HRC Committee Members
Bill Hooper – President
Bill began his career with GM Holden in July 73 as an Experimental Project Engineer in the Experimental Engineering Department. After returning in 1977, from 12 months at GMI and Pontiac Motor Division in Michigan, he held various positions within the Chassis Group.
In 1982, Bill took up the role of Supervising Engineer in the Structures Laboratory. He returned to the Chassis Group in 1987 and held a number of roles including Engineering Group Manager.
In late 1997, Bill moved to Proving Ground as Manager for three years, after which he returned to Fishermans Bend and held positions of Manager – Current Product Engineering, Chief Engineer – Mechanical, Director – Chassis, Electrical & HVAC, and finally, Director – Chassis, Powertrain Integration & HVAC.
Bill retired in Dec 2008 after 35 Years with GMH.
Graham Anderson - Secretary.
Following the resignation of Chris Shattock as Secretary, the role has been accepted by Graham Anderson. Graham will be well known to many of you from his days at Fishermens Bend. For the others, Graham has provided the following brief resume of his career:
"I hold the following technical Qualifications:
- B. Sc. (Tech.) in Mechanical Engineering degree from NSW University, Sydney, NSW,
- Indentured Fitter and Turner apprenticeship with John Lysaght's in Port Kembla, NSW,
- Graduate Diploma in Technical Education from Sydney TAFE, NSW.
Before joining GM, I worked for 7 years with Borg-Warner (Australia), in the Design and development of Automatic Transmissions, Manual Transmissions and Rear Axles.
Our major customers (driven by 85% local content rules), were Ford Falcon/Fairlane/Cortina, Chrysler Valiant/Centura/Galant, Leyland P76/Marina, Peugeot 504, Toyota Corolla, Corona, Crown, Nissan Datsun, Volvo and others.
All my activities were engineering design and development related.
I then joined GM, where I spent the next 30 years.
My initial 7 years were spent in GM Overseas Operations at the Strasbourg, France Plant, where my last assignment was Program Manager for their CVT program until it was cancelled in 1984. I then relocated to GM Holden, Melbourne for the next 23 years until retirement in 2008.
During this time, I spent 3 years as Future Model Reliability Supervisor (1986 – 1988), 6 years as Manager of the Proving Ground at Lang Lang (1988 – 1994), and 3 years as Executive Engineer for the GMH Engineering Department (1994 – 1996).
I was then assigned for 3 years as ISP with GM China's JV Engineering Centre, PATAC, in Shanghai (1997 – 1999), as Director - Test and Validation. This also included many additional functions, such as Project Leader for successfully gaining ISO 9001 certification with DNV in 1998, Chairperson of the OHS committee, office layout organiser on behalf of the President of PATAC, and other ad hoc assignments as directed, as is usual with such ISP roles.
On completion of the China assignment in 2000, I returned to Fishermens Bend, where for the next 8 years I was in charge of Asia Pacific Engineering , assisting GM's Asia Pacific engineering centres with their projects (GM India, GM Thailand, GM China, GM Korea), and local validation of imported vehicle models with Holden Badges.
Since retiring in 2008, I spend my time as a volunteer driver with the Leukaemia Foundation, playing Flamenco guitar for a Spanish dance theatre, and minding grandchildren, house and other repairs, etc..."
Neil Pogson – Treasurer
I qualified both as a Toolmaker (Credit) and as a Fitter and Turner (Hons), and joined Holden in March 1964 at Pagewood Plant, Sydney, as a Work Study Observer. Two years later I moved over to Methods Engineering, which later became Industrial Engineering. I was The Industrial Engineer when Pagewood Plant was closed in 1980. Along the way I had periods acting as a General Foreman, Production Manager and Plant Manager. I studied part time and upgraded my formal qualifications to BE (NSWIT).
When Pagewood Plant was closed in 1980, I was offered my choice of three positions, two in Elizabeth and one in GM New Zealand. So I went to NZ for 3 years as Production Engineer, based in Trentham vehicle Plant but also responsible for Petone Plant, where they made Spark Plugs, Oil Filters and Bedford vans.
Trentham had a capacity of 20,000 pa, and we produced seven different models through the one system, including Daihatsu Charade (on contract), Isuzu Rodeo, Camira, Chevette and both Commodore sedan and wagon body styles. I designed and we installed a vehicle assembly loop (based on the Dandenong system) which handled both FWD, RWD and all these wheelbases in one set of grabs and assembly trucks. Although the NZ plants have since closed, the vehicle system was transferred to the Indonesian assembly plant, where I understand it was still in use until production ceased in 2005.
