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NZDIA Board elections: Meet the new Board

Line of Defence Magazine, Summer 2017/18

Roger Hurst of Loop Technologies re-elected to the Board of the NZDIA.Roger Hurst of Loop Technologies re-elected to the Board of the NZDIA.


With elections on 6th December bringing about significant changes to the board of the New Zealand Defence Industry Association (NZDIA), we provide a brief profile of each member of the board for 2018.


At the NZDIA Annual General Meeting on 6th December a number of Director positions were up for election. The following day the Association announced the results, including new Directors, Deputy Chair and Chair.

Andrew Ford from Beca comes in as Chair, with Chris Saxby from Babcock International as Deputy Chair. Existing Directors Heather Deacon from Airbus and Roger Hurst from Loop Technologies get a nod, as does Jerry Szulinsky from LMNZ.

With the completion of his term as Chair, Scott Arrell retired from the role and from the Board, with the Board expressing thanks to both Scott and outgoing director Steve Gill for their years of commitment to the Association and its continued growth and success.


Andrew Ford - Chair

Andrew has previously served on the NZDIA Board, including as Deputy Chair, first to Bernie Diver and then to immediate past Chair Scott Arrell. He is a Principal Consultant and National Security Market Leader for Beca Ltd.

In line with the Government’s alignment of Defence to broader National Security outcomes, Andrew has commented that he is keen to deliver on the NZDIA’s strategy to broaden industry presence across the National Security sector through engagement with Police, Customs, Immigration, Biosecurity, GCSB, Civil Defence and Emergency Management.

Andrew joined Beca following a 22-year career in the RNZN. He has lead projects in the industrial engineering sector, provided organisational and business improvement consultancy in a number of Beca client sectors, and manages Beca’s relationships with Defence sector clients, including NZDF, MoD, OEMs and support contractors.

He is recognised within Beca as a Principal Consultant in the Business and Technology Business Line and as Technical Fellow for his work in developing Defence Markets and delivering complex organisational change.


Chris Saxby – Deputy Chair

Chris arrived in Auckland earlier this year, taking up the role of General Manager (Surface Ships) Australasia for Babcock International Group. He was previously Babcock’s Head of Programmes for Warship Support in the UK.

“Within defence, the government will be making substantial investments as they seek to recapitalise the RNZN over this next decade as advanced in the 2016 White Paper,” Chris told Line of Defence. “NZ Inc. should be giving the government every encouragement to make that investment within NZ and enable engineering skills to be developed, initially within maritime, that can then be applied in other industry sectors.”

“Such investment should be used to provide an engineering vision for the nation, around which schools can find alignment with curricular activities, colleges can align prospectuses and the youth can find good jobs,” he said.

Chris has a wealth of experience from both Babcock, for warship and naval base management, and his 34-year career in the Royal Navy, which blended engineering sea appointments across steam, diesel, gas turbine and HV all-electric ship technologies with increasingly senior appointments ashore.


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Roger Hurst – Director

Roger was elected to the Board at the last AGM . He now enters his second year. As co-owner of Hamilton-based Loop Technologies, Roger provides a New Zealand small to medium enterprise perspective. 

“Since being elected to the NZDIA board at the start of 2017, I have enjoyed being part of an organisation that creates opportunities for New Zealand companies to engage with Defence,” Roger told Line of Defence. “I feel that we have a vibrant association with increasingly active participation from the MOD, NZDF and our members.”

Roger purchased Loop Technologies in 2011 in a management buy-out with a colleague.  Loop Technologies offers a range of services – including obsolescence solutions – to owners of high-value assets with electronics content, including Defence.

“With the appointment of Jennie Vickers to our CEO role, and her tremendous energy and commitment over the past months, we have gone a long way to implementing our key strategies,” he said. “I see 2018 as a year when the NZDIA really hits its straps, and I encourage members to make the most of every event through the year.”


Heather Deacon - Director

Heather has been involved in the NDIA for a number of years, and secured re-election to the Board at this month’s AGM. She is the Director of NZ Operations at Airbus Group Australia Pacific and responsible for the general management of Safe Air Limited.

Heather started her career as a Flying Instructor, which culminated in her training military pilots from each of the three British Armed Services. She has worked for multi-national Defence Primes including Babcock, BAE Systems, Selex and now Airbus.

She was a sponsor of the Supply Chain Project that saw a group of SMEs working together to provide export solutions and promote NZ Inc. She is an advocate for a partnered approach working with syndicates or alliances to provide the optimum solutions for all parties.

“I am particularly interested in innovation and how disruptive technology is going to transform our industry and the world around us,” Heather stated. “With this in mind I believe it is essential that the NZDIA is forward-looking and in a good position to support its members to better serve their customers as they adapt to whatever the future brings.”


Jerry Szulinski - Director

Jerry Szulinski has been elected as a new member of the board. He is General Manager for Lockheed Martin – New Zealand, providing logistics and engineering services for the NZDF, NZ Police, NZ Fire Service and other customers.

He is responsible for managing a workforce of over 270 people delivering Maintenance, Repair, and Overhaul (MRO), Managed Fleet Utilisation, sustainment, training, and design and development of custom engineering solutions across five sites.

Jerry has over 25 years of experience in various disciplines including engineering, training, satellite ground systems, and logistics programmes. He has worked with a broad spectrum of international customers including all branches of the US Department of Defence, Defence Threat Reduction Agency, the Air Forces of Poland and Italy, and various customers in NZ.

His previous experience includes design and development of virtual flight and combat vehicle simulators, and technology insertion for live Air Combat Manoeuvre Ranges. He also has an in-depth background in medium and large scale C2ISR systems-of-systems, and live-virtual-constructive military exercises and war gaming.


Josie FitzGerald - DIrector

Josie is the New Zealand leader for Aurecon’s Environment and Planning business as well as responsible for the growth of Aurecon’s advisory business into the Government market across Australia and New Zealand.

Her career has spanned the fields of land surveying, infrastructure and urban development, project/programme management in earthquake resilience, telecommunications, and more recently advisory services for Defence and housing. Josie’s strengths lie in client service, stakeholder management, and health and safety.

An owner within Aurecon, Josie has progressively been promoted to lead teams and divisions across Wellington, NZ and now Australia, responsible for developing the strategic direction, vision and goals to govern those teams.

Josie will provide a fresh perspective to the NZDIA Board with her diverse experience in infrastructure and consulting. 


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