The 2016-2018 Leadership Illawarra Cohort’s most recent site visit was to BlueScope’s Port Kembla Steelworks, where a quick tour of the works was followed by a meeting with Mark Vassella, the Chief Executive of BlueScope’s businesses in Australia & New Zealand.
Those of us who hadn’t previously been to the steelworks, were suitably impressed with the scale of the works. Even those who had previously visited the site finished the tour more knowledgeable about the complexity of the steelmaking process, thanks to our tour guide, Craig Nealon, a former metallurgist and now community relations manager for BlueScope.
We were then fortunate enough to spend half an hour with Mark Vassella, who spoke about BlueScope’s role in the community – interestingly, even though BlueScope plays a vital role, in partnership with the WIN Network, in supporting numerous local causes, Mark placed significant emphasis on BlueScope’s ability to support a huge diversity of skills which would be lost if not for the steelworks as a key part of BlueScope’s presence in the community. Mark also spoke briefly about his own career, starting as a cadet at the Newcastle Steelworks and moving through a range of roles, always in the steel industry but with both public and privately owned companies and both overseas and in Australia. While Mark focussed on his willingness to take opportunities, his passion, enthusiasm and breadth of experience were clear to all of us listening. The fact that the steelworks remains a viable business, directly employing thousands of people and indirectly creating work for thousands more, is testament to Mark’s leadership and was the subject of deep reflection over a quiet drink at the Coniston Pub where we wrapped up our afternoon.
- Susannah Powter
Blog posts written by the Leadership Illawarra Program.