Many highlights at the SCNZ Conference

The stunning setting for the SCNZ Gala Dinner.

The stunning setting for the SCNZ Gala Dinner.

More than 100 SCNZ members and their partners descended on The Old Church in Napier in mid September for the 2016 Steel Construction New Zealand Conference and AGM, which formed part of the organisation’s 10th anniversary celebrations.

Delegates enjoyed a packed programme in the Art Deco capital, which included a mixture of forums, the SCNZ AGM, a gala dinner and presentation of the inaugural Apprentice of the Year award.

The conference kicked off with a visit to the local Weldwell Factory where delegates were given a unique insight into the work of New Zealand’s only manufacturer of Arc Welding Electrode, where traditional manufacturing methods are used in the creation of the electrodes rather than automaton.

During a Fabricator Forum session, Terry Buchan from Hawkins Construction gave an overview of the firm’s key projects and outlined what they look for when selecting a steel contractor/partner.

“Terry also explored the challenges competing with offshore steel and how local fabricators can provide a better service and make themselves more attractive than overseas fabricated steel,” SCNZ manager, Alistair Fussell.

Terry then took part in an expert Client Panel Discussion alongside fellow main contractor Steve Meek (Gemco), engineer Guy Lethbridge of Strata Group and welding inspector Rob Penney of Southern QA, who answered questions posed by delegates about the Steel Fabricator Certification scheme, fabricator selection and the future of the structural steel market

The Fabricator Forum session concluded with the SCNZ Annual General Meeting, at which Mike Sullivan (D&H Steel Construction and past SCNZ Chairman) thanked Alistair Fussell for his huge contribution to SCNZ and for being a very strong manager. Mike also commented on how much he had enjoyed working with Alistair during his years serving on the Executive Council. During the election of officers, Central region fabricator member Bob Hawley was re-elected as chairperson and Dave Hardy as vice chairperson.

Following these formal proceedings, Alistair Fussell then introduced the General Members Forum when delegates had the opportunity to hear from a series of diverse, informative and inspirational speakers.

First up was Rob Penney, of Southern QA, who outlined valuable observations on quality assurance of imported steel materials and structures.

“Rob highlighted local fabrication issues, acknowledged the SFC scheme as ‘very beneficial’ and called for more robust material checking for both local and overseas manufacture,” says Alistair.

SCNZ chair Bob Hawley provided an interesting insight into the design and construction of Delegats Winery, a new purpose built winemaking facility in Hawke’s Bay, and a project for his company Red Steel.

Lawrence Yule, the Mayor of Hastings since 2001 and who was recently made a Fellow of IPENZ, also took the podium to discuss growth pressures and changes facing New Zealand and Hawke’s Bay; before helping HERA’s Michail Karpenko present certificates to the latest round of fabricators to achieve Steel Fabricator Certification.

The afternoon was wrapped up by keynote speaker Sam Hazeldine the Ernst & Young (Young Entrepreneur of the Year) whose talk ‘Anything’s Possible’ combined his proven and much decorated business experience with energy and enthusiasm.

“Sam is regarded as one of the brightest young business minds in the country and passionately shared the lessons he has learned, asking our delegates to recognise that success lies at the intersection of mindset and action,” says Alistair.

The opportunity to network over drinks was enjoyed before the highly enjoyable gala dinner, where everyone was kept entertained by the “down-to-earth and extremely funny” world-class adventurer and leadership development consultant, Jamie Fitzgerald.

“Jamie not only took on the job of post-dinner speaker, but spent time mingling with delegates and chatting, which was great,” says Alistair.

The event concluded with the presentation of the inaugural Apprentice of the Year Award, won by Thomas Forbes of Napier-based steel fabricator, Red Steel.

The social side of the event stretched into the weekend with many delegates taking the opportunity to go on a winery tour on the Saturday morning in true Hawke’s Bay style.

As outgoing manager, Alistair says his last event at the helm of SCNZ was a memorable one.

“Many thanks to everyone who attended and to the SCNZ staff who worked hard to make the event so successful and enjoyable.”

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