The current Hall Analytical Floats Road facility is a bit like my first car (a blue X-registration VW Jetta if you are interested). It served me well. Functionally it was okay, alright, sometimes it didn’t start when it was too cold, it was noisy, the paint and trim had seen better days but I could mostly get from A to B when I needed to. It wasn’t efficient, it wasn’t comfortable, and it didn’t reflect the impression I wanted to give of a serious, early career, professional scientist. And in all honesty, it wasn’t what I wanted. In fact, technically it wasn’t even mine (literally too I suppose as it was, in fact owned by my girlfriend). So I put up with its shortcomings and made do because it gave me the gift of transport.
I would love to tell you this story had a happy ending and I am currently driving the swanky sports car the Cliché of an approaching midlife crisis dictates I have (again, for interest, if you are at all, an Aston Martin DBS Superleggera). Sadly, family life dictates I now have a bigger, even less exciting VW and spend my time puttering along rather than speeding my way through the Stelvio Pass in the Italian Alps, like an extra on Top Gear. All that said, in the words of the song… ‘You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes you just might find… You get what you need’. Which brings me back to work…
There are very few occasions in life you get both what you need and what you want, but it can happen. When I joined Hall Analytical in July 2019 and I walked into the Floats Road facility, seeing the look on my face, the first thing Scott (then MD, now CEO of the Arch group) said to me was ‘don’t worry, we are moving’. I saw grand plans, samples of benching, swatches of fabric, even mood boards (!) but it all seemed abstract and a million miles away from the reality of a busy laboratory working to deliver innovative and high-quality analytical expertise to our customers. Now in April 2020 the new facility is a reality but there are other unwelcome distractions to contend with.
A facility move is hard, it takes a lot of time, effort and significant organisation, planning and logistics. It’s even harder when something like the current Covid-19 pandemic hits. Put into context of the current situation you start to question the importance of something that affects 50 or so people when there are global events that are affecting us all. You ask yourself ‘is it worth it?’, ‘is it important?’ I would argue that for us it is.
These recent weeks have been deeply depressing, frightening and uncertain. While it has been amazing to see the Hall Analytical organisation rally round to support each other, our communities and our customers, it has been really good to forget the current situation for a moment and spend a little time looking to the future. And what a future it will be…
The new Waterside Court facility gives us a four-fold increase in footprint with custom-built laboratories specifically designed for our E&L, ENDS and medical device testing. Not only does it give us significantly increased capacity, it allows us to improve analytical quality, increase our efficiency and it reflects the impression we want to give of Hall Analytical to the scientific community.
It is a facility worthy of our expertise, dedication and professionalism. It is my surrogate Aston Martin DBS Superleggera… and I can’t wait to take it for a spin!