Tegan Smith is the first woman to win the Caernarfon Award after being nominated by the Institute of Quarrying Australia (IQA).
The Caernarfon Award is presented annually for the best paper given at an institute conference, seminar, or meeting anywhere in the world.
The paper is adjudged to have contributed the most to the advancement of some aspect of the industry.
Smith is a director at Groundwork Plus with 20 years’ experience in the quarrying, land use and development sectors. She is also the founder of the IQA’s Women in Quarrying initiative.
Smith presented her winning paper ‘Changing Perspectives’ at the 63rd IQA National Conference in Newcastle in March.
The focus of the presentation was on the current language used to describe the extractive industry, the perception of the industry in the community and the need for the industry to change its narrative.
The presentation questioned the industry’s narrative and brand, highlighting the language used to shape the industry.
Smith reiterated her love for the industry and expressed her want for the industry to remain resilient.
Smith’s presentation also focused on the language used in legislation and how language can promote or confuse certainty surrounding the industry.
“I still believe that legislative complexity has a part to play in lack of certainty in our businesses and for our sector more broadly.
“But the bigger risk in my mind is the way we are perceived by those not within our networks and the power they have to influence the way we do business,” Smith said.
Smith utilised video and interviews to challenge the audience to think about immediate risks to the industry, including a lack of branding and negative terminology.
The presentation inspired further debate and discussion into the evening.
Voted on by the International Presidents of all the Institute of Quarrying branches, Smith was the clear winner of the award, scoring 9s and 10s.
The IQA believes that Smith is a great representation of the diversity of membership that the Institute of Quarrying aims to attract and retain.
It commented that having a female recipient win the award purely on merit, and with a topic that sits outside traditional technical papers, is a step towards building diversity and inclusion within the industry.