Interview: Asterios Kampouris
How and when did you join Zurich Instruments?
I joined Zurich Instruments in 2019. I have a background in electrical and computer engineering, and I graduated from Aristotle University in Thessaloniki where I did a master’s in nanosciences and nanotechnology in the Physics department. I am finishing my PhD in nanomechanics and gradient theory in the Civil Engineering department. For a while I worked for the Kleemann Lifts SA company as a key account manager: I was responsible for the territories of Australia and the UK. While working there I saw an ad from Zurich Instruments about a Technical Sales position which I thought would take me closer to my goal of bringing together state-of-the-art scientific technologies and commercial work in my job.
After I applied for the position, the initial informal interview with my current team leader and one of my present colleagues took place via Skype; this was followed by another remote interview round that included technical aspects, and then I was invited for an interview in Zurich. What I found amazing was that I went for lunch with eleven employees and we counted seven different nationalities. I felt that I could easily fit in this team, adding my interdisciplinary background and sales experience.
What does your job look like, and what is the most important aspect of it?
I work in the Technical Sales team, which is part of the Marketing & Sales department at Zurich Instruments. I am the first contact person for customers: I help them choose the right instrument, and put them in touch with application scientists for more technical discussions about their application depending on their research field. The challenge is that I have to learn quickly about a customer’s application details, and work together with our team and with the customer to find the optimal solution. I also provide more focused support for markets such as Germany and the UK. At the beginning it was overwhelming to learn about the variety of our instruments from my colleagues and from user manuals; what is great is that I continue to learn every day.
One of the most important aspects for every researcher is time, and I enjoy helping scientists and engineers save time in every possible way – from recommending the right instrumentation, to answering their queries quickly and handling repair requests. Sometimes I also get involved in marketing-focused projects. One of the company values is ‘Lead the Change’, and that’s what resonated with me the most when I joined. I wanted to share my ideas with my colleagues on how to optimize our processes, especially given that we are growing at a high rate; I like how my input is accepted and gives me the opportunity to take part in the company’s decision making.
What is the most memorable Zurich Instruments moment that stayed with you?
One of the most memorable moments at Zurich Instruments was the end of my probation period, after the first three months. We celebrated with my team and my team leader: I felt that they believe in me, and this meant a lot.
How do you spend your free time?
There is a big Greek community in Zurich: I like to play the guitar by the lake, and I love traditional Greek dance and salsa. I am a keen basketball player, so I try to play as much as possible with my friends. I also find it relaxing to drive my car through the suburbs of Zurich.