2021 Judges

HMA’s Judging Panel

The Hunter Manufacturing Awards’ judging panel comprises a range of experienced professionals from a variety of industries.  A judge must advise HMA if there is any relationship between them and any entrant company; they may not be permitted to singularly judge any company with whom they have any personal or professional relationship indluding, but not limited to:  Employee, Director, Supplier, Customer, Advisor, Consultant, Relative.  In the case of a ‘conflict of interest’ with the judging of a submission, HMA will call upon a second, independent judge with the necessary qualifications, to judge that particular submission so that an impartial scoring is met.

All judges will have sighted, understood and agreed to the ‘independence’ criteria.  Should a ‘tiebreak’ position occur during judging, the ‘champion judge’ will liaise with nominated members of the Hunter Manufacturing Awards’ Board to assist in reaching a decision.

Eric Kreutzer

Eric gained a BSc degree from the University of Newcastle and is currently the Business Development Manager – Newcastle and Hunter Region for Aurecon, a multi- disciplined international engineering consultancy. He has over 30 years’ experience in the mining and technical consulting industries, including senior management of mining operations and consulting companies.

His consulting clients have included state and federal government, multinational mining companies and multinational oil and gas companies and public utilities in the power generation, water and ports sectors. Work experience includes, general management, project management, market and business development and natural resource definition and extraction programs. He has extensive experience in the management of multifaceted projects for both naturally occurring and manufactured assets.

Back to Top

Chris Kelleher

Chris is passionate about the need for innovation, leadership and performance improvement in business. Chris has held executive roles in Health. Manufacturing, Engineering, Construction and recently as the CEO of the University of Newcastle Commercialisation Firm, Newcastle Innovation.

Chris is currently employed by the Australian Industry Group (Ai Group) delivering the Entrepreneurs Programme on behalf of the Federal Government. Chris is focused on supporting hunter manufacturing companies develop strategies that will improve productivity and growth. Chris has extensive experience in, invention commercialisation, capital raising, contracts negotiation, licensing of new technology and selling new concepts and ideas to business.

Chris is a past Board Member of the Australian Chamber of Manufacturers, WEA Hunter Ltd, Newmac Community Housing, Mobilife Pty Ltd, Mineral Carbonation International, TheraPPy, Probiotic Health and was also a member of the inaugural board of the Hunter Business Chamber.

Chris holds undergraduate qualifications and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Newcastle.

Back to Top

Michael Murray

Michael has held senior management roles in a range of industry sectors over the last 25 years.  He is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and a director of two Hunter based consulting services businesses.  Michael currently provides strategic advice and support to organisations in the engineering, construction, health, government, training and media sectors as well as a range of community organisations.  Michael has recently undertaken a major research project on innovation as a core business system.

Back to Top

Stuart Ewin

Stuart is a business improvement expert, with a Diploma of Metallurgy, Bachelor of Engineering (Mechanical) and more than 30 years industry experience. Along with these technical skills, Stuart also has deep understanding of how to leverage key social and practical insights and build the organisational capability for improvement delivery.

As the director of a Hunter based consulting business, Stuart provides services and expertise in process improvement, data analytics, product and process design and manufacturing.

Stuart has experience in sectors such as Manufacturing, Mining, Ports, Rail, Telecommunications, Higher Education, Power Generation, Fast Moving Consumer Goods, Shared Services and Not for Profit, in functions such as Operations, Maintenance, Safety, HR, Supply Chain, Corporate Finance and Shared Services

Back to Top

Jeff Neave

Jeffrey Neave is the Environment Manager for Molycop Australasia. He has 38 years of experience in the steel manufacturing industry, having started his career in Mechanical Engineering before transitioning into Environmental and Energy management.

Jeff has a passion for ensuring Australian industry and the Community can exist together in harmony.

Back to Top

Geoffrey Dunleavy

Geoff has over 25 years of domestic and international experience across human resources, workplace health and safety, recruitment, industrial and employee relations, organisational training and development, business transformation, acquisitions and divestments.

His international experience includes the APAC region, North and South America, Africa and the United Kingdom, spanning General Manager level roles in ASX listed companies as well as Director level roles in the public sector. This experience spans the following sectors: manufacturing, engineering, mining services, banking, transport and logistics, sales and marketing, technology, health and education.

With undergraduate qualifications in Health Science, Geoff has post graduate qualifications in Human Resources, Safety and Business. He is also an accredited Quality Auditor, Workplace Mediator and Workplace Investigator.

Geoff is the Managing Director of HumanKapital which provides full suite human resources, workplace health and safety as well as recruitment services.

