New, Eye-Opening Experiences

A cross collaboration assignment brings personal and professional development  


Jochen Wagner is a person who likes to travel and explore new things. Born and raised in Germany, Jochen earned his PhD. in Hamburg, Germany. After his studies, he feels fortunate to have been able to join INFICON at our Balzers, Liechtenstein plant as a scientist, leading research projects and improvements on the production line. His desire to always be learning and a zest for travel has brought him to the Syracuse, New York INFICON facility for a cross collaboration effort during the next two years.

As research group manager at our Syracuse location, Jochen has a team of three and is focused on improving the mass spectrometers (MS) INFICON provides to customers worldwide. This detailed step-by-step and part-by-part work is vital in continuing to offer the best MS technology available on the market now and in the future. These new tasks and responsibilities, as Jochen puts it, are a great opportunity for personal and professional growth. Let's learn how Jochen is doing with his assignment:

What is your favorite thing about working at INFICON in Syracuse?

The technology is interesting and there are a lot of blank spaces in tech that no one knows. At INFICON, I have the ability to go and explore, and then follow my instincts. It’s very exciting work. The Syracuse facility has a lot of energy as colleagues work together in a fast-paced, agile environment that I really like. There are also a lot of development and operations opportunities to improve our baselines that I find interesting. It’s great to see how the Syracuse team works along with the other INFICON locations around the globe in a spirit of cooperation and exchange of ideas.

What is your favorite thing about the U.S.?

The country is very big with many different regions. It is great to experience all the natural attractions and nature in its original form. The Adirondacks, for example, is not overmanaged or “taken care of.” It’s just nature in its truest form. To my surprise, I have found the Syracuse area to be a nice community with a lot of travel opportunities just a short distance away. I particularly like the Finger Lakes regions and their wines. Also, the craft beer culture here is quite vibrant. And, the festivals downtown every weekend are a great plus!

How has the experience changed your view of the world?

The exchange has given me the opportunity to explore another culture. I was surprised that there is not as big a difference between Europe and the U.S. as I thought there was. I enjoy the different perspectives being in the U.S has provided me. I’d like to explore Asia in the future for an even larger cultural exploration.

What bit of advice would you give future exchange candidates?

Be your own advocate. This is my project and I have worked hard to understand the different processes and procedures that were not obvious to me in the beginning. The research team in Syracuse knew me, through four years of working at a distance, but I needed to take care and assert myself so that my role and contribution were quickly understood here and I knew how others fit into the larger picture. 

The Syracuse facility has a lot of energy as colleagues work together in a fast-paced, agile environment that I really like.
Jochen Wagner
Research Group Manager

What do you miss most about home?

The bread! And, the German breakfast! I also miss the electronic music festivals.

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