Mu­ni­tions 30-year USA part­ner­ship

Yarrawonga Chronicle - - Front Page - BY ROBERT MUIR

The 30-year part­ner­ship cel­e­bra­tion be­tween Aus­tralian Mu­ni­tions and Hodg­don Pow­der Com­pany Kansas, USA took place at the Mul­wala fa­cil­ity on Thurs­day, May 10.

Pres­i­dent and Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Of­fi­cer of Hodg­don, Steve Kehrwald told a core group of 65 em­ploy­ees that Hodg­don has worked with nearly all the man­u­fac­tur­ers of gun­pow­der around the world in its 70-year his­tory.

“I can state un­equiv­o­cally that Hodg­don’s 30-year re­la­tion­ship with Aus­tralian Mu­ni­tions is the best re­la­tion­ship Hodg­don has en­joyed with any part­ner,” he said.

Mr Kehrwald said Aus­tralian Mu­ni­tions was spe­cial be­cause: of its in­no­va­tion - tem­per­a­ture sta­bil­ity and clean burn­ing; qual­ity, with tight­est spec­i­fi­ca­tions in the in­dus­try; in­tegrity - do­ing what said will be done and meet­ing chal­lenges head-on.

“Hodg­don is very much look­ing for­ward to con­tin­u­ing our 30-year re­la­tion­ship with Aus­tralian Mu­ni­tions,” he said.

“We are con­fi­dent we can con­tinue to in­crease our sales of Aus­tralian Mu­ni­tion­ssup­plied pro­pel­lants and cre­at­ing an even stronger part­ner­ship in the fu­ture.”

Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor of Aus­tralian Mu­ni­tions Dion Hab­ner wel­comed ev­ery­one to cel­e­brate “an­other great mile­stone in the long and suc­cess­ful his­tory be­tween Hodg­don Pow­der Com­pany and Aus­tralian Mu­ni­tions”.

Mr Hab­ner in­tro­duced Mr Kehrwald, Chief Fi­nan­cial Of­fi­cer of Hodg­don Dan The­lan, Aus­tralian and New Zealand dis­trib­u­tors and freight for­warders Daniel Galea and Wayne Pilk­ing­ton from OSA, Jeff Gor­don and Brian Mortensen from Winch­ester, Steve Collings from Steve’s Whole­salers in NZ, Lloyd and Lyn McCal­lum from De­flog, Frank Dugdale and David Fen­der­son from McHugh and East­wood, Ta­nia Hunter rep­re­sent­ing the Com­mon­wealth, Daniel O’Dea from SSAA, Cather­ine Berry from NRAA and John Robinson from Guns Aus­tralia.

“I would es­pe­cially like to thank the Aus­tralian Mu­ni­tions team for their at­ten­dance,” Mr Hab­ner said. “I know we can­not eas­ily in­vite all 700 to this event, nor even the cou­ple of hun­dred who are di­rectly in­volved in pro­pel­lant man­u­fac­ture given our 24-hour op­er­a­tions but we have as­sem­bled a core group.”

At that point, the man­ag­ing di­rec­tor called Mul­wala’s long­est ever serv­ing em­ployee - who has been di­rectly in­volved in pro­pel­lant man­u­fac­ture all of his near 54 years’ ser­vice, FEA­TUR­ING GUEST SPEAKER You will hear from these fa­cil­i­ta­tors and many more across the 3 day event 72-year-old John Crosth­waite, First Stage fore­man/team leader - to cen­tre stage.

“To think at the start of our re­la­tion­ship with Hodg­don, John had over two decades of ex­pe­ri­ence in pro­pel­lant man­u­fac­tur­ing al­ready!” Mr Hab­ner said.

Thirty years of pro­pel­lant ex­ports to the United States is a re­mark­able achieve­ment, Mr Hab­ner said, “as well as tes­ta­ment to the ex­cel­lent busi­ness re­la­tion­ship”.

“It is a story of build­ing a com­mer­cial busi­ness from a small start­ing po­si­tion to some­thing that now ac­counts for the ma­jor­ity of work we do.

“It is a story of growth and mu­tual learn­ing be­tween our two com­pa­nies and the very strong re­la­tion­ships that have been de­vel­oped over the years that have been the corner­stone of this suc­cess.”

