As a company, Malvern is always striving to be a source of current information as well as a partner in helping our customers perform accurate particle analysis.  We take pride in that, but everybody needs a break now and then.  I’m Kristen Wilkinson, and I recently joined the Malvern Instruments team early this year as the Digital Marketing Specialist for the Americas and I am now eagerly anticipating the approaching holiday season at the office.

There are a lot of different company activities that I have experienced at other jobs, but some of the traditions at Malvern are pretty unique.  There is a plaque in our kitchen of “Musical Chairs Champions” and coming up at the end of this month, we will be having a chili cook-off.  It will be on Halloween and not only will we have judges tasting our chili, they will also be judging our costumes.  Surprised?  Let’s be honest; all of our employees have vast knowledge and talent for particle sizing, but there are a lot of other hidden talents that we can pull out of our sleeves for the honor and glory of being a winner.

I had to do my research before deciding what my costume was going to be.  Even though I am the newest addition to this office, I fully intend to win this contest on both fronts—costume and chili.  At Malvern, we are pretty competitive.  I asked about the previous chili cook-offs and was not prepared for the different dramatic stories that followed.  One year there was a dispute of whether or not it was allowed to have condiments served with the chili (very scandalous—the dispute has not yet been resolved).

There is also a pretty handy archive of photos from different years of the costumes people sported.  I have to say that I was pretty impressed by some of the costumes (namely, John Rodolewicz as Colonel Sanders of the well-known American fried chicken establishment, KFC).

John Rodolewicz
John Rodolewicz as Colonel Sanders

Needless to say, I have my game face on and know what costume I will be wearing for the win, and which chili recipe I will make.  Since I can’t divulge my secret now, I’ll at least give you some great pictures of past Halloween chili contests to enjoy.  If you also like a challenge, why don’t you use your Malvern equipment to characterize a sample of something that fits within the Halloween theme?  We’d love to hear what you come up with – the more creative, the better!  Send us your best sample story and we’ll share them with everyone!  Happy Halloween!

From left to right: Nejea Davis, Brian Dutko, Eric Maw, Josemar Castillo, Maria Lightfoot, Dave Peisel
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