Charonjeet (CJ) GuronBy Jo Napolitano • June 29, 2015
Charanjeet (CJ) S. Guron, technology manager at Argonne, came to the U.S. in 1991 as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Tennessee. A married father of two, he joined the lab in 2013.
What is your role at Argonne?
As a technology manager, my job is to build partnerships with companies, entrepreneurs, investors and funding agencies that support Argonne’s research and help commercialize the laboratory's technologies. It’s a fascinating line of work, but it’s not a first stop for most people. I didn’t start in this field until I was 40. I’m a former scientist who transitioned into technology commercialization and business development after business school.
Does the lab allow a work-life balance?
Yes, it does. Argonne allows limited telecommuting and provides tools to make that possible. Also, the lab provides numerous avenues for socializing with co-workers through myriad on-site clubs and activities. Employees can join the choral group, gardening club, etc. This is my third summer gardening at Argonne. Moreover, everyone is cheerful here and ready to engage in discussions and projects with you. It's a fun place to work.
Does the lab have family friendly policies?
Argonne has been great for my family. My daughter, Hersha, 22, studies chemistry and Japanese language at the University of Minnesota. My son, Manu, who is 15, plays the cello. I’m permitted to work from home — usually two days a month — and I schedule that around my youngest child’s needs. Manu plays in the school orchestra and studies music privately. He’s been practicing since he was seven years old and loves Beethoven. Argonne has afforded me the chance to attend many of his concerts. Also, I’m a co-mentor to his robotics team. That might have been difficult for me if I worked somewhere else with less flexibility. It's important for me to remain engaged at work and at home and Argonne helps me do this.
Does Argonne allow you mentoring opportunities?
At Argonne I am blessed to be surrounded by people who want me to succeed. Here at the lab, I’ve had a positive, welcoming experience with my colleagues. My supervisor, the division director and many others have an open door policy for questions and are always willing to discuss new ideas. I have benefitted tremendously from this. In terms of opportunities to mentor others, I work with many people outside my office who are eager to learn from my past experiences, which is highly rewarding for me and for them. I also work with the Chicago Innovation Mentors as a project manager, which has helped me improve my knowledge of entrepreneurship and venture development.
What makes Argonne different from any other place you have worked?
Argonne offers a collaborative environment for its researchers, who come here from all over the world to take advantage of what's offered here. Adding to this, the lab’s own research teams are pulled together from multiple divisions and from several areas of research. Scientists don't toil in isolation here. The people who work at Argonne go well beyond their own expertise to collaborate with each other. It’s because of this, at least in part, that the technologies developed here at the lab can be created better, faster and closer to the needs of the end users, right from the start. People here are encouraged to work together. As a result, the research conducted here can be brought to the public more readily.
What would you like to tell people about the lab if they are considering a job here?
Argonne has an incredible postdoc research program that draws people from across the globe. The lab gives young scientists a chance to work with some of the most brilliant and innovative minds in their fields. It’s definitely something they find very attractive. Between the funding levels and the range of projects, their horizons are widened beyond the scope of just one subject. People like coming to work here and that's important.