Derek Hird has over 25 years of experience in the mining industry, which is how he came to his role as the Regional Chief Executive Officer of DSI Underground.
His 22 years with the company saw him try his hand at the technical department, sales and various senior management positions, to crescendo to the CEO position he now holds.
Derek’s influence has been a big part of DSI’s reputation as the leaders and go-to people for technical support in the mining industry.
- What makes a good leader?
There are a few things, I think. I guess the first thing is being a good listener, evaluating all the facts, and making informed decisions. Also having good people to support a leader is essential. Also, being honest and having communication.
- What do you believe has shaped your leadership style?
Interesting story. Because I’ve had 23 years or so, almost, within the business, I’ve had a great exposure to numerous roles through the business, and that’s definitely shaped my leadership. Also, that gives me a lot of empathy for people within the business and an understanding of their needs and wants in that sense, so that’s a great thing.
Plus, my education background. Being technical in nature but also having a marketing degree, I feel like I can get a good understanding for both sides of an argument – both the technical and non-technical if you like.
And also, just the network I have around me – whether it’s mentors or just people I use as guidance. So I think that’s what really shapes myself and how I work within the business.
- What motivates and drives you?
The fact that I have spent 23 years or so in the business, I obviously enjoy what I do, otherwise I wouldn’t be there. So there’s a key enjoyment in the role, and I really like the business, I like the people I work with, they make it fun. Whilst we’re a big business, we have very much a small family sort of mentality, and that’s great.
I’m embracing the opportunity to take more respectively a good business to be a great business. We want to be a leader in our field, drive innovation, and these are the things that really excite me about taking the business forward.
- What is one action or task you ensure you incorporate into your diary each week?
I find life so busy at the moment. It’s just crazy in some respects, so making sure we get that work-life balance is really important. And the other thing is actually…it might sound a bit selfish, but just downtime. Even if it’s only 10 minutes a day, just to turn off, block the information and reset, in that way you can set the direction going forward. So just downtime and that work-life balance.
- Which local businessperson do you find inspiring?
There’s several, and for different reasons. Kari Armitage who’s the Managing Director of Quarry Mining, who I actually met with this morning and had a coffee with. What she’s done with her business has been fantastic. She’s very unassuming in what she does so she is very inspirational, and all the charitable work she does – she’s great.
Darren Turner from PWC, who has been a great adviser over the years. I find him invaluable in terms of providing business insights and things like that.
Also, John Coyle, he was with HunterNet and probably opened me many years ago when I first became a CEO, to a broad network that’s in Newcastle and got me involved in that business network effectively, so it’s been great.
DSI Underground is Australia’s largest manufacturer and supplier of specialist strata reinforcement and support products to the underground coal and metalliferous mining sectors; also exporting to the Asia-Pacific Region.
With the Australian Head Office located locally at Bennetts Green, DSI has a national presence and a number of sites in NSW, QLD and WA.
A global market leader in the development, production and supply of mining products and systems, DSI Australia is also set to expand their business, having signed an agreement to acquire 100% of Fero Group Pty Ltd. This transaction is conditional on regulatory approval.