Tag Archives: Meet the Team

Anita Weller – Instructional Designer

Anita Weller - Pryda Instructional Designer

In the rare moments fabricators scratch their heads and click the help button in Pryda Build software, Anita’s knack for explaining things puts software users in the picture and back on track. 

Ten years with Pryda, Anita works in a team of technical writers and trainers, producing documentation, training materials, and help resources to ensure fabricators get the most out of Pryda’s suite of software. 

Recently anointed Instructional Designer, Anita’s now expanded role also covers online training and resources available on Pryda’s recently upgraded learning portal. 

The development is part of Pryda’s growing emphasis on blended learning. More than simply a response to disruption caused by the ongoing pandemic, Pryda’s bigger online footprints are designed to bolster training flexibility and resources beyond classroom settings. 

“Classroom learning is good, but not everyone can travel or spend three days away from work,” says Anita. “The recent investment in our online learning portal makes training more available to more people.” 

Early feedback has been positive, with an uptick in online activity and participation in remote learning confirming the value of Pryda’s revised portal. However, Anita believes plenty more fabricators could take advantage of online learning.  

“There are so many gems online,” she says. “I’ve seen detailers with 20-plus years in the industry learn new tricks. Software keeps improving, and if you haven’t been shown something then you’ll never think to use that function. I really encourage people to visit the portal, or even commit to training. It doesn’t need to be a big imposition.” 

At the time of writing, Anita was working from her home office in the Melbourne suburb of Aspendale. The chatter of a cockatiel named Candace fills gaps in the phone conversation with the interviewer for this article. Months into lockdown, Anita says she’s unphased by the disruption felt more acutely by so many others. She puts down her tranquillity to being a writer, by nature a creature who shows up to harvest information and then retreats to a quiet room to conjure her magic. 

In any case, Anita and her peers have been working remotely for years, fronting up at the office once a week to get what they need to do their jobs.  

With so many others now working from home, she’s having to fight off meeting invitations to Zoom. “We’ve been working remotely for years – we don’t need to see you,” she laughs. 

Check out Pryda’s learning portal here https://pryda.matrixlms.com.au/ 

Don’t have a login? No problem, just email our training team, and they will set you up training@prydaanz.com  

Anita Weller
Instructional Designer

E: aweller@prydaanz.com

Jay Griggs – Detailing Manager

Jay Griggs
Jay Griggs

Jay is spearheading Pryda’s new detailing service for fabricators who require extra horsepower to cope with growing orders and skills shortages.

Based in Pryda’s Adelaide office, Jay coordinates a network of Pryda certified detailers dotted around the Philippines.
Pryda’s newly launched service is designed to mesh with fabricators’ existing operations, serving as a blended model availing sharply priced detailing services spec’d to standards and quality demanded by local fabricators.
“Experienced detailers are getting thin on the ground in Australia,” says Jay. “They’re expensive to train and retain, and frequently poached. The idea is to solve that problem, providing our fabricators with a scalable service that fits seamlessly with their systems to increase efficiency and output.”
Jay, a career detailer and 25-year veteran of timber fabrication, was shoulder-tapped by Pryda to design and deliver the service to Pryda fabricators on both sides of the Tasman.
Before joining Pryda, Jay worked for a large Pryda fabricator overseeing two truss plants and the development of an international team of detailers supporting frame and truss and production. Earlier he ran his own detailing business, servicing fabricators in nearly every state of Australia.
Maintaining his international connections, Jay established Pryda’s in-house Training Academy Program to certify the new detailing team and to provide additional skills development to handle more complex projects.
He says that while Pryda has for years provided comprehensive software training and support for its Pryda Build Software, no amount of software user training can compensate for time in the saddle as a detailer.
“That’s the gap we are filling and why you can be confident in the capabilities of the team” he says.  “The investment Pryda has made, focussing on the blended model of our overseas detailers and our customers local teams, is only possible with the team and programs we have developed.
“I have a great team with a wide range of experience, and the feedback we are already getting shows that our recruitment and training processes are delivering the right outcomes. This should look and feel like a local offer”.
At the time of writing, Jay had recently returned to working at Pryda’s offices for first time since COVID forced workers to their home offices. He said it was good to be back, though wryly noting that schools in South Australia had remained open, making his lockdown experience more relaxing compared to the stories shared by working parents across Australian and NZ.

Want more information on Pryda’s Detailing Offer? Our Prospectus is available here or contact Jay direct.

