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Process Technologist

Process Technologist

Natalie Hamilton, Fonterra

Earning: $60-70,000
In a nutshell: Providing technical support and trouble-shooting the plant machinery at Fonterra’s Waitoa dairy processing factory.
Why? “I get to interact with a wide range of people ranging from operators to managers.”

Pathway Matua Primary School, Otumoetai Intermediate
Otumoetai College, Year 13: Physics, Chemistry, Calculus, Economics, English
University of Canterbury: Bachelor of Engineering (Honours), majoring in Chemical & Process Engineering
Massey University: Master of Dairy Science & Technology

“Every day I use science to understand the principles of the factory is working, and that helps me figure out how I can make improvements or solve problems.”

Natalie Hamilton is a process technologist at Fonterra’s Waitoa site, where she helps keep the factory running smoothly and effectively, as well as working on projects to improve processes and products.

Apart from checking email and a daily site meeting, Natalie doesn’t think she really has a typical day. She often visits the plant to see if there are any issues on the production line. “One of the things I like best about my job is that I get to interact with a wide range of people ranging from operators to managers,” she says.

“Technical roles allow you to be creative with your thinking to solve problems,” she says. “They’re usually issues that the people running the plant machinery have not been able to solve, so it often requires some ‘out of the box’ thinking to find solutions.”

She thinks that to be a good process technologist you need to enjoy problem solving, have a patient nature, and have good communication skills. “I’ve learnt that it’s very important that the team you work with understands why you are trying to do things,” she says. “They are more likely to be engaged and helpful if they understand the end goal.”

Her technical role means that she has come to know the dairy processing plant well and understand its day to day issues, but she also gets a good overview of what’s happening in other parts of the business.

“Working in the biggest company in NZ means that you have the opportunity to try lots of different fields; sales, process management, technical and project management,” she says. “And working for a widely regarded company makes you very employable.”

Posted December 2011


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