Meet Wim Zonneveld, Senior Research Chemist in the Medicinal Chemistry department at Mercator 3. Having started as an intern, he has already been our valued colleague for six years. His responsibilities have grown over the years, but he still loves listening to music on vinyl!
How long have you been at Mercachem?
As of December 1st, exactly six and a half years. My first day as an employee was June 1st, 2011. Before that, I worked at Mercachem as an intern for nine months.
What is your function?
Senior Research Chemist, currently in the Medicinal Chemistry department.
What are your responsibilities at Mercachem?
Besides my work as a chemist, I’m also responsible for the polarimeter and maintenance of the diaphragm pumps at our location.
Have you always worked in the same department?
No, recently I started working on a Medicinal Chemistry project, after having worked in Discovery Chemistry from the beginning.
What is most exciting about working at Mercachem?
The variety between the practical work in the lab and theoretical work in the office. For example, finding practical solutions for problems with isolation and scale-up of reactions and coming up with solutions to synthetic problems at the computer. The best case, of course, is coming up with a new idea that looks good on paper and actually works very well in the lab, although this tends to be very rare.
And, of course, working with a lot of great colleagues. Most people here are at least a little crazy, and I think it’s great that we can be a little crazy during our work at Mercachem.
Do you have special responsibilities on projects?
During a project I worked on this year, I was given the opportunity to take on some additional responsibilities. This meant I was responsible for communication with the client and the day-to-day progress of the project team in the lab.
This was a great opportunity to develop additional skills not directly related to chemistry and I really enjoyed the added variety and responsibility.
What is the biggest compliment a client could give you?
When a customer is genuinely surprised with the speed of progress or when we’ve discovered an elegant solution they had not thought of themselves.
I’ve heard you do not work in the main building in Nijmegen. Is this correct? Where do you work then?
That is correct! I work at the Mercator 3 (or RUN A2) location, which is next to the Faculty of Sciences of the Radboud University. The group of people at this location have to be a bit more self-sufficient when it comes to, for example, logistics and taking care of equipment.
Our location has seen a large expansion over the past couple of years. This has meant that some people have had to move from the main facility to the M3 location. We’ve noticed that people are a bit hesitant to move here, but once they’re settled in they don’t want to go back anymore.
I feel there is a stronger sense of togetherness at this location, although expansion here (over 40 people now) has changed this a bit. Next year we will be moving into the new building, if all goes as planned.
How do you stay connected with your colleagues in the main building? Do you feel part of the team?
Depending on the project you work on, there can be a lot or very little contact with the people on the “other side”. Social events organized by the drinks committee are an opportunity for us to come back to the Kerkenbos location.
Once a year, at the end of the year, we host our own Christmas drinks, which is a nice opportunity for the Kerkenbos people to visit us.
Many people in the company have interesting hobbies. Do you have an interesting hobby as well? Could you tell us something about it?
Collecting and listening to music on vinyl, if that’s interesting enough. I mostly buy used records. I enjoy the idea that somebody bought a record a long time and kept it in good condition, so someone else can enjoy it now. It’s also fun to go to record fairs. The one held in the Jaarbeurshallen in Utrecht (The Netherlands) twice a year is a very big one with vendors from all over the world.
Unfortunately, in the last couple of years, prices have gone up a lot and the chance to find something unique for a couple of euros is very small now. Most thrift shops are filled with the same Abba, Neil Diamond, and Demis Roussos albums now.