I returned to Holden Fishermens Bend in 1983, working for Bill Dobell and Doug Cleary in Central Manufacturing Engineering, where amongst other things, I did feasibility studies for the New Elizabeth Paint Shop. Then Ed Klimek asked me to take over the Employee Suggestion Plan, which I did in 1984-1986, designing and writing Focus programs to fully computerise the Plan. During this time I also represented Manufacturing at the Product Operating Committee.
In 1986 Roger Gibbs asked me to join Product Planning as Manager of Operational Planning. This initially involved working with Jim Lynch and later Peter Thomas to work out how Opel was manipulating the engine volume allocation system to their advantage, and then keeping them honest. As we got on top of this, I started helping out Roger with the first Nissan Astra program, eventually taking over the program. I then handled all non-Commodore passenger vehicle programs.
In the early 1990s, I was asked to also take over Program Management of Commodore Export vehicles. With Russ Little (Eng), I worked with SAAB to develop and had 2 prototypes running of a VP Commodore with a SAAB 2.3 Turbo engine, mounted north-south in the car. This engine provided over 300 NM torque, but we had to limit the first gear performance to less than 250 NM because of limitations of the Hydramatic 350 transmission. It was a very impressive car to drive, but did not reach production due to some political in-fighting between Opel and SAAB. We were forced to use an Opel straight six 2.6l engine instead, which had neither the torque of the SAAB 2.3 or the sale price advantages of being under a 2.5 litre concessional price cap in most Asian markets. We also fitted the Caprice front end to the standard Calais body to make a more formal car for Asian tastes.
As import models grew, I made a number of visits to overseas Plants to set-up the build, and sign off specification and build quality. I pioneered contact with Opel Plants in Spain, Portugal, England and Poland, as well as introducing Holden operating procedures and quality plans we developed in these and other plants, including Opel Antwerp, Vauxhall Luton & Ellesmere Port, GM Thailand, Daewoo Korea and Isuzu Japan.
During the UAAI Joint Venture, I was the official 'window' for Holden with Toyota on all Engineering and program matters (Peter Nankervis handled all the Design aspects). We had daily contact with Toyota, working closely on advanced Toyota models in a secure studio in Design Staff, and made a number of visits to TMC Japan to negotiate these matters on behalf of Holden.
After an approach by a Tamworth based maker of Ambulances, Jakab Pty Ltd, I also championed and then Program Managed the Holden side of a co-operative venture to import GMC Sierra trucks for conversion to Ambulances, and a later program to lengthen and convert Holden Utility cars to single person Ambulances. This latter program alone sold over 500 utilities, all plus volume, and changed the concept of ambulance fleets all over Australia.
I retired in December, 2005 after 42 years of service, by which time the volume of imports had risen to over 80,000 units per year, and I was responsible for all Holden models which were not V Car based (including Light Commercials).
During my career I have represented Holden working directly with Nissan, Toyota, Daihatsu, Daewoo, Isuzu, SAAB, Opel, Bertone and GM Corp! And of course, Holden.
John Leigh – Past President
John joined GMH in 1957 as a cadet engineer in vehicle manufacturing training program, then transferred to Frigidaire division. He was awarded 2 year scholarship to GM Institute – Michigan in 1958. Major work periods involved were in manufacturing and then design/development of automotive aircon systems. He graduated from GMI & returned to Frigidaire engineering, Dandenong where he was appointed Manager – Quality Control. He has worked in Quality Control at Frigidaire plants in USA, Canada, France, UK, and Ignis Refrigeration, Italy. He also was responsible for plastics development at Frigidaire, who supplied Holden HG plastic grille.
When Frigidaire relocated to New Zealand, John became Senior Quality Engineer for VAP's. He was Manager – Vehicle Quality Monitoring Audit group at VAP's for Aust, NZ & South Africa before moving to Senior Design / Development Engineer – Aircon & Engine Cooling. He also served as Program Manager, Engineering – Camira and Torana car lines and was a member of the Holden Camira Project Centre Group.
John then moved into Service and Export as Service Manager – Export & Import Vehicles, then Manager – Export Operations.(Marketing); followed by a lengthy term as a member of the Cost Reduction Committee.– activities related to product, processes & operations for both Holden and vendors.
John retired 2005 after 48 years' service with GM-H.