Exporting Hunter expertise to the world

AMPCONTROL GOOD DESIGN AWARD 2019: Ampcontrol co-founder Peter Cockbain AM, third from right, and CEO Rod Henderson, second from right, with the Rockstarter.
AMPCONTROL GOOD DESIGN AWARD 2019: Ampcontrol co-founder Peter Cockbain AM, third from right, and CEO Rod Henderson, second from right, with the Rockstarter.

Ampcontrol, a local company turned international leader, has a rich history in the Hunter that stretches back to 1968.

Over 50 years of operation, its story is one full of technological firsts, impressive growth and global reach. Today, with its head office based in Tomago, NSW, it is a national and international provider of power and control solutions for the mining, renewable and infrastructure sectors.

Ampcontrol began as the 'good idea' of four locally based friends who thought they had what it took to change the way things were done.

Starting out as Hunter Engineering Sales in a shed with a dirt floor, the group formed a series of businesses that enabled them to develop and manufacture new technology for the resources sector, and establish the technology platform and cultural vision for what would become Ampcontrol.

Today, with nearly 25 years of service at Ampcontrol, CEO and Managing Director Rod Henderson can attest to Ampcontrol's achievements and to the benefits of working closely with Engineers Australia.

"We want to congratulate Engineers Australia on celebrating its 100-year history and to say thanks for all the organisation has done for the industry. We are also grateful for the many ways in which Engineers Australia has contributed to the success of the business and our people."

Ampcontrol co-founder Peter Cockbain AM remains a major shareholder in the business today. He has had a long and continuous involvement with Engineers Australia, joining in 1969 and serving in roles including membership of the Engineers Australia Council, President of the Newcastle Division and National President in 2006.

In 2010 he was named by Engineers Australia as one of Australia's top 100 influential engineers for his commitment to innovation and in 2015 he became a Member of the Order of Australia for his significant services to engineering. Today he is an Honorary Fellow of Engineers Australia.

It's this foundation of innovation that has led to Ampcontrol winning a number of National Engineering Excellence Awards along with a raft of others for its people's engineering innovation.

So far in 2019 alone, the people who created the Rockstarter were proud to find their newest innovation won the Product Design and Engineering Design categories of the Good Design Awards, while the project teams who worked passionately for over three years to develop the game-changing Moranbah North longwall project were rewarded with an Innovation Award at the Mine Electrical Safety Conference.

In addition, Ampcontrol's breakthrough Gilghi remote water solution won a Lake Macquarie Business Award for Excellence in Innovation. In the UK, Ampcontrol won the Scottish Engineering President's Award in large part because its team members pride themselves on both setting and raising the standard for the engineering sector.

Projects such as these highlight the importance of teamwork and innovation in Ampcontrol's success. In fact, one of Cockbain's favourite sayings is, "I can't, you can't, but we can!"

While he was National President of Engineers Australia, Cockbain used his position to actively promote Australia's engineering expertise as an export commodity as well as to foster links between government, research organisations and industry.

Following his lead, many of the engineers within the Ampcontrol business have been active participants in Engineers Australia throughout the company's history, with some going on to take key leadership and mentoring roles in this professional association.

Ampcontrol is equally passionate about supporting the development of young engineers, regularly awarding the Peter Cockbain Medal for the Ampcontrol Young Engineer of the Year, as well as providing many other career pathways and development programs.

Today, Ampcontrol has grown from four blokes in a shed to a diversified business servicing the energy, infrastructure and resources sectors from over 30 sites across Australia and seven other countries. It also provides employment to over 1000 people, individuals who have worked together to win engineering and design awards, achieve personal and professional recognition, develop industry leading products and create a longevity that has seen the business flourish.

Looking forward, Henderson says: "Our future is not only bright but full of potential. Our people are our success and it is exciting to think about the new challenges we will encounter in engineering and the continued opportunities we will have to support our customers, both in our own backyard and abroad."

Visit ampcontrolgroup.com for further information.