Celebrating our 50th Anniversary: Chris Sprought Interview

As we continue to highlight our staff during our 50th Anniversary celebrations, we shine a light on Chris Sprought, our Diode laser production manager.  As he celebrates 10 years with the company we take a look at his role and also some of his interesting hobbies outside of work.

Tell us a little bit about your role and what a typical day might look like?

My role is to manage and supervise the production of our diode laser products, the EPL, EPLED, VPL and VPLED. This typically involves looking at production schedules to ensure that all jobs are prioritised and completed on time, to run off kits, analyse test results and produce test records, laser production and test, service and warranty work. Also, dealing with procurement to ensure we have the parts we need and dealing with diode obsolescence’s. Recently, with new products coming into production, more of my time has been spent with development getting to grips with the new products and offering feedback.

During your time with the company what have you enjoyed the most?

My job has evolved quite significantly during my time here. Initially I was brought in to work with our gas lasers products. I did that for around 2-3 years, while working part time in the diode lasers. I also did a fair bit travelling for installations which was pretty nice.

At the time there were only 4 of us in the laser team and over time 2 left, which required me to take on diode lasers full time. Since the takeover from Techcomp, the biggest challenge has been keeping up with the growth of the company. We went from around 100 lasers built in 2014, to around 500 in 2020. I think the growth of the product has been my proudest achievement and it’s certainly pushed me to be more efficient in the lab.

What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

I have 2 kids which takes up most of my time. However, when I get the time, I enjoy gardening and growing my own food. Usually around Autumn, I harvest my garden crops and turn the excess I can’t eat into alcoholic beverages. I have 2 apple trees in my garden, and some local wild apple trees along the train tracks near my house that I go scrumping on to make cider. I usually can harvest enough to make around 100 – 150 litres a year. This year I tried my hand at some beer, and also some vegetable wines made from homegrown beetroot and empty pea pods. I make a lot more than I can comfortably drink, so there are always samples going. If anyone wants any, just ask! Just remember to bring me the bottles back so I can re-use them.

I also play guitar in my spare time and have played in several punk bands over the years and been lucky enough to tour the UK with them. I’ll probably pick this up again when the kids are a little older.

Tell us something most people don’t know about you?

For years I had a foot long mohawk haircut, but I cut it off to make myself look presentable for my job interview here.

What would we most likely find you doing on the weekend?

Being a dad!

Do you have any goals you would like to achieve for 2021?

Workwise, I would like the launch of the new range of diode lasers to be a success.

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