A day in the life of a chemist

Chemistry surrounds us whether we know it or not. In fact, human beings are actually made of chemistry. But what does that mean? And what do chemists really do? Up next, we go inside the lab with two chemists to find some answers.


Chemistry surrounds us, whether we know it or not.

In fact, human beings are actually made of chemistry.

But what does that mean, and what do chemists really do?

Up next, we go inside the lab with two chemists to find some answers.


When you're in the STEM field, you can continue to push boundaries.

And I think that that's what is really intriguing about the entire field as a whole.

Chemistry is literally everything.

Like, you are made of chemistry.

And, you know, the water you drink is chemistry.

So it's in every industry that you could possibly think of.

I am one of those people that will stand in the grocery store and read all of the ingredients on the back of my shampoo.

You can't help but notice it in your daily life when you have bulk chemicals in front of you every day.

I was always that girl getting dirty, playing with lots of stuff, looking at bugs, all that.

So it's kind of been one of those things that, ever since I could go do it, I was in it.

PVS Nolwood is based out of Detroit, Michigan.

We're a chemical distributor, so the operations that happen have a lot of varied things.

We have a lot of shipping and receiving.

We'll bring in already-packaged materials from different suppliers, and those will get warehoused on the floor so that we're able to ship them to other customers.

We have a lot of breaking bulk, so we bring in bulk chemicals in railcars and tank trucks, and that'll get broken down into what we call tote bins or drums or smaller containers that our customers can manage.

When I came upon this position, it was an opportunity to be a problem solver.

We deal with a very large variety of customers.

You talk about a customer who originally started providing chemicals that, now, when you look back, are not approved.

They're not safe for humans.

And as regulatory things evolve, you find ways to remove those chemicals out of the environment and replace it with safer chemicals.

And so one kind of common goal or common question that comes from those types of industries is that, 'Okay, listen, I want to take these chemicals that are now considered unsafe, I want to remove them, and I want to bring something safer, to not only an industrial setting, but maybe an institutional setting, or right to our tables at home that we're cleaning from.'

And so you get that opportunity to work with the customers and find the best fit.

Every day is different.

Whether I am out on the floor working with operators, or if I'm working with admin or customers or salespeople, every day presents a different challenge.

And that keeps it interesting, because you're looking at different aspects of the business that you're in and how it impacts other businesses.

PVS Nolwood has a very diverse line of chemicals, and so the opportunity to even be a part of working with a diverse line of chemicals is always fun.

But the most important thing is that it's done safely.

There's a team on board that brings in chemicals, puts the chemicals and organizes them together.

There's blending going on.

There's people working internally on paperwork, there's people working internally on a lab, there's people calling vendors.

I mean, it's a full working unit.

And when you see everybody working together, the job gets done.

It's very rewarding, mainly because you're working as a team.

PVS has a very family feel to the organization.

And so when you're able to pull different people from their different jobs and help everyone see how their pieces come together in a process to get things out the door, and hopefully making things more efficient and keeping everyone safe... When they have kind of that 'Wow' moment of what the full process is, that's really kind of impactful when you're kind of managing.

It's extremely rewarding.

And, honestly, you build relationships and friendships throughout the journey.

I wouldn't be here if I didn't believe in chemistry, and in the chemicals that we have here, and the service that it is to our customers and to kind of everyone in the community.