The NZITP Skills Team flew out of NZ on the 10th of October bound for the WorldSkills International Competition in Abu Dhabi this month. Thirteen young people from a variety of trades have been selected for the New Zealand Institutes of Technology and Polytechnics (NZITP) Skills Team to attend the 44th WorldSkills International Competition.
This will be held at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC), Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, 15-18 October 2017. The 2017 NZITP Skills Team members are:
Andrew Champion – BOC Welding competitor from Feilding, employed by RCR EnergyAlex Banks – Resene Automotive & Light Industrial (RALI) Automotive Refinishing competitor from Wellington, employed by Stokes Valley Collision Repair in Lower HuttChabbethai Chia – etco Electrical Installation competitor from West Auckland, employed by Team Cabling in the North ShoreHunter Turner – Skills Plumbing and Heating competitor from Kohimarama, Auckland, employed by J&J Plumbing & Gas in South AucklandJarrod Wood – Aircraft Maintenance competitor from South Auckland, employed by Air New Zealand at the Auckland AIrportKimberley de Schot – Restaurant Service competitor from Christchurch, employed by the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) in BurnhamLogan Candy – Automotive Technology competitor from Gisborne, employed by the NZDF in Palmerston NorthLogan Sanders – etco Industrial Control competitor from Wellsford, employed by Dalton Electrical in AucklandNicholas Todd – Cooking competitor from Otago, employed by the NZDF in ChristchurchNicole Keeber – Floristry competitor from Whakatane, employed by Bouquet FloralSarah Browning – Yoobee Graphic Design Technology competitor from Nelson, employed by Adcorp in WellingtonShea Keir – Industrial Mechanic Millwright competitor from Waikato, employed by Carter Holt Harvey Woodproducts in TokoroaTodd Hamilton – Carpentry competitor from Hawkes Bay, employed by the NZDF in from Palmerston North
The NZITP Skills Team is selected from participation at the 2016 WorldSkills New Zealand National Competition and the 2016 Master Electricians Challenge, and subsequent on-going performance evaluation. They have been undergoing intensive training with the assistance of their respective employers and skill experts over the past few months.“We have a great team and participating in the WorldSkills International Competition in Abu Dhabi will be an invaluable experience for them. They have increased their work skills, but just as importantly have grown as individuals,” says Malcolm Harris, CEO of WorldSkills New Zealand.
Prior to selection, these competitors participated in international competitions in China and Australia. Hunter Turner and Sarah Browning won bronze medals in Shanghai, China; while Logan Candy and Chabb Chia received medallions of excellence.
Nicholas Todd was recently awarded Apprentice Chef of the Year at the 2017 NZ Hospitality Championships held in Auckland last month. Kimberley de Schot won six silver medals for the restaurant service competitions of the Hospitality Championships. “We are very happy with the depth of talent attending this year’s international skills competition,” says Harris. “I believe these young, talented New Zealanders will encourage others to take up skills careers and develop their skills through WorldSkills competitions.”
He adds that “We will also be supported by a delegation from NZ Industry Training Organisations and Institutes of Technology, who will attend the competition and the WorldSkills Conference, which will focus on ‘Skills Strategies for a Globalised World’, as well as take advantage of the significant networking opportunities.”
| A World Skills New Zealand release || october 16, 2017 |||
A Napier engineering apprentice is on a mission to get more people into trades.
Paul Taurima is an engineering apprentice at Foot Engineering in Napier through Competenz (an industry training organisation). He is a speaker at a series of events organised by Competenz to encourage Maori and Pasifika school levers into trades apprenticeships, especially engineering.
Mr Taurima says his job involves a range of roles and responsibilities to ensure the workplace runs smoothly including being a courier driver, rubbish man, a builder, forklift driver and cleaner as well as engineering tasks. "Every day is a challenge and that's why I love it.
"I love that at my job you might be welding a bicycle then one phone call later, you're packing the bush truck to repair a digger, then maybe at the port doing maintenance.
"Every day is different and the variety of work my company covers is so vast, I'm going to have a good set of skills when I qualify."
