Here at QDSA we often talk about the multi-disciplinary approach required to drive innovation and develop new capability for Australia’s Defence enterprise.
Over the coming months we will be introducing you to representatives from Queensland’s Defence industry. We cannot wait to showcase the incredible – and diverse – industry talent spearheading Queensland’s contributions.
Our goal is not only to inspire more Queenslanders to consider a career pathway in Defence, science and technology, but to also help facilitate future opportunities to connect industry and academia with the Australian Defence Force.
Our first Defence industry interview is with Carl Quarterman, Managing Director of Queensland Gaskets and Industry Rep on QDSA’s Advisory Committee.
We quizzed Carl about his career to date, the Defence industry and some of the exciting opportunities on the horizon here in Queensland.
Getting to Know Carl Quarterman
What are your current roles and responsibilities?
- Queensland Gaskets Managing Director, and business owner.
- Australian Industry and Defence Network (AIDN) National Board member, Secretary – since 2019
- AIDN Queensland President – since 2016
- Queensland Reference Group for Advance Manufacturing member since 2017
- City of Ipswich Defence Industry Development and Attraction Committee CIDIDAC since 2018
- Minister for State Development’s Defence Advisory Committee – since 2018
What are your career highlights to date?
My career commenced with BP which gave me some great insight into larger companies. My roles there were focussed on the commercial value and optimisation, which enabled me to have a good understanding of the function and importance of coordinated Supply Chains.
In 2010 I joined Queensland Gaskets where I utilised those commercial and supply chain skills and when my father retired, I stepped in to lead the business.
I believe manufacturing products in Australia is very important for Australia’s future, and keeping capabilities, innovation, development, and production all offer their own contribution in the long term. There is nothing more satisfying than discussing a problem with a customer, developing the solution, manufacturing it, and then delivering it to them.
Involvement in Defence Industry
What are some of the Defence specific innovations that you are most proud to have worked on?
Queensland Gaskets was a part of the Currawong Project, LAND 2072 Phase 2B, led by the team at Boeing. More specifically, our business was involved in the collaboration and recommendation of components for the hardware of the system.
The most exciting part of the project was in the fast iteration process of delivery to Defence, receiving feedback from the user, modifying the technology to meet user requirements and subsequent delivery for improved performance.
We worked closely with Boeing, but also collaboratively with other SMEs who were supporting the project delivery.
In a voluntary capacity, I am most proud of moving AIDN from a state-based, federated organisation to a national body, providing member services, advocacy, and representation for Defence SMEs.
Australian SME businesses are good at keeping their heads down and working on the delivery of high-quality products, but they often miss the opportunity to promote themselves and highlight these capabilities to the broader Defence community.
In your eyes, how has the Defence industry evolved over the last 10 years – both nationally and here in Queensland?
There has been a significant transition towards working more closely with Industry and Universities.
The big change really has been the realisation of the need for investment and the scale of investment that is needed for Australia to bring their platforms up to date – Air, Sea and Land.
The roll out of the new platforms and delivery of equipment will be the next challenge.
Where do Queensland’s Defence industry strengths currently lie?
Queensland has significant strengths in all sectors. Land, however, is dominant in industry given the mining and transport sector base that industry is leveraging off.
There are other sectors, like farming, which also provide a base in some significant technologies like UAV, which can be utilised in the Defence sector.
What opportunities do you see with the establishment of QDSA?
The alliance provides pathways for ideas to develop solutions for Defence challenges.
The ideas come from Defence, Industry, and Research institutes, so there is an opportunity to provide the pathways for each of the problems to find a solution, but also for the ideas to be developed for future problems which Defence are yet to encounter.
What QDSA initiatives are you most excited about?
Promoting and developing the Defence industry capability, I think, is a great opportunity.
The growth of businesses in the past to deliver to Defence has been by single entities who are driven to develop themselves quickly for a single opportunity or item.
The future businesses will need to be more collaborative and find opportunities to work together for delivery. These deliveries of Defence requirements will contain opportunity to evolve.
Projects over long timeframes will no longer have the expectation from Defence to have the first and last article being delivered with the same technology or exactly the same capability.
The project will include new technological advances and I think is recognised as important to provide a sustainable Defence force, instead of having large investments after the equipment that Defence is using are well past their technological due date in the battle space.
This interview with Carl Quarterman is the first in a special series of local Queensland industry profiles. Stay tuned for more interviews coming soon!
QDSA Upcoming Events and Opportunities
QDSA has many upcoming events and opportunities, with more being added each week. Want to find out what is on the horizon? Check out our News section on our website here or subscribe to our e-newsletter here.
The Queensland Defence Science Alliance (QDSA) is a university-led initiative to grow and connect an agile Defence innovation ecosystem, leveraging Queensland’s strengths, to deliver trusted solutions to meet Defence requirements.