2020 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.


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.

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.

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.

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.

Isaac Court

Isaac is the METS team leader at Austrade, and Austrade’s Regional Representative for Newcastle. He represents Austrade in initiatives locally and internationally, particularly specialising in mining equipment, technology and services (METS) exports.  Austrade assists local companies in engaging with international buyers and distributors, and provides support to the export community within the region.  In his time Isaac has helped develop and lead a number of successful local and national export delegations into China, India, Philippines, New Zealand, Russia, Poland, Ukraine and Turkey.  His recent career history has included a role with the NSW Department of Trade and Investment, employment as a business consultant, and a role as a non-executive director within the Hunter region.

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.

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.


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.

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.

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

Geoff 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.


Dr Hadi Zulfiqar

Hadi is an experienced and passionate innovation manager at the University of Newcastle. He nurtures early stage technology innovation from UON research to become investment ready. He undertakes technology assessment, market research, developing commercialisation strategy through to contract negotiation to ensure the best outcome for the uptake of the technology.

He has been heavily involved in a number of multi-million dollar commercialisation deals from technology licensing or spinning-out a new company.

Hadi’s expertise is in the area of engineering and technology innovation, however, he has also been recently involved with health related life-science innovation.

Hadi holds an undergraduate and PhD degree in chemical engineering- both from the University of Newcastle. He recently completed his MBA program through the University of Newcastle. Prior to working at the university, Hadi has held various positions as research, operation and consulting engineer in clean energy technology, coal and biomass power generation and water/wastewater treatment.