August 17, 2021
Interview with Hannah Campbell
Position: Production Manager
Organisation: Incitec Pivot Limited
One-liner: Mixing it up in male-dominated manufacturing
The biggest piece of advice I can give is to be brave, take opportunities as they arise, and to surround yourself with a support network who you trust and can go to for help.
At what age did you decide that what you do as a job now was something you wanted to specialise in?
Elsie, Western Cape College
When I left high school, I didn’t know what I wanted to do for work. I enjoyed maths and science at school and decided to apply for engineering at university. It wasn’t until I was in my third year of university (I was 19) when I completed work experience that I fell in love with working on a manufacturing site – it had such incredible energy and the people were so passionate about what they were doing and I immediately knew I had made the right choice.
As a Production Manager, in industrial chemical manufacturing, are there a lot of safety precautions in place when using manufacturing products?
Grace, Moranbah SHS
Absolutely – safety is the foundation of everything we do on site, because if we can’t do something safely, there is no point in doing it! Some examples are wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) like hearing protection, safety glasses and gloves on site, making sure we have clear procedures developed by experts that operators can follow so the job is performed safely, and cleaning all hazardous chemicals out of pieces of equipment before we do any repairs.
What’s your usual day or week like? This doesn’t sound like an office job! How often are you on-site?
STEM Girl Power
My job is certainly not a typical 9 am – 5 pm office job. This is one of the things I love about it! My day always starts with a pre-start meeting, where we talk about what the priorities are for the day. This includes any safety issues that we need to resolve and any impairments in the plant that might prevent it from making the product. We then go out on the plant to see and hear what is happening to understand any issues. Then I get stuck into some longer-term projects like planning shutdowns or problem solving an incident that happened. During this time, I’m often also helping my team to work through problems, make improvements or develop their people. I am based at our Moranbah site – and while I work from home sometimes, I’m on site most days.
What are the chemical products you develop at Incitec Pivot that we wouldn’t expect?
STEM Girl Power
The products we make at Incitec Pivot are really diverse and support two of Australia’s biggest sectors – resources and agriculture. We have two key categories of products: fertilisers that are used by Australian farmers and a product called ammonium nitrate, which is used as an explosive product at mine sites. Our site in Brisbane also produces carbon dioxide as a byproduct which is sold to soft drink manufacturers to make their drinks fizzy.
What drew you into being involved as an iTrack Mentor at the Smith Family?
STEM Girl Power
I was so fortunate to receive a great education and was also encouraged to study maths and science all through school. I think it’s really important for the future of our world to get a great education. I think it’s particularly important to study STEM subjects so we can make data-based decisions for the future. I’m passionate about helping in any way I can to encourage young people to continue their studies or help them understand what opportunities await them – because you are the future! The Smith Family iTrack program aligned perfectly with this, and I’ve loved being part of the program so far. I learn so much from the participants!
How did it feel to take on such a big project only two years after university when you won the AMMA Industry Awards Young Professional of the Year? Why do you think these types of awards are important?
STEM Girl Power
When I was first offered the role, I was so scared! I was lucky to have some great mentors who helped me grow my confidence, then I decided just to take a risk and throw myself into it. It was a steep learning curve, but I have never regretted it. The biggest piece of advice I can give is to be brave, take opportunities as they arise, and to surround yourself with a support network who you trust and can go to for help.
Where do you believe the future of science and technology is heading in your industry, and what potential is there?
Grace, Kirwan SHS, Townsville
Technology is advancing so rapidly, and it is already becoming a much larger focus within the manufacturing and the resources industry. Not only is it being used to increase efficiency, but there is a growing focus on environmental sustainability and using technology to decrease carbon emissions. This presents some really exciting opportunities for our industry. Technology is also being used to improve safety – for example, in the mining industry, many sites are now using autonomous vehicles rather than having people drive trucks in dangerous environments.
Are male-dominated industries changing their culture as more women like you take on technical roles?
STEM Girl Power
Since I started my career in manufacturing and resources I have witnessed positive change around gender and other forms of diversity. But it’s not enough just to have more women in technical roles – we need everyone to champion the value of diversity. As work cultures change to reflect this, this needs to be supported by increasing the talent pool so we can increase female representation. This starts at school. It’s important to encourage young women to study STEM subjects and show them the vast range of opportunities a STEM background creates. Other factors like the COVID-19 pandemic have also helped make flexible work more common and accepted within these industries, for both men and women. So, while there have been many positive changes, we still have so far to go. There are many aspects that need to continue to change to truly reach the place of an inclusive industry.
Hannah Campbell works as a Production Manager for Incitec Pivot Limited, a leading global industrial chemicals manufacturer.
She is an energetic, young leader in a male-dominated industry who has worked on-site at manufacturing plants in Moranbah and Gibson Island in Queensland and at Geelong in Victoria. Throughout her various roles, Hannah has designed and led changes in production strategy and organisational structure as well as managing safety and reliability risks to deliver on business results.
Hannah sees her purpose as unlocking potential and helping others see and value all forms of diversity, so they can come together to make better future-minded decisions. Since 2018 she has been an iTrack Mentor at The Smith Family, a program that connects students in Years 9-11 with adult mentors to provide advice and help them explore post-school options to encourage them to continue their education.
In 2017 Hannah was awarded the AMMA Industry Awards Young Professional of the Year for her work leading the shutdown of the Moranbah Ammonium Nitrate Facility, commencing the role only two years into her professional engineering career – the project itself took 18 months of planning and 42 days and 94,000 staff hours to execute.