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BSL wins national Australian Institute of Management Excellence Award

October 19, 2015

BSL takes out national gong at the Australian Institute of Management Excellence Awards


General Manager for Boyne Smelters Ltd (BSL) Joe Rea has won the national Manager of the Year award at the Australian Institute of Management Excellence Awards 2015, held on Friday evening, 16 October at the Peninsula, Melbourne.


Taking out the Queensland title last month, Joe lined up against seven other industry leaders in his category—the only finalist to represent regional Australia—to collect  the event’s flagship award on Friday night.


Judges for the award agreed Joe was a rare leader among leaders showing transparency, competence and a great sense of humility.


Competing against state and territory finalists from a diverse range of industries including BHP Iron Ore, National Critical Care and Trauma Response Centre, Australian Tax Office, Open Universities Australia and Retirement Benefits Fund, Joe was selected for leading his workforce on a transformation journey to improve BSL’s international competitiveness.


Judges acknowledged and celebrated Joe’s ability to drive significant change in a complex and challenging industry, which has led to his workforce delivering operational cost reductions nearing $100 million and a period of 365 consecutive safe days—the best result ever achieved at the smelter.


Joe said he was honoured to represent over a thousand employees at Boyne Smelters.


“After years of facing market headwinds and making difficult decisions to remain competitive, it’s a rare moment when you can take a breath and celebrate success on behalf of your team,” Joe said.

“I want to do everything I can to retain manufacturing in Australia, especially for the future of our youth.”


Starting as an apprentice in 1977 at the Weipa bauxite mine, Joe steadily worked his way up, transferring to BSL in 1996 where he held a number of management roles before becoming GM of the site in 2012.


“I have an appreciation for what it’s like on the floor. I’m keen to make a difference and get in and lend a hand where it’s needed with the crews,” Joe said.


“Generations of families have been employed at the smelter. You get to know them all. Their contributions to BSL in adding value to Australian natural resources help make us a great Australian story. I feel our people have never been more proud to come to work.”


Over the past three years, Joe has led Australia’s BSL through a transformation journey to improve its productivity and international competitiveness.


Friday night’s award recognised his commitment to building business resilience and leading his people through change.


“It was a humbling experience accepting the award, but gratifying at the same time considering how long we’ve been doing it tough. The award is an acknowledgement we can all share at BSL,” Joe said.


Pacific Aluminium CEO and President Bruce Cox congratulated Joe: “When you visit BSL you immediately see the positive impact Joe brings to his workforce. He inspires people to dig deeper and challenge themselves in ways they might have thought were impossible.”


“He leads by example and has no hesitation helping out on the potlines or spending time tirelessly explaining the direction of the business to his people. He very much deserves this award.”