Welcome to The Vital Life where we spotlight Vital Proteins® employees. This week, Technical Manager for Research & Development, Erick Walts, gives us a look inside his workday.
Lively: Thanks for sharing your day with us! To kick things off, can you tell us about what you do at Vital Proteins and what you enjoy about your role?
Erick Walts: Do you sit there and wonder what the science actually says about your favorite product at Vital Proteins? That's what I get to work on every day at Vital. I am the Technical Manager for Research and Development at Vital Proteins. My team and I oversee the technical aspects for every product we have here at Vital — from the individual ingredients all the way to perfecting each label for the final product. My team and I touch every part of the product from ideation, to products on the shelf, and beyond. My favorite part of my role is that I get to research each ingredient and develop the language on the labels to describe all of the benefits of our products. I love that I am involved in the science behind all of our products each day and get to share that science with others. I am responsible for ensuring that any claims made are fully supported, and that all of our products are accurately tested by our awesome Quality Team. No two days are ever the same for me at Vital and I love it!
L: Walk us through your morning routine – how has it changed (or not) since staying home?
EW: I try to wake up no later than 7:30 a.m. each morning, so that I have plenty of time to make coffee and spend a few moments with my dog and amazing wife before she starts remote teaching (she’s a high school Spanish teacher). Around 8:30 a.m., I head down the hall to my home office that we created to start checking Slacks and emails. We try our best to spend a part of our morning together before we are glued to the computer until lunch. I usually add a scoop of Original Collagen Peptides to my coffee or lately, I have been using and loving the Vital Proteins x @ShutTheKaleUp Crystallized Coffee + Collagen Peptides stick packs! After my first few meetings, I then try to make a quick breakfast if I have time! When I am in the office, I'll usually grab a Vital Performance™ Vanilla Coconut Protein Bar for breakfast – it's my favorite flavor!
L: Where have you been getting inspiration for projects or tasks you might be working on throughout the day?
EW: My awesome team inspires me each day by the work they put in at Vital. I look forward to waking up and working with them; it is absolutely rewarding. During the day, I listen to records to keep a clear head and stay motivated. I have a varied music style and switch it up each day by listening to albums straight through. My inspiration album to help me focus and power through big projects is It Still Moves by My Morning Jacket.
L: Lunchtime! What’s your plan?
EW: Lunchtime is always hectic around my house. Depending on my schedule for the day, sometimes we eat at 11 a.m. and sometimes at 2 p.m.! If I can step away from Zoom calls, I will eat some lunch and play with my dog as a mental break between meetings. On days that my wife and I have lunch together, we will make something at home or treat ourselves to a quick/local take-out option.
L: You're hitting your mid-afternoon slump. How do you re-energize your afternoon?
EW: My go-to in the afternoon is a Lemon Slice Collagen Water™ or adding a stick pack of our Hydration** + Collagen in Lemon Lime to water. I also try to take a 15- to 20-minute mental break. I shut my computer, walk around and stretch to recharge myself. When the weather is nice, I will throw a ball around in our backyard with my dog, Leo, or we will go for a walk around the neighborhood.
L: How have you been practicing #wellnessfromhome these days?
EW: My #wellnessfromhome practice usually revolves around physical activity. Some days it is the physical workout of building/remodeling our house and other days, it is taking some Vital Performance™ PRE in Watermelon Blueberry before hopping on the Peloton for a ride. I try to ride or lift at least three times per week.
Favorite Podcast? NBA Locked on Daily Pacers Podcast and, recently, The Oral History of The Office.
Favorite Workout? Hopping on my Peloton for a ride.
Favorite Binge Worthy Show? I can never get enough of The Office, I also like The Wire and Criminal Minds.
Favorite Vital Proteins Product? Vital Performance™ Vanilla Coconut Protein Bar, Lemon Slice Collagen Water™ and Hydration** + Collagen in Lemon Lime.