Family Chemistry

Family gathers at the dinner table and, sometimes, the conference table or the science lab. Paul and Mark Buckley both work at the Global Research Center in Niskayuna, New York and, collectively, have more than 45 years of experience working on this campus. Currently the father and son duo works in chemical processing in the same building, but for different organizations.

In this family of chemists, one imagines that Paul, aka “dad”, may have ceremoniously handed down his chemistry set to Mark in order to spark an interest in the subject. Mark was inspired to study chemistry from a sports angle, however.  He attributes the interest to a middle school science class which became even more intriguing during the lab portion. He saw how great it was to be part of a team to solve the problem or just see the result of an experiment – a team culture that he had embraced while active in soccer.

Team Buckley was part of a group of collaborators who worked on a project to make battery melt in a 40 gallon reactor. Mark reminisced, “It was great to be able to see my dad’s expertise.  It’s also a huge bonus to be able to stop by his office and bounce ideas and questions off of him and tap into his experience.”  The feeling of admiration is mutual: “It’s been rewarding to watch him grow to a mature responsible adult and also watch him make valuable contributions to solving some of the difficult problems we encounter every day for our GE customers,” commented Paul.

Regarding sage advice from his dad, Mark recalled that, “Dad has advised me to work at the Research Center and learn as much as possible. With the many cutting-edge projects and technologies here, there certainly is always something new to absorb.  I’d like to thank my dad for this advice and will always keep it in the back of my mind.”

Like Father, Like Son:

Paul’s inspiration is similar to what sparked his son’s interest in chemistry — collaboration. He observed, “What inspires me at work are the challenges that arise each and every day.  Through interactions with some of the brightest people I know, we work together and provide options to solve problems for our business partners.”

There is a multi-generational appreciation for flexibility: Mark commented, “Now that I have three boys of my own, I know just how crazy that must have been for him.  With the flexibility he had working at GE, he was able to coach my teams growing up.  Once my boys start getting into sports, I know that I’ll have the time to do the same.”

How are the Paul and Mark spending Father’s Day? Team Buckley will be playing in a golf tournament and, no doubt, collaborating on the best way to approach the green.

Happy Father’s Day!