From the Shores of Sea-Bird Scientific: Hieu Lai’s Passion for Ocean Science
You, as our customer, partner, or collaborator, often interact with our products and the scientists that use them, but do you ever get a chance to interact with the associates who are in charge of ensuring your instrument is assembled properly so that you can facilitate and conduct the research you need to contribute to our understanding of climate change, ecosystem health, and more?
We wanted to give you an inside look into some of the associates that work behind the scenes to make the magic happen. One of those such associates is Hieu Lai, Calibration and Production Lead at Sea-Bird Scientific. We sat down with him to better understand why he chose to pursue a career in ocean science, and ultimately, what led him to Sea-Bird Scientific.
What first got you into ocean science? Who or what inspired you?
I would say that around 70% of the earth’s surface is made up by the ocean, and we don’t know much about it. And that is just the surface. The deepest point of the ocean that we could reach is about 11,000 meters or 36,000 feet. There is so much to learn, and Sea-Bird Scientific helps enable that mission.
What do you think is important for people to understand about ocean science/research?
As signs of climate change are getting clearer, we still need to gather as much data as possible to convince more people that our planet is changing but not in a good way. This will drive actions to hopefully stop and reverse the negative impact we have done to our planet. I feel like we are on the front line of making this positive change happen!
(Hieu working with an instrument at the Sea-Bird Scientific headquarters)
When asked what drew him to Sea-Bird Scientific, Hieu mentioned that he was looking for a company that, “has a positive impact on the environment.”
You’ve been at Sea-Bird Scientific for over 10 years now. What’s been your journey leading up to where you’re currently at?
I started in May 2013 as a pressure cal technician. I enjoyed that position very much because it’s kinda like the very first stop after the units get built. This is where you get to see how the units perform initially. Then I get promoted to T/C calibration. I really struggled at first because it’s a transition from calibrating using real time data to overnight data. So I had to make sure everything got setup perfectly, otherwise the instruments won’t get calibrated properly and causing issues later down the line. Then I get promoted to be Final Test Technician. This is where I get to learn how our customers deploy instruments and use my experience in calibration to troubleshoot issues that arrive at Final Test [the department that gives the final OK before we ship our instrument to you, our customer]. Then I worked in Service as Calibration Specialist to make calibration calls and repair recommendations to help improve OTD [on-time-delivery] and quality of our service calibrations. And finally I got promoted to Production Calibration Lead. This is where I use all of the experience that I have accumulated to help improve OTD, Quality, and Revenue impact. I love working at Sea-Bird because there are so many great people working here. They have inspired me, taught me life long lessons, welcomed me with open arms, and never hesitate to help. Sea-Bird is a great example of how you can do and achieve anything if you work as a Team.
Why do you love working at Sea-Bird Scientific?
When you work with such diverse, collaborative and talented team you just feel like you are a part of the solution. You feel encouraged to contribute, knowing your voice is being heard. Thats what I love about Sea-Bird. My home away from home.
We couldn’t be more grateful for your service and passion for ocean science, Hieu!
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