Technical Mentoring – Preparing the Next Generation

Operational Issues Impacting the Environmental Laboratory Industry
Oral Presentation

Prepared by M. Bruce
Eurofins Environment Testing America, 180 South Van Buren Ave, Barberton, OH, 44203, United States

Contact Information: [email protected]; 330-414-1867


Most of the first-generation environmental analytical chemistry experts that helped launch the commercial environmental laboratory business have retired or moved away from their analytical chemistry roots creating a technical void. Technical mentoring is designed to shorten the learning curve for the next generation of technical staff with targeted coaching and broad-based mentoring.

Coaching uses specific current issues and challenges as learning opportunities. How does one find or create the answers? Go beyond typing words into a Google search box. Learn where the resources are and how to use them. Learn how to define and understand the issue, then how to find the solution if it exists or create the solution when necessary. There are four common types of issues that could be used as springboards for coaching opportunities. 1) A client complains about an unexpected or unwanted test result. 2) A lab process has broken down and isn’t meeting quality expectations. 3) A client has requested a new analyte. 4) Selecting the best instrument to purchase to support a particular test.

Mentoring builds a stronger and more complete foundation for personal professional growth. How does one learn how to learn? How to find the right people to support growth needs and goals? Focus areas could include becoming a subject matter expert, improving communication skills and emotional intelligence to become a better trainer or perhaps the chief apology officer for handling damage control situations.

Mentors have a wide variety of resources in addition to their own experience to use with learners. These include traditional books and short courses. More recent media options include podcasts and video.