Jay Griggs
Detailing Manager

M: +61 437 168 150

Steve White – NZ Sales Manager

Steve White
Steve White 1
Steve White

Born and bred in Newcastle, New South Wales, Steve is one Australian who calls New Zealand home – well, almost. Having moved to New Zealand with his Kiwi wife and their two children in 2011, Steve’s home base on Auckland’s North Shore, handily located to Pryda’s Albany office.

Degree qualified in construction management, Steve joined Pryda in January 2019 after 2.5 years with sister company Ramsetreid, where he was account managing pre-cast concrete and structural steel solutions. While different building materials, there are a lot of similarities in the way the businesses need to run in a dynamic and largely customised marketplace. 

Time spent with local fabricators has provided Steve with a picture of challenges. He says ready access to good information ensures fabricators understand the anatomy of their production and make sound business decisions based on measurable outcomes. 

“Pryda’s Production Manager software is packed with potential ‘gold’ to support productivity and profitability, but it’s often under utilised. Access to real time reporting and ‘one source of truth’ rather than anecdotal floor feedback, paired with post-production analysis, Production Manager really is a must have tool for any owner or manager wanting to understand throughputs”. 

Before moving to New Zealand, Steve spent a chunk of his career working for specialist subcontractors to design and deliver building maintenance units – think moveable platforms used by window cleaners and maintenance people that trace the exterior of office towers. 

Ever keen to expand his horizons, Steve’s peers and clients – in fact anyone within stick poking distance – will be interested to learn that he recently completed a post graduate qualification in brewing. That’s right – a qualified brewer is in our midst.  

Steve White
Sales Manager – New Zealand
M: 021 790 951
E: swhite@prydaanz.com

Wendy O’Hearn – Segment Market Manager, ANZ

Wendy Ohearn

With a career built in the manufacturing sector, this Kiwi is as passionate about the construction industry as she is about her home country. Having worked in Industrial Gas (BOC), Glass (O-I, now Visy), and Concrete (RamsetReid), Timber was a natural next step for Wendy. 

With a CV that zigzags between marketing, sales, productivity (Lean Six Sigma Black Belt), and sustainability, her time spent in the glass industry gave her the opportunity to be part of a mindset change to reducing waste to landfill and thinking about our carbon footprint. Now within the timber industry, Wendy is again able to be part of an industry change in the conversation about building materials and more sustainable choices when people make the biggest investment in their lifetimes – the family home. 

“Unlike FMCG brands and products, I like working with ‘the cogs’ that make the overall product – core materials essential to the finished product,” she says. “That’s what I love about timber – it’s the DNA of really smart building solutions.” 

Wendy Ohearn

Based in Auckland, and pre-COVID travelling to Australia every other week, Wendy’s immediate focus is spearheading market initiatives to ensure Pryda’s offsite business is where it needs to be over the next three-to-five years. Rising on three pillars – fabricators, builders, and industry – Pryda’s strategy aims to boost the profitability and productivity of its partners, as well as give greater voice to the timber industry. The overall mission moves to Pryda’s now-familiar drumbeat: safer, faster smarter, easier. 

However, there’s work to do, says Wendy, highlighting a certain conundrum facing timber industry players. “Timber is inherently flexible – there’s so much you can do with it, but that can lead to complexity,” she says. “Building component suppliers such as Pryda must make things simple, providing solutions that match wide-ranging skills onsite and keep everyone on track to work faster, safer and smarter.” 

Outside of work Wendy trying to keep up with the 4 men in her life – Mr O’Hearn and the three Master O’Hearn’s, including a 12-year-old aspiring All Black. Unlike most Kiwis (at least the Kiwis on the better side of the Tasman) she also has an emotional stake in AFL, supporting the Geelong Cats (Tom Hawkins’ stray elbows never looked so good) and, in that other code, the Sydney Roosters. 

“All Kiwis support the Warriors, but you’re on a hiding to nothing, so my next bet is the Roosters. Don’t mention Sonny Bill Williams,” she says.  

Wendy O’Hearn 
Segment Market Manager Offsite ANZ 
+64 27 808 5083 
E: wohearn@prydaanz.com 
LinkedIn Wendy O’Hearn

Laurie Ellul – Software Development Manager

Laurie Ellul

When Laurie walked through the doors of Pryda’s head-office in Dandenong for the first time early this year, he was struck by the familiarity of the tools displayed in a storefront demo showcasing Pryda parent ITW’s product range.

“It dawned on me that my home workshop is full of ITW tools,” the avid woodworker said. “So, it’s only right I’m working at Pryda.”

Born and bred in Melbourne, Laurie heads up Pryda’s team of soon-to-be 20 software developers, testers, and solutions architects, whose primary task is to modernise the core software platform for Pryda Build.

