The Primary Industry Capability Alliance's (PICA) new
chief executive Andy Somerville sees huge potential for New
Zealand's primary sector.
The former Otago man, who starts work in the Wellington-based
position on August 18, is also excited about his new role.
Established in 2012 to develop a capability strategy for the
wider agricultural industry, PICA is a collaboration between
New Zealand Young Farmers, DairyNZ, Beef and Lamb New
Zealand, PrimaryITO, Taratahi, Lincoln University and the
Ministry for Primary Industries It aimed to provide clarity
and guidance for those interested in pursuing a career in the
When looking at things that were critical in the overall
strength of New Zealand's economy, primary industries were
always ''at the top end of the discussions'', Mr Somerville
It was not just the dairy industry but a combination of all
involved, including the likes of fishing, forestry and
horticulture, which had a massive impact on the economy, he
Being able to play ''some little part'' in how capability in
the sector was managed and improved was an exciting
Mr Somerville's interest in the rural sector dated back to
school holidays spent working on a high country station in
the Cardrona Valley.
Brought up in Dunedin, he completed his secondary education
at Otago Boys' High School.
Those holiday experiences saw him head to Lincoln to complete
a degree in agricultural commerce.
A career in firstly rural and then commercial banking
He set up the National Bank's rural finance team before the
purchase of the Rural Bank, then worked in various areas
within The National Bank, including representing it in
He was general manager for business banking at The National
Bank and, most latterly, he has been doing some specialist
work for Kiwibank on a contract basis.
Given his original interest in farming, Mr Somerville said
the PICA role was something that really interested him.
''For me, it's a perfect opportunity to get into something
new and challenging and something that goes back to where I
started with my studies,'' he said.
PICA's transition board chairman Mark Paine said Mr
Somerville brought extensive experience in business
development and relationship management to the role.
The organisation had come a long way since it was set up two
years ago and he brought the right combination of skills in
strategy, leadership and collaboration needed to lead the
next phase of development.
The People Powered report, released last month by the
Ministry for Primary Industries, highlighted the changing
skills necessary so the sector could adapt and respond to
novel opportunities and technologies.
In the future, it was hoped to extend the alliance to include
the wider primary industries such as horticulture, seafood,
forestry and arable, Mr Paine said.
PICA, under Mr Somerville's leadership, would play a critical
role in linking organisations and ensuring their strategies,
resources and activities were aligned to achieve the outcomes
the primary industries needed.