Last month, the 16th annual Hunter Manufacturing Awards awarded and acknowledged manufacturing in the region of the Hunter, Central Coast and mid North Coast.
With COVID-19, the event was held on a smaller scale keeping in line with health and safety measures, while also shining a light on those who have been making strides in the industry.
Chair of HMA, Steven Smith said their team never would’ve anticipated such unprecedented events after their event last year, but believes the recognition meant more to people than ever before in 2020.
“All aspects of our lives have been turned upside down-where we have worked; what work could we do; having to teach children at home; unable to maintain physical contact with family and friends, and so much more,” Steven said.
“And for many of you, the added challenges of trying to maintain manufacturing businesses-not knowing where the whole thing was headed and what changes might be needed to survive-perhaps the biggest tests of your own resilience.
“So, when the HMA board met earlier this year, there was certainly doubt in my mind whether we would be able to hold the awards in 2020. Fortunately, I have a group of very committed Directors who were resolute that the manufacturers of the Hunter deserved recognition for their achievements over the last twelve months.”
Steven thanked all the Finalists and sponsors who willingly attended pre-recording sessions over a three-day period, so recording of speeches could be conducted in the scenario avirtual event may have had to be held.
Appreciation and thanks were extended to Downer, major sponsor for the 13th year and it was reiterated that without companies such as Downer, it would be difficult for HMA to continue to provide the recognition our region’s manufacturers deserve.
NSW Government were also acknowledged and thanked for their partnership of the awards since its inception in 2005 and Mark McLean, Deputy Director–Regional Development, Hunter & Central Coast, Department of Regional NSW was presented with a special award marking the recognition.
This year saw the introduction of some new categories with a Collaboration Partnership Award and a one-off Manufacturing Pivot Award, which was introduced to highlight the efforts, strength and resilience of those companies who re-tooled and adapted to the COVID-19 environment.
“Some of the award categories have changed. Last year HMA established an updated set of categories that were considered better reflective of the nature of manufacturing these days,” Steven said.
“And, although our streamlined event has less awards, we are pleased to feature some ofthe new categories including collaboration partnership, outstanding start-up andmanufacturing pivot, which is presented in honour of Rod Murphy.”
Award winners and highly commended businesses are featured below:
Manufacturer of the Year – Greater than 50 Employees:
Winner: Whiteley Corporation
High commendation: Burgtec
Manufacturer of the Year – Less than 50 Employees
Winner: Rotacaster Wheels Pty Ltd.
High commendation: Brain Industries
Rising Star Award
Winner: Hugh McRae from Molycop
High commendation: Ash Gesler from BAE Systems
Excellence in Sustainable Operations
Winner: Chamberlain Group
Outstanding Start-Up Award
High commendation: Safe Gauge
Collaboration Partnership Award
Winner: Ampcontrol, Safeearth and Newie Ventures
High commendation: Varley Group
Manufacturing Pivot Award
Joint Winners: Sirron Holdings – Zexa Chemicals Division and Ampcontrol Sirron Holdings
High commendation: Bridon Bekaer