Port Pirie's New Celebrity
Published on: Mar 4, 2016
Transcripts - Port Pirie's New Celebrity
Grants worth $200,000 to develop SA's best business
• by: CHRISTOPHER RUSSELL Business Editor
• From: The Advertiser
• October 15, 2013 9:05AM
Jenna Barnes, mechanical maintenance engineer at Nyrstar's Port Pirie smelter.
STUDY at Harvard and tours to Japan, China and France will be possible for some of South
Australia's business leaders, thanks to grants worth more than $200,000 announced last
The grants, to 16 executives identified as having high potential, are being distributed by the Industry
They aim to bring best practice to workplaces in manufacturing, mining, engineering, electronics and
pharmaceuticals with individuals receiving up to $25,000 to advance their careers.
Industry Leaders Fund chief executive Geoff Vogt said the organisation wanted to nurture executives
who will go on to generate wealth-creating, world-competitive, value-adding opportunities.
In turn, this will work towards creating and re-establishing a head office mentality in SA.
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"The grants are intended to support individuals who can demonstrate their leadership potential and
interest in sharing the benefit of their talents, knowledge and achievements with the industry in which
they work and the community in which they live," Mr Vogt said.
"The fund is rapidly gaining recognition by business leaders as the principal fund in its field and the
significant achievements of grantees to date is both humbling and rewarding."
Mr Vogt said there had been a record number of applicants and the grants' pool had more than
doubled compared to 2012.
Shane Kelly, head of Booleroo Centre agricultural machinery manufacturer Kelly Engineering, will
take a course with Wharton University in the US. As well the university's base in Philadelphia, he will
visit Shanghai and Sao Paulo for an intensive week in each venue.
"It's a global CEO's course where you look at strategic development and accountability," he said.
"Those are areas where I think I'm not as strong as I could be.
"It's important to be taken outside of your comfort zone."
On Friday, Kelly Engineering was named winner of the Business SA export award for manufacturing.
A national winner in previous years in the regional exporter category, Mr Kelly said it was great to be
gauged successfully against city businesses.
Jenna Barnes, a mechanical maintenance engineer at Nyrstar in Port Pirie, will use her grant to
attend a professional management course at the University of Adelaide.
Originally from Tasmania, the 27-year-old said if the transformation of the Port Pirie smelter goes
ahead there would be tremendous leadership opportunities at Nyrstar.
Trained as a mechatronic engineer, Ms Barnes has worked on the shop floor with a trade gang in
Hobart and Port Pirie.
She's moved up the career rungs since then.
"Predominantly, I've been working as the project manager for an asset conditions program," she
Increasingly, she's been involved in management where she enjoys the interaction with people, skills
she wants to enhance to complement her engineering training to be logical and precise.
"People are really important to me," she said.
"People spend so much of their lives at work that if they have a bad experience at work that can
really affect their whole situation.
"But if you can give them a positive experience at work, a sense of accomplishment, that's great.
"For me to lead them and instil that sense is my next challenge."
The fund, established out of capital from an engineering employers' apprentice-training organisation
which was merged into the Australian Industry Group's Training Services, began distributing grants
So far, 35 leaders have received $455,000 but the fund now aims to broaden its reach by attracting
Honorary chairman Colin Peters has established a foundation which will invite individuals and
businesses to donate cash to build the capital and allow more grants to be given out.
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In another move, one of the previous recipients - Redarc managing director Anthony Kittel - has
established an alumni group to share experiences and give mutual support.
Applications for the next round of funding close at the end of May.
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