Ruth Geiger, Ph.D, runs scientific businesses in Germany and France.
She was born and raised in Nürnberg, Germany. Her father’s side was filled with members working in the natural sciences.
“When I was young, I was eager to learn what makes the world turn,” Geiger said.
But just 10 percent of the chemistry students were women at that time.
“It’s different for the young generation today,” she said.
After leaving high school, Geiger wondered what her best route would be. With a natural science degree, at that time, you had the opportunity to go into various fields. Her regular studies were moving towards chemistry. But it was the late 1980s and early 1990s, and a downturn in the chemical industry was taking place.
She decided to go into instrumentation. Research and industry needed analytics, even during economic downturns, and scientists hyped spectroscopy in the early 1990s.
She earned her degrees from Friedrich-Alexander Universität Erlangen. As a customer of spectroscopy equipment, she connected with Hans-Jürgen Reich, the owner of an instrument company called DILOR and became an applications scientist. This was a precursor company of HORIBA Scientific.
She’s been with HORIBA for 25 years.
The challenge, and excitement, is that you know about the added value of spectroscopy for analytical chemistry,” she said. “Your job was to manage this added value for your customer. The customer usually knows about their problem, and there might be spectroscopy tools that could help. But seldom does the customer know how they work together. That’s where the applications scientist comes in.”
From an application scientist, Geiger entered into the sales business.
“It is something I could not have envisaged during my students’ days,” she said. “After the experience of being an application scientist, the interest grows to turn knowledge into value and sales.”
Today, Geiger is the Managing Director for HORIBA Jobin Yvon in Germany and Director of European Sales Coordination and Marketing for HORIBA Scientific in France.
As a managing director, Geiger is in charge of all financial and legal aspects of the division’s business in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Geiger oversees the HORIBA Scientific European Sales Coordination and the optimization of HORIBA’s distribution network accordingly.
The German office is in Bensheim, a small village in the Frankfort area, in close vicinity to HORIBA Europe, while the HORIBA Scientific Center of Excellence in Europe is located in Palaiseau, France.
“Working at different locations enables you to grasp and combine good working practices from everywhere,” she said.
Geiger supports women in the sciences, saying women should feel self-confident and make their career plans accordingly.
“Never listen to personal attacks, but all the time listen to the content and work tighter to improve your knowledge,” she said. “It is very helpful to debate and grow by working together with people.”
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