Last Friday, HERA celebrated our 40 year anniversary as the metals-based industry’s research association. Also officially thanking outgoing Director Dr Wolfgang Scholz for his many contributions.

It was a momentous occasion, well attended by over 100 people made up of our Executive Board, current and former staff, members and key stakeholders coming from across New Zealand, Australia and even Antartica!

The night was a celebration as we retold stories, remembered our humble beginnings and networked with industry colleagues.

Our association began with the support of the Heavy Engineering Levy Act and founding Chairman Keith Smith. The aim being to help our industry navigate its way through a testing industrial environment in the late 70’s.

So, it was a great privilege to have his wife Jean Smith in attendance to mark this occasion – particularly given this mandate continues to drive us as we come face to face with new challenges and disruptions.

We’re proud to have been able to celebrate this wonderful milestone. One that was made more poignant with the combined acknowledgement of our retiring Director Dr Wolfgang Scholz. A man who over the past 17 years at the helm has become innately entwined into the fabric of our work and direction.

Our CEO Troy Coyle reflected on the night saying, “Wolfgang has been an instrumental part of our history, and he took the opportunity to take us through an entertaining trip down memory lane. There was a lot of laughter, and I am sure a lot of sadness too, as memories were shared.”

“For me personally, I had two highlights. The first being the handover of the Toki Poutangata as a symbol of leadership given from one HERA CEO to the other, since Gavin Fletcher. And the second being a discussion with Jean Smith where she revealed that Keith (a legend in HERA’s history) would have been pleased to see a woman in the CEO role. Both of these gave me a real sense of connection to HERA’s history.”

“We’re really lucky to work in such a united industry, with strong friendships underlying business relationships.” she said.

Our Executive Chairman Mike Lehan added to this sentiment saying “Wolfgang held the audience captive in true German fashion as he shared his experiences of the last 31 years at HERA.”

“Emotions were high when he handed over of the baton to Troy. Even more so, because his passion for the metals industry and the people that he has touched and influenced along the way will not be forgotten. He will be missed by all.”

Moving forward our strategic focuses are certainly aimed at continuing on from where we started. Creating a sustainable advantage as the innovation catalyst for not only our members, but the industry as a whole. This is supported by the inception of our new CEO Dr Troy Coyle who certainly brings a new approach to the table.

Her role – to ensure we can realise opportunity and combat threats. Concentrating on industry development by improving value propositions and creating tools to support our members being innovation ready. As well as fostering innovation through quality engineering. This is with an intent to form systems geared to assist, achieve and demonstrate product conformance.

With 40 years under our belt we’re certainly looking forward to hitting our next historic marker. One that hopefully will speak of increased metal use, investment in metals R&D and a favourable policy environment for our industry.

Parting words from Wolfgang

I’d like to say thank you to all those who made contributions to this evening’s success. I thoroughly enjoyed it and I hope you also had fun catching up with the colleagues and partners of the past. The hospitality was perfect – from food, to drink, music and the total set up at HERA House. I especially wanted to thank our Manager Member Services & Support Brian Low, Administrator Raewyn Porter and Research Engineer Holger Heinzel for the hard work to get this organised, as well as all of those who contributed to the night.

I’d also like to apologise for at least two things missed on the night due to being under quite a bit of time pressure!

The first being to mention some of my most supportive colleagues in my thank you’s, including Brian, Raewyn, and Accountant Kam Subramani. As well as my wife Rosie for being such a great supporter of my professional career.

Our Director Emeritus Wolfgang Scholz throughout his career at HERA.

Secondly, I’m sorry that I didn’t get a chance to talk to everyone during the evening. I truly would have liked to have been able to have chatted and thanked everyone for coming – even if only for a minute.

It was a terrific send-off far exceeding my expectations. Thanks again to everyone who made this night so special.

View the presentation slide from the event by clicking here.