Behind the microscope

Willie Tran

PhD in Analytical Chemistry, Miami University of Ohio

Senior Manager, Materials Identification Laboratory

A Better TomorrowTM means improving the scientific capabilities and work culture to one day leave the organization in a better place than it was at when I first started.

Role at Reynolds

I am a Senior Manager of the Materials Identification Laboratory within Product Services. I lead and develop a team of talented scientists trained in materials identification/characterization analysis, thermal analysis, and optical analysis to solve non-routine and routine problems across the globe.

Growing up I wanted to be…

I have always wanted to be a scientist. It started off with my love for dinosaurs and wanting to be a paleontologist. It eventually transitioned to a curiosity with how things worked. I took apart several VCRs (to my parents’ dismay) to discover how they functioned and tried to put them back together (I never did). This led to my passion in analytical chemistry and diving into building instruments for novel applications to solve real world problems. Whenever I want to know something or solve a problem, for better or for worse I will dive headfirst into the rabbit hole in pursuit of the answer.

What does A Better TomorrowTM mean to you?

A Better TomorrowTM has two meanings for me. The first is transforming the tobacco space toward one of reduced harm through new to market nicotine products for adult tobacco consumers. The second is improving the scientific capabilities and work culture to one day leave the company in a better place than it was at when I first started.

Favorite part of your job?

My favorite part of the job has been the vast variety of projects I have been able to work on making each day novel; I see it as having so many different puzzles to solve. When I was in the lab and tasked with analysis of a competitor’s product for example, I would enjoy taking it apart piece by piece to identify and characterize the materials (and I was not required to put it back together again!). I needed to find the right pieces (instruments and colleagues) to complete the analysis (solve the puzzle). Now as a manager, the projects I am involved in are approached from a different viewpoint trying to find and bring together the right pieces (departments, people, resources) to complete the request (solve the puzzle).

Career timeline

2019 – Present
Senior Manager, Materials Identification Laboratory
2018 – 2019
Senior Staff Scientist, Materials Identification
2015 – 2018
Senior Scientist, Materials Identification
2013 – 2015
Scientist IV, Materials Identification

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