It’s 5:23am, and I’m in the office. I thought leaving FIFO was supposed to mean sleep ins?
My office is on the 18th floor and faces south. From my desk I have a beautiful view of the Derbarl Yerrigan (the Swan River), the Dyarlgarro Beeliar (Canning River) and the Perth hills. At this time of the year, there is a magic that shines over the State in the early hours of the morning. Something that I have become accustomed to, like you, from all those years working in remote operations around the world. All very enjoyable before the flies come out!
Perth however, is more than just a beautiful city. It is a city which will grow in global importance in the years to come and become central to global decarbonisation efforts.
27 years ago, our family migrated here with little more than a few suitcases and barely enough money to buy a car. Fast forward to my time at Curtin University’s WA School of Mines in Perth and in Kalgoorlie and all of the subsequent experiences (good and bad), I feel like education and advice from mentors has always been the catalyst for the good in my life.
In a WASM Alumni Council onboarding session two weeks ago, we asked ‘Why are you here’ and the resounding message was – to give back. I am proud and honoured to work alongside such a distinguished group of Councillors who want to give back during this pivotal moment in the resources sector. A team with the practical skillset to design, finance and operate a mine anywhere in the world. A team that is corporate savvy, well networked and attuned to the needs of all stakeholders. A team that is ready to give back.
At the WASMA President’s Lunch in September, we held a survey on industry needs. The top four results conducted by Culture Radar showed that the industry participants want us to focus on producing industry ready professionals. We will continue to work closely with WASM:MECE Head of School Professor Michael Hitch and the rest of the Curtin team to ensure we can deliver industry ready graduates to the industry.
People are, and always will be the secret sauce at WASM and the Alumni, and it is our intention to leverage our combined knowledge and influence to drive positive change by bringing people together. At the recent WASMA Sandvik Annual Gala this year we had many students from Kalgoorlie make their way to Perth for it. It got me thinking, Kalgoorlie doesn’t just immerse WASM students in the mining community, it teaches them the grit and determination to show up. And in the face of the challenges we have before us – this unique trait of WASM grads will shine again.
As we draw a close to 2022, I want to thank our outgoing President Christian Price for his steadfast determination and commitment to the WASM Alumni in his three-year tenure in this role. Christian has led the organisation through a difficult time and we are proud of the achievements made during this period. I’d like to highlight a few of these initiatives.
- Christian created the most diverse Council we have ever had.
- Guided and supported students, staff and alumni during COVID.
- Under Christian’s leadership, we saw the relationship with Curtin grow from strength to strength. Something we will continue to develop as key partners.
- Christian co-founded CoRE Foundation with Suzie Urbanek, which has now become one of the largest STEM pipelines for the resources sector.
On behalf of the WASM Alumni, we thank Christian and his wife Kate (also a WASM graduate) for their immense service to our community.
I also want to thank the Councillors who have recently stepped down. Michelle Keegan, David Harwood and Warwick Jones. Michelle orchestrated the Resource, Innovation and Collaboration (RIC) nights and developed the strategy for the WASM Alumni two years ago. David Harwood was the Chair for the Bentley branch and was a vital link to students and research in Perth. Warwick Jones has been instrumental in the success of WASMA’s mentoring program.
We are very lucky to have Liz Blaxell our Executive Officer with us too. Liz works tirelessly to administer the Alumni. It’s a hard job and Liz gets on with it day in day out, catering to the needs of Council, Curtin and all our stakeholders with professionalism and passion. Thank you Liz.
We also thank our key sponsors, Curtin University, Sandvik and Northern Star for your ongoing support. We look forward to working and engaging with you for our exciting future as we Refine and Redefine who we are as an industry and alumni.
2022 will forever be referred to as ‘post COVID’. The world has voted, and policy makers around the world are now scrambling to make changes in key areas to stabilise and de-carbonise. These are areas where the WASM Alumni and WASM:MECE education and research will play a crucial role.
Council has met twice in the last month and has elected the following Councillors to chair sub-committees.
- Alex Biggs – Chair of Finance, Partners and Sponsorships
- Dean Vallve – Chair of Mentoring and Memberships (takes over from Darren Stralow). The mentoring program is FREE for everyone. Lookout for it next year.
- Gemma Murphy – Chair of Outreach
- Colin Roberts – Chair of the Bentley Branch
- Boiketo Mazibeli – Chair of the Kalgoorlie Branch
- Kyle De Souza – Chair of Events and Marketing
The wheels are accelerating for an exciting 2023. We hope you will join us and take the opportunity to sponsor, attend (show up) and contribute to the activities we have coming. We will have more information on how you can support us soon.
My wife Jamie-Lee and I are expecting our first child in early 2023. I hope we can all leave a legacy for the next generation which we (and they) can be proud of.
As always, I’m keen to hear your thoughts and ideas. I am available on 0408 760 695.
The history of the Western Australian School of Mines Alumni (WASMA) reflects the ups and downs of the Western Australian School of Mines (WASM) and the role it has played in supporting graduates in a range of activities and events. It also describes the important role that graduates have played in ensuring WASM remains in Kalgoorlie. Learn more.