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Departing Board Members 2023

Geothermal Community

2023 saw the departure of a number of Board members, who have each contributed significantly to the NZGA during their time governing the organisation. Ted Montague, Jeremy O'Brien and Brian White all joined the NZGA Board in 2017, with Jeremy O'Brien serving as Vice-President from 2022 and Brian White having rejoined the Board after previous stints as Board member and Chief Executive of the organisation. Paul Siratovich joined the Board in 2016, becoming President in 2020 and taking on the Immediate Past President role in 2022. Scott Henderson joined the Board in 2018, being re-elected in 2021.

NZGA caught up with some of the leaving Board members to find out about their time serving our Association. You can read their interviews below.

Scott Henderson Jeremy O'Brien Paul Siratovich Brian White

Jeremy O'Brien

Segment Director, Energy - Seequent Limited

Tell us about your experience as an NZGA Board member

My experience as an NZGA board member has been extremely rewarding. Working closely with other board members and the NZGA membership across a variety of areas really broadened my perspective.

What has been your biggest achievement whilst you were on the NZGA Board?

Am I allowed two? The first would be being part of a team who drove membership engagement and the growth of the Winter Seminar to the event it is today. The second is being involved in forming and chairing the NZGA emissions working group which has been an incredibly successful NZGA lead industry collaboration.

What is your message to those who might be considering joining the NZGA Board in the future?

Do it, you wont regret it.

What are the benefits of being an NZGA member?

Access to the community who can help support you in any way in which you want to interact with the geothermal industry or advance your career. Being part of a organisation driving Aotearoa’s net zero ambitions with reliable, low carbon energy.

Paul Siratovich

Director - Upflow Limited

Tell us about your experience as an NZGA Board member

I joined the NZGA Board in 2017 when I was working at Mercury, seeing it as an opportunity to steer how geothermal was viewed in New Zealand, as well as getting to know a broader range of people within the industry. I could recognise the NZGA’s role in the information and education space, and wanted to be involved in elevating geothermal’s reputation beyond just those who worked with it directly. I don’t like to do things by halves, so ended up getting involved in a number of the Board’s committees, and running for President in 2020.

What has been your biggest achievement whilst you were on the NZGA Board?

It was great to be involved in getting the board coordinator and chief executive roles solidified. When I joined the board, I recognised that whilst we had plenty of good intentions, the reality of running as an operational board meant that our aspirations were not being achieved. Investing in paid staff has meant that the board can dedicate its focus towards the strategic decisions for the association, ensuring better value for our members. It is also encouraging to see the diversity represented on the NZGA Board, which has been a passion of mine through my work with WING (Women in Geothermal).

What is your message to those who might be considering joining the NZGA Board in the future?

You get to work with a group of individuals who are passionate about this industry, and who you might not normally get to collaborate with in your day to day work. You also get valuable board experience; whilst the NZGA is not a commercial board, it does operate as if it were with regards to aspects such as protocols, risk assessment, and contingency planning, and therefore you are heavily involved not just in the management, but the strategic direction of the organisation. It is also worth realising that it is a big commitment, and not to be taken lightly. The NZGA is a highly respected organisation throughout the world, and being part of its history is a valuable experience. Whilst it’s a daunting opportunity, it’s also an awesome opportunity.

What are the benefits of being an NZGA member?

It’s being part of a community of like-minded people. Geothermal attracts a unique set of people; it’s weird, it’s wacky and it’s challenging work, and our community reflects the diversity and tenacity of the people who are attracted to this industry. Our membership comes from all different backgrounds- from an environmental stewardship perspective to a financial perspective, a commercial perspective to a scientific perspective. The exchange of information and understanding that NZGA facilitates bring together this awesome conglomerate of people

Brian White

Senior Energy Advisor – East Harbour Energy

Tell us about your experience as an NZGA Board member

This was actually my second experience on the NZGA Board. The first was back in the early 2000s which finished when I resigned to become the first NZGA Executive Officer – a role I kept for over a decade. And now I have completed another 6 year term. But both Board and EO roles gave me the opportunity for cooperating across the diverse membership of the Board and our member supporters through growth, nadir and growth again of the geothermal industry. While some of us start with knowledge of a small segment of the industry, the Board role encourages that helicopter view of where the industry has been and can go and what may help it towards better outcomes – and there are encouragers within the Board that help with the personal stretch.

My long experience around the Board has meant I have been able to share some background to earlier decisions.

The leadership role gave access to change-makers including those in industry, councils, central government and Ministers.

Submissions on key issues bring challenges and frustrations. These have provided stretch for people new to the process and to the issues arising. There is often toing and froing and a bit of wordsmithing to resolve some issues or avoid others. In fact, some of these debates have led to useful working partnerships outside the Board based on mutual recognition of skills, and knowledge that we do head down different paths. Sometimes it is just right to recognise divergence of views.

The NZGA has recently appointed a Chief Executive so the Board and CE are still evolving their relative roles. I am sorry to be missing the coming drive/training towards a more governance-type role for the Board. However, even in that setting there will still be a need for active contributions within Committees or in support of submissions or new articles for the website.

What has been your biggest achievement whilst you were on the NZGA Board?

For my latest time on the Board I could point to securing major funding for WGC 2020, or working with others on a string of submissions, or encouraging the formation of our International Committee, or working on bylaw changes, but the thing that has given me most pleasure recently has been helping others achieve their personal visions in our reformed Information and Education Committee. This includes first steps to restoration of substantial content on the NZGA website – a big task awaiting the incoming Committee and an allocation of funding.

What is your message to those who might be considering joining the NZGA Board in the future?

Put your name forward. Whatever box you may have been in before, you will find yourself thinking in much bigger spaces, and there will be people around who can encourage you as you stretch yourself. There are big issues facing low emissions renewable energy including geothermal, and a new Government that could use some direction from this industry – and you can be part of that.

What are the benefits of being an NZGA Board member?

I have really enjoyed the sense of being in touch with a wide range of fronts of progress and the people involved. The conversations around the Board table or on the side are stimulating. I have made some good friendships and connections through the Board that I will always value. The Board role carries mana and ultimately means you can be a change-maker.



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