Advanced oils, lubricants and treatments since 1887
This week we interviewed Mike Winn, our Lab Manager, to see what a day in the life working at Millers Oils looks like for him.
I’m the Laboratory Manager at Millers Oils so I look after and run the lab. I’m involved with quality control checks on our products, running our oil analysis sample kits for customers, and looking after our equipment and the three staff in the lab; John, Ewan, and Linda. The lab is a big part of Millers Oils so I enjoy being involved with it.
I started in research and development at a printing plate manufacturer which I did for 26 years. Then I became a high school science and chemistry teacher up to A-level. After that, I did Quality Control for Coca-Cola then I moved to Nufarm, a weed killer company, but doing the same role.
Then an old colleague of mine was working here at Millers Oils and suggested a role for me that I took. Initially, I was in the development team then I progressed to Lab Manager!
I wake up at 6.15 am, have a shower, and a cup of tea – I’m a big fan of tea! I’m not a breakfast person so I usually sit and watch the news for a bit. I try to get to the office early to avoid the traffic so I’m in for around 7.10 am then I’ll watch a bit more of the news and water my plants. I’m currently growing an avocado plant using a seed from an avocado I had for my lunch a few weeks ago!
I start work at 8 am and I’ll first catch up with my emails. I then spend most of my day going through oil analysis reports, looking at the lab results of people’s oil that they’ve sent in for various reasons. I’ll then discuss the results with customers and answer any further questions they have.
Then if there’s ever an issue in production, I’ll stop what I’m doing to go and fix it. This could be issues with blend corrections, strange colours, cloudiness, water droplets, and anything like that. Or if a piece of kit breaks down, I’ll go fix it. Maintenance and repair, ensuring the business is always moving forward smoothly, is a big part of my job.
At 10.30, I like to test my music knowledge with Ken Bruce’s Popmaster quiz on BBC Radio 2! Everyone knows I love to do this every day.
As a health freak whose body is a temple, I bring Tupperware tubs of salad dressed with extra virgin olive oil and cider vinegar for lunch. I eat at my desk and always have an apple, two satsumas, and a banana. Before getting back to the reports, I’ll have a cup of tea (we drink a lot of tea) and complete the daily Wordle.
This keeps me busy all day! At 4.30, I’ll then head home. We’ve recently moved into a new house so I currently spend my evenings decorating and making up flat packs! Then we have tea and watch TV, mostly crime drama. My favourite is Scandi noir with subtitles.
I’m very enthusiastic about science and learning in general. I’ve worked in a lab for 44 years and still learn something new every day. Every day is a school day for me!
I also enjoy teaching other people about the lab and what I do and often do tours for people. I know how all these instruments work, and not many other people do, so I like to fascinate people with the workings of the lab. Sometimes I can’t understand people not interested in science!
What motivates me is to find answers. Everything is a puzzle… a scientific puzzle. We generate lots of different results every day which answer questions and solve issues for people.
As I said, my love of science motivates me, but also helping our customers. When people send in oil samples, as they have an issue or need advice, I enjoy analysing their results and solving their problems to help them move forward. I certainly don’t find it difficult to come to work and do it every day.