Alumna Profile: Amanda Josey ’08
Fifteen years ago, Amanda was still investigating Solid State Chemistry systems under the supervision of Prof. Jim Martin. Here is where she is now.
Challenge and Culture Oriented
Dr. Amanda Josey has been a Director of Strategic Sourcing at Honeywell since June 2020 after working for BASF for twelve years. In her position, Amanda leads the area of chemical raw material procurement for Honeywell International’s Fluorine Products business, a market leader in refrigerants and blowing agents. She is responsible for leading a team of procurement professionals, who purchase nearly a billion dollars of chemical supply globally. What she loves about her job are the close relationships she builds with customers and suppliers, while giving her the opportunity to solve the challenges her role presents globally.
I appreciate the fact that I was exposed to an international community in the Chemistry program at NC State.
Dr. Amanda Josey
Ph.D. in Chemistry, 2008
“I think the scope of my current role is incredibly exciting,” Amanda says. “You can imagine the challenge to move raw materials between China, India, Japan, Mexico, Europe, the Middle East, and the US during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. The amazing chemical innovations at Honeywell allow me the opportunity to work with suppliers to build new raw material production plants in order to create the supply needed to manufacture these products. I am using different cultural styles of negotiation, which has been a huge learning experience that also brings me so much joy when I am able to find a win-win solution. I appreciate the fact I was exposed to an international community in the Chemistry program at NC State,” she adds. “I learned a lot about other cultures which helped me succeed throughout my career; in leading global teams that required me to influence folks from different backgrounds, and in order to understand the best way to collaborate and accomplish great things together.”
The Chemistry Graduate Program
Q: Why did you choose the Chemistry Graduate Program?
A: For me, starting off as a new Graduate Student at NC State, the Chemistry Department provided many opportunities to get to know the professors during the process. I was really drawn to the mathematics and physics side of chemistry. Dr. Martin had a lot of exciting projects in the works in this space. He personally reached out to me during the early months of being in the program and encouraged me to learn about his group’s research. It was a great match of interesting, innovative work as well as an amazing group of graduate students that welcomed me and made me feel like part of the Martin group family. That’s what led me to join his group.
Q: What did you enjoy most about the Chemistry Graduate program?
A: Navigating the journey to a Ph.D. degree is quite an intense and rewarding experience. What I enjoyed the most besides the scientific work, was the “chemistry” both between the people in our group as well as in the greater body of Chemistry graduate students. In the Martin group, we did a lot of projects where we had to travel together to national labs, and that allowed us to really get to know one another and experience a much greater exposure to scientific research alongside both academic- and industry-leading researchers.
Amanda adds: “Due to Dr. Martin’s diligent grant writing, we often had the privilege to travel to national labs to do our research using synchrotron and neutron beams to study chemical structures at the molecular level. After arriving at the labs, we typically split into teams and assigned ourselves times to collect data, since we had only a few days and needed to run our experiments 24 hours a day. Some days my team would get the night shift – and we really got to know each other’s personalities after working all night together. I would say one of the outcomes of these trips was I earned the nickname “Demanda,” which makes me laugh thinking of the memories working in that amazing team. In particular, the support of Dr. Jaap Folmer, who was our postgraduate researcher, will always bring great memories. Dr. Folmer took me under his wing and really helped me push through the interpretation of the data we collected on those trips with his astounding ability to bring clarity to a lot of “fuzzy” numbers. His humor, incredible wit and love for playing “devil’s advocate” kept us laughing in even the most difficult of times. In the process of getting our work done and finalized, we had a lot of fun, earned nicknames from each other (that I will never tell), had a lot of laughs, and got a lot of fantastic scientific data to help further the research of the Martin Group.”
Building Long-Term Relationships
“NC State opened the path for me to interview for the BASF Leadership Development Program,” Amanda explains. “And through that process, BASF became the first company I worked for right after graduation. I maintained relationships with my classmates, starting off in my career. I was lucky to have a mentorship with Dr. Tashni Dubroy (class of 2007), who was a year ahead of me in the program at BASF. In addition, I stay in touch with several other colleagues who live in and out of my home state of New Jersey, and we get together every few months to catch up. Dr. Lucas Marks (class of 2005) is my neighbor and former colleague at BASF. Dr. Steve McCall (class of 2006) and I worked for BASF on delegation in Germany for several years. And I had the privilege of hiring Dr. Elke Feese (class of 2011) into my team when I was responsible for BASF’s Mobile Emission Catalyst product management team. Those relationships have stuck with me for the last fifteen years. We are always there to help each other, from personal support to career development.”
Q: Who were the most influential people for you at NC State?
A: I would say, first and foremost, Dr. Martin. When I reflect on my time working with him, the thing that sticks out the most is his innate curiosity about science. It is not only just chemistry-related but broadly about science and nature. I have reflected on his curiosity many times in my career, which has helped me to push through challenges, for example, when I get a “no” for an answer. By thinking of Dr. Martin’s curiosity, I have found ways to remain curious and alter my perspective to a different way to present or propose my ideas that more often than not, turn that no into a yes!
Dr. Tashni Dubroy, who was two years ahead of me in the program, is another influential person to me. I met her in my orientation, and we just clicked and grew a great relationship. Her warm personality, combined with her fearless spirit, is an inspiration to me. Just watching what she has achieved now as EVP and COO of Howard University are inspiring. Whenever I feel the need to be more courageous and confident, I just think of her – because that’s what she does. For example, when presented the opportunity to become a strategic sourcing leader for Honeywell, I was nervous because it was completely new for me. However, because I have great friends and mentors like Tashni that inspire me, I believed in myself and landed the role with confidence (and also with the kind help of Dr. Lucas Marks and his amazing wife Sandy, both procurement professionals, who mentored me through the interview preparation).
Q: How did NC State prepare you for your career?
A: I had many external opportunities within the Martin Group at NC State and a lot of exposure to different cultures, backgrounds, and personalities who all were following the pursuit of science. The Chemistry Graduate students had the opportunity to work together in a larger international community on a daily basis. Additionally, Dr. Martin would encourage his students to attend conferences and interact with many graduate students from all over the world. NC State prepared me well to be open and work on building relationships with a broad and diverse community.
“Never limit what you want to do with your career. Always work hard and be curious and fearless.”
Q: Do you have any advice for our current and future chemistry students?
A: I would say: “Never limit what you want to do with your career. Always work hard and be curious and fearless. Reach out to the extended network of NC State Alum. I am proud to be part of that network and happy to help my fellow Chemistry Department graduate students and alum increase their network, discuss career development in industry or in general. Midway through my time at NC State, I had to make a very tough decision about whether I wanted to do academia or industry. I am grateful for the advice that my network at NC State gave me. As advice to all the current and future students, you have a vast network and community of NC State grads. Reach out to them! If there’s anything we can do to help you get your desired career, don’t hesitate to contact us.”
“I would be remiss if I did not mention my first influence in attending NC State University: my husband Chad Josey (College of Engineering, class of 1995),” Amanda added. He is a tremendous influence on my life and career and has been my biggest cheerleader. During the 5 years, I spent in the department of Chemistry, he was so excited to be closely connected to campus again, and of course, to have full access to all the Wolfpack events.”
“I want to give a big thank you to the Department of Chemistry at NC State University! I am honored by your curiosity as to what I have been up to and humbled that you asked me to participate in this interview. I was able to start my career because of a significant connection between NC State and industry which allowed me to interview for the BASF Leadership Development Program. I had a lot of support from the alum network too. So, thank you, Department of Chemistry, for helping me take off my career. I really appreciate it.”