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Driving transport to new and exciting heights

The Women in Industry Awards celebrates the success and industry work women in traditionally male-dominated roles have achieved.

The awards will be held in Melbourne on April 7, with awards presented across the categories of Social Leader of the Year, Rising Star of the Year, Business Development Success of the Year, Industry Advocacy Award, Safety Advocacy Award, Mentor of the Year, Excellence in Manufacturing, Excellence in Mining, Excellence in Engineering and Excellence in Transport.

Five finalists are in contention for the Excellence in Transport award: 

Heather Jones, Pilbara Heavy Haulage Girls

Jones started the Karratha-based, not-for-profit to provide professional development opportunities and career pathways for newly licensed truck drivers. This is alongside running Success Transport. 

Jones, who is an MC driver herself, established Pilbara Heavy Haulage Girls to offer an in-depth training program for women. She helps to provide a career pathway for women who have suffered abuse, who have suffered domestic violence, indigenous women who havesuffered extreme hardship, and even women who have served prison sentences, in a bid to help them rebuild their lives. 

To date, she has trained around 200 women to become road train drivers.

Jones has been widely recognised for her work. In 2019, she was inducted into the Australian National Transport Hall of Fame. And in 2015, she received the ATA award for Outstanding Contribution to the Transport Industry.

Merry Manton, Transport Women Australia Limited (TWAL)

Having spent around four decades in the transport industry, Merry Manton has previously served as a board director and chair of TWAL.

She was the first female elected to the board of the Queensland Trucking Association, where she also held the role of treasurer.

Manton now runs a small authorised representative insurance house, specialising in insurance and risk advice for the transport and freight industry.

Throughout her career, Manton has pushed for better safety standards. Her roles have included everything from managing a small fleet through to compliance roles in larger fleets.

Although no longer an active board member of TWAL, Manton continues to grow the organisation’s membership in Queensland and remains a source of advice and mentorship to the current board.

Penny Ford, Department of Transport and Main Roads (TMR), Queensland

Currently working as executive director (Transport Planning Projects) at TMR, Ford leads a large multidisciplinary team that works with stakeholders all over Queensland to plan for all modes of transport state-wide.

Ford has spent over 20 years at TMR and has been involved in transport modelling and data analytics, traffic engineering, construction, design and asset management.

For the last 10 years, she has been in leadership and executive roles, leading large teams across Queensland to plan for future transport systems in Queensland.

Ford also developed Regional Transport Plans that cover the entire state, in collaboration with all 77 local governments as well as business and industry stakeholders. They will be used to inform government, industry, business and communities on how the transport system will be developed over the next 15 years to support and grow regional economic, environmental and community outcomes. 

Catherine Baxter, Metro Trains Melbourne (MTM)

As chief operating officer at MTM, Baxter is the most senior female leader at the business, leading over 2000 employees.

Baxter leads a team focussed on delivering Metro’s strategic objectives. Her main focus is to ensure Metro continues to improve passenger experience, while the rail network undergoes major growth and changes.

Baxter also has extensive experience in rail operations, having previously held executive roles in large national ASX-listed businesses including Aurizon, UGL and Boral.

Under Baxter’s leadership, MTM has achieved various rail transport industry-driving firsts over the past 12 months.

Kirstyn Glass, Trapeze Group Asia Pacific

Glass has been rail operations consultant at Trapeze Group since joining the business in 2019. 

Trapeze Group provides intelligent transport management systems and software solutions for the public transport sector. 

Glass’ role involves providing advice on rail technology to transport authorities and operators within Australia and overseas.

Glass has worked in the rail industry since 2005, when she joined Queensland Rail. Starting out in ticket sales, she went on to become one of the few female train drivers in the organisation, and eventually worked her way up to the role of senior network planner.

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