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Kenneth E. Kyte

Senior Scientist, Shave Care

Procter & Gamble

Member Since: 1992

Ohio Valley Chapter

What made you pursue a career in the cosmetics/personal care industry?

Happenstance actually.  I had just finished a contract position at Abbott Labs in North Chicago and was looking for a new job.  I happened to cold call a company called Hydrotech, which was a contract manufacturer whose main client was H2OPlus.  I started in QA, but within a week, I was asked to figure out why one of the H2OPlus products was turning green over time.  Once I solved that problem, I was given additional R&D projects to work on.  I’ve either done R&D or QA or both for every company I have worked for since.

What advice would you give your younger self who is just starting out in the industry? 
Follow your passions.  It doesn’t matter if you discover what that passion is early in life or later.  If you love what you do, then you’ll have a much happier and more successful career than if you take jobs for position, money or recognition.  The personal care industry is vast and there are positions to suit everybody, whether it’s working with consumers or studying bacteria or creating new to the world products or chemistries.  My wish for everyone is that they find themselves in a company or academic institute that allows them to explore what they are most passionate about.  In this day and age, it’s unlikely that you will stay with the same company for your entire career, so take chances and explore.

What is the favorite part of your job?

I love formulation and product development.  There are always new things to learn and new challenges/ problems to solve.  They say if you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life.  I am fortunate to have that type of job.  I also enjoy teaching people about chemistry and helping wherever I can to make it easier for people to do their jobs.

What has been your most recent professional accomplishment?

I measure my accomplishments in terms of the number of my products that make it out to the shelf and the number of people I can teach.  I’ve recently been working mostly on expanding The Art of Shaving brand by developing new chassis’ and line extensions.  Apart from that, I’ve been doing a lot of modeling and simulation work that was recently recognized by the company.

How has membership in the SCC been of value to you?

The main benefit I derive from being a member of the SCC is the networking opportunities with everyone in the industry and beyond.  These networks have afforded me the chance to learn new chemistries, methods and approaches that I have applied to my work over the years.  I consider a number of the folks associated with the SCC to be friends, some of whom I have known longer than many of my personal friends. The Suppliers Day event put on by the New York chapter each year has been one of the best sources for these networks and learning opportunities.  I’ve also enjoyed some of the Continuing Education courses the Society has offered over the years.

What is a fun fact about yourself, outside of the SCC and your professional life?

I like to travel, especially cruising.  My wife and I try to take at least one cruise a year, but we love to explore and are using our travels to figure out some of the places in the world that we would like to spend more time in once we retire.  One unsolicited piece of advice is to get out and travel when your young and healthy.  We see a lot of people who put off seeing the world until after they retire and find themselves unable to enjoy it as much had they done it when they were younger.