MaD2018: Key Presenters

The MaD2018 Conference Committee continues to strive for diversity across the two-day event, including during the MaD2018 Opening Ceremony, Panel Discussions, Oral Presentations and the Keynote Address at the Gala Dinner. As Key Presenters are confirmed, they will be profiled below.

Opening Address: Vic Crone – CEO, Callaghan Innovation

Vic Crone - low resVic came on board as Chief Executive with Callaghan Innovation in March 2017. She has significant executive and governance experience in technology and innovation. She brings a strong customer focus, and a track record of leading and implementing strategy, and building organisational culture. Vic was previously the Managing Director of Xero, NZ and New Markets, following executive roles at Chorus and Telecom New Zealand. She has been an Independent Director on the Boards of a number of companies and organisations in the technology sector, including RedShield, Figure.NZ, Creative HQ and the Hi-Tech Trust.

Keynote Speakers for MaD 2018 include:

Professor Alexander Slocum

Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA

AlexSlocum_FINALAlexander Slocum is the Walter M. May and A. Hazel May Professor of Mechanical Engineering at MIT, a MacVicar Faculty Teaching Fellow, a Fellow of the ASME, and a member of the US National Academy of Engineering.  He has 100+ patents and has helped develop twelve products that have received R&D 100 awards for “one of the 100 best new technical products of the year”.  He pioneered the deterministic design of kinematic couplings ( including the standard for all semiconductor wafer transport carriers (SEMI E57-1296).  He has helped start several successful precision manufacturing equipment companies and has a passion for working with industry to solve real problems and identify fundamental research topics.

Alex was the Massachusetts Professor of the Year in 2000 and is the recipient of the Society of Manufacturing Engineer’s Frederick W. Taylor Research Medal, and the ASME Leonardo daVinci, Machine Design, and Thar Energy Awards.  His current interests focus on the development of precision machines, from medical devices and instruments to energy harvesting and storage machines.  Recently he served on the DoE Science Team working on the Gulf Oil Spill, and has served in the Office of Science and Technology Policy in the Executive Office of the President as the Assistant Director for Advanced Manufacturing.  Since high school days, Alex has had a passion for furniture making and carpentry. Alex also loves sports, from SCUBA to snowboarding to marathons and iron-man, distance triathlons.

Professor Olaf Diegel

Lund University, Sweden


Olaf Diegel is both an educator and a practitioner of product development with an excellent track record of developing innovative solutions to engineering problems.

In his role as professor of product development, in the Department of Design Sciences of the Faculty of Engineering at Lund University, Sweden, he is heavily involved in all aspects of product development and is widely published in the areas of additive manufacturing and rapid product development. In his consulting practice he develops a wide range of products for companies around the world. Over the past three decades he has developed over 100 commercialized new products including innovative new theatre lighting products, security and marine products and several home health monitoring products and, for this work, has received numerous product development awards.

Over the last 20 years, Olaf has become a passionate follower of 3D printing (additive manufacturing). He believes it is one of the technologies that has been a real godsend to innovation as it allows designers and inventors to instantly test out ideas to see if they work. It also removes the traditional manufacturing constraints that have become a barrier to creativity, and allows us to get real products to market without the normally high costs that can become a barrier to innovation. In 2012, Olaf started manufacturing a range of 3D printed guitars and basses that has developed into a successful little side-business (and gives Olaf the therapy he needs in allowing him to make things that are a blend of high-technology and traditional hand-crafting).

Doctor Troy Coyle

Heavy Engineering Research Association (CEO)

TroyCoyleCurrently the CEO, Troy has been involved with the NZ Heavy Engineering Research Association (HERA) for the past four and a half years (ish), as an Executive member and most recently as Deputy Chair. Previously, she was the Head of Innovation and Product Development for NZ Steel. Before moving to New Zealand, she was the Manager of Coated Product Development and Open Innovation Manager for BlueScope Steel.  Troy has also worked extensively in University commercialisation, as Director of Commercial Research at the University of Wollongong and Director of Commercial Development for the ARC Centre of Excellence in electromaterials. She has also held Innovation Policy and Program Delivery roles with the Commonwealth Government in Australia. Troy has a strong passion for bringing innovative ideas to market and transforming industry through innovation and product development.

Peter Beck

Rocket Lab Ltd (CEO, Chief Engineer and Founder)

peterPeter Beck founded Rocket Lab in 2006 following a decade and a half of propulsion research and market development in the international space community. Peter has since established Rocket Lab as a premier institute for innovative space systems. As comfortable on a CNC mill as he is in a board room, Peter is both the head visionary and technical adviser for the Electron program.

After founding Rocket Lab, Peter led a team to launch Atea 1, becoming the first private company in the Southern Hemisphere to reach space. Peter completed development programs for a number of large institutional space companies including Lockheed Martin, Boeing and Aerojet Rocketdyne, and since the establishment of the Electron program in 2013 has successfully grown the Rocket Lab team from 10 to around 200 world class engineers. Peter Beck has grown Rocket Lab to become a recognized industry leader in space, and is responsible for the birth of the space industry in New Zealand. With a successful test launch in May 2017, Rocket Lab is preparing for its second test flight within the next couple of months, beginning commercial flights in early 2018.


Brendan Lindsay

Lindsay Investments (previously Managing Director and Founder, Sistema Plastics)

Brendan_Lindsay_1Brendan Lindsay grew up in Pukerua Bay, near Wellington, in a family of five. In the 1980s he played for Leamington Rugby Club in Cambridge. As a fitter, he started in business by making plastic coat hangers in a garage in Cambridge, founding Sistema Plastics more than 30 years ago, and leading the successful organisation until recently. He took the simple premise that customers would want a well-made, beautifully designed, food safe storage container that would be stackable.

In December 2016 Sistema was sold to Fortune 500 Company Newell Brands for $660m, with manufacturing to remain in New Zealand for two decades in the company’s new 52,000 sqm manufacturing facility near Auckland Airport. At the time of the sale to Newell Brands, Sistema was selling its range of plastic storage containers in more than 90 countries. It had offices in Australia, the UK, France, Scandinavia and the US, and has an extensive distribution network.

Brendan has since set up an office for “Lindsay Investments” in the Viaduct Basin. He has not completely left the company and continues to receive Sistema sales reports, reflecting increases, and ‘Newell Brands is looking at putting in new machinery’ he says.

Since leaving Sistema, Brendan has made a number of investments, the most public of which has been a 13.4 per cent stake in tap and showerware maker, Methven. He has also invested in a sheep milking venture, a foundry, and has big plans for his own brand of manuka honey. In addition, Brendan has made smaller investments in listed public companies such as Tourism Holdings, Genesis, Mercury Energy, PGG Wrightson and Skellerup. He and his wife, Jo, have been active philanthropists and, with interests in the horse racing industry, have spent $3m on Riding for the Disabled, an organisation that introduces people with disabilities to horse riding as a form of therapy. They have recently purchased Waikato’s Cambridge Stud from Sir Patrick and Lady Hogan.

Brendan has recently engaged in talks with the University of Auckland with the view of setting up a design school.