For Michal Godula, PhD, the path to becoming one of Thermo Fisher Scientific’s top food safety experts began with a childhood filled with intrigue. “Ever since the beginning I was quite keen on chemistry, which is not very common for kids,” he says. “I think the primary interest was to learn the composition of the things around us, how these things are produced and made.” As time went on, Godula narrowed his focus from the world we live in as a whole to the things we eat, and his career in food safety was born. He spent more than a decade studying food science at the Institute of Chemical Technology in Prague, earning his MS and PhD in the field and devoting his thesis to pesticide analysis. Like many students in any line of study, Godula credits the growth of his interest in food chemistry to one particularly enthusiastic professor. “I got involved with some really high-end technology, due to the fact that the professor was very innovative,” he says. “We were already able to detect really low levels of contamination, and we were learning about how contaminants can affect human health.” After completing his studies at the Institute, Godula joined High Performance Separation Technologies, based in the Czech Republic, where he spent about eight years as a service engineer and sales specialist. The experience first allowed him to work hands-on with the technology that he had fallen in love with as a student, servicing the instruments and interacting closely with customers. Later, when he moved into a sales role, Godula continued to see things from the customer’s perspective along with that of the sales staff, developing a multidimensional way of thinking about business interactions that he says still shapes his professional viewpoint to this day. Godula brought his expertise to Thermo Fisher Scientific in 2008, when he was hired as a Food Safety Specialist. He has since progressed into a higher level management role, overseeing a European-based team of specialists that supports the company’s Food Safety Response Center in Dreieich, Germany. “The idea behind the Food Safety Response Center is to have a tool that allows us to react quickly when there is a global food safety issue,” he says. “When it is activated, people that are normally working on different projects just drop everything to work together.” Godula calls the Response Center a “dream team” of scientists, one that has already been called into action to tackle urgent issues ranging from oil spills in the Gulf of Mexico to phenylbutazone in horse meat, while also working on long-term projects dealing with possible contamination dangers in areas such as food packaging. He takes great pride in the ability to field a team of supremely skilled scientists that have been trained to create complete solutions to customers’ most urgent issues. The idea of the “complete solution” is what defines Godula’s vision at Thermo Fisher Scientific, and is a capability that he feels is unique to the company. As food safety specialists address today’s hot topics—non-targeted screening, for one, searching for previously unknown contaminants in our food—he envisions the company as having the ability to provide customers not only with instruments but with all-inclusive, ready-to-use solutions to their needs. “If you’re buying a home stereo,” Godula says, “you don’t just want somebody to recommend one. You want somebody to install it, set it up, make sure you are going into a complete, ready-to-use solution so you can just plug your iPod in and play. “Basically, that is the same request from our customers. They don’t have time to prepare and optimize methods. They need to receive a complete solution. That is where we are going as a company in the future.” See Godula discuss complete solutions and the Food Safety Response Center here. If you’re interested in joining Michal and working for Thermo Fisher Scientific, then learn more about us and browse our current vacancies here.