Who We’re Hiring At…BASF
Luke L. Bozeman
Director, Research and Development Crop Protection, North America
The world’s largest producer of chemicals, multinational company BASF creates chemistry for a sustainable future, combining economic success with environmental protection and social responsibility.
What qualities are you looking for in employees of the future – and why?
I think you may get a slightly different answer from people in different areas of the company. I’m in research and development, so I look for technical excellence and an understanding ultimately of what the customer needs and looks for in a product. It’s someone who has some practical understanding of the types of innovations being invested in to meet customers’ needs, whether it be for a higher yielding crop, a new crop variety, better weed and pest control or greater fertility.
Another thing we look for in new employees is having diversity in their background and their training. Critical thinking skills, problem solving and the ability to communicate effectively are also important. If a student is in an agriculture program, it is certainly well worth it to take a course in communications or public speaking or building presentation skills.
What makes a resume stand out?
A resume should show that the applicant has a good foundation. If I’m looking at someone for an R&D position, the resume should emphasize their science background. With a Ph.D. level position, publications in their field to demonstrate original research and expertise. I also look for field work experience — in developing new crop protection products for farmers, we do a lot of field work, and so having a background in traditional plot work is highly valued.
What are the important things that CALS can do to build the future employees you need?
I think a key component of building a strong talent pipeline is training students that represent a high level of diversity — and that includes gender, ethnicity, background and experience. Diversity is a good thing because it encourages new ideas. It reduces the possibility of stagnant thinking, and it helps us be better innovators.
Building a strong pool of talent is really critical in the long-term growth of the ag industry. New students coming into the CALS should be very excited because agriculture has a great future. So, I’m excited to help encourage building the talent pool that is going to come in and fuel the industry in the future.