The first topic of ASQ Influence Voices in 2015 was “Finding Inspiration from Quality Leader”. Mr. Bill Troy showed us what he learnt from Mr. Paul O’Neill (former US Secretary of the Treasury) who was a quality throught leader and awarded Juran Medalist in 2013. Then he questioned us “Have you met someone whose teachings on quality influenced you or inspired you? What were these lessons?” and he would like to encourage us to think someone outside the quality field.
The topic let me thinking about my first research supervisor Dr. Ronald Sequeira in the Department of Biology and Chemistry, City University of Hong Kong. My research topic named “Detailed investigations on the inorganic chemical constituents of atmospheric aerosol and various deposition in Hong Kong” which related to air pollution from 1994 to 1997.
(Photo taken in 1997 when I graduated in MPhil)
I would like to share some stories during our dialogue.
1. We always discussed research problems in Chinese Garden and my supervisor was smoking at that time. I asked him a funny joking question “Do you produce more air pollution when you are smoking?” He taught me a scientific word “Scavenging Effect” which could dilute the smoke and particles he produced. (Scientific)
2. There are many mosquitoes in Chinese Garden that I afraid to be bitten. But my supervisor was very calm and still smoking. Mosquitoes did not like smoking smell. I observed one mosquito would like to bit my supervisor, once it closed to his arm and then it was found to be sticking by his hair. The mosquito struggled out of his arm hair and then escaped! (Calm)
3. One day my supervisor asked me what career you would like to do. I replied to be “Consultant”. He then told me to be a good Consultant that you should have at least 10 years experience in any field. (Experience)
4. Dr. Ronald Sequeira always told me that the quality of published paper is more important than quantity of published paper. One of his proud paper named “Monsoonal deposition of sea salt and air pollutants over Bombay (1976)”. (Quality)
In the first dialogue, I learnt that you need to explain phenomena in scientific way that match one of quality principle “Evidence-Based Decision Making”. The second observation is “Calm” that sometime avoids unnecessary fear! The third dialogue my supervisor tell me the TRUTH that Consultant should be experience. In Hong Kong, many consultants (or assistant consultants) are fresh graduate without practical experience! The last dialogue is “Quality is more important than Quantity”. However, University rating for Professor has changed from Quality to Quantity in the past but now they need both Quality and Quantity of publication.
I would like to share some photos showing my research setup in 1995 below.
A View from the Q - http://asq.org/blog/
20101030: Lunch with Dr. Ronald Sequeira - http://qualityalchemist.blogspot.hk/2010/10/lunch-with-dr-ronald-sequeira.html
20140509: Dinner with Dr. Ronald Sequeira and Dr. Cathy Lee - http://qualityalchemist.blogspot.hk/2014/05/dinner-with-dr-ronald-sequeira-and-dr.html