Bernie Riegler shares his fellowship experience...
17 Dec 2018
In support of the NEW Auto Skills Australia Churchill Fellowship to increase expertise and knowledge for the benefit of the automotive sector and allied industries
What was your Churchill Fellowship topic?
My Fellowship topic was to research the automotive service industry’s cleaner production initiatives and implementation strategies for practical application in Australia via the “Green Stamp Program” in the UK, Germany and Austria.
What motivated you to apply for a Churchill Fellowship?
The opportunity to see how others work with small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the automotive sector to improve their environmental practices. The Green Stamp Program was unique in Australia and was a good example of how Government and an industry association (Motor Trade Association of Western Australia) could work together on improving environmental practices in such a competitive sector. Nobody else in Australia was taking such an active approach with the sector and I wanted to learn more about how other countries could be doing it.
How did the Churchill Fellowship benefit you?
The fellowship provided me with the financial means to undertake research in an area I am passionate about. Without it, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to improve the cleaner production program I was managing at the time.
How did the knowledge gained from your Churchill Fellowship benefit your work in the automotive industry?
It gave me the opportunity to learn about how a combination of strategies in cleaner production, combined with community based social marketing, could successfully be applied within automotive SMEs. I learned that, as in Australia, most government agencies, multinational businesses and associations I visited on my Churhill Fellowship seemed to adopt one strategy at a time, rather than taking a multi-faceted approach to addressing the reasons more SMEs weren’t adopting better environmental practices.
What major achievements or milestones have you reached since going on your Fellowship?
The Fellowship resulted in further developing the Green Stamp Program which was awarded the WA Environment Award for Promoting Change through informed participation. It also provided the opportunity to further develop the program from a state-based program (just in WA) to a National program in 2003 through the support of other automotive industry associations and Commonwealth government agencies.
What are you doing now and what’s next for you?
I have been fortunate enough to continue my career in a field I am passionate about, environmental management. Though I have moved out of the automotive SME sector, I still apply many of the strategies I learned and applied as a result of my Churchill Fellowship. I currently work as a Senior Environmental Consultant at SNC Lavalin, where I have the lead environment and approvals role for the construction of a $2.3B chemical manufacturing plant in the Pilbara.
More about Bernie Riegler
Bernie is an Environmental management professional with 23 years of experience in the SME, heavy industry, government, consultancy and the not-for-profit sector. He has extensive project management experience working in multidisciplinary teams, liaising with contractors, consultants, clients and regulators. He continues to live in Perth, Western Australia where he spends most of his summer underwater and the winter months wondering through the forests of south west WA.
Auto-Skills Australia Churchill Fellowship
In 2019 the new Auto-Skills Australia Churchill Fellowship will be offered annually for projects that aim to increase industry expertise and knowledge for the benefit of the automotive sector and allied industries in Australia. Find out more.
Fellowship Applications open on 1 February 2019 and close 30 April 2019.
Apply now at www.churchillfellowships.com.au.