Pratt & Whitney Canada has signed an agreement with Air New Zealand for engine servicing. This agreement covers the PW123s and PW127Ms which power Air Nelson's Q300s and Mount Cook's ATR 72-500s and -600s respectively. The two regional subsidiaries have a combined fleet of some fifty aircraft.
The Avianca group has signed a similar contract to service the PW127Ns which power its ATR 72-600s. It currently has around fifteen twin-engined turboprop aircraft and is still waiting for ten more.
In addition, the two groups have opted to install the FAST (Full flight data Acquisition, Storage and Transmission) solution, a predictive maintenance solution which manages the engine's health and its use by analysing and transmitting data collected during flights, especially information about propeller vibrations. For Avianca, the system will be particular useful for monitoring "boost" and "super boost" modes, activated during operations in "hot and high" conditions.
This technology has also just been improved as Pratt & Whitney Canada has integrated a propeller vibration trend monitoring function. "This new feature balances the propeller in "as condition" mode, to ensure a predictive and optimised environment designed to reduce operating costs and workloads for pilots and mechanics", explains the Canadian engine producer.
| A Le Journal de l’Aviation release || October 5, 2017 |||
More than $1 million has been gifted to the University of Auckland Campaign For All Our Futures by Canadian philanthropist John McCall MacBain to create a one of the country’s most prestigious scholarship programmes.
The new Kia Tūhura Scholarship Programme will be offered to exceptional postgraduate students with a view to developing the next generation of New Zealand leaders. Initially focusing on the sciences, up to 20 scholarships will be available from 2019, accompanied by a leadership programme.
“These scholarships are an incredible opportunity for New Zealand’s top students to prepare for challenging careers and to speak out and lead in their communities,” Vice-Chancellor Professor Stuart McCutcheon says. “The programme will also help New Zealand to retain home-grown talent by fostering a cohesive community of exceptional scholars.”
McCall MacBain is one of the world’s most generous philanthropists to education. He gave an unprecedented $150 million gift to Oxford University’s Rhodes Scholarships in 2013, and is himself a former Rhodes Scholar. He has worked with the University of Auckland to develop the new scholarships and announced his support of the initiative in person at the University’s Chancellor’s Dinner on September 28, one year after the public launch of the University’s fundraising campaign.
“These scholarships aim to create the next generation of explorers in innovation and discovery for a new future,” he says. “The McCall MacBain Foundation is proud to be a funder of the Kia Tūhura Scholarships.”
McCall MacBain has committed to funding the development costs for the leadership course that will accompany the Kia Tūhura programme and to personally supporting five scholarships for the first five years. These will be known as the McCall MacBain Kia Tūhura Scholarships. The University is in the process of raising philanthropic funding for the additional scholarships prior to the 2019 launch.
Like the Rhodes, the Kia Tūhura Scholarships will support and nurture talented students with the potential to make real change in the world. Each scholar will be matched with a high calibre mentor to advise, challenge and guide. Mentors will be drawn from a variety fields and roles, from business leaders to senior policy makers.
For the first five years, the scholarship will be focused on developing exceptional science leaders, before expanding to other disciplines.
“We believe the sciences, medicine and engineering are areas of great significance for the future of New Zealand in a global economy,” Professor McCutcheon says.
“While New Zealand’s long term success will take much more than just scientific leadership, John’s inspirational support will create a more agile and responsive science and innovation community that makes a major impact on our health, economy, environment and society.”
Successful scholars will receive full tuition fees, accommodation, and significant development in leadership. The selection process will look for academic brilliance as well as leadership capacity, with special consideration given to including diversity in the cohort.
About John McCall MacBain
Following the successful sale of Trader Classified Media, the world’s leading classified advertising company (1987 – 2006), John McCall MacBain, the Founder, majority shareholder and CEO, set up the McCall MacBain Foundation in 2007 which has committed over NZ$275 million in donations to scholarships and education, health and climate change.
Mr. McCall MacBain is a Rhodes Scholar (Oxford, M.A. Law), a Harvard M.B.A. and an Honours BA graduate in Economics from McGill University. He is also Chair of the Trudeau Foundation and the McGill Principal’s International Advisory Board, Founding Chair of the European Climate Foundation, Second Century Founder and Trustee of the Rhodes Trust, director of the Mandela Rhodes Foundation in Cape Town and an Officer of the Order of Canada.
