Tomago Aluminium recognised the innovation and excellence of its workforce at its annual Innovation and Excellence Awards on 6 October.
A total of 11 awards were handed out, covering eight categories. This year three new category awards were added – the Spirit of Tomago Award, Rising Star Award and Leadership Award.
The overall winner is Standard Fitter, Blake McNamara for his work reducing resistance in the pin-to-carbon connection, a key part of Tomago Aluminium’s manufacturing process, by redesigning the cork holes to have a flat base.
The innovation is in place in the company’s two paste plants and expected to generate and save the business $310,000 annually. He also took out the individual Excellence in Process Stability & Quality Award.
Blake has previously been recognised for excellence and innovation taking out the individual Excellence in Health, Safety and Environment Award at the 2021 Awards.
This year’s apprentice of the year is fourth year apprentice, Nelsen Murray. Nelsen has just completed his apprenticeship. His exemplary attendance, punctuality, work ethic and impressive craftmanship has earned him consistently high evaluations in all departments in which he has worked.
The inaugural winner of the Spirit of Tomago Award is Security Officer, Tony Lewis. Tony has raised thousands of dollars for Variety, The Children’s Charity. He goes the extra mile to help colleagues and with any on-site event.
Interim CEO, Nigel Backhouse emphasised the crucial role Tomago Aluminium’s exceptional workforce plays in driving the business forward. Nigel acknowledged the dedication, innovation, and continuous improvement mindset displayed by employees, which is vital for the company’s long-term sustainability and success.
“We received more than 250 staff nominations, making the task of selecting the winners quite challenging,” Nigel said.
“We want to thank all our employees for their hard work and dedication to make Tomago Aluminium the leading aluminium smelter in Australia,” he said.
“Our people are experts in their fields and are best placed to look for new, different and better ways of doing things. Continuous improvement is vital for our long term sustainability and business success.”
Nigel said the remarkable aspect of Blake’s innovation is the swift action he took.
“Within a week he was testing it out. Despite an initial setback, Blake persisted and made another attempt, ultimately achieving a successful result that is revolutionising a key aspect of our manufacturing process.”
Blake receives a $21,000 international travel prize and will hold the unique perpetual trophy made from a slice of Tomago’s Aluminium billet for a year. Each individual award category winner receives $2,500 worth of domestic travel and a special trophy. Winning teams receive a special event for their team, a team plaque, and personalised ingots.
More than 160 employees attended the awards ceremony at the NEX Centre in Newcastle.
Tomago Aluminium 2023 Excellence and Innovation Award Winners
Blake McNamara, Operator
Excellence in Cost & Waste
- Individual Danny Oakley, Environment and Waste Technical Advisor
- Team Rod Shop Snap Cuff Conversion Team (Jeremy Sams & Travis Hulm)
Excellence in Health, Safety & Environment
- Individual Adam Priestley, FRT Project Electrician
- Team RAO Isolation Team (Adam Panton, Matt McDonald & Nicki Hopley)
Excellence in Process Stability & Quality Award
- Individual Blake McNamara, PP Back to Standard Fitter,
- Team Ingot Chain MOJO Maintenance Strategy Team (Aaron Burkett, Ashley Evans, Chad Moremon, Darren Saxby, Gavin Courtney, Mark Carter, Todd Griffin & Travis Collins)
- Ross Vandyke, Contractor Management Superintendent
Rising Star Award
- Lachlan Snowdon, Reliability Engineer – Electrical
Spirit of Tomago Award
- Tony Lewis, Security Officer
Apprentice of the Year
- Nelson Murray – 4th Year Apprentice.
IMAGE | Overall winner, Blake McNamara and Interim CEO, Nigel Backhouse (left-right).
Tomago Aluminium is the leading manufacturer of aluminium. Since pouring the first metal in 1983 Tomago Aluminium has grown be the most significant Aluminium smelter in Australia and New Zealand.
Tomago has achieved 35 years of success due to the ability of employees to embrace change and keep in front of industry innovations.