NZIM/Eagle Technology Young Executive of the Year: Hamish McBeath

General manager of Pacific Coilcoaters, McBeath says New Zealand manufacturing can make good money in the world market if it is properly targeted.

McBeath believes this country needs to re-embrace and re-build its manufacturing industries for number of sound economic reasons.

“There are many products New Zealand can bring to the table on which they can make lot of money,” he says. “But they are niche, not long run, products.”

Pacific Coilcoaters is $110 million business within Fletcher Building’s Steel Group.

McBeath bases his rationale, in part, on the jobs and export income that manufacturing creates.

He admires the efficiency and effectiveness of the country’s rural sector but sees as an economic disadvantage the fact that many agriculture-based industries are not particularly labour intensive.

McBeath began his career in the Royal New Zealand Navy where he enrolled as trainee officer and reached the rank of lieutenant.

When he left to join the commercial world, he took shop-floor job as shift manager at Fletcher Building’s Pacific Steel wire mill. Then loss-making unit, after his appointment as sales manager it has since turned to profit.

Fletcher Building’s steel division chief executive Paul Zuckerman describes McBeath as “young, innovative and high achieving [executive] who holds senior leadership position within New Zealand’s largest listed company”.

The Top200 Awards judges credit McBeath’s education in leadership to his time spent in the Royal New Zealand Navy where he quickly learned to lead by example and to alter his leadership style to meet different circumstances.

“He is well qualified manager and leader who clearly articulates his values,” say the judges.

“He emphasises the importance of personal engagement, focusing on respect and clear communication. He stresses the importance of diversity as means of avoiding like-minded thinking.”

McBeath says the navy provided him with an interesting foundation in strategy formulation.

“The military’s strategy development is scenario-based and grounded in the basic principle of making sure you win. The outcome of not winning in business might be less severe, but it is still useful base principle to apply.”

McBeath constantly runs scenarios around where his markets are tracking, and contemplates likely competitor moves in order to identify new business opportunities early. The strategy provides either competitive edge or strengthened baseline position.

Zuckerman credits McBeath with playing pivotal role in negotiating way through “high profile, sensitive and complex hostile takeover” of the Australian Crane Group earlier this year.

McBeath is also founding member of the Sustainable Steel Council and sits on Fletcher Building’s Environmental External Reporting Committee.

“Being green is good for the bottom line, particularly in the steel industry,” he says.

FINALIST • Matthew Carter, General manager HR and student services, Otago Polytechnic
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