He said Pryda Build’s role in the company’s overall success had been an eyeopener. “Software, support, and training are integral to our fabricators’ business. I didn’t fully appreciate the intrinsic link before taking this job. That makes us a part manufacturer and part software development company, which is rare in this industry.”

An entire career spent in software development, including stints in financial services, transport, and logistics, Laurie brings a philosophical view to the role of software in business. Explaining that software is simply a means to an end – which in the building industry mostly relates to optimisation – Pryda Build ensures fabricators answer the big questions, Laurie said.

“How can I design a truss that is the lightest weight, uses the least material, but is structurally sound and complies with all the standards? That’s the holy grail,” he said.

“Software holds the answers, but also provides designers with scope to add safety margins and navigate the subtleties of compliance and safety, innovation, and the economics of production.”

Laurie Ellul
Software Development Manager ANZ
+61 437 041 209
E: lellul@prydaanz.com

Laurie Ellul

Greg Hay – Software Portfolio Manager

Greg Hay

Greg Hay concedes that he’s been around a few years – the last 24 with Pryda. But such longevity qualifies him to make observations about the industry in which he’s spent the lion’s share of his working life.

From his early years working in Pryda’s engineering support office, where he produced complex designs for fabricators – earning him a reputation as a Yoda of sorts for wall designs – Greg says technology has driven sweeping changes across the building industry.

He says the impact of technology runs parallel to rising numbers of young faces now working in the sector, in contrast to the mature ‘grizzlies’ who once dominated the ranks. “The new generation is more tech-savvy,” he says. “They’re more prepared to push the boundaries, because they’re more comfortable with complexity. You see it in the designs.”

Greg Hay
Greg Hay

Service and technology providers like Pryda must remain attentive to change, keeping their technology ahead of the curve to give fabricators the edge they need for design and plant efficiency – and builders the tools and materials to work smarter. And that’s where Greg and his team do their best work, acting as the conduit between customers and Pryda’s Australia-based software developers to translate user requirements into new features and functions.

Greg says customer-driven software development is central to the evolution of Pryda’s software, from its early focus on roofs to the suite of modules covering all facets of design and factory management that is Pryda Build today. “Basically, everything from when a quote comes in to when the product is loaded on to the back of a truck,” he says.

Pryda’s software development team, based in Dandenong, approximately 30 km south-east from the Melbourne CBD, also draws on expertise provided by company parent ITW. “It’s the best of both worlds,” says Greg. “Software built on local knowledge but with the backing of a global corporate.”

Reflecting on his 20-plus years with Pryda, Greg says that above all else, it is the calibre of people within Pryda that make the difference. “Pryda is family – that’s the special thing about this business. We might be owned by a global giant, but we have the mindset of a local business and a real passion for our industry.”

Greg Hay
Software Portfolio Manager
M: +61 (0) 407 493 337
E: ghay@prydaanz.com

Tristan Pinder – Service Manager, ANZ

Tristan Pinder

2019 saw Tristan Pinder promoted into the Service Manager role for Pryda, looking after the equipment team across Australia and New Zealand. With a long history with Pryda, Tristan’s focus is to deliver the right support and service to drive productivity for fabricators.

A maintenance fitter by trade, Tristan served his apprenticeship with Pryda, at the company’s nail-plate factory in Dandenong South, Victoria. 

Following a two-year stint of overseas travel, he spent nine years on the tools as a service technician, fixing and fine tuning automated saws, table presses, rollers, wall framers … the whole shebang.

Tristan Pinder
Tristan Pinder

Much has changed during his time with Pryda, but no more so than advances in automation, which are fast eliminating menial jobs and driving throughput and efficiency, particularly in linear sawing.  “But that’s not to say our old saws don’t cut it by today’s standards – still plenty keep up, but like all aging technology they’re more expensive to keep in tip-top condition,” he said.

Tristan manages a team of 7 technicians and service staff, supporting fabricators with break-fixes, upgrades, and preventative maintenance.

He said both Pryda and fabricators faced the issue of plant access. When machinery breaks down production can grind to a halt, which leaves no option other than to whistle up a Pryda technician to do their thing. However, it’s a different story for preventative maintenance and upgrades, when halting production to provide access to machines must be weighed against the cost and inconvenience of disruption.

“Like all manufacturers, fabricators are under the pump to improve throughput and margins – no one wants to interrupt production. But often a little inconvenience averts bigger problems down the line.”

Outside work Tristan has a young family, including a two-year-old and a four-year-old, and yearns for quiet moments when he can lie down, close his eyes, and not have someone jump on him as part of play time!

