10:00 AM, 12 January 2018

Reflections of the first week from our new CEO Dr Troy Coyle

I'm very excited to have just finished my first week in the role of HERA CEO and I can report that I'm loving it so far!

It’s clear that the team is very energetic and enthusiastic about serving our members and have many great ideas they’re keen to implement in 2018. And, I’m really looking forward to announcing some of these exciting projects moving forward.

With Wolfgang retiring, we’re very lucky that he’s agreed to stay on and “train me up”, as well as continue to assist with some key programs such as delivery of the SFC. We didn’t know what his official title should be so we’re sticking with “Director Emeritus.”

Obviously, I have big shoes to fill. You only have to read our history to understand what an important role we’ve played within New Zealand.

Not just in the heavy engineering industry but also in the manufacturing sector more broadly. And of course, Wolfgang is an entrenched (and much loved and respected) part of that history.

While familiarising myself with HERA’s rich past, I realised it’s the 40th anniversary of our incorporation this year. To that end, we’re arranging a historical review and celebration (please refer to our Executive Chairman Mike Lehan’s invitation which will come next week) and we hope you’ll be able to join us for that walk down memory lane.

I’ve already met a number of our members, either through interactions with the HERA Executive, Metals Industry Conferences or through my former role with New Zealand Steel. However, I’m also planning to get around to as many of you as quickly as I can so I get to better understand your requirements of HERA and your businesses as well.

I’ve been involved with HERA for the past four and a half years (ish), as an Executive member and most recently as Deputy Chair. I’m not an Engineer, but a Scientist with training also in Journalism/Communications. I’d best describe myself as an Innovation/Research Leader who has worked in steel-based research for some time now.

My most recent role was as Head of Innovation and Product Development for NZ Steel and prior to that I was Manager of Coated Product Development and Open Innovation Manager for BlueScope Steel. Before that, I worked a lot with the steel industry through my role as Director of Commercial Research at the University of Wollongong (where the Australian Steel Hub and Sustainable Building Research Centres are head-quartered and formerly the CRC for Welded Structures, BlueScope Steel Metallurgy Centre and CRC for Energy Pipelines). I’ve also held innovation policy and program delivery roles with the Commonwealth Government in Australia.

I have a passion for bringing innovative ideas to market and transforming industry through innovation and product development. My particular passion is sustainability.

I also like to challenge the status quo and  believe my name has equipped me well for challenging stereotypes! I remember once visiting a customer, who upon first meeting “Dr Troy Coyle” disappointingly said “Oh, I thought you’d be a man,” later adding “I thought you’d be an Engineer,” topping it off with “I also thought you’d be older!”

I truly believe 2018 will be an exciting year for HERA. So, stay tuned for upcoming announcements on project outcomes the team have been working on.

Until then, I look forward to meeting you all. And, if needed please do feel free to contact me if you have any urgent feedback you’d like to provide.