2018 has been a big year for HERA.

Firstly, we had a change of leadership from Wolfgang Scholz to myself – HERA’s first ever female CEO! We also had the retirement of our longest serving employee, Peter Hayward.

At the same time, we recruited two new team members; Musarrat Begum as our new Information Services Officer and Rob Ryan as our new Senior Welding Engineer.

Our Research Engineer, Holger Heinzel, also gained his IIW International Welding Engineer qualification this year – expanding our technical capabilities available to our membership.

This year we also reached a major milestone – celebrating 40 years of HERA. As a team, we developed HERA values to cement our intentions and new direction, and lead our thinking on how our industry could become more innovative, deconstruct risk, embrace exponential technology, and support innovation research.

CEO Dr Troy Coyle.

From an administrative perspective, we welcomed Jennifer Hart to our HERA Executive and ushered in a change with how we’ll be selecting 2019’s research focuses through our panel projects process. This is a new initiative we’re trialling to increase engagement across all of our membership, as well as be more transparent with the way our levy is utilised for the benefit of industry.


Driving quality and helping industry have the right skills for their needs

This year our welding team undertook the huge task of assessing what their value proposition for industry was. This enabled them to demonstrate a return on investment of $24 for every dollar of levy income they receive.

Through this funding we drove a number of key activities in 2018 to improve technical competence. This included the welding qualification standard ISO 9606.1:2012 being adopted as AS/NZS ISO 9606.1:2017, and facilitating the very popular “Design for joint strength, fatigue, and fracture resistance in welded connections” seminar series presented by Professor Pingsha Dong.  Our team also reached more than 140 industry professionals to share vital welding standards updates in a series of seminars held throughout Aotearoa.

These were all positive deliverables to help develop, meet and maintain high industry standards through quality and educational support.


Supporting our members to succeed locally & abroad

Our structural systems team continued to assist industry through their consultancy and FEA offerings. This year they supported our members Steel and Tube with the development of the Comflor SR product.

We also played a pivotal research role in confirming the strong performance of steel in the Kaikoura earthquake to help New Zealand communities recognise that NZ fabricated steel products are the best and safest material choice for our seismic environment.

We also took steps to investigate how light steel gauge framing for multi-storey buildings can help solve the Auckland housing crisis in collaboration with NASH and BRANZ. For us, research like this is especially important, because it helps demonstrate how steel is a surprisingly cost-competitive choice. We see this proven in the LSF system, where it’s pre-fabricated component units minimises on-site processes to reduce buildability costs.

Supporting and celebrating innovation for long term success

Innovation Development is charged with futureproofing our industry by creating long term sustainability. A key initiative towards this goal is the kick off of our Innovation READY program, which included international guest speakers such as Justin Wilcox. We also contributed a lot of thinking to assist with innovation adoption.

As thought leaders and industry leaders, we’re proud to have been the first industry to assess our economic contribution using Treasury’s Living Standards framework.  We comissioned BERL to deliver a report which in the end showed that our metals industry is a strong contributor to the NZ economy and the living standards of New Zealanders. The challenge for our industry is now to use the LSF terminology when communicating with our customers, stakeholders, MPs and the general public to ensure New Zealanders understand the importance of metals to our economy, and how metals make a difference to their lives – both current and future.


Facilitating connection, collaboration and knowledge sharing within our sector

Our membership services and support team has been focused on delving deeper into membership value and services. We launched our online library just last month as part of our digital journey to facilitate connection, collaboration and knowledge sharing for our NZ metals industry.

Through our marketing and communications division we’ve run a number of communication campaigns to increase awareness of key industry challenges and projects that show true innovation and ingenuity.

Our most successful campaign being our Women in Engineering showcase which profiled successful women in our industry and the importance of diversity in the workplace such as Modern Construction QS Estimator & QA Assistant, Reem Soliman, McConnell Dowell Business Development Manager, Grace Schaefer and many more.

Excitingly, we’ve done a lot of work on our digital platforms, launching our new look, user friendly website www.hera.org.nz, as well as a YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram account. We also went digital on our Annual Report.

These steps have been a big change for our team and the way we’ve traditionally talked to our stakeholders – but it has been a fantastic move that ensures we’re keeping up with the times and remaining relevant in what has fast become a digital world. In 2019 – we’ll certainly be encouraging our members to take similar steps if they want to remain competitive and up to date with the latest trends and changes as they unfold.

And that’s 2018 in a snapshot!


From the HERA team, we wish you a safe and well deserved break!