Meet the yet2 Team – Hayden Hodges
This is one in a series of blog posts where we highlight members of the global yet2 team. We recently spoke with Hayden Hodges, project leader based out of our Nottingham, UK office.
How many years have you been at yet2?
I’m one of the newer team members here at yet2 so my time is measured in months and not years yet! I began full-time in September 2021 so I’m still the newbie around the office.
What industry or technology interests or excites you the most right now?
As a lot of my colleagues have noted in previous articles, sustainability is also a big interest and passion of mine. What’s great about a lot of our clients is that they are actively seeking new materials, technologies, and ideas that can make their products, devices, or systems of thought more sustainable and environmentally focused. One project in particular is highly interesting to me in this space. Currently, we’re looking to find novel bio-based polymers for use in footwear. The footwear industry is extremely reliant on petrochemicals; however, this client wants to break that dependency by switching to a high bio-based content material. Adding more depth to this theme of sustainability, our client is focused on biomaterials from feedstocks not in competition with the food industry. While this adds more complexity to our scouting, we see the future benefit as 100% worth it.
What type of client engagements do you enjoy the most?
While I’m still encountering new types of engagement and learning the ins of each, I really enjoy the bread and butter of our services which is presenting leads and potential solutions to our clients. The scouting aspect of my day is really enjoyable, but I find presenting just the right lead in the appropriate way a fulfilling challenge. There’s so much to learn during these client interactions as you can surprise with unexpected finds but also learn from not so successful targets. Interaction with our clients here really helps drive our iterative process to improve the scouting efforts for the next meeting. Plus, it’s really enjoyable to speak with our clients about topics they are passionate and knowledgeable about.
Do you have any book recommendations?
This year I’ve focused on getting back into reading as my PhD was finishing up. Recently, I’ve been really drawn to nature writing, with a specific focus on agriculture and sustainability. Some recent titles I’ve enjoyed include The Salt Path and The Wild Silence by Raynor Winn, The Shepherd’s Life by James Rebanks, and Entangled Life by Merlin Sheldrake. Entangled Life is a fascinating account of the world of mushrooms and fungi and how these relatively understudied/overlooked organisms may be the bio-material of the future. I’m currently reading James Rebanks’ second book – English Pastoral.
Are there any areas/topics in which you consider yourself an expert?
My PhD will say I’m an expert in Chemical and Biological Engineering, however, this is more applicable to enzyme biochemistry and agriculture as my studies revolved around the use of enzymes to supplement animal feed (pigs, chickens). I also studied clinical biochemistry and the mechanisms of Alzheimer’s disease in my Master’s so am happy when working with life science topics in general. While I can’t say I’m a full “expert” on these topics, I enjoy learning more and more about them as research continues and publications bring new findings to light.
What do you do when you are not working?
Outside of work, I enjoy getting outside and staying active. Most often this takes the form of running. I’ve been a runner since I was a younger teenager and have since transitioned to long-distance running having completed a few marathons and an ultra-marathon. However, I live right next to a river and nature reserve so really enjoy walks with my wife and our new puppy Wendy, a rescue from Romania. When inside due to the lovely English weather, I really enjoy reading (honestly any topic will do) and baking sourdough bread and pizza.