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For me, optimism is not only seeing the glass half full, it’s taking action to keep filling that glass.

As the National Director for Industry at the Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre I get to walk the factory floors and talk with industry leaders all across Australia. The manufacturing sector is number one for the development of intellectual property, with more patents than any other sector. The leading companies are diversified and exporting globally. We also have traditional engineering firms looking to new opportunities in the defence sector. Right now we have the largest defence budget in Australia's history, over $200 billion dollars with a focus on growing local industry supply chains.

Just this month, Prime Minister Morrison opened the new Australian Space Agency Headquarters and we are connecting manufacturing companies with the space industry opportunities. For example, Sydney based Nicholas Hacko Watches makes high value, high quality watches. The company has precision engineering equipment and a highly skilled workforce to make fine and complex parts for time pieces.There is great potential for divesification into the space industry with the manufacturing of complex parts for things such as cube satelites and more.  

The fourth industrial revolution, Industry 4.0, is changing manufacturing forever. This transformation which includes such things as robotics, automation and smart sensors, also includes new ways of sales and marketing with technologies like online sales with Instagram and Facebook. It no longer matters that Australia is geographically removed from most of the world, Australian manufacturers now have opportunities to gain new customers with access to 7 billion people in addition to the 25 million residents here at home. We can export to the world and now with the growing space industry we can reach for the stars!

Michael Sharpe joined the Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre (AMGC) in 2017 and is the National Director for Industry. AMGC is an industry-led, not-for-profit organisation which supports the development of a world-leading advanced manufacturing industry in Australia. AMGC is connected with a nationwide network of manufacturing SMEs and Universities. Its membership has passed over 400 members representing firms of all sizes plus research institutions that showcase leading technology innovations. AMGC’s role is to help manufacturers unlock new commercial opportunities and drive innovation in Australian manufacturing.

Michael has vast industrial experience including nearly three decades at Sharpe Bros (Australia), one of the nation’s leading road companies. From 2004 – 2014, he served as Managing Director of the family business. From 2012 – 2016, he was on the board of HunterNet, a successful industry clustering initiative in the Hunter and Central Coast region and served as Chairman for a one-year period.

He has served in numerous senior roles leading up to his AMGC Directorship, including Board Member at the Central Coast Local Health District which provides public health services to the local communities, including at Gosford and Wyong Hospitals. As a member of the Board Research Committee, he provided experience and insight for the development of the governance framework and the philanthropy procedures for medical research. The committee is instrumental in planning for the new Central Coast Medical School and Medical Research Institute at Gosford Hospital. Michael has served on the Board of Lifeline Newcastle, Hunter and Central Coast and as a Board Member at Masonicare New South Wales & Australian Capital Territory. He supported the establishment of the Canterbury Bankstown Chamber of Commerce as an Advisor to the CEO and is involved in a wide range of community groups.

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