indeed, I currently lead the Marketing & Sales lock-in amplifier team.
The most rewarding aspect of my job is that I work closely with extremely smart and competent people – both colleagues and customers. The most challenging aspect of my job is related to the most exciting one: we would like to develop so many valid projects and ideas that choosing which ones to pursue and which ones to put on hold can be a difficult call!
What is the most memorable Zurich Instruments moment that stayed with you?
I will never forget this episode: during the first customer application fit that I shadowed during my training, my coach listened to the customer's needs and then told him that our lock-in amplifiers were an overkill for his application, and that he would be better off with a cheaper second-hand solution. That’s when I realised that this company cares about customers, and that its values are aligned with my own. Interestingly, that customer later bought our lock-in products for a bigger project. I enjoy working at Zurich Instruments because there is this sense of community and purpose, where we all work together towards the same goal.
How do you spend your free time?
I have just finished a master’s degree in management and so had very little free time until recently. Now I can dedicate myself to what I enjoy the most, namely spending time with my family. I like travelling, exploring different cultures and learning new things – all activities that my job gives me ample opportunity to pursue. I also like swimming, reading and tinkering with electronics.