Story // 10.04.2019

A day in the life of Margarita Negrete Rodríguez

In “A day in the life” SEKISUI employees from all over Europe are portrayed in their daily working life. This time Margarita Negrete Rodríguez from SEKISUI SPECIALTY CHEMICALS EUROPE in Tarragona provides insights into her day-to-day work and personal life.

Margarita Negrete Rodríguez, 47 years old, is working for SEKISUI SPECIALTY CHEMICALS EUROPE since 24 years. Currently, she operates as a lab leader. In her free time she loves to dive. Her hobby has already taken her to various places like Indonesia, Malaysia, Egypt, Honduras or the Philippines. Out of the water she enjoys spending her time with her husband and four-year-old son. Together they go skating or hiking in the mountains. Just recently they have returned from their joint skiing holiday. They live in Tarragona, where also the rest of Margarita’s family has settled down.

Margarita with her family.

Becoming a lab leader

As a kid she has always known that she likes laboratory work. Hence, after finishing school she studied chemistry with a focus on laboratory work in the industrial sector. After graduation, she started working at the plant in Tarragona as an intern at the age of 23. Upon completion of her internship she took a job offer in the maintenance division. Only nine months later she returned to the laboratory. There, Margarita was doing analysis for a couple of years. More and more tasks and responsibilities were assigned to her over time until she finally was in charge of the laboratory herself.

Working in the laboratory.


Nowadays she leads a team of five persons. While four analysts doing analysis of process and final product in shift work, one person is concerned with new product development and customer complaints in normal shift. Despite the small number the team varies in age and experience. “On the one hand there are two men who have been working here since 20 years. On the other hand two young women joint the team two years ago because another two have retired.”

New challenges and routine tasks

What she likes most about her job is the development of new products. “We are receiving the recipes for our new products from the technology centre in the USA. Nevertheless, we are still an active part in the development of new products for industrial production. And that is highly satisfying.” The focus on developing new products has been made possible through the takeover by SEKISUI in 2009. “Since 2009 our key of production has moved to the field of specialities leaving aside standard products. That’s a good thing, because you step out of your daily routine and meet new challenges.”

Polyvinyl Alcohol (raw material for the windscreen film of cars) and a microscope for Cover Ratio Analysis.


But, of course, Margarita’s everyday working life is based on routines as well. Apart from special tasks, her work day is quite normal, with periodic routines such as reviewing the process or final product analysis. “We manufacture polyvinyl alcohol which is used in different fields of application like the textile or paper sector. However, we mainly produce a degree of polyvinyl alcohol, which is used by another company of SEKISUI as raw material for windscreen film of cars.”

The start of a typical working day

On a typical working day Margarita’s father arrives at her place at 7.00 a.m. He wakes up her son and takes him to Jigsaw British School. Margarita drives to work by car within 10 minutes and typically arrives at 7.30 a.m. at the plant site. First of all she reviews the papers that the analysts have left at her table with analyses made the day before. Then she meets up with Elena, Technical Assistant in the Laboratory since three years, to schedule the work that has to be done during the day.

Elena and Margarita preparing the day.


With this information Margarita attends the daily plant meeting at 9.00 a.m. There, employees of various departments, such as production, maintenance security or environment, meet to comment on how the plant has been during the previous 24 hours. “As we are few people, we have a lot of interactions between departments. For example, I often exchange ideas with Pedro on production-related issues. But I am also in contact with Luis Miguel or Juan Carlos for maintenance issues.”

Certificate of KAIZEN event in 2010.


On the wall of the meeting room is a certificate of the 2010 KAIZEN meeting. “At the PVOH (polyvinyl alcohol) plant we have been implementing KAIZEN since 2010. We also have a KAIZEN Commission for which I am responsible. The team, that represented Tarragona in the European competition 2010, reached the second place.”

Coffee makes the world go round

At the end of the meeting Margarita goes to the coffee machine, which is located in the same building several steps downstairs. There she meets with colleagues from different departments. “The coffee machine is a bit like a meeting place. Usually all people who attended the plant meeting go down here to grab a cup of coffee.” A vending machine also embellish the room. “It has an incredible healthy offering,” jokes one of the companions. “You can buy chocolates of all kinds. But, of course, nobody, including myself, is using it. That’s why the machine is always nearly empty.”

Margarita and Juan Carlos having a talk at the coffee machine.

Meeting with Iñaki

After the short break Margarita returns to her working place and checks her emails. She meets her superior, Iñaki, daily to discuss various issues. Until lunch, Margarita works off her daily tasks. She goes to the canteen together with her colleagues at 1.00 p.m. “When the weather is lousy, we take the car. When it’s good, my colleague Gloria and I go to the canteen by foot. It’s a 15 to 20 minutes walk. My favourite meal there is called ‘Espardeña’. It’s a traditional Catalan dish. Peppers and aubergines roasted with anchovies on top of a slice of toasted bread with tomato.”

Margarita checking her emails after the plant meeting.

Family time after work

Margarita returns to her working place at 2.00 p.m. In the afternoon she continues with her daily tasks, attends meetings and plans upcoming activities. “My working day ends at 5.00 p.m.” At home, her son is waiting for her, who comes from school at 4.30 pm. “My parents take care of my son until I get home. In the evening and at the weekends I like to spend my time with my family. But I also enjoy a good read. At the moment I am reading “Historia de un canalla” by Julia Navarro. I really like her writing style.”

Margarita spending time with her son.