By Casey Neill
Dandenong engineer Anne Koopmann is the state’s top young manufacturer.
The Bombardier Transportation employee took home the Young Manufacturer of the Year award from the Victorian Manufacturing Hall of Fame Awards, held at the Palladium at Crown on Tuesday 9 May.
She doesn’t remember much about the moment MC Kerry O’Brien read out her name.
The 33-year-old gasped and put her hand to her mouth, tears welling up in her eyes.
“I didn’t really expect it so it was really a bit surreal,” she said.
Ms Koopmann started working at Bombardier seven years ago in her homeland, Germany, and has called Australia home for the past five years.
She successfully applied for its Global Graduate Trainee program, which involved an 18-month stint with Bombardier split between three different countries.
“I love that we do produce products that are helping everyone everyday moving around,” she said.
“I think it’s something that everyone can relate to.
“Even though my friends don’t quite understand what I do, they still understand that I build trains and trams and it’s something that everyone has used at least a few times in their lives.
“I think it’s the future.
“With the growth of the cities and urbanisation, I think we need public transport solutions now more than ever.”
Ms Koopmann said she’d use her $10,000 prize for more training.
In a fireside chat with Mr O’Brien after receiving her award, she said the key to success was to always look for improvement.
“I can be quite stubborn so I never give up if I believe that something should be changed for the better,” she said.
“I push until it happens.”
Anne Koopmann speaks to Kerry O’Brien following her award win:
Bombardier Transportation Australian managing director Andrew Dudgeon said the award was a proud moment for the company.
“But proud for her because she’s an amazing young lady, an exceptionally talented engineer, and more importantly she’s an outstanding leader of people,” he said.
“The men and women of Bombardier are going to be so proud to wake up tomorrow morning and see that one of their own has been given this incredible award.”
Ms Koopmann was among only two female winners on the night. Mr Dudgeon said that number should have been higher.
“I’m actually pleased that the young manufacturer of the year was a woman because I think it’s a sign of things to come,” he said.
“It was wonderful to see Anne standing up there as a female and as a minority in the manufacturing world.
“She is a unique person in her own right.”
Mr O’Brien, the former host of ABC current affairs show 7.30, said manufacturing was “a part of us”.
“Victoria has always been at the heart of Victoria’s manufacturing output and still is today,” he said.
The awards were established in 2001 and were this year themed ‘growing advanced manufacturing’.
“The future of manufacturing in Victoria is very bright,” Industry and Employment Minister Wade Noonan said.
“These award winners are the benchmark of innovation in advanced manufacturing – and Victoria has cemented its place as the country’s leader in this field.”
Victoria’s manufacturing industry contributes about $26 billion to the state’s economy each year and employs more than 270,000 people.
Last year, employment in manufacturing grew by about 40,000 jobs.