Nicky Woodward, Business Development Manager – F&T

Nicky Woodward 1

Nicky says she stumbled into the building and construction industry. But maybe it was destiny – both her father and grandparents were builders. Part way through a mechanical engineering degree she responded to a job advertisement and was accepted for a traineeship at Pryda.

Other than a two-year stint running her own truss plant, and a few years managing another, she’s been with Pryda for the lion’s share of her working life, spearheading software testing, support, and training programmes for Pryda Build – and now working in Pryda’s Productivity business development team. It’s a role that draws on her knowledge of design, systems, and the day-to-day challenges of running a fabrication business. 

Nicky Woodward, Pryda Business Development Manager - F&T
Nicky Woodward

She says the F&T industry is getting tougher with stiff competition and builders often chasing the bottom line, sometimes at the detriment of better overall project solutions. It can be hard to offer meaningful points of difference to builders. “So we’re all about helping our fabricators improve their efficiency and productivity; producing more, but with less effort – also enabling them to get their frames and trusses out the door a bit faster,” she says. The results speak for themselves. A recent project she helped run for a Queensland-based fabricator delivered a whopping 35 percent uptick in productivity.

“That’s what I love about this job and the Pryda way,” says Nicky. “We‘re about making a real difference to the people we work with. If we can do that then everyone benefits.”

Nicky Woodward
Business Development Manager – Frame & Truss
M: +61 438 521 503
E: nwoodward@prydaanz.com

Rob Moore, Business Development Manager – Builder Solutions ANZ

Rob Moore

How is this for an intro – he has eyeballed a saltwater croc about to dine on the family cat, swum with pink dolphins in the Amazon, and taken a dip in Southern Africa’s Zambezi River, a back-eddy’s breadth from the 100-metre plunge that is the Victoria Falls. Nothing phases Pryda’s newly appointed BDM Builder Solutions.

A lifelong construction enthusiast, Rob is just as excited talking about building solutions as he is retelling past and future travel adventures. Though he concedes that nothing makes quite the same impression as being up close and personal with a croc.

Joining ITW back in 1995, Rob worked in various positions for roofing subsidiary Buildex over a 24-year stretch. Now with Pryda, and post COVID restrictions, he travels Australia and New Zealand, working with builders and developers to identify opportunities for innovation and smarter building solutions.


Right now, he’s excited about Pryda’s SpeedTruss – a truss installation system integrating pre-installed tie-down screws – which he says is one of the most exciting developments he’s seen in a long time. “It makes my job so much easier when you sell products that captivate the market,” says Rob.

Reflecting on his career in building and construction, he says methods and products have changed remarkably in response to code changes, weather extremes, and living tastes.

“Today it’s all about large living spaces. However, open plan living creates more structural stresses,” he says. “Smarter technology solves many of these challenges – and that’s where Pryda comes into its own, and why I signed up.”

Rob has construction in his blood. Following school, he completed a four-year apprenticeship as a wood machinist before working in various positions in building and construction in North Queensland. He built his first house at the age of 23 years.

With two daughters both through university and now working themselves, Rob and his wife of 30 years, Leonia don’t have time for empty nest syndrome. They are now able to indulge a passion for adventure travel, which has taken them up mountains, through jungles, and too close for comfort to apex predators.

“And I’ve still got all my limbs,” says Rob.

Rob Moore
Business Development Manager – Builder Solutions
M: +61 418 183 598
E: rmoore@prydaanz.com

Ian Hayward, Engineering Manager ANZ

Ian Hayward

Eighteen years with Pryda, structural engineer Ian Hayward has witnessed the progressive digitisation of frame and truss design.

The newly appointed engineering manager for Australia and New Zealand now spends more time with his head in Pryda Build software, developing briefs and tweaking software functions to help designers do their jobs more efficiently.

Nevertheless, his principal focus involves plenty of visits to the design departments of his clients, keeping sawdust on his shoes.

Software these days does much of the design work, he says, but face-to-face consulting remains essential to helping builders and fabricators design more efficiently and remain compliant.

“Nothing gets easier, especially in the current environment, where compliance issuers face more scrutiny and insurers are getting tougher,” says Ian, who believes the development is a function of recent high-profile building disasters, such as the fire that broke out in the 24-storey Grenfell Tower block of flats in North Kensington, West London, which killed 72 people.

“Compliance is more complicated – everyone in our industry faces more questions, growing insurance costs, and in some cases a narrower range of cover,” he says.

Despite the climate of heightened risk aversion, Ian says Pryda’s design firepower provides customers with a safe pair of hands. The company’s timber design team, alone, contains 100-plus years of experience – clout that often sees its designers invited through the doors of architects and engineers looking for expert guidance to navigate tricky builds.

