On the ground with Mary Anne Loveridge at AusRAIL 2017
This month we’re talking to Mary Anne Loveridge, fresh off the back of representing NRC as part of the team at AusRAIL 2017. Mary Anne joined the ANZ office in the role of Director, Advisory Services having previously held roles with Transport for NSW.
What is AusRAIL?
AusRAIL is an annual conference hosted by the Australasian Railway Association (ARA). There are site tours, networking opportunities including formal dinners, competitions for young rail professionals as well traditional conference presentations and panel sessions. The conference moves around. Last year AusRAIL was held in Adelaide and this year Brisbane. Some 400 exhibiting companies, and over 700 delegates were in attendance.
Why is it important for NRC?
AusRAIL is very highly regarded within the industry, so it is really important for us to get involved. It demonstrates to our clients that we have a strong local presence in Australasia and are committed to the market. We get to meet a number of clients and potential clients from across the region – many of whom have travelled from Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney to be there. It attracts a number of senior executives and key decision makers. It’s a perfect occasion to network with the movers and the shakers of the industry. And, it allows us to see what our competitors and partners are up to, as most also exhibit at AusRAIL!
What did we bring to AusRAIL in 2017?
We had a stand at AusRAIL, with short videos playing, and brochures available for clients to better understand our capability. We were part of the networking session of the first evening of the conference – an excellent opportunity for having open and frank conversations with clients about their issues and how we as NRC can add value to their business. NRC also had a table at the gala dinner, which we used to spearhead further business development.
What were your highlights from the week?
There are two highlights that come to mind.
Firstly, connecting our Managing Director Nigel Ash and Technical Director Barny Daley, with some key decision makers that are leading the digital railway initiative in New South Wales.
Secondly, watching the Young Professionals pitching competition, an exciting new addition to the AusRAIL agenda. We saw five finalists pitching their ideas with only three minutes to make their case, the ideas were really amazing and very inspirational. My favourite pitch was the use of Augmented Reality glasses – google glasses with a difference. The ideas for application included identifying live vs isolated equipment, avoiding the need to refer back to manuals and drawings and linking to asset incident databases. This year, the prize for the winner was a trip to INNOTRANS next year – oh to be young again!
What learnings can NRC take from AusRAIL into 2018 and beyond?
The popularity of the ARA Yellow Tie dinner makes it a must do next time round. The theme for the conference was Rail’s Digital Revolution – we had opportunities to own the agenda in that space.
Prep for AusRAIL Canberra in 2018 starts now. The theme will be “Rail – for a better future”. Abstracts are due by 9th March 2018, so ideas on a postcard please.