Lab Supervisor Caity Thrives in First Managerial Role
One night, when Caity was up late with her newborn son, she opened her computer and decided to do a job search.
It was a decision that changed her life.
“I woke my husband up and I said, ‘I can’t pass this up. I have to apply for this job,’” she said.
It’s been over four years since Caity applied for – and accepted – the position of QC Laboratory Supervisor at the Tessenderlo Kerley Innovation Center in Phoenix. The field is nothing new to Caity, who served as a chemist and quality engineering technician at her previous position.
“I still get to play in the lab,” she said. “I still get to work with the chemicals. I still get to do testing. I get to test the quality of our products day in and day out.”
In her current role, Caity also visits and works at Tessenderlo Kerley’s plants throughout the country to provide the highest quality products across the board.
Despite her wealth of experience, this job is Caity’s first-ever supervisory position. But Tessenderlo Kerley gave her all the tools she needed to succeed in that role.
“I have a wonderful manager, and managers above them, that I can look up to and use as mentors. They’ve been great at helping me grow,” she said. “We’ve had programs from within Tessenderlo Kerley that have helped a lot, but I’ve also always been given the opportunity to go outside of that and take classes, or kind of push myself to build those skills.”
Caity enjoys the team she manages and says they’ve become friends in addition to coworkers – and they’ve helped her grow in her role as much as she’s helped them do the same.
“My team has been wonderful,” she said. “They’re a quirky bunch, but they’re awesome and work really well together. And we have a lot of fun while we’re working. You’d think that maybe routine chemistry isn’t super fun, but we get enough variety with our different products that it’s different almost every day.”
During her time at Tessenderlo Kerley, Caity has made an impact both inside and outside of the company. On the internal side, she worked with multiple teams to create a dashboard that provides up-to-date information on the inner workings of key products.
“It was a lot of work, and hopefully it’ll be a good tool to use to analyze how we’re using raw materials and what goes into our products, and how they can adjust those things to increase yields while still keeping our analysis on target,” she said. “We always have to keep quality in mind, and really make sure that we’re using that information to the best of our ability.”
On the external side, Caity’s hope is the dashboard will enhance Tessenderlo Kerley’s ability to do what she’s most passionate about: provide the highest quality products for farmers to meet their needs for crop nutrition and protection.
“We feed the world, basically,” she said. “We create products that nurture the soil, that feed the plants, that increase our crop production and yields.”
Caity said the last four years have come with numerous opportunities for professional growth, and she’s excited to continue to grow, surrounded by a supportive team in the lab, and managers who are always willing to answer questions and pass along their wisdom and experience.
“It’s definitely been a learning experience, but I’ve had a lot of help from a lot of groups of people that made it easy, even while it was difficult. People want to help you learn. People that have been there a long time want you to succeed because they’re passing their legacy on to you,” she said.
“I feel like I have the perfect job. I absolutely love it.”