Prodded for his views on Pryda’s distinguishing essence, Ian quickly identifies the passion for innovation demonstrated by his fellow workers. “It’s a thrill to see,” he says. “And it’s also evident in the way we partner clients – we’re not just suppliers. Our style of interaction gives clients the confidence that they’re part of the Pryda family – they’ll never be left on their own.”

Outside work, Ian lives with his wife Jo-Anne, son Cameron, and dog Ginger, on a block of land in Valentine, a suburb of the City of Lake Macquarie in New South Wales, 20 kilometres from Newcastle’s central business district.

Ian Hayward
Engineering Manager ANZ
+61 439 300 619

Ian Hayward
Ian Hayward

Adam Dawson, ANZ Technical Manager

Adam Dawson

The fresh face in Pryda’s residential timber team, Adam recently switched camps from ITW’s Commercial division, Ramsetreid.

With hundreds of products now under his technical gaze, it’s just as well chartered engineer Adam has so many letters after his name. 

Ultimately responsible for ensuring every Pryda product and service is compliant, Adam is currently focused on supporting both Pryda and its partners to explore growth opportunities for timber building systems.

He says the industry is switching on to building lighter, faster, safer, and even cheaper, with timber – a development that follows the recent introduction of the National Construction Code 2019, which allows buildings up to 25 metres (typically 8-storeys) to be constructed with timber.

Adam Dawson2

“Timber has come into its own, and developers are starting to see it as a viable alternative to concrete,” says Adam, highlighting a recent example in Queensland, where a developer was able to add four storeys to a building situated directly above a tunnel, thanks to the weight savings of timber.

On the residential scene, Adam says Pryda’s SpeedTruss – an innovation allowing carpenters to more safely install roof trusses and immediately and permanently tie them down – is making a huge impression on the market.

He’s also a champion of workplace diversity, believing that a broader range of working styles and ways of thinking is good for business. On this front, he is an active member of the ITW Women’s Network, which aims to attract and develop female talent.

Before joining ITW, Adam completed a seven-year stint at infrastructure consulting giant Jacobs, where he held a mixture of engineering and sales roles, including tender work for multi-billion-dollar projects. “It was fun for a while – but you wouldn’t want to do it forever,” he says.

Outside work Adam is Dad to Audrey (aged 6) and sons Rory (4) and Elijah (2). When he’s not wrestling in the lounge, Adam is often found grimacing on a bicycle. Most days he commutes 40km to work. He also participates in road races throughout Victoria, including the annual 270km Melbourne to Warrnambool Cycling Classic – the second oldest one-day cycling event in the world and the longest in the Southern hemisphere.

Light relief from all that work family-life balance.

Adam Dawson CPEng NER RPEQ
Technical Manager Pryda ANZ
M: +61 456 696 710
E: adawson@prydaanz.com

Ian Currie, Business Development Manager – F&T

Ian Currie Cropped
Ian Currie Cropped

There’s a special kind of glint that flashes in Ian’s eyes when he wanders the factory floor of frame and truss manufacturing facilities. He’s at home among sawdust and machines. But mostly, he enjoys understanding how factory processes can be improved – a skill he’s honed over 24 years with Pryda, in manufacturing plants across Australia, New Zealand and across may other parts of the world.

From his early years as an equipment engineer in the age of c-clamps to the current era of software-driven linear saw technology and automated machinery, Ian has seen it all, using his experience to spearhead Pryda’s E2E process review and performance improvement services.

“Once you get splinters in your veins you don’t lose them that easily,” he said.

But as much as he enjoys fine tuning complex process flows, Ian also has a nose for business. In this part of the world he says the industry is delicately poised, with a softening in customer orders in Australia and indications that New Zealand could follow suit. His assessment is based on shorter truss delivery times, which are down from four-to-five weeks to two-to-three. The situation, should it keep moving in the same direction, will invite greater competition, putting acid on frame and truss manufacturers to eke out more efficiencies.

“Automation provides a solution, but you need to ensure it meets your specific needs – it’s not one shoe fits all,” he said.

On this front, Ian said technology provides good answers – but not all the answers – and as manufacturers look to technology and automation to increase productivity and reduce human inputs, frame and truss manufacturers should remain wary of ripple effects on things like maintenance.

“Modern technology has revolutionised productivity but comes with complexity embedded in electronics, controls and mechatronics. Gone are the days of whistling up the local hydraulics guy to fix an oil leak. So, what you save on staff must be balanced with the premium you can pay for this kind of specialist care and attention,” he said.

Ian Currie
Business Development Manager ANZ
M: +61 418 483 498   
E:  icurrie@prydaanz.com