Lab Manager, Chemistry

  • Location: US - Watsonville, California
  • Job Family: Research & Development
  • Time Type: Full time
  • Job Requisition ID: R0006183
  • Experience Years: 5-10 Years of Experience
  • Employee Type: Regular

About the Opportunity

The Lab Manager, Chemistry will be responsible for overseeing and coordinating the daily operations of Driscoll’s Breeding Technology Lab’s production phenotyping workstreams to ensure a steady lab output for a high volume of samples. The ideal candidate will possess in-depth knowledge of best practices in fruit quality analytical instruments used in fresh fruits, strong leadership skills, a proven track record of successful project management, and the ability to drive a culture of continuous improvement within teams. Primary duties will include working independently to continuously improve Driscoll’s fruit quality phenotypic data generation, best practices of process improvement, fostering a collaborative and innovative environment to drive successful project outcomes, communicating progress regularly to project stakeholders through meetings and written reports, equipment maintenance to support efficient and effective lab activities, and ensuring compliance with safety and quality standards. The Lab Manager, Chemistry will be responsible for managing and developing a small team of technicians to support the lead in implementing new fruit quality assays, scaling these in capacity, quality and turn-around time, and then managing new and existing production phenotyping workstreams on fruit across all berry crops to generate fruit quality phenotypes for plant breeding, molecular genetics, sensory, and postharvest needs, including data that fuels genomic prediction models and variety advancement decisions. The Lab Manager, Chemistry will also execute on project goals and timelines involving cross-functional teams and stay current with the assay techniques and data solutions that would aid Driscoll’s in accomplishing our mission. This is an exciting research opportunity to explore the genetic potential and phenotypic diversity of fruit quality traits in the development of superior Driscoll's berry varieties.


  • Responsible for daily operation, maintenance, and quality control of production phenotyping platforms to ensure prompt turnaround from received sample to delivered result.
  • Lead activities of sample receipt, inventory and progression of samples through routine assays using digital platforms.
  • Act as a liaison to maintain, organize, and manage high volume of samples and sample data. Coordinate internally with project stakeholders and externally with vendors when required.
  • Perform data processing on chromatography and spectrometry data.
  • Regularly update and maintain lab databases with accurate inventory and phenotypic data collected from production phenotyping workstream.
  • Optimize routine lab assay for increased throughput with a focus on automation.
  • Keep a stocked, clean, and orderly laboratory to promote safety and productivity.
  • Provide constructive feedback for continuous improvement of laboratory operations.
  • Recruit, onboard, and coach staff to ensure robust learning and career development consistent with the Company’s values and rapidly globalizing profile.
  • Supervise temporary technical staff to assist in the research efforts as needed.
  • Other duties as assigned.

Candidate Profile

  • Bachelor’s degree in chemistry, biochemistry, food science, nutrition, or a similar discipline with 6+ years' experience, or Master's degree with 4+ years' of experience within Analytical Chemistry and in Research and Development including sample management, data management and project management preferred.
  • 2+ years managing people and leadership ability required.
  • Experience operating analytical instrumentation such as ion chromatography (IC) and gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (GC-MS).
  • Proficient with chromatography and mass spectrometry data systems and data processing e.g. Chromeleon, Mass Hunter, Chemstation, etc.
  • Demonstrated ability to develop analytical workflows including sample preparation, instrument methods, and data analysis.
  • Experience with high volume of samples and sample data.
  • Hands on experience with various biological sample preparations and metabolite extractions preferred.
  • Experience with statistical data analysis software e.g. JMP, R, SAS, etc.
  • Ability to work with dynamic and diverse team of researchers and scientists.
  • Intermediate experience using spreadsheet application.
  • Intermediate experience supporting analytical workflows including sample preparation, instrument operation and maintenance.
  • Advanced communication skills.

Preferred (other) Qualifications

  • Master’s degree in Chemistry, biochemistry or related field.
  • Expertise in operation, maintenance, and data analysis of HPIC instrumentation.
  • Experience with high throughput analytical chemistry is highly desired.
  • Hands on experience with other analytical instrumentation such as GC-MS, texture analyzer, autotitrator, etc.
  • Experience with plant metabolomics is highly desired.
  • Experience analyzing data with chemometric and cheminformatic methods and analysis tools.
  • Proficient in coding e.g. Python, R, SQL.
  • Prior research lab experience.
  • Driver’s license and the ability to be covered under company-sponsored vehicle insurance program.
  • A valid passport and ability to travel internationally without restrictions.

Compensation & Benefits

The following information is provided in good faith as a general description of the salary range and benefits for the position posted.  The actual compensation offered to the successful candidate is dependent upon experience, skills, education, work location, internal pay equity, and other objective job-related factors. 

Salary Range estimated for the Lab Manager, Chemistry role: $73,776.00 to $108,700.00 USD.

Driscoll’s is committed to a culture of care and offers an attractive benefits package that includes comprehensive medical, dental, and vision coverage, life insurance, and disability coverage for positions working more than 30 hours per week. Other benefits include:  401(k) with employer match, profit-sharing participation, paid sick time, paid vacation, paid personal and family care leave, and a free Employee Assistance Program (EAP).  More detailed information regarding the benefits package, will be shared during the application process.

About Driscolls

Driscoll's is the global market leader for fresh strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries. With more than 100 years of farming heritage and hundreds of independent growers around the world, Driscoll's is passionate about growing fresh, beautiful and delicious berries. Our values of humility, passion and trustworthiness have guided our mission to delight consumers around the world.

Driscoll's exclusive patented berry varieties are developed through years of research using only natural breeding methods – meaning, no GMOs. From farm-to-table, we focus on delivering a high quality, premium berry experience with our many supply chain partners.

Driscoll's is the trusted brand for Only the Finest Berries™.

Driscoll's es el proveedor líder en la comercialización de Fresas, Frambuesas, Zarzamoras y Arándanos Azules en el mundo. Con más de 100 años de herencia en agricultura y cientos de productores independiente alrededor del mundo, Driscoll's es una compañía apasionada por cultivar Berries frescas, hermosas y deliciosas. Nuestros valores de humildad, pasión y confianza han guiado nuestra misión de deleitar a los consumidores en el mundo.

Las variedades exclusivas de Driscoll's han sido desarrolladas a través de años de investigación usando sólo métodos de mejoramiento natural. De la granja a la mesa, nos enfocamos en ofrecer una experiencia de alta calidad con apoyo de nuestros socios de la cadena de suministro.

Driscoll's es la marca de confianza de sólo las mejores Berries.