About Kia Tūhura
Tūhura means to discover, unearth, explore, investigate. The name acknowledges the scholarship’s aim to create the next generation of explorers – pioneers at the forefront of innovation and discovery committed to forging a new future in a new world.
About The University of Auckland Campaign For All Our Futures
Through the University of Auckland Campaign For all our Futures, the University aims to address, with philanthropic help, some of the key issues facing New Zealand and the world. Publicly launched in September 2016, the campaign has so far raised $220 million for multiple projects, including in the areas of cancer research, innovation and entrepreneurship, online STEM subject education, and scholarships for students.
When Autodesk announced that it would be moving some of its major software products to the cloud in 2015, a reactionary backlash began from some of the more vocal content creators who use their software on a regular basis. The transition from perpetual licenses to subscriptions was justified by the company in order to make recurring payments more predictable, to increase the rate of new users signing up and to decrease piracy by using cloud subscription verification processes.
Fastforward to today, and every CAD vendor now has plans for the cloud. We’ve seen the rise of Onshape, a CAD program that runs completely within your browser, making it an extremely powerful mobile CAD platform. Autodesk has consistently developed Fusion 360, though it is only partially cloud based, requiring a relatively sophisticated GPU and part of your workstation’s hard drive.
So, here’s question for CAD companies: Are CAD users warming up to the idea of cloud-based subscription models? After all, the concern is understandable. When your business’ vital software is moved to the cloud, you have less control over it. What can users do about it really? CAD vendors like Autodesk and Dassault Systèmes are taking more aggressive actions to segment and partition more services away from the perpetual license model to the new cloud subscription models.
Something that seems strange and perhaps frightening, because it is not part of your normal experience.
A woman in STEM.
Ever walked into a lecture room and have sets of eyes follow you as if you’ve just landed from a distant galaxy? Or maybe on your first day at work you were tiptoed around as if you were going to kidnap someone and fly away in your flying saucer? Now let’s not get too carried away (pun intended) but as a woman in STEM, at some point in time, you’ve likely been treated like you’re a little out of this world (pun definitely intended).
This month, we would like to honour a successful woman in STEM. We had a chat with Jenna (Tut) Baldock, an Additive Manufacturing Engineer at Rocket Lab (seemingly fitting for us aliens). She shares her experiences of being a woman in a male-dominated field.
Tut studied Design Engineering at Massey, first in Wellington, and then moved up to Albany to finish her degree. She went on to study a Master’s in Applied Physics at RMIT, Melbourne. At RMIT, she worked a project with 3D printing and lasers. She then returned to New Zealand and has been working at Rocket Lab for 2 years now. Tut is part of the Propulsion team that is responsible for designing and manufacturing rocket engines. Specifically, she uses 3D printers to manufacture components for the rocket engines, as well as aiding in the design process and post machining.
Tut is an Additive Manufacturing Engineer. This new, sustainable type of manufacturing technique involves adding layer after layer of material (powder in this case) to parts rather than traditional machining (subtractive machining) which involves cutting away from bigger pieces of material.
1.What inspired you to get involved in engineering and STEM?My dad is an engineer, so it was the logical choice! I grew up in his workshop, helping out with woodwork, welding, and assembling things. At school, I was good at maths and enjoyed science. So engineering it was.
2. What do you like about being a woman in STEM?I like that it always seems to surprise people. You’re usually always the underdog, but if you work hard you can always prove your worth.
3. Have you ever felt that as a woman in STEM, you have been put at a disadvantage?Yes of course! I mean do I even have to elaborate? *laughs*. But I’ve learnt, it’s nice when some people expect a lot from you because of your skills, not because of your gender.
4. Do you regret your chosen field of study?Nope! Not at all! I love what I do, and I love what I studied!
5. Did you ever fail? Be it at uni, a project, at work? How did you overcome that failure?Well, I was a bit of a nerd, I worked hard, and so I never failed as such. At work, I sort of introduced 3D printing for components, and although we did have minor fails along the way, but I guess you have to learn how to use failure to your advantage. Learn from your mistakes and become better at what you do.
