President and Treasurer
Han Michel commenced his career in the plastics industry in 1970 at Dow Chemical in The Netherlands. He has held multiple roles in sales, marketing and supply chain management with Dow and Upjohn Polymers in Europe.
In 1994, Han switched to the advisory sector where he gained knowledge and experience with The Thomas Group, Arthur D. Little and KPMG.
In 1998, Han moved to Australia and was employed by Ernst & Young. In 1999, he founded his own company, E-three & Associates, advising SME’s in the plastics and chemicals industries on projects in business process improvement, strategy development and recycling. He also has held part-time positions with the CSIRO, Polyloop and Ecoproducts. In 2018, he joined Nextek in a part-time role as a project manager working on sustainability and recycling projects involving plastics.
Han has a keen interest in the association side of the plastics, chemicals and packaging industries. In 1998, he became one of the founding members of the Australia-New Zealand Section of the Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE: A-NZ Section). He has held management positions with the SPE: A-NZ Section since its inception and is currently President and Treasurer. He is the convenor of the Annual Plastics and Waste Conference for SPE: A-NZ Section.
Qualifications: equivalent BSc Chem, and M Chem from the Universities of Leiden and Amsterdam in The Netherlands; MSPE, MAIP
Lynley Crawford obtained a PhD in polymer chemistry from the University of Auckland in 2009. Since then she has worked in the industry honing her technical skills. She has worked in masterbatch, failure analysis lab, rotational moulding powder supply and as the plastics specialist for Fisher & Paykel Appliances in New Zealand.
Currently, Lynley is the technical manager for Performance Materials Australia & New Zealand at BASF. She thoroughly enjoys helping people through the design phase of parts, selecting the best material for the application as well as supporting the customer through the entire lifecycle of the product.
Hamed Ghajarnia graduated in Polymer Engineering in 1997 in Tehran, Iran. He has worked in many different roles in the automotive, plastics and rubber industries and has also worked as a polymer expert and consultant. He has been a senior editor of “Plastics Industry Magazine” and editor-in-chief of “Recycling Magazine”. He was also the founder of two companies in the polymer industry in Iran.
Hamed migrated to Australia in 2010. He is currently technical director of MOR Industries, which has almost 140 years of expertise and experience in the manufacturing, supply of rubber and silicone extrusion and mouldings to the food, mining, transport, agriculture and construction industries. While working at MOR, Hamed managed to develop new fire-retardant rubber products mainly for the transport industry. These products are unique in Australia.
Hamed is also the managing director of Dream Launch, which is a product development company. Dream Launch works with start-ups, inventors and entrepreneurs to bring their ideas to life.
He has actively worked with the SPE: A-NZ Section for more than nine years, of which for eight years he has served as Publicity Chair. His focus is to improve the Section’s connection and communication to its true stakeholders.
Education Chair and Deputy Chair Publicity
Firoozeh Pourjavaheri has a BSc in Food Science and Technology, a M Eng Sc in Chemical Engineering and a PhD in Polymer Chemistry from RMIT University in Melbourne.
She has had work experience in different food industries such as beverages, confectionery, spices, pasta and packaging, followed by experience as a Validation Scientist in the pharmaceutical division of Pall Corporation and CSL Biotherapies (BioCSL) and is a Qualification Engineer at CSL Behring in Melbourne.
Currently, Firoozeh is undertaking demonstrating sessions to undergraduate students at RMIT University and is employed as a Validation Specialist at Seqirus, a CSL company.
Craig Benson is Sales Manager at Qenos. He has experience in Sales, Technical & Marketing with in-depth knowledge of polyolefins, polyurethanes, PVC and additives, industrial chemicals, laundry and I&I markets as well as applications in these fields. Experience in Product Management, Customer Service Management and managing cross functional teams to introduce new technology. Specialised in understanding market supply chains. Successful with business development to explore new avenues of business within existing product lines and new developments. Focused on finding new growth areas and accelerating the commercial success of new and existing technologies.
Craig has had previous roles at VIP Packaging as Category Manager, at Sunace as National Sales Manager and at Milliken as Country Manager. Craig commenced his career in the industry as a Chemist with Joyce Foam Products before joining Montell / Basell Australia where he had roles in Development and Logistics.
Craig is a Past President of the SPE: A-NZ Section. He obtained a PhD in polymers from the University of New South Wales.
