Firstly, I would like to thank the members for voting me onto the HERA Executive for a third term, and secondly a ‘Thank you’ to the HERA Executive for endorsing me as Chairman of our industry-owned research association.

Being on the Executive since 2010 and having served as Deputy Chairman in the last three years has given me insights into our unique industry development vehicle called HERA. It has also highlighted the influence that membership-based governance can have on determining the future of our industry.

Using HERA News as an opportunity to comment, I wish to briefly outline some of the key items on the agenda this year for the HERA Executive. I would also invite you to get involved in HERA governance by informing us of what you see as opportunities for our industry, and also what concerns you may have.


With the HERA 2017 FY well underway, the Executive has finally approved the FY2017 budget with the associated business activities that have been delayed by uncertainties around the funding for the AGGAT program. However, I am pleased to note that an interim funding pathway has been secured, including a Government co-funded project as well as a commercial end-user focused Maori Trust project.

This allows HERA to continue its research supporting the heat and pressure equipment-focused AGGAT program and to progress longer term research co-funding applications.

The expectation for HERA to be successful in achieving government R&D co-funding is supported by our fundamental belief that a collective industry research funding mechanism via the Heavy Engineering Research (HER) Levy is no different from R&D co-funding accessible by individual companies via the Crown Institute R&D grant mechanism. With the added benefit of collective scale, this is a very effective way for incentivising industry R&D.


Skills training a focus

HERA is supporting the 2nd Pressure Equipment (PE) workshop in October and with over 100 attendees expected, this event has demonstrated great industry interest. Being part of the pressure equipment industry sector, I am pleased to announce that the HERA Executive has approved in principle to formally support a pressure equipment interest grouping should the PE workshop highlight the demand for such a group.

With my strong belief in industry skills training, I also support HERA’s role as a specialist training provider and am pleased to see that the industry requested Level 5 mechanical engineering advanced trade qualification development has been kicked off with a joint HERA/Competenz effort. The intent is to focus on a pilot in the steel construction sector with its demand in demonstrated skills associated to the SFC scheme development and other sectors such as pressure equipment to follow.


Steel construction research

As you are aware, HERA maintains a focused steel construction research program which is complemented by a range of industry development efforts in co-operation with SCNZ. HERA Certification Ltd’s administration of the SFC (Steel Fabrication Certification) scheme effort is its best known recent success story. The scheme has its own industry member board and has the full support of the HERA Executive. This also applies for the Steel Research Panel (SRP) which prioritises the steel construction research program of HERA.

As in the past year, the SRP had to evaluate more promising projects proposals than could be funded through the allocated budget and, following acceptance of a healthy surplus for the 2016/17 FY, I am pleased to announce that in the September meeting the Executive approved another $100k into the steel construction research stream.

While it is pleasing to be able to make such decisions, we are looking forward to the outcomes of the steel construction five to ten year research strategy review. This starts in November with the Fire Engineering Focus, which will provide us with a longer term plan on how to develop other steel construction industry opportunities.


Getting strategy right

Getting the overall HERA strategy right is a key item on this year’s agenda for the Executive. The last formal HERA Strategy review was five years ago and the Exec has agreed to have a facilitated 2-day strategy workshop in December. We are aware that there are many opportunities out there for our industry to develop sustainable business including export, however there are also significant threats such as technology disruptions or imported goods from low cost countries.

Thinking strategically about our options and what HERA can do as the catalyst to achieve change is probably our most significant governance job to date, and I look forward to the workshop later in the year.

There are many other items the HERA Executive needs to consider, such as responding to industry issues like non-conforming metals products, unexpected business events or policy matters. There are also internal issues that need to be dealt with; the most pressing is to find a suitable successor for Director Dr Wolfgang Scholz, who announced his intention to retire at the end of 2017 at the recent HERA AGM. This has also highlighted the need to have a rigid succession planning process in place for all HERA staff.

Overall, I feel our industry is in very good shape and I look forward to working with the members, the HERA executive and the HERA staff to ensure a sustainable future for our industry. The industry is an essential part of New Zealand’s economy which provides well-paying jobs for our families.

HERA Executive Term of Office 2016-2017

1 David Moore Grayson Engineering Ordinary & Associate members
2 Bruce Bonner Integrated Maintenance Group Ordinary & Associate members
3 Noel Davies Hydraulink Fluid Connectors HEERF Chairman, Exec Officio
4 Dr Troy Coyle New Zealand Steel NZ Steel
5 Simon Ward A-Ward Attachements NZMEA
6 Mike Lehan Page & MacRae Ordinary & Associate members
7 Prof Thomas Neizert Auckland University of Technology Ordinary & Associate members
8 Craig Stevenson Aurecon Ordinary & Associate members
9 Pragya Sharma Advance Boiler Services Ordinary & Associate members
10 Paul Bryant Steel & Tube Ordinary & Associate members
11 Chris Burns Steel Construction NZ Interest Group
12 Doug Rodgers Southern Institute of Technology Ordinary & Associate members
13 Matthew Kidson Kernohan Engineering Ordinary & Associate members