Back to Top

Paul Chapman

Paul has 25 years’ experience in Work Health and Safety (WHS) and significant experience managing WHS and providing education in a variety of industries across the manufacturing, mining and educational sectors. He started his career in the Steel Industry and has since held the senior WHS Professional Position at major operations of zinc lead smelting, aluminium, and coal loading in the Newcastle Region. In addition, Paul has lectured in Occupational Hygiene at the University of Newcastle.  He is currently leading WHS at the Port of Newcastle.

A Science Degree, (Chemistry and Biology Majors), and Graduate Diploma in OHS from the University of Newcastle has given him a strong technical background and assisted with the development and implementation of WHS operational strategies that support business and financial objectives. Paul has a passion for positive change and demonstrated leadership aimed at embedding standards of excellence across all areas of a business.

Back to Top

Paul Scobie

Paul is an experienced Industrial Designer who is currently the Business Development Managers at the University of Newcastle specifically focused on Advanced manufacturing, transport and Defence sectors.

Prior to his current role, he has lectured in Industrial Design at the the University of Newcastle and held various senior managerial roles, leading a number of large teams, within the manufacturing industry. He is passionate about the local manufacturing community, quality product design, and the value of leadership in continuing to successfully deliver high calibre, innovative products.

Paul’s key experience includes project management, business development, and contract management, associated with product design and manufacturing, with a specific focus on the construction of heavy vehicles.

Paul achieved first class honours in a Bachelor of Design, Industrial at the University of Newcastle and was awarded the Sue Park Award for Excellence.

Back to Top

Jason Williams

Having graduated from The University of Newcastle with an Industrial Engineering degree, Jason has gained over 24 years’ experience in the manufacturing and maintenance industry. Jason has a depth of experience delivering major rollingstock infrastructure projects to government and private customers including Millennium Trains and GT46 AC Locomotives for Downer Rail as well as Tangara and Oscar trains for United Group Rail. Jason also led a diverse team of over 400 employees’ to deliver 626 Waratah Trains, achieving that fastest rolling stock production rate in Australia. He has also manufactured and delivered articulated buses to the State Transit Authority.

Jason has a passion for manufacturing and improving operational performance, and is proud to be part of the HMA judging team.

Back to Top


Stan Rippon

Stan has been involved in apprenticeship training for 35 years, first as an instructor at the Apprentice Training Centre at Newcastle’s BHP and apprentice master at Novacon Engineering at Hexham.

In 1984 Stan started with the “Apprenticeship Board” as an apprenticeship Supervisor with the then NSW Department of Industrial Relations and after many restructures and promotions raised to the position of Training Services Manager with state Training Services.

In 2013 Stan retired but is now back on a casual basis as the Manager of the NSW Apprenticeship Compact.  An agreement between the NSW Government and Industry aimed at increasing apprenticeship numbers and completion of training rates.

Back to Top

Boris Novak

Boris began his career as an Electrical Engineering Officer in the Royal Australian Air Force by leading teams in the deployment of tactical communications-electronics facilities in support of deployed air operations for joint and combined forces. Ten years later, Boris founded a systems-engineering business that supplied breakthrough analytic capabilities within Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance.

Whilst in business, Boris founded and accepted leadership roles in a range of various industry collaborative ventures. This included a secondment to Defence’s Rapid Prototyping Development and Evaluation Program, including a four -year tenure in its governance as an elected representative to the RPDE Board.

Having exited the business he founded, Boris now enjoys consulting to HunterNet as an Industry Advisor. Boris believes that the advantages of today’s products are only limited by the imagination behind them and the hard – headed knowhow to make them real. Boris considers the present to be an exciting and especially privileged time to be an engineer. He observes the novel Start-ups that are emerging from the Hunter with great interest.

Back to Top

Brenda Read

Brenda Read is a Global Engagement Manager with The Australian Trade and Investment Commission – Austrade.  She has worked extensively with companies within the resources and energy, advanced manufacturing and infrastructure sectors with a commitment to supporting businesses from “local to global”.  Brenda’s experience developing and implementing supply chain strategies in partnership with key customers has supported Australian companies to access opportunities both domestically and globally.

Back to Top

Trent Bagnall

Trent has a strong management, operations and finance background. He took resources & logistics software company QMASTOR Limited from inception to ASX IPO. Trent spent ten years building QMASTOR into a successful tech company, which ultimately grew from 3 to 110 employees with offices in five countries.

Now as the Founder of The Melt and Slingshot Accelerator, his vision is to help motivated companies win. Trent has managed over 100 staRT-up investments and works daily with founders to take raw entrepreneurial talent, supporting them to turn their inspirational ideas into successful companies

Back to Top

Get the latest from Hunter Manufacturing Awards