Chemical Engineer of the IQS, Victor Quero is Head of the Advanced Formulation Subunit of the R&D Department of Futureco Bioscience, where he develops laboratory-scale and semi-industrial prototypes of the products to be applied and tested in chamber, greenhouse and field. After an intense and tanned professional life, he chooses Futureco Bioscience as a great place to stay and lay the anchor, where he can perform his scientific restlessness, his baggage and share it with his R&D colleagues, with whom he says that they make a very good team to take developments forward.
Tell us a little bit about your origins
I come from Castelldefels, though I was born in Barcelona, I have lived my life in Castelldefels until I was 25. My family is from Aragon, a village near Barbastro, where I've vacationed all my life. Between 25 and 29 I lived in Miami.
For work reasons. I was working in Barcelona on a technology consultancy for simulation of petrochemical processes. I was quite comfortable, but it was many hours and the salary did not allow me to become independent. I got the opportunity to go out, and had the thorn of not having done the Erasmus. I have always enjoyed traveling but never lived outside. I saw the offer, applied and sent everything. I was hired and went there. I was going for a year and in the end spent three and a half years.
What did you do in the company?
I entered as support of the sales department. It was a company of chemicals for personal care. Little by little I was doing more commercial work than scientific technical part.
You don't imagine that when you choose studying science.
Not at all. I am sociable and I like to be in contact with people, but I believe that I am professionally better in the field of scientific development than in sales.
How did you enter Futureco Bioscience?
I did not really like the way the job was taking. I was getting tired of that approach more commercial than scientific, and that was a risk for my professional growth. Although after three years I felt totally adapted to Miami and felt it my home. In the college job board I found an offer that was very brief and general for the formulation department of a bioengineering company. I asked if I could know the company, they gave me the name, I looked at the website, I found it very attractive and I did a Skype interview and another interview with CEO Rafael Juncosa himself, who was traveling the US. We met in Miami. After the interview he gave me two months to pack everything and return to Spain.
The interview went very well
Yes, especially considering that I was having less contact with science and more with commerce. I did not want to get away or put myself in there, so the opportunity to go back to Spain and join Futureco Bioscience was a very good opportunity.
What was expected of your incorporation?
When I joined, I entered a company that had done a lot of research on the characterization and production of microorganisms and its derivatives, but lacked the part that had more to do with formulating the product that would be salable from those raw materials or active principles. Placing the microorganisms in a bottle or bag in a medium that is bio-compatible and stable, and which assures the life of the microorganism or its metabolites in storage conditions of different parts of the world, with different climates and / or conditions. That was the great R&D challenge that was ahead when I was hired.
Since then, what have you developed or what has been the contribution of your role to the company?
We are developing processes and prototypes of final formulations, assessing many biological product compatibilities and building matrices: combinations of co-formulants that we know they work perfectly, at a physicochemical level to ensure the correct application and distribution of the product in the field by conventional means, so that it fulfills its function of the most optimal way possible.
Have you learnt?
I've learnt and learn every day.
What is the newest thing you are currently developing?
We are launching the formulation pilot plant and working with different types of biopesticide formulations and also starting with new formulations of biofertilizers that we will try in greenhouse soon.
Does your work interact with others of the R&D Department?
In fact I work with several R&D units. The subunit I carry is conformed by laboratory and formulation pilot plant. We work mainly with the bioprocessing unit, which is also made up of the bioprocessing laboratory and the pilot plant. By developing formulations for biopesticides and biofertilizers, by reformulating the current ones and creating new ones, we also work with the team hat applies them, that is, the phytopathology and plant physiology units. I really like to work this way. We are a group in which we understand each other very well, there is respect and there is dedication and that makes the job much easier.
How has R & D growth affected you since you entered?
When I entered, the Department of R&D was already very big. That gave me an image of a company that made a strong commitment to research. There was a belief in R&D and was not just facing the gallery. The fact that it grows more and more is a vote of confidence towards the team and the work we do, especially when biotechnological developments are not as fast as chemicals and require slow processes of great investment. It is believing in our work and is betting to be consistent with the lines of research that arise and grow and that is something really good of Futureco.
What opportunities do you think the company has in the sector?
Many. The type of product being promoted is now a more premium product oriented to organic farming, in addition to that biopesticides are quite new products among the field offer. Little by little Europe has always persecuted the US in this sense, the boom of the ecological in the US has already arrived, there are huge supermarkets only dedicated to organic products and is much more widespread, and in some European countries too and that trend is growing. There are trade shows for hundreds of companies related to this ... here the market may be smaller in Europe today but it is like everything else, like perishable energies, which are going to become obsolete and increasingly give way to the use of alternative and renewable energies. The same is happening with agriculture and a more long-term thinking and care for the environment.
Do you like working in Futureco Bioscience?
Yes. I was scared at first because I was returning to Spain when I had everything in the US. My work, my friends, .... Plus I was not coming back alone. I was going with my girl and the cat.
It was worth the effort
And so much! I'm very happy. They give me a lot of responsibility and confidence and that makes me feel great. In addition there are many facilities to work well.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
I see myself here. All the projects we have, as well as the start-up of the pilot plant, are long-haul. It does not end until you have a product in the market developed industrially and that is years.
And when there is already one product or project comes another.
Yes, we are at that point of great productivity and development of new solutions and is something that hardly ends. It has already come a time when I do not plan to change. I have never felt tied to a job, I have always been growing here and there, here is different.
You feel you want to stay
Yes. After comings and goings in other jobs and environments, here I feel that I would like to stay and it is where I want to lay the anchor and take root. The days and weeks pass by, with what my mother tells me "that's because you like your job". I stay here if all the parties want.
Changing the topic, what hobbies do you have?
I really like football and I play in a team of college friends every Tuesday in Barcelona. Also, when time and my laziness allow it I like to go running or skating. I also really like going to have beers with colleagues. Combination of sports, friends and beers.
A film you like very much?
I like many movies, but one that made me a little crazy when it was released was The Matrix.
And TV series that you would recommend?
And what about music, what are your preferences?
Rock, Hip Hop and Reggae. Particularly and if I have to choose, Marea as National Rock, for Hip Hop Tote King and for Reggae Gentleman.
And a Book?
I read a trilogy recently that I really liked of Dolores Redondo. She has won the Premio Planeta. It's the Baztan Trilogy. I really like crime novel and I read all three books in ten days!