Secretary and Corporate Affairs Chair
Kevin Thomson has gained more than 25 years of experience in the plastics industry through technical and senior management roles, in both large and small companies, including material manufacturers, compounders, automotive, and medical device manufacturers.
He also has considerable experience as a technical consultant and held senior roles in three start-up companies.
He is currently employed by CSIRO to facilitate collaborative projects between industry and research organisations. He has a BSc (Hons), M Eng Sc and a PhD from Monash University and is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.
He was President of SPE: A-NZ Section from 2007 to 2009.
Mitchell Killeen has a long, global career with plastics, chemicals and refining company LyondellBasell (LYSE: LYB). Mitchell was appointed the Managing Director of LyondellBasell Australia Pty Ltd (LBA) in January 2019.
After 12 years of expatriate assignments with LYB, Mitchell returned to Australia in 2015 to the position of Director JV’s and Business Development for LyondellBasell International. This entailed managing existing Asia-Pacific Joint Ventures, JV portfolio optimisation and developing new JV opportunities operating from the Melbourne office.
Prior to his return to Australia, Mitchell had been the Managing Director of LYB’s Dubai business, which included Africa, Middle East, Turkey and the Indian Subcontinent (AfMEI). In addition to regional responsibility for LYB polyolefin business and infrastructure, this included board and off-take responsibilities for LYB’s three Saudi JV’s with integrated polyolefins production.
Mitchell’s expatriate assignments also included five years in Hong Kong from 2003 (prior to Dubai) managing marketing, innovation and projects across Asia and AfMEI, as LYB’s International Business Director.
After completing his PhD (in Polyurethanes at the University of Queensland), Mitchell joined LyondellBasell Australia in 1995.
Mitchell graduated from the University of Melbourne BSc (Hons) in Chemistry.
Muthu Pannirselvam has had a varied international career that has included university teaching, research lab management, industry consulting, and strategic advising. Muthu has worked in primary, secondary and tertiary industries for the past 21 years in India, USA and Australia. Muthu is an avid supporter of networking and he has organised over 200 workshops in the past 18 years in USA and Australia.
Muthu has completed over 100 small-to-medium sized projects including inventing three products in manufacturing sectors of which one of them is currently being used as an industry standard in Australia.
Muthu is always curious of knowing “how things work” from atoms to space. His curiosity has helped him to hone his skills in research and development. He has developed products in the USA and in Australia and he writes programs and codes for mobile and web connections.
He is an author and editor of various technical articles for trades-teaching, and a recent book focused on technology and smart cities. He is very keen to solve larger problems that community face which include employment, work/job creation, bridging the gap between industries and academia, preparing students making them industry-ready and demystifying jargons by being creative, innovative and collaborative.
Muthu is a graduate of RMIT and holds a PhD in Polymers.
Eustathios (Steven) Petinakis
Steven Petinakis is currently employed with the Pact Group, working as the Group’s resident Materials Science Specialist for the ANZ region. Steven has over 25 years’ experience in plastics, with extensive skills in project management and technical consulting, complex problem resolution and root cause analysis, polymer product development and testing, polymer conversion processes including wood plastic composite development and production.
Steven possesses strong skills in polymer formulation science, rubber technology, polymer recycling and materials characterisation and analyses.
Steven also offers technical expertise in food contact regulation and compliance testing of packaging materials as well as experience in managing NATA accredited laboratories.
Steven is a member of the Technical Advisory Committee for the Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation (APCO).
Steven is a graduate of Monash University with a PhD in Materials Engineering, specialising in biopolymer-natural fibre composites.
Russell Speight joined Moldflow, Australia, in 1995 (acquired by Autodesk in 2009) and has held roles of increasing responsibility within the Engineering Simulation Team.
He is currently Director, Moldflow Engineering, managing a global engineering team. Russell was awarded a PhD in 1993, University of Bradford, UK and an MBA in 2018, Deakin University, Australia. Russell has actively supported Autodesk funded PhD students from around the World.
He was engaged as President of the SPE: A-NZ Section in 2019, where he previously held the positions of Vice-President and SPE Councillor for six years.
Russell is a Chartered Engineer and Fellow of Institute of Measurement and Control, UK. He is an inventor of Patented Automated Machine Optimization Technology, with over 70 research publications.
He holds the position of Honorary Visiting Professor of Polymer Process Measurement Technology, University of Bradford, UK, Advanced Materials Engineering.
In 2018 Russell was recognized as an SPE Fellow.