blair-brownAnother article in our Getting to Know series

When it comes to careers, third time's the charm for Blair Brown.

The senior regulatory specialist recently admitted she once had her heart set on a career in the bakery and pastry arts ... that is, until she found herself in the training kitchen and realized that wasn't for her.

She enrolled in the food science program at the University of Delaware, planning to use her degree to pursue work as a flavor chemist. She started working with a certified flavor chemist. "As a lab technician, I was in the lab by myself with a bunch of chemicals all day long—not for me," remembers Blair. Luckily, she was able to transfer to a regulatory job in the same company and found her niche. "Regulatory work is like detective work and very interesting to me. I was able to use my food science degree and I enjoyed the work and the responsibility."

Four years ago, Blair joined TIC Gums, and a typical day may find her answering e-mails from international suppliers, participating in a monthly plant walk-through with the company food safety team, or working with R&D, engineering, and procurement staff on new products. Also on her schedule are calls with the sales team and customers, who may ask whether certain food gums can be used in certain finished products, or whether a new product has been added to the company's kosher certificate.

"I get to touch all aspects of the business, from manufacturing to approving raw materials to messaging on product packaging. We focus on regulations and standards, including US and international regulations, since we are a global enterprise." A current focus is the newly enacted Food Safety Modernization Act, the most sweeping reform of food safety laws in more than 70 years. Blair and her colleagues are responsible for familiarizing themselves with new regulations and applying them to TIC Gums' range of products and operating procedures.