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In this profile, we chat with Rob Morris, a content creator at Ocean Insight, about a recent career milestone, some of the memorable changes he’s seen over the years, and why he’s optimistic about the future.
Q: Rob, last month you reached a major milestone: 25 years with Ocean. Congratulations! A lot has happened during those years.
Yes, it certainly has. In 1995, when I started with the company, which was then called Ocean Optics, I was the 13th employee hired, and our headquarters was a 650-square-foot office in a strip mall. Today, we have more than 200 employees and multiple locations around the world.
Q: In those early days, it was the research community that first accepted Ocean wasn’t it?
Back then, researchers were more willing to embrace new technologies and take risks than some of the bigger companies. The bigger guys were a little slower to adopt our technology and to scale it up to large volume. Those relationships take longer to nurture. Now, I think everyone sees how spectral sensing has a role in both lab settings and manufacturing operations.
Q: Thinking about how researchers and scientists are flexible and open-minded, and understanding how we are all working differently these days, what do you think is the research community’s biggest challenge?
I guess for some folks, how they work in the lab will change forever, but they'll figure out how to adapt. Also, where we are with technology and research right now is that the time-sensitive nature of dealing with something like a pandemic really ratchets up the intensity and raises the stakes.
Obviously, the main thing is to address the challenges at hand, but that intensity should create more opportunities. The work that’s being done will advance how we live. And that work has the potential for economic impact as well, not just for a company like us, but for all kinds of different areas of the world economy.
Q: What impact do you think the coronavirus outbreak will have as we move forward?
It’s tough to predict, but I'm hopeful that we come out stronger. Sometimes, major challenges like this can benefit us in a certain way, because people turn to reliable sources -- companies and people they feel comfortable with when they're under stress. I think Ocean Insight fits that category for a lot of people in our marketplace.
Q: As the company continues to evolve, is there one thing you would like us to achieve or to do?
I don't think of it that way. I mean, we're not involved in a mission like putting a man on Mars. So, there's not really one thing that stands out. I guess that whenever I leave, I’d like to know that the company was in a strong, healthy, growing position, that people enjoyed coming to work every day, and that customers were benefiting from what we were providing for them. And we're in a position now, I think, where we can achieve that.
Q: It sounds like you are optimistic about the future.
I am. I think we're in this phase of the company’s evolution where we're poised to really execute the longer-term vision of helping customers to navigate a safer, cleaner, healthier future. We have good people. We have a clear vision, and we have the tools and know-how to get all this stuff done. So now it’s just a question of doing it.
Thank you for sharing your wisdom.