When Chintan Bhomia took a job at Agilis last year, he knew that life at a startup is going to be very different from the environment that he was used to, working for large corporations. And even as he approaches his one-year anniversary with Agilis, Chintan continues to push his limits and expand his understanding of what it means to be a Platform Manager for a company that is operating the industry’s first enterprise-grade commerce platform. Agilis is focused on hiring graduates with chemistry or chemical engineering backgrounds who also have or want to develop skills in computer programming. Chintan is one of those chemical engineers who can work with coders.
Derek: You often compare life at a startup to a roller coaster ride. Is it really that scary?
Chintan: It’s definitely thrilling! Working for a young, dynamic company like Agilis that’s at the intersection of chemical engineering and digital technology is full of moments of pure thrill and joy, but it definitely pushes you out of your comfort zone. Unlike corporate giants, startups are, well, agile! Every team member’s contribution is much more visible, your every action has a direct impact on the project success (or failure!), giving you a heightened sense of responsibility that you really don’t get to feel at any other type of workplace. The fast pace keeps you on your toes, and personally, I think it’s a great way to discover yourself, to learn more about your own strengths, weaknesses, and areas where you want to grow. I feel that working at a startup has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life so far!
Derek: Why did you choose chemical engineering as your field of study?
Chintan: I always wanted to work in the field of clean energy, but I almost missed the college application deadline because I didn’t really want to study chemistry. For the longest time, I thought pursuing a chemical engineering major is going to be like studying chemistry in high school. It was my brother who really inspired me to look beyond the textbook and focus on the real problems that a degree chemical engineering can help me tackle. And so, I spent the better part of my four years as an undergrad in the lab researching biodiesel. The more time I spend in the chemical industry, the more I get excited about the possibilities of what I can do!
Derek: Pursuing a graduate degree at Carnegie Melon can be stressful. Did you manage to have any fun while you were there?
Chintan: Absolutely! I took ballroom dance classes where I learned how not to step on toes (sincere thanks to my dance partners for their sacrifice); our department went out for a happy hour every Friday. We had a great social group that met monthly for an ice-cream dinner – there were many things outside of the classroom and the lab that made my time at Carnegie Mellon memorable and enjoyable. I also learned how to better manage my time by taking on a part-time job at the library while carrying a full load of classes. I learned about compassion, respect, and how to look out for your fellow students. The library job came with its share of amusement too – it wasn’t uncommon to see students, especially around finals time, who look like they have probably not left the library in a couple of days, walking around in a daze in their pajamas, even brushing their teeth!
Derek: Why did you choose to work on a software startup and not directly in the chemical industry?
Chintan: Digitization in the chemical industry had been my focus area since my time as a commissioning engineer; my research was focused on finding ways to write error-free control logic for a plant. When I discovered Agilis and their idea of digitizing the chemical industry supply chain, I knew I had a great opportunity to combine my industry knowledge and coding skills. So, I decided to give it a shot, and on the third day, I found myself leading discussions with developers on product functionality. There was no going back!
As a platform manager at Agilis, Chintan wears several hats. On any given day, you can find him working with engineers, performing demos, onboarding customers, or helping troubleshoot issues. Life at a startup is definitely dynamic, and we are lucky to have such a motivated and energetic person on our team. Keep it up, Chintan!
Visit https://agilischemicals.com/ for more information.
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