In touch with … Stuart Davis

As Manager of Industry Programs with the Australian Industrial Transformation Institute, Stuart Davis is helping establish South Australia as a leader in Industry 4.0. We caught up with Stuart to discuss how balance is an important part of his personal and professional lives.

What is your role, and what does your work focus on?

I’m with the Australian Industrial Transformation Institute (AITI) team, and my role is to manage our industry programs, which includes the Manufacturing Growth Accelerator. This program, and my role, facilitates opportunities for South Australian small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs) to engage with researchers and students, to increase awareness and uptake of advanced manufacturing technologies, increase competitiveness and capability in global supply chains.

What journey brought you to this point in your career?

I studied product design before taking on operations management roles in advanced manufacturing companies and also working in advertising, design and digital. More recently, I was an advisor to the Commonwealth Government Entrepreneurs’ Programme.

What is something you love most about your work?

Throughout my working life (which is a little longer than I would like to admit), I have worked for or with small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs). I love seeing the people in these businesses achieve more than they thought they could. Not everyone has the same aspirations, nor should they, and being able to play even a small part in getting someone closer to their aspiration is very rewarding.

What would you like people to know about your role?

A lot of my role is about balance – balancing the interests of Flinders, our partners and SMEs that may undertake projects with us. I see a critical part of my role as being sensitive to the different points of view, priorities, constraints and opportunities to find the right collaboration projects.

What is something you are most proud of?

I’m optimistic that my work at Flinders will soon top the list, given such initiatives as the Factory of the Future. I am proud of the redesign of the Entrepreneurs’ Programme that I conducted a few years ago. That project involved gathering insights directly from SMEs and working with considerable constraints to design a world-class program. It is the Commonwealth’s lead program for SMEs and supports thousands of Australians every year.

What does a normal day look like for you?

A normal day will involve meeting with our team, partners and project participants to discuss, scope, plan, review or evaluate projects. I often visit potential partners, discussing their broad business challenges and opportunities to determine how we might help them.

How do you like to relax or spend your spare time?

I enjoy living in the Adelaide Hills and the lifestyle that comes with living in a semi-regional area. With my family, I enjoy exploring the state, cycling (mainly on a road bike but sometimes on a mountain bike), and I’ve recently tried to improve my basic horse riding skills.

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