6. Do you think people have certain misconceptions about STEM? How do you shut down the haters?I think the older generation, not to stereotype, have an outdated perspective about engineering. An engineer, to them, is an engine mechanic with greasy hands. Today, we have come so far from that idea – engineering is such a broad and diverse field. As for shutting down the haters, the most important thing is to explain. Sometimes, the best way to help others expand their perspective is to logically explain the maths and science behind it.
7. Why do you think women are still so underrepresented in the industry?I would say they might be put off by the idea of being a minority, and that can be really overwhelming.! Many girls just aren’t given the resources to change the notions of it being a man’s job. It is also considered a hard industry to get into, and that can put a lot of women off.
8. How would you encourage girls to get involved in STEM?It’s definitely important to prove your self-worth. Be confident about your skills, but don’t boast about it. Show the world that there is a strong female presence, be it in science, manufacturing, IT, engineering, or anything. Strive hard to be a role model for other girls, and show the future generations that diversity in the workplace is essential for success.
9. What is your recipe for success in a still very male-dominated industry?As the underdog, which no doubt, you will be, you will often find that people don’t really appreciate your skills. You have to work hard to prove yourself. Show that you’re not only good at what you do, you are the best. Work hard, and you will earn the respect you deserve.
10.What are your personal goals for the future?I’m happy where I am at, right now, with my career. I do want to focus on improving personally though/ I am good at what I do, but I don’t let it get to me. I always work to improve and try to succeed in other areas.
We would like to thank Tut for sharing her incredible insights with us. We hope that Tut’s experiences have inspired you to jump on a rocket and embrace the alien you are. As women in STEM, we are definitely treated as invaders in foreign territory. So to all the haters, we say: yes we are aliens, and yes we are ready to take over!
P.S. sorry for all the puns, I did not planet!
By: Zainab Manasawala
Interviewed by: Zainab Manasawala and Sreenidhi Roshin.
| An AUT STEM Woman release || September 21, 2017 |||
Former McLaren employee John Nicholson, who prepared Can-Am and F1 engines for the team and played a key role in the World Championship victories of 1974 and 1976, has passed away in his native New Zealand. He was 75.
Nicholson was also a gifted driver in his own right, and he even briefly made it to F1, competing in the 1975 British GP as well as four non-championship races. Although he never raced a works McLaren, he did a lot of testing for the team, driving Can-Am, F5000, F2 and on occasion F1 machinery.
John was born into a mechanical background in 1941. His father, who was an armourer in the air force, raced powerboats in New Zealand, and in his youth John helped to prepare them. From school he went to work for an engine reconditioning business, and he undertook a four and half year engineering apprenticeship – and in his final exams he earned the top marks in the whole country.
He had a few races in his father’s boat before he began competing on four wheels, initially in karts. He then acquired a Lotus Elan, and subsequently a Lotus 27 single-seater. In 1968 he took part in the New Zealand GP, a round of the Tasman Series – and thus joined a grid that included Bruce McLaren, Denny Hulme, Jim Clark, Chris Amon, Pedro Rodriguez and Piers Courage. In an uncompetitive car he finished ninth, albeit many laps down.
He later replaced the Lotus with a year-old Brabham BT18. He then decided to head to England, with an ambition to race in F3, and after earning some cash as a mechanic in the Far East he arrived on May 9th 1969. Like many Kiwis before him, he saw McLaren as his natural home.
“I’d contacted a few friends in Britain concerning a job here and had written to Bruce McLaren,” he said in a 1974 Autosport interview. “But I’d never met him, nor knew who he was. I arrived on the Thursday, and went straight to Earls Court.
“Meanwhile my friends had talked to Phil Kerr at McLarens and on the Saturday I took the Green Line bus down to see McLaren. I went in round the back and two guys recognised me, Alan McCall and Jimmy Stone, but there was this guy with his back to me. When I asked to see Mr McLaren he turned round and said, ‘I presume you’re Mr Nicholson.’”
