Living the dream while combating Covid-19

Biodx’s process engineer, Phola Kula, talks about the science of her dream job and how it is contributing to the fight against the pandemic.

Kula has made it a habit to overachieve in life. After successfully completing her chemical engineering degree at the University of Johannesburg, she found the perfect match after applying for a job at Biodx – a South African biotech company – at the age of 22.

Fast forward four years, she’s now an essential part of the company’s business and success, and found her dream job to boot.

“Yes, I’m one of ‘those’ people,” says Kula with an infectious smile. “I love my job, and it’s been such a privilege to be involved with Biodx. I’ve had the rare opportunity to learn from the ground up, starting with the basics of project planning, implementation and manufacturing.

“A point of pride for me is being able to assist in the global frontline of product development in Biodx’s quest to produce the world’s first 100 percent organic disinfectant. And the fact I’m making a real impact in the fight against Covid-19 with responsibility for manufacturing our current range of world-class disinfectants,” she says.

“It really doesn’t make sense that South African formulators, manufacturers and government are importing and buying old-school toxic active ingredients when they have a far superior product from Biodx on their doorstep here in South Africa.”

Finding the perfect chemistry 

Kula always had a particular passion for chemistry, choosing analytical chemistry initially and then moving towards engineering. As someone who has been fascinated by the world of science, joining Biodx fitted her diverse skills and interests perfectly, as she gets to wear many hats in the process engineering space while growing in other directions too.

“Although I mainly do process engineering work, I’m also involved in production and compliance to meet SABS standards,” she explains.

“The best part of my job is that I’m constantly learning new things from my colleagues and even new suppliers, who share their knowledge with me. My knowledge base expands all the time and that’s what I look forward to each day. And now, with Biodx encouraging me, I’ve also completed a PDBA (Post Graduate Diploma in Business Administration) and enrolled for my Masters in Management.”

Looking ahead 

Kula is a dreamer with big plans for the future, and as the world opens up new doors every day, learning remains her focus.

“I believe that life is a continuous learning curve. You can never know everything, and it’s so important to grab every opportunity to master new things wherever you can,” she says. “I’m determined to learn as much as possible to better equip myself for business management. I look forward to one day being able to implement things and be instrumental in decision making.”

For this young, dynamic up-and-comer, the hardhat is just the beginning. Kula is definitely one to watch, as she continues to engineer her way to the top.

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