Ben Foote, Fonterra
In a nutshell: Managing projects that improve the safety and reliability of Fonterra's fleet of milk tankers.
Why? "I'm passionate about the transport industry, so working with milk tankers is an obvious choice!"
Whakatane High School, Final year subjects: Chemistry, Electronics, English, Physics, Technology
University of Canterbury: Bachelor of Engineering (Honours), specialising in Chemical and Process Engineering
Massey University - Palmerston North: Master of Dairy Science and Technology
Maths and Materials Technology are the most relevant of the subjects I enjoyed studying at school. I decided I was going to study engineering when I was about 15 or 16, and decided to specialise in Chemical and Process Engineering during my first year at university.
The biggest influence on my career choice was my father, who is a diesel mechanic. He taught me that by being good with my hands and thinking outside the square I could help people and make a difference.
As part of my degree I was required to do 120 days of work experience. One summer I worked on improving the waste system in the cream products plant at Fonterra's Edgecumbe site. It gave me an insight into how the company operates and into project management methods.
My day can vary hugely as I not only work with the tanker fleet, but also with the 13,500 on-farm milk vats that Fonterra owns. I'm in a team with four other engineers and I spend a lot of my time working with them. Seeing the final results of projects I have worked on is hugely rewarding, particularly when it improves the safety, operability or productivity of our equipment.
Many of the projects I work on have potential environmental benefits as we are constantly looking for improvements in fuel economy, and therefore there will be a reduction in the emission of CO2 by the fleet.
Anyone who is mechanically minded and has a passion for solving complex and unique problems would enjoy my job. A passion for the transport industry certainly helps too!
From here I could progress to being a transport workshop manager or into a senior project management role.
Updated July 2013
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