He’d got the job – he was given responsibility for building the team’s Can-Am Chevy V8 engines, working under the supervision of American George Bolthoff. Bruce duly won the 1969 Can-Am title with engines that Nicholson had helped to prepare in England. John’s driving talents came to good use, and he did some testing at Goodwood.
In late 1969 Bolthoff came up with the idea of setting up an engine shop in the USA at which to prepare both Can-Am and Indy engines. The plan was that John should start the 1970 working in England, before moving to this new McLaren Engines Inc facility in Livonia, near Detroit.
It was of course to be a fraught season for the team. In May Hulme suffered serious burns at Indianapolis, and then in June Bruce was killed at Goodwood in a Can-Am testing accident.
Having headed to the States John wrote to team boss Teddy Mayer saying he wanted to return to the UK, and he did so at the end of the year, after the recuperating Hulme had clinched the 1970 Can-Am title. His timing was good, because Cosworth announced that for 1971 it didn’t want to service the whole F1 grid’s DFV engines. Nicholson was given the job of preparing those of McLaren.
“I’d never seen a DFV in my life,” he said. “I pulled one apart and thought, ‘I’d better go to Cosworths for a couple of days.’ There I was helped by Alan Peck and learnt by pulling them apart and putting them together. With no knowledge, but the help of four good guys and a small place, we set to work doing McLaren’s DFVs. I had to supervise, and it took two weeks for one man to build an engine.
“They didn’t give much BHP, about 400 to 420, although suddenly we got a 440 engine, ‘061,’ Denny’s favourite. These freak engines turned up in many teams during the 1971 season.”
In March 1972 Hulme scored McLaren’s first GP win for three years, and the first with an engine overseen by John, at Kyalami.
It was a busy time for John, for in 1971 he also resumed his own racing career, driving a March in the Formula Atlantic series, before moving to a Lyncar chassis for ‘72. At one stage he crunched the nose at Oulton Park, and unable to afford he a new one, he fitted a McLaren F1 nose that Hulme and tried and rejected!
At the end of 1972 he was offered a job by March Engineering – company boss Max Mosley wanted him to prepare the team’s BMW F2 engines, and there was even a chance for John to race as well. He eventually rejected the offer, but he had itchy feet, and it had set him thinking.
“I went back to McLarens determined to leave, go it alone, and continue in Atlantic. It was a Saturday afternoon and when I got back, Teddy Mayer was at McLarens. I told him what I was going to do, but he wouldn’t hear of it. We went to Phil Kerr’s house that evening, and by the time I’d left, we had a business contract to go into overhauling McLaren’s DFVs as a separate business.”
John found a premises in Hounslow, and with all bar one of his original colleagues, established Nicholson-McLaren Racing Engines in early 1973. That year Denny Hulme scored the new company’s first GP win in Sweden, and later Peter Revson won at Silverstone and again in Canada.
Meanwhile John’s own racing career flourished as he won the 1973 British Formula Atlantic title, repeating his success in 1974. That year also made own foray into F1 with a Lyncar chassis, with which he did the two British non-championship races, although he failed to qualify at the British GP. He would make his one and only Grand Prix start at Silverstone in 1975, crashing out in the rain. The main problem he had was finding the time to fit his own racing around his business, and by 1977, he had decided to hang up his helmet.
He was a busy man off track. In 1974 McLaren ran a third works car, with Hulme and Emerson Fittipaldi in Marlboro colours, and Mike Hailwood in Yardley livery, so there were more engines to service. In addition he picked up work from Graham Hill’s Embassy team. That year Fittipaldi scored McLaren’s first World Championship win, powered by John’s engines.
And the race wins would keep on coming. Fittipaldi finished second in the World Championship in 1975, and then James Hunt scored a sensational title success in 1976. Hunt continued to be a pacesetter in 1977, winning three races.
McLaren then went through a bad patch until Ron Dennis came on board at the end of 1980, and John Barnard’s carbon chassis was introduced for 1981. John Watson and Niki Lauda scored some memorable successes, but the tide was turning towards turbos, and the days of the Cosworth were numbered.
In late 1983 McLaren began the switch to the Porsche-built TAG Turbo, and Nicholson’s involvement with the team was over. However, there would continue to be a link as John turned his attention to servicing DFVs for many historic racing contenders, including of course some McLarens.
