New safety manager keen for a challenge

Wayne Shaw enjoyed catching up with old meat industry associates at the Wanaka A&P Show last week...
Wayne Shaw enjoyed catching up with old meat industry associates at the Wanaka A&P Show last week. PHOTO: SALLY RAE
When Wayne Shaw started as a laboratory supervisor at the then PPCS Finegand plant in 1991, his goal was clear — "I wanted to be big in meat".

It was an industry that got in the blood of those involved in it and, while it presented plenty of challenges, Alliance Group’s new safety and processing general manager said he would not want to do anything else.

Born in Auckland and raised in Palmerston North where he completed a technology degree in biotechnology and bioprocess engineering, and a Master’s Degree of business administration at Massey University, the move south was a "little bit of a shock to the system".

"I thought I was a big manager, I had two staff", Mr Shaw said.

He moved up the ranks to plant technologist and production supervisor before being appointed plant manager in 1997, at the age of 27, a role in which he was responsible for about 1100 staff. He was at Finegand for 17 years.

In 2007, Mr Shaw moved into a corporate role with PPCS in Dunedin — the company changed its name and brand the following year to Silver Fern Farms — and had four different operations manager roles, the final one being operations manager of its sheep and venison operation. In that role, he was responsible for 12 plants, livestock procurement, cold stores and transport reporting as well as a shared responsibility for group engineering.

He was then head-hunted to work in Western Australia, managing Harvey Industries’ beef operation. The move was driven by a desire to "see a bit of the world" and to do something a little different and he was there for nine years — most recently as processing and special projects chief operating officer at Harvest Road Group, which covered beef processing farming/feed lots and oyster farming.

When he worked at Silver Fern Farms, it was a full co-operative and he enjoyed working for a co-operative so that was one attraction of the management role at Alliance Group.

Another attraction was using everything he had learned over the years, including his stint in Australia, to contribute to a business and help make a "real difference" to the New Zealand meat industry, and he was also keen for a new challenge.

"Alliance has got a really great asset base.

"I feel like I have the ability to contribute to the future of Alliance going forward which is exciting", he said.

Mr Shaw, now based in Christchurch, said the meat industry was very people-based and he had enjoyed working with many people over the years. At the Wānaka A&P Show last week, he said that he had struggled to walk 50 paces without running into people he knew.

He started the role in early December and, since then, had spent a lot of time travelling. His role focused on supporting the great work being done by teams at the various Alliance plants by assisting them with delivering efficiencies and productivity and keeping everyone safe.

Automation evolved during his years in the meat industry and Alliance had been a huge adapter of that technology, he said.

Over the years there had been lots of safety innovations and now there was equipment which could identify contamination on a carcass with a scanner, he said.

Such innovations helped to improve quality and make plants more efficient.

He was also delighted to see how advanced Alliance was in the decarbonisation space.

"A lot of companies talk about it, Alliance is investing in it", he said.