Leaders and legacies at Shoalhaven Starches

Leaders and legacies at Shoalhaven Starches | The Cultivator Spring 2021

LEADERS AND LEGACIES at Shoalhaven Starches

Manildra Group is celebrating the careers of four prominent team members who retire after a combined 100 years of service.

Shoalhaven Starches Site Manager, Ming Leung is retiring after 12 years of leading a team of more than 350 people at the Shoalhaven Starches site, in Nowra, New South Wales and hundreds of contractors on any given day.

Manildra Group Managing Director John Honan said Ming’s quick intellect, approachable manner, and ability to “think outside the square” ensured challenges were sorted out immediately, with the company relying on his advice and incredible knowledge.

“Ming has an outstanding ability to translate highly technical information and guide the likes of politicians, trainees and customers through the sites’ highly-complex processes and product range,” Mr Honan said.

“After years of prolonged drought, with wheat supply at a record-low, Ming was integral in leading and managing the establishment of the Australian-first grain import facility in 2019 which successfully and critically drought- proofed the company – a mammoth feat.”

Shoalhaven Starches Engineering Manager Lou Reali is another hanging up his boots after nearly three decades of service.

Mr Honan noted that Lou was fundamental in leading construction projects and plant maintenance and was critical in driving the integration and implementation of automation at the site.

“Lou constantly strived for innovation and excellence and was determined in his search for new technology and infrastructure projects to advance the sophisticated integrated production process.

“His curiosity and willingness to always take concepts and ideas one step further enabled him to become a great team leader,” Mr Honan told The Cultivator.

When asked for comment, Lou said, “Since I started, the site has increased five times in size, and it’s been a privilege and honour to participate in that growth and success.”

Incredibly, with more than 34 years tenure, Shoalhaven Starches Head Chemist, the analytically brilliant Peter Tallent is another retiree.

“Peter had the rare privilege of being able to translate and communicate highly complex information to customers and employees, representing the business in a professional manner, locally and abroad,” Mr Honan said.

Being approachable, Peter managed the Quality Control laboratory and team, responsible for product quality and additionally, the development, implementation, and technical support for new products.

“Peter is a true problem solver – always following through with any challenges presented and was instrumental in establishing and leading the bulk grain-neutral spirit export project – an Australian-first – ensuring that our high-quality spirit reaches its destination in exceptional condition,” said Mr Honan.

Finally, the National Quality Assurance Manager, Wesley Davis, renowned for his “highly responsive” nature, crucial in such a dynamic, evolving, and fast-paced business, is retiring after nearly three decades with Manildra Group, with his role encompassing quality assurance, environmental and safety management.

With the mantra “If you don’t keep pace with the constant changes in today’s business world, you will be left behind,” Wes continually encouraged those around him to think deeper and consider different options until solutions were found.

“Wes was tremendously fundamental in Manildra Group becoming the first operator worldwide to achieve certification to the RSB (Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterial), which we continue to maintain today – the very highest commitment to sustainable ethanol production globally.

“Pioneering excellence and innovation, Ming, Peter, Lou and Wes have all played key roles at Manildra Group, and we say thank you for your exceptional service,” Mr Honan said.