Environmental News

Tony Ingram: Repaying the Institute’s faith

On 6 October, 2017, at the annual gala dinner of the IQA’s 60th annual conference in Toowoomba, delegates raised a toast to one of the Institute’s newly inducted Honorary Fellows – and a highly respected supporter of the industry.

“Ladies and gentlemen,” IQA CEO Paul Sutton declared, “we acknowledge the contribution to the Institute and industry of Tony Ingram by electing him as an Honorary Fellow of the Institute.”

The Honorary Fellowship is the highest honour bestowed on an IQA member for his or her contribution to the Institute or the broader industry – or for having held a position in the IQA or the industry.

It is fair to say the late Tony Ingram qualified in all respects.

Sutton announced that Tony, who joined the Institute in 1990, was a tireless, active member – initially serving on the New South Wales branch committee and national conference committees, and later as a member of the IQA Council and a director on the IQA board (where he also served and chaired at least two subcommittees).

{{quote-A:R-W:300-I:4-Q:"My advice for current IQA members would be “to be passionate about your submission – to believe in its importance, in its ability to make a difference and to use it as an opportunity to give back to the industry."-WHO:Tony Ingram, Honorary Fellow of the Institute}}The industry alumni were told how Tony entered the industry as a plant operator, and that it was his eagerness to learn and his ability to problem-solve and lead others that enabled him to move through the ranks – from quarry manager to regional manager to general manager roles across five different companies. Tony also served on mine manager examiner boards and mine safety advisory bodies.

Sutton said Tony had informed his peers he was an effusive supporter of the IQA because he felt he owed the Institute a “debt” for having a quarry management course introduced to NSW in the 1990s. Without that course, Tony believed he could not have gained the Advanced Certificate in Quarry Management.

In summing up Tony’s contributions that led to this honour, Sutton said: “He has paid the Institute back, with interest.”

Industry, academic excellence

IQA Past President David Cilento was a close friend of Tony Ingram and his wife Susan Fields. In a eulogy at his close friend and mentor’s funeral, Cilento described how Tony “fell into the industry” and, because of “the people, culture and the diversity of the work, he remained in it and ultimately became a part of shaping the industry of today”.

Tony’s working life began while he was still at school, “working odd jobs”, Cilento said. These included assisting an electrician to wire and fit out new houses on weekends and catching chickens for loading and transport to the processing factory.

“I suspect it was [the latter] job that started Tony on his quest for understanding efficient processes, because they usually caught the chooks at about 1am,” Cilento good-humouredly said. “The advantage was the chooks couldn’t see in the dark!”

After starting on 7 April, 1972, as an apprentice electrician (he recalled the date with unerring accuracy), Tony won a number of accolades over a seven-year tuition period:

  • He placed first in each stage of his apprenticeship at Penrith TAFE.

  • He obtained his Electrical Fitter/Mechanic Trade Certificate (with Honours) in 1975.

  • He was the NSW Electrical Apprentice of the Year in 1975.

  • He won the John Fairfax Award as the leading NSW apprentice electrical fitter mechanic in 1976.

  • He achieved his A Grade Electrical Mechanic’s Licence in June 1976 and his Electrical Contractor’s Licence in May 1979.

After a short stint in a contracting partnership, Tony’s introduction to the quarrying industry came in 1978 when he joined Concrete Industries (formerly Monier, then Rocla, which is now part of Hanson) to work in a quarry in Marsden Park.

The role ideally suited Tony, according to Cilento, because “he was able to work in the plant, do electrical work, fix crushers, conveyors, screens and other equipment, do the quality control work and operate mobile equipment right through to the draglines”, and the money was good compared to an electrician’s salary.

{{image2-a:r-w:300}}The Concrete Industries position, Cilento added, would ultimately “set Tony’s direction for the rest of his career, and I’d say the future careers of many others in the industry today, as he spent time visiting other plants and moved into supervision and then management”.

After a decade with Concrete Industries, Tony in 1993 joined the Penrith Lakes Development Corporation (PLDC), a consortium of building materials suppliers Boral, Holcim and Hanson. The PLDC was tasked with rehabilitating the former Penrith Lakes quarry site as extraction was completed, and transferring some of the land to the NSW Government for use as a major parkland and lakes system for the western Sydney community. Although active quarrying ceased there in 2015, work continues on remediation of the site.

Over that period, Tony continued to further his education and training, completing the Advanced Certificate in Quarry Management (with Distinction) in 1993 and the Certificate of Competency for Above Ground Mine Manager. For the mine manager’s ticket, he achieved the highest mark ever – and to this day, his score remains unmatched. He also won the IQA’s 1992 Boral Award (which enabled him to undertake a $4000 study tour of quarrying in the UK and Europe) and the 1994 Ingersoll Rand Award for the highest marks in a quarry manager qualification.

After four years with the PLDC, Tony in 1997 crossed to Boral, where he served in numerous roles: as manager of the Emu Plains Quarry; general manager of the NSW Quarries & Recycling division; executive manager for operational improvement; and finally as a manager at the Peppertree Quarry in Marulan, NSW, where he had input into the plant design.

