Meet the  NSW Group Chairs
November 2021


Daniel Slee

Chair of the NSW Analytical and Environmental Group



Hello RACI members,

I’m Danny Slee and I am the newly elected chair of the NSW Analytical and Environmental Chemistry Group.  I am a practicing chemist with a long history of working and managing environmental testing laboratories.  In this article, I will describe my journey as a chemist from the dim past of the1980s to the present.


I graduated in 1988 from the University of Queensland with an interest in synthetic organic chemistry.  I started my career as a technician at the Department of Primary Industries laboratory in Yeerongpilly in Brisbane.  At the time, the laboratory was very busy analysing hundreds of beef fat samples for organochlorine pesticides (e.g. DDT and dieldrin).  At that time, the USA had banned Australian meat due to some pesticide violations and the Australian government responded by initiating a substantial testing program to test beef consignments prior to export.  The job was a great introduction to rapid testing under pressure!


My next job was as a laboratory technician at the Australian Laboratory Services (ALS) in Brisbane.  In the early 1990s, ALS was mostly supporting the mining industry with metals testing and was only just dipping its toe into environmental testing.  My role was testing for trace level organics and the main focus at that time was testing soils and waters for hydrocarbons, pesticides, herbicides and industrial pollutants.  In the mid 1990s, I was transferred to Sydney where ALS was just starting a new facility.  I moved through the ranks then ran the organics section at ALS and then got a new job at Australian Government Analytical Laboratories (AGAL) at Pymble.  In 2004, AGAL was merged with the National Measurement Laboratories (part of CSIRO) and the National Standards Commission to become the National Measurement Institute.  The Pymble laboratories were relocated to North Ryde in 2012.  I am now the acting Operations Manager for the Analytical Services Branch, NMI.


A large part of my career has been working in a laboratory, testing environmental samples for trace level organics which is my passion.  I enjoy the challenge of trying to detect trace organics and I have a special affinity for chromatography and mass spectrometry.  My role as Operations Manager is a definite change but I am enjoying it.  I still use a bit of my chemistry but I now spend a lot more time interacting with a wide selection of government and private clients.  I enjoy talking with clients and harnessing the NMI to try and solve client’s measurement challenges.


Finally, just a note about the RACI NSW Environmental and Analytical Chemistry Group.  We are a friendly group of chemists with special interest in topical subjects around analytical and environmental chemistry.  Our group meets monthly and regularly organises seminars/webinars and symposia.  We organise events that help promote analytical and environmental issues, for example, the healthy waterways seminar series focussing on Australia’s precious water resources.  We also enjoy supporting students, such as the upcoming Honours and Masters Student Presentation Evening.  Feel free to join our group to promote analytical and environmental chemistry, but also interact and socially network with our members.  I can be contacted at [email protected].