Vertellus doesn’t have any blockbuster products coming through its R&D pipeline. Rather, “there are lots of niche new product opportunities such as new applications of existing products,” Preziotti says. The firm has between 20 and 30 research projects under way at any one time.
About 50 engineering and research scientists work in Vertellus labs in Indiana, Michigan, New Jersey, and the U.K. Additionally, the company has a global team of more than 70 quality-control experts, including analytical chemists.
The firm considers itself well-placed geographically for recruiting new scientists. Indiana universities on which it draws include Purdue and Notre Dame. The other major hirer of chemists in Indianapolis is pharma company Eli Lilly & Co. Although Vertellus has lost some good chemical engineers to the fracking and petrochemicals boom taking place along the Gulf Coast, it has been able to attract some scientists from Lilly.
One researcher to cross over is senior research scientist David Hay. At Lilly, Hay recalls, he would work on a narrow slice of a project and then hand it over to another department. But at Vertellus, he is involved from the beginning of a project to the end and even on to the plant stage when full-scale production begins. “It is both rewarding and thrilling to be actively involved in every step of the process,” he says.It would be very interesting to know what the overall exodus from Lilly has been over the years, and where those scientists have ended up. Something tells me that most of them have left the state, but I dunno.
UPDATE: I am somewhat amused to note that Vertellus has no current openings for chemists.