The “hard work” by both com­pa­nies has en­abled Aus­tralian Mu­ni­tions to help Hodg­don be “the undis­puted leader in the pro­pel­lant dis­tri­bu­tion”.

Re­call­ing some his­tory in the late 1980s, Mr Hab­ner said he doubted if any­one on ei­ther side of the Pa­cific fully re­alised how suc­cess­ful the 16,000km re­la­tion­ship would be when started with a sin­gle shipment of three tonnes of pro­pel­lant from Mul­wala to Kansas.

Then, on March 28, 2018, the 9,000,000 kg of pro­pel­lant left Mul­wala and ar­rived in the USA on April 21. That equates to over 700 shipping con­tain­ers, roughly one shipping con­tainer every two weeks for 30 years.

Three names syn­ony­mous with the busi­ness suc­cess were men­tioned by Mr Hab­ner. “Alistair Wylie from Mul­wala was the in­sti­ga­tor on the Aus­tralian side and with his dogged de­ter­mi­na­tion started the jour­ney for us.

“War­wick Spencer suc­cess­fully took up the man­tle on the Aus­tralian side of driv­ing pro­pel­lant in­no­va­tion and re­ally grow­ing the re­la­tion­ship for more than two decades.

“Tom Shep­hard had been set­ting the north­ern star for us to achieve for the pre­vi­ous 17 years in his role as Pres­i­dent and CEO of Hodg­don and pro­vid­ing such a won­der­fully close and ef­fec­tive re­la­tion­ship with the Aussies down un­der.”

The signs for con­tin­ued suc­cess well into the fu­ture are con­spic­u­ous, as ex­plained by Mr Hab­ner, with the “in­cred­i­ble, brand new pro­pel­lant fa­cil­ity” which, when brought up to full rate pro­duc­tion, will be “the most mod­ern and ca­pa­ble ex­truded pro­pel­lant fa­cil­ity in the world”.

He also re­ferred to the work by Aus­tralian Mu­ni­tion’s re­search and de­vel­op­ment team to drive in­no­va­tion and new pro­pel­lant so­lu­tions.

“Aus­tralian Mu­ni­tions com­mits more than $1.5 mil­lion a year in R & D,” Mr Hab­ner said. “We see in­no­va­tion and new prod­uct re­lease as ab­so­lutely es­sen­tial to our fu­ture growth.

“With Hodg­don’s mar­ket knowl­edge and in­sights, cou­pled with our R & D skills, we are map­ping a path of new prod­uct re­leases that will de­light our col­lec­tive cus­tomers.”

Mr Hab­ner pre­sented cut­ting ma­chine blades, cut­ting ma­chine blocks and die hold­ers from an old cut­ting ma­chine mounted on wood con­tain­ing the words ‘Aus­tralian Mu­ni­tions/Hodg­don Pow­der Com­pany 30 year part­ner­ship 20 mil­lion pounds May 2018’ to Mr Kehrwald.

The spe­cial gift was very much ap­pre­ci­ated by Mr Kehrwald who said: “It will take great pride of place in our of­fice.”

Hodg­don Pow­der Com­pany’s Chief Fi­nan­cial Of­fi­cer also spoke, which in­cluded some won­der­ful re­marks: “We en­joy get­ting your pro­pel­lant be­cause that’s what our cus­tomers de­mand.

“Noth­ing is as good as what is made here. We’re look­ing for­ward to an­other 30 years, 100 years, go­ing for­ward.”

Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor of Aus­tralian Mu­ni­tions Dion Hab­ner pre­sented a spe­cial gift to Hodg­don Pow­der Com­pany’s Pres­i­dent and CEO, Steve Kehrwald.

Gen­eral Man­ager Man­u­fac­tur­ing Op­er­a­tions Mul­wala Trevor Gunn, Di­rec­tor Busi­ness Trans­for­ma­tions War­wick Spencer, Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor of Aus­tralian Mu­ni­tions Dion Hab­ner, Hodg­don Pow­der Com­pany’s Pres­i­dent and CEO Stephen Kehrwald and Hodg­don’s Chief...

Aus­tralian Mu­ni­tions’ long­est ever serv­ing em­ployee at Mul­wala, John Crosth­waite (cen­tre) with Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor of Aus­tralian Mu­ni­tions Dion Hab­ner (left) and Gen­eral Man­ager Man­u­fac­tur­ing Op­er­a­tions Mul­wala Trevor Gunn.

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