‘I think it’s important to have diversity of views and people’

To mark Science Week 2020, which ran from November 8 to November 15, The Echo has been profiling three women who work in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) in the Tallaght-based adhesives manufacturing facility Henkel across three weeks. This week, in the final article of the series, we’re talking to Deborah Moore, Head of PD & Technical Customer Service - General Manufacturing & Maintenance Western Europe at Henkel.

By Aideen O'Flaherty

Encouragement from the science teachers in St Mark’s Community School in Springfield, Tallaght, led Belgard Heights woman Dr Deborah Moore to study science in college and seek a career in STEM.

When Dr Moore was a teenager she began to develop her enduring interest in science, which was fostered by support from the teachers in St Mark’s.

Deborah Moore 1

Dr Deborah Moore

“I picked up science when I was in St Mark’s Community School,” Dr Moore told The Echo. “I had always been good at maths and science, and I had some really good teachers there who encouraged me.

“I was fascinated by understanding how things worked, and thinking of things in terms of molecules and reactions.”

After completing her Leaving Cert, Dr Moore went on to study for a BA in chemistry in Trinity College, and achieved a PhD in organic chemistry from the college in 2006 – and she was hired by Henkel in Tallaght straight after finishing her studies.

“I joined Henkel directly after I did my PhD,” explained Dr Moore, “and I was keen to move from academia to seeing products being brought to the market.”

Dr Moore has had a number of roles with Henkel since she was initially hired as a product development chemist, the most recent of which is Head of PD & Technical Customer Service - General Manufacturing & Maintenance Western Europe, which she took up last January.

Explaining what her role entails, Dr Moore said: “We have all of these different markets in Henkel, like automotive and aerospace, but the role I’m in focuses on everything outside of that, for people who need anything that doesn’t fall into the major markets.”

The business unit that Dr Moore works in, General Manufacturing and Maintenance, has over 500,000 customers across 800 industries, and she oversees 80 people in her role.

When asked about the product she was particularly proud of being involved in the development of, Dr Moore said working on plant grafting – a process by which tissues of plants are joined together to encourage growth – but replacing the manual process of clipping the plants with using the automated distribution of adhesive instead is one of the most interesting projects she’s been involved in.

One of the key aspects of Science Week is also encouraging more women to consider pursuing careers in STEM industries, as it continues to be a male-dominated industry.

According to statistics released by Women in Technology and Science Ireland, just 25 per cent of those working in Ireland’s STEM industries are women.

Dr Moore said that there is an evenly distributed gender balance in the business unit she works in in Henkel, and she said overall diversity – regardless of gender – is a positive step for any industry.

“I think it’s important to have diversity of views and people, as it brings in more creativity,” she said.

A Henkel spokesperson added: “35 per cent of Henkel’s managers are female and they continue to strive for gender balance at all levels and to recruit and retain women who will become the leaders of the business in the future.”

Henkel is the world’s largest manufacturer of adhesives, sealants and functional coatings.

In Ireland, Henkel employs circa 400 staff and has three sites; Tallaght (Adhesives R&D, Production, Bottling and Packaging), Ballyfermot (Adhesives Manufacturing) and Little Island, Cork (DYLON Colour Catcher manufacturing).

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