During this period he met his wife Susan, who was also working for Boral, initially as its NSW OHS manager and later as the national OHS manager.

In 2011 Tony became the national operations manager for Holcim Aggregates and in 2015 he assumed the role of national manager for the Rocla quarry business, through to its purchase by Hanson (completed in February 2016). As Cilento observed: “It was a neat circle to finish in the business where he started.”

Throughout the 1990s, 2000s and into this decade, Tony demonstrated an unwavering commitment to the IQA and to furthering not only his own education, training and performance but also encouraging others to do their best. After becoming a Member of the Institute in 1990, he served on the IQA’s NSW branch committee, initially as branch secretary and later as chairman (from 2005 to 2007). He was elevated to Fellow in 1998, was a member of the Institute’s Certified Practitioners Board from 2009 and became an IQA board member and vice president in 2011.

Tony also worked with regulators in NSW on legislation for 12 years, representing the quarrying sector on the NSW Extractive Industry Safety Advisory Committee from 1992 to 2000 and the revamped NSW Mine Safety Advisory Council from 2000 to 2004.

Fostering professional growth

Susan told Quarry her husband enjoyed his work in the quarrying industry, largely because of the opportunities for personal and professional growth it afforded him and for the chance to make a holistic contribution to the community and society at large, and his peers.

“He always considered quarry people genuine and authentic,” Susan said.

In particular, one of the highlights he often spoke of was promoting education and “giving back to the industry, being part of and seeing others, the industry and the IQA grow”.

“Tony had a philosophy of ‘see one, do one, teach one’,” Susan said. “Throughout his career he applied this as fitted his position at the time. He saw the transfer of skills and knowledge as an obligation held by everyone, according to their role.

“So as he moved through the industry, wherever he could best influence he would attempt to fulfil this obligation through mentoring and coaching, which he considered a joint learning journey taken together with the participant.”

She said her husband encouraged the development and implementation of management strategies to ensure adequate education and training resources, participation in industry conferences and forums, and a contribution to curriculum development and the supporting regulatory framework through membership of various boards, committees and councils.

{{image3-a:r-w:300}}“His greatest support, however, was for on the job learning, but supplemented with more formal methods,” she said. “The highlight of his education calendar each year was attendance at the NSW IQA Graduation Dinner.”

The NSW IQA Graduation Dinner is one of several events the Institute’s branches hold annually to acknowledge the achievements of members who complete certificates and diplomas in the extractive industries – as part of the road to becoming supervisors and managers. For some members, who may have worked in the industry since their teens, these can be the first formal academic accomplishments of their careers.

Tony also worked with his wife on numerous IQA projects, including curriculum revisions to the Risk Management and Legal Compliance professional development programs, and presentations of numerous papers at IQA conferences. Susan first became involved with the IQA when she authored the Safety Management Plan Workbook (aka the original Blue Book) with the NSW Department of Mineral Resources.

“It was an honour, privilege and a pleasure to have not only been his wife but also to have worked with Tony over the years,” Susan said. “We were both so proud of the many things we felt we achieved in what was an amazingly symbiotic professional and personal relationship.”

Upon retirement, Tony became “handyman extraordinare” at his and Susan’s “tree change” home in the NSW Southern Highlands, and doted on his family, which incorporated his children, stepchildren and grandchildren, and his pet French bulldog Stella.

His passions and interests outside of quarrying included short- and long-distance running and he competed in various events, including the Sydney City to Surf.

“His favourite race was the Melbourne Half Marathon, which finished with a circuit inside the Melbourne Cricket Ground,” Susan recalled.

His other great passion was to travel to “new places and new experiences that he combined with a keen photographic eye”.

“His two favourite trips were ones undertaken over Christmas in the northern hemisphere – in New York and then Paris,” Susan said. “And he enjoyed undertaking the meticulous research and planning that went into every trip.”

Tony was delighted to receive the IQA’s Honorary Fellowship.

“His Honorary Fellowship did come as a surprise – and a wonderful boost,” Susan said. “By the time Paul Sutton and David Cilento came to our home to do the presentation, Tony was quite unwell. But he insisted on personally and immediately hanging the framed certificate in his study, where it remains. Despite the extensive list of achievements and services that Paul and David cited, Tony remained very touched and humbled by the awarding of the Honorary Fellowship by his ‘beloved’ IQA. It was a standing joke in our house that the IQA was the other love of his life!”

As a multiple IQA Awards recipient, Susan said Tony Ingram’s advice for current IQA members considering applying for the Institute’s awards in 2018 would be “to be passionate about your submission – to believe in its importance, in its ability to make a difference and to use it as an opportunity to give back to the industry”.

Applications for the 2018 IQA Awards are open until 31 July, 2018. For more information about the IQA Awards, visit quarry.com.au/Networking/Awards/2018AwardInformation.aspx

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