An interview with Greg Zornetzer, Ph.D.
What is your name, your full job title, and the full name of the company you work for?
Gregory Zornetzer, Scientist II – Peptide Development, Plant Health Care, Inc., 4.5 years.
Can you describe what a typical day at your job looks like?
I work at a small company – you end up wearing many “hats”. These days, I handle a lot of paperwork, both patent-related and regulatory. In addition, I spend a lot of time generating and managing “Standard Operating Procedures”. I do get back to the lab for the odd project, but I spend much of my time in my office.
What is your biggest or most satisfying career goal you’ve reached since transitioning into industry?
I’ve helped retool and essentially set up an industry research laboratory over the last several years. I’ve learned quite a bit, and it’s made me a better manager.
What’s been your biggest learning experience or Ah-Ha moment since transitioning into your new role?
The networking strategies that you learn in CSA aren’t just for getting a job. This became obvious to me when I started attending socials at a Biotech VC organization. Continue to expand your network, even after you get your job. It will enable tremendous growth in your career.
How is your current industry position different from your academic postdoc or experience as a graduate student?
The pace is dramatically faster than in academia. Once a company decides to do something, it must move very quickly – expect deadlines within a couple of weeks or hiring decisions made in days. I went from interview to a job offer in less than two weeks.
Related note – in industry, time is much more valuable than money. An academic lab might prefer to save money by doing the work themselves, but a company will be willing to pay hundreds or thousands of dollars to reduce and streamline the work required of its employees. We’ll pay hundreds of dollars to have supplies conveniently aliquoted for us rather than require our scientists to weigh out materials.
If you could go back in time, to before you received your job offer, and give yourself one piece of advice or encouragement, what would it be?
Take command of the job search (think of it as career development), and remember your value. Don’t be satisfied with a single job offer – make sure that it’s the right offer for you.
What was the most memorable moment for you (so far) as a Cheeky Scientist Associate?
I had some great conversations with Arsalan Daudi about his work in plant research and longer-term goals. Although he wasn’t a fit for my company’s needs at the time, I was happy to see that he was able to make a positive career move. Once you’ve made a career transition, try to help out other associates. It will strengthen your network and provide positive momentum for you.
What do you see as the next step in your career?
I’m in the midst of figuring this out. I’m moving toward additional immersion in intellectual property as well as computer security as they apply to biotech companies and the public.
How can the Association and the Association’s members help you continue to achieve your career goals?
I expect to revamp my LinkedIn presence soon, so I’d appreciate eyes on my profile and updates. For those people who have transitioned to industry, I’d love to hear about the challenges that you have with computer and IT systems at your work. I’m trying to discover how to turn my passion for IT security and helping people into a side-gig or a fully-fledged career.
Now that you’ve spent some time working in industry, what is the biggest takeaway(s) you’d like to share with those who are still executing their job search?
Once you embrace networking, you just need to keep it up. Your job search progress can go from slow to incredibly fast in unexpected ways.
To learn more about how you can transition into an industry career like Greg, including instant access to our exclusive training videos, case studies, industry insider documents, transition plan, and private online network, get on the wait list for the Cheeky Scientist Association.
Isaiah believes that if you feel stuck somewhere in your life right now, you should make a change. Don’t sit still and wait for the world to tell you what to do. Start a new project. Build your own business. Take action. Experimentation is the best teacher.