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ADM Milling UK

A day in the life of a Development Technologist

Gaelle Fargues

Get to know one of the newest members of the ADM Milling UK Technical Team, Gaelle Farues.

1.  What is your current role? 

Development technologist.

2. What Company do you work for and where are you based? 

ADM Milling UK, based at the Technical Centre at Avonmouth.

3. How long have you been at the company? What were you doing before? 

I started working for the technical team in April last year (2018). Before I joined the technical team, I lived and worked in France, working for a bakery company, where I headed the bakery team and led the company’s R&D activities.

4. Can you share some information about your position and what you do on a day-to-day basis?

In my day-to-day activities I am responsible for various baking projects including NPD, grist baking, harvest evaluation and customer projects. This can include anything from simple information generation up to full on development project lasting several weeks in which I would source material, blend different samples, evaluate different recipes and methods, finishing on reporting the results.

5. What are your customers like? What type of people do you serve? 

Most of my work is designed to help rest of my team as well as various teams within ADM Milling UK. I also get involved in projects to support our external customers as well as other ADM divisions.

6. Who are your co-workers? What type of people do you work with? 

I work really closely with the rest of our technical team, including the laboratory team and field-based technical support team. Also, being located at a mill allows me to have contact with other departments too, from millers to transport, which is very valuable.

7. What keeps you motivated to go to work each day? 

The projects that I am involved in and baking itself. I do get a lot of freedom in what I do, which not only motivates me a lot but is also essential to any development work. I know I can also rely on know-how from my technical colleagues who are there to help if needed. It is very rewarding to know that my work is helping to overcome issues that our customers are facing or could be facing if I had not investigated them.

8. Can you describe your typical day?

My work day varies a lot, depending on the project I am involved in, but as an example I can describe the recent baking project I am responsible for which we call Big Bake. This is a culmination of our harvest assessment, in which myself and my colleagues bake a wide variety of flours sourced from all our UK mills and baked them into a wide range of products using different baking methods. This is a great opportunity for us to work as a team and see what the new-crop is like in comparison to the old one. It is also the main opportunity to learn whether we might see any issues with the new crop and most importantly if we do see any issues we can come up with possible solutions as a team. Preparations for the baking started a couple of months ago with laying out the baking plan and listing the flours we needed for baking. Then I had to source the old and new-crop flours once these were available. The baking took place on 17 and 18th of September, and the results were reported to the business.

9. What do you like best about your job? 

That I can show my creative side and know that my work helps maintain our flour quality.

10. How have you evolved in your current job?  

My involvement in various project as well as level of freedom have increased a lot since I started. First I participated in various activities, now I have opportunity to run some projects by myself.

11. Any funny stories to share? 

Being involved in development work means that I do get to work with unusual ingredients. It is funny when I have finished products baked as part of the development process and I ask my colleagues to taste, for example, bread with black bean grists, seeing their faces when trying them – priceless.

12. Are there any challenges in your job? If so, how do you handle them? 

Time pressure seems to be the biggest issue. The best I can do is lay down a realistic plan and advise the business and/or our customers when they can realistically have the results. It also helps to keep people up to speed with the progress as well as advise of any issues, so that expectations are managed.

13. What is your proudest accomplishment? 

I am the newest member of the technical team, and yet I do get included in the Technical Masterclass when I teach the additives session. I think that speaks volumes; the technical team sees me as valuable part of the centre and knows that I can also contribute to development of others.