Bernie Kavanagh graduated from the University of Adelaide as a civil engineer. His early working life was as a draughtsman and then engineer with the Highways Department of South Australia. This early excellent experience was followed by 15 years with Quarry Industries Ltd where Bernie rose to the position of General Manager, and was an Executive Director of the company for about 10 years. During this period, Quarry Industries grew from being a local South Australian operation to becoming a national quarrying, concrete and asphalt company with vertically integrated operations and branches in every state of Australia.
Bernie spent the last eight years of his working life as General Manager at Perry Engineering, a heavy engineering operation in South Australia. He is currently a director of A Noble and Son Ltd, a national engineering company considered to be a leader in its field of lifting equipment and the provision of lifting solutions.
During his working life Bernie consistently contributed to the industries in which he was involved. He has been a member of the Institute of Quarrying for 35 years, including a term as State President and a member of the National Executive. For a number of years he was a member of the Board of Examiners for the Mine and Quarry Managers South Australia. He was a member of the Engineering Employers Association South Australia for 22 years, and was President for a term.
At both Quarry Industries and Perry Engineering, Bernie was very supportive of and actively involved in apprentice selection and training, as well as mentoring young engineering graduates. He was a director of the EEASA Group Training Scheme for many years and following the transfer of the EEASA GTS apprentices to the Australian Industry Group Training Scheme he became an interested and passionate Honorary Board member of the Industry Leaders Fund Inc.
“It is exciting to be involved with the ILF, as it offers the chance to continue to help and foster individuals who demonstrate leadership potential”, says Bernie. He expects that the ILF will provide the extra impetus to deserving recipients to enable them to emerge from the pack and become significant industry and community figures.
Bernie believes a leader must have the ambition and passion to succeed for their personal gain and that of their community. Necessary characteristics are fairness, honesty, self-confidence, and the ability to take others to common goals.
Leaders who Bernie admires include Sir Arvi Parbo and Sir Eric Neal.