Australia’s 50 Most Innovative Manufacturers 2024: Meet the judges


As we prepare for the awards event on April 18, we are pleased to present our expert panel of judges for Australia’s 50 Most Innovative Manufacturers 2024.

Meet our judges, each of which is enabling an independent, credible, arm’s-length evaluation of nominees for @AuManufacturing‘s campaign.

Keep an eye out for the announcement of our awards event’s keynote speaker on Tuesday.

Dr Munib Karavdic
CEO, WAVE Design
Conjoint Professor Design and Innovation, AGSM/UNSW

Dr Munib Karavdic is recognised globally as an expert in innovation and design. A multi design and innovation award winner, he helps leaders and their organisations to innovate and drive change with confidence and clarity from strategy to implementation.

His approach is achieved by building innovation capabilities underpinned by human-centred design (HCD) as a critical driver of the organisation’s growth and customer-centric strategy.

As Conjoint Professor in Design and Innovation at AGSM/UNSW, he is involved in research and supports MBA students by sharing his insights and practical expertise from his industry work.

Munib is an internationally acclaimed speaker on innovation and design and has delivered keynote addresses at many industry conferences and forums in Australia and around the world.

Bruce Minty

Senior Product Manager, MYOB

Bruce is an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software expert with over 20 years of experience across product management, marketing, finance, solution engineering and business development.

His consultative approach and focus on business process improvement have helped transform midmarket and global organisations across both Manufacturing and Wholesale Distribution sectors.

Dario Valenza

Founder, Carbonix

Dario has a passion for design and design thinking. This is the common thread that has led him to build yachts, planes, and cars – as well as create the teams and company structures to turn visions into reality.

He believes that beautiful design, as well as enabling and inspiring, is inherently valuable. Testing a new design it in the real world, particularly in competition, is a way to interrogate nature and understand the world.

Dario spent the first decade of his career working on racing yachts as a boatbuilder, designer, construction manager, and campaign manager.

His treasured achievements include being part of several America’s Cup teams and pioneering full hydrofoiling for World Championship winning boats. He applied the lessons learned to other fields. This trajectory diversified into aerospace applications including drones.

Dario works to create products that bring joy by being desirable, aesthetically pleasing, and ergonomically correct, while always adding value through effective and efficient performance. He’s always keen to share my experiences and tackle new challenges with like-minded teams.

Steve Milanoski

Director, Manufacturing Technology, Advanced Manufacturing Research Facility (AMRF)

Steve Milanoski is the Director, Manufacturing Technology, Advanced Manufacturing Research Facility (AMRF) with the NSW Government agency, Western Parkland City Authority (WPCA). Steve is responsible for the technical portfolio which includes leading technical staff, manufacturing technology deployment, and project delivery.

Before joining the AMRF, Steve was the Head of Advanced Manufacturing at Romar Engineering in Western Sydney where he was responsible for the Advanced Manufacturing and Fluid and Motion Controls Teams.

Originally from the USA, Steve worked eight years at SpaceX in the propulsion and manufacturing teams. In 2014, he was responsible for the successful design and NASA certification of the world’s first metal additive component to successfully meet requirements to fly and reach orbit on the Thaicom-8 mission. Many of his components still fly on Falcon missions today.

Steve has also held significant roles with the US Navy Submarine Force, CSIRO’s Lab 22, ANSTO, National Space Hub and sits on the Strategic Advisory Committee for UNSW’s Materials and Manufacturing Futures Institute.

Steve’s passionate about building high performing, multi-disciplinary engineering teams and implementing cutting edge manufacturing technologies in everyday settings.

Maria Christina

National Manager for Manufacturing & Wholesale Trade, Commonwealth Bank

Maria holds a Bachelor Degree in Chemical Engineering and Masters in International Business.

As the National Industry Head, Maria is involved in commissioning thought leadership publications, including: Manufacturing Momentum Insight Report, (CBA’s annual publication, which examines the key trends shaping the manufacturing sector) and Makers and Traders (manufacturing articles discussing various local and topical issues in the industry).  

Maria works closely with Manufacturing clients across subsectors and gains substantial valuable industry insights.

Australia’s 50 Most Innovative Manufacturers is an annual campaign by @AuManufacturing. It has been made possible through the generous support of MYOBCSIRO, the NSW government’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Facility, and the Commonwealth Bank. Be sure to check back at this website for regular updates, including profiles of nominees and other information.

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