This month, meet Marketing Manager, Dr. Sarah Locknar!
After finishing a double major in Biology and Chemistry at Butler University, Sarah received her Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry from Carnegie Mellon University and joined the University of Vermont and then Biotek Instruments before coming to Omega about 12 years ago. As a multi-faceted member of the Omega team, Sarah's work in high-speed multispectral imaging for biomedical applications has led to several publications and grant proposals and an ongoing collaboration with the University of Vermont.
Now, Sarah's guides Omega's marketing efforts with a customer-centric focus instilled by her deep technical experience and first-hand knowledge as an optical scientist.
Briefly describe your current position and what a typical day might look like.
My days are very busy. I may speak/email with customers, write or edit a blog post or white paper, attend several meetings, design artwork for a social media post or the website, edit the website, look at metrics, etc. We are also working on implementing our customer resource management software, so there's a lot to do with that. I also go to conferences and try to keep up with developments in the field.
What led you to working at Omega Optical? Briefly describe your previous educational and professional experience.
I was looking for a change from my job doing tech support. I had a lot of experience in R&D, having been in academia for years (first doing graduate work in Physical Chemistry, then at University of Vermont doing microscopy and neuroscience), so I started in the R&D group doing thin-film solar energy work (which appealed to my physics and chemistry sides) and a laser-scanning confocal project (which appealed to my biology side). I slowly transitioned to the business side as I realized that what I liked about tech support (probably the only thing) was talking to customers about what they were doing and the problems they were having. It's really all about communication. I also wanted to use my artistic side more, which has been withering on the vine.
Why did you choose to work at Omega Optical over other companies?
We really wanted to stay in Vermont with our two school-aged children.
What is your favorite part about working at Omega Optical?
The array of applications our customers come up with is truly astounding. I also get a kick out of using such a large part of the periodic table in my daily work.
What have you learned since working at Omega Optical?
Although I knew a lot about molecular properties and spectroscopy, and had used optics for years, I really learned a lot about thin films and optics in general by working with the former head of R&D, Gary Carver for over 10 years.
What has been the favorite project that you've worked on at Omega Optical and why?
The original thin-film photovoltaic project was quite fun. We were depositing all sorts of brightly colored organic pigments to try as layers in the stacks. We also played around with crystallization and depositing the films under electric fields and the like.
Share a fun memory you made working at Omega Optical.
Our photovoltaic work brought Senator Leahy and Representative Welch to Omega at different times. That was pretty cool.
What is some advice you have for those pursuing a position in your field and/or at Omega Optical?
Keep asking questions, and don't be embarrassed! Literally everyone knows something that the person they are talking to doesn't know, so just ask!
What is your favorite activity to do outside of work?
There are so many! Gardening, cooking, baking, drawing, knitting, dancing, Tai Chi...