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Published: 30nth March, 2015


When WGE Group business development manager Paul Folino Gallo was a child, he spent a lot of time looking at the Port Kembla Steelworks.

It always interested him and was the subject of many school projects.

Decades later he still looks fondly at the steelworks and believes its continuing contribution to the Illawarra should not be underestimated.

Speaking at an Illawarra Innovative Industry Network (i3net) industry breakfast, Mr Gallo said the WGE Group saw the importance of the steelworks as the group reinvented itself, aiming to remain at the forefront of innovation, as had many Illawarra businesses.

He said all the businesses that had and still worked with BlueScope Steel could help themselves by helping the steelworks be as efficient as possible.

Mr Gallo said when he looked at the steelworks he did not see an industrial eyesore.

"That to me is probably like a Ferrari," he said.

"It was one of the most beautiful things you can look at. It symbolises our economic strength, our economic life.

"I think every single one of us here has helped build what we see down there. I don't want to see that disappear, so subsequently our business's journey is about efficiency and about reinvention.

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"If every single one of us in this room become 10 per cent more efficient we could probably deliver savings to BlueScope Steel, which for most of us here is our primary customer, anywhere from 10 to 30 per cent.

"[This] will ensure their survival and our survival in what is a very tough global economic marketplace today."

Mr Gallo recalled how BHP Steel in 1988 developed Project M that provided groundbreaking technology to the global steel industry.

He said that world leading system was designed and built with the help of many businesses in Wollongong and went into full commercialisation in the early 1990s before it was sold.

Mr Gallo said when Wollongong looked to innovation, as well as the University of Wollongong it could look to the manufacturing and engineering sector.

"Innovation can come from our industry because we have been there before and today we are doing it again."

Mr Gallo used the i3net breakfast to unveil an innovation developed by the WGE Group - a web application that manages all work health and safety obligations.

The software WGE has written specifically for the engineering and construction industry is effectively a qualification management system with features such as a gap analysis to help businesses see where shortcomings are in areas like internal training.

It works so well that WorkCover NSW has recognised the WGE Group as having one of the state's best Occupational Health and Safety Systems.