John retired to New Zealand several years ago, but the company he founded is still operational, in racing, engineering and aviation, although there has been no direct connection with McLaren for some time.
BOC has launched eight new welding models that offer the latest in welding technology to Australian and New Zealand fabricators and businesses as part of a revamp of its welding range.
Richard Fowles, Senior Product Manager of Welding Products, said the new welding range is affordable and easy to use, with advanced electronics and digital control that focus on delivering improved safety and quality.
“Safety is a top priority for BOC and our customers. With new legislative changes in electrical safety, our machines now carry the Regulatory Compliance Mark (RCM) required by all welding manufacturers in Australia and New Zealand. Whether it’s small fabrication jobs or automated robotic applications, BOC understands the need to have machines that provide the right power capacity and processes to deliver a quality job. Many of the new models will upgrade or replace products in our current range, designed to deliver the best welding experience,” Fowles explained.
Portability and convenience
Four new lightweight and portable models offer excellent reliability and performance. The new BOC Smootharc MMA131vrd and MMA171vrd models are perfect for fabricators on the go, with new TIG capabilities and voltage reduction devices that reduce open circuit voltage to safer levels. The new BOC Smootharc Multi-Process 180 and BOC Smootharc MIG181 models come with optional spool guns (purchased separately) for added convenience.
Remote models with extra power
Two remote power workhorses, Smootharc Advance II MIG250R single-phase and Smootharc Advance II MIG400R three-phase offer MMA capability. Internal toolboxes contain a Binzel MIG torch, regulator, wire feeder, inter-connecting cable, wire feed rollers, gas hose with quick release, electrode holder and work return lead.
Advanced German technology from EWM
As the exclusive distributor of German welding brand EWM, BOC now offers two digital, high-end machines -the Tetrix 230 ACDC Comfort 2.0 TIG inverter (with MMA capabilities) and the multi-functional Phoenix 405 Progress Pulse (MIG/MAG with MMA, TIG and arc air gouging functionalities).
Technical Manager for Specialised Manufacturing at BOC, Peter Kuebler, said the introduction of EWM patented processes allow users to gain the best possible results when welding.
He added, “Our new EWM welding machines offer solutions for the simple task right through to complex automated robotic applications. We offer users gas, equipment and the technical expertise required to get those tricky jobs done.”
The new welding models include: BOC Smootharc MMA 131vrd, BOC Smootharc MMA 171vrd, BOC Smootharc Multi-process 180, BOC Smootharc MIG 181, Smootharc Advance II MIG250R, Smootharc Advance II MIG400R, Tetrix 230 ACDC vrd (EWM), Phoenix 405 Progress Pulse (EWM).
Business and community leaders from across Alabama are traveling in Australia and New Zealand this week, seeking to boost exports and strengthen trade ties in the region.
The 17-member delegation kicked off a series of briefings with U.S. Commercial Service officials in Sydney, as well as appointments with area companies.
Later in the week, the group will travel to Auckland, New Zealand’s primary commercial hub for a similar slate of meetings.
“Alabama has strong, and growing, relationships with both Australia and New Zealand, and we want to build on those bonds,” said Greg Canfield, secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce, who is leading the delegation.
“This trade mission is about helping our state companies find new markets for their goods and services, so they can create jobs and make new investments in their communities back home,” he said.
Alabama exports to Australia reached nearly $298 million in 2016, rising 11.6 percent from the previous year, according to Commerce Department data. Top exports included transportation equipment as well as paper, chemicals, machinery (except electrical), and computer and electrical products.
Motor vehicles were by far the largest export shipped to Australia in the transportation equipment category.
Meanwhile, state exports to New Zealand last year totaled $68.7 million, jumping 63.6 percent from 2015. Transportation equipment also led the way here, but in a change from previous years, aerospace products and parts, instead of motor vehicles, constituted the largest transportation equipment category.
Other top Alabama exports to New Zealand included chemicals, paper, plastics and rubber parts; and machinery (except electrical).
Hilda Lockhart, director of the Department of Commerce’s Office of International Trade, said Australia and Alabama have a strong relationship in both trade and investment. The free trade agreement with Australia allows Alabama companies to be competitive in this far-reaching market, she said.Members of a trade delegation visit Sydney, Australia, in search of more business for Alabama companies. (Made in Alabama)
In addition, New Zealand is a natural fit for Alabama exporters as some distributors cover both countries.
“As our companies say, it only takes one strong partner to do business here,” Lockhart said.
Alabama companies represented in the delegation include Atlas RFID Solutions, Warren Manufacturing and Regions Bank, all of Birmingham; Irrigation Components of Daphne; PowerSouth Energy Cooperative of Andalusia; MechOptix of Madison; Pinnacle Solutions Inc. of Huntsville; and Quality Valve Inc. of Mobile.
Also part of the group are representatives from the University of Alabama, the U.S. Department of Commerce and the Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce.
“This trade mission is comprised of multi-industry companies ranging from automotive, aerospace and high-tech equipment, which are among some of the best industry sectors for both Australia and New Zealand,” Lockhart said. “Both countries are very receptive to U.S.-made products because of quality and service.”
As on all trade missions, the Commerce Department has partnered with the U.S. Department of Commerce Foreign Commercial Service to set up prequalified appointments to identify potential buyers and distributors.
“The companies with us are working to grow their international footprint in new markets, and we feel very positive that they will be successful on this trip in doing so,” Lockhart said.
Irrigation Components is changing its distribution model and looking for new distributors after many years of operating in Australia and New Zealand, said Ramsay Geha, vice president of international sales and a member of the trade mission delegation.
The company provides irrigation parts for gear boxes, center drives, sprinkler packages and alignment controls, and it is the world’s leader in center pivot spare parts sales. Irrigation Components operates in more than 40 countries, all major agricultural areas.
“Export sales are about 40 percent of our business,” Geha said. “Export was what established our company, and we are seeking to revitalize and strengthen this portion of our business.”
Atlas RFID Solutions sees tremendous opportunity for its business in Australia and New Zealand.
“Despite having worked on very large industrial construction projects in Australia, we have done so on behalf of U.S.-based contractors and have never worked directly with any Australian or New Zealand-based companies,” said Robert Fuqua, the company’s president and CEO. “We believe that having a more established presence in the region will open doors for more opportunities to provide value to local construction contractors.”
Kevin Bube, vice president of client operations, and Ben Whipple, program manager, are representing the company in the trade mission delegation.
“We are always looking for innovative industrial construction companies to whom we can deliver value through our proprietary materials readiness solution, Jovix,” Fuqua continued. “Companies who are prone to technology adoption are prime for our solution, which focuses on increasing craft productivity and schedule adherence through material readiness.”
Presently, Jovix is deployed in four countries, and exports account for more than 65 percent of Atlas RFID’s annual revenue.
“We have previously participated in trade missions to China, Hong Kong, Norway and Sweden. These trips have provided great value by aiding us in learning about the local business ecosystems and allowing us to create lasting relationships within those markets,” Fuqua said.Austal USA launches the future USS Omaha from its shipbuilding facility in Mobile. The Australia-based company is one of south Alabama’s largest employers. (Austal USA)
In addition to business meetings, delegation members also will attend networking receptions hosted by Consul General Valerie Crites Fowler of the U.S. Consulate General in Sydney and Acting Consul General Craig Halbmaier of the U.S. Consulate General in Auckland.
Among the 50 states last year, Alabama was Australia’s No. 2 trading partner in exports of pulp, paper and paperboard mill products and its No. 4 trading partner in motor vehicle exports.
Meanwhile, the state imported $106.5 million of goods from Australia in 2016.
Other key ties between the state and the country include Australian shipbuilder Austal USA, which has a major manufacturing operation in Mobile.
For New Zealand, Alabama ranked as the No. 1 trading partner in exports of pulp, paper and paperboard mill products, and the state was No. 2 for exports of resin, synthetic rubber, artificial and synthetic fibers, and filament.
Alabama’s 2016 imports from New Zealand totaled $10.1 million.
This story originally appeared on the Alabama Department of Commerce’s Made in Alabama website.