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Delivering above and beyond

Meet Sarah. She is an inspiring Aurizon leader. Her capability, resilience, drive, and her commitment to challenging the status quo and driving continuous improvement is what won her the MD & CEO Award at the 2015 Aurizon Employee Excellence Awards.

Sarah D

Interestingly, Sarah’s first job during High School was as a Taster at a food market research company where she was paid each week to eat potato crisps and comment on their texture and taste. While she loves the way her career has progressed since High School, Sarah’s kids think it took a downward trajectory from there.

Before moving to Queensland, Sarah was a consultant in Melbourne working with a range of companies including Telstra, Melbourne Water and ICMS as a business analyst and project manager. She also worked on a number of change programs after moving to Brisbane in 2003.

Sarah joined Aurizon in 2009 as a Project Manager to assist in the separation of the Company from Queensland Rail and the subsequent listing of Aurizon on the Australian Stock Exchange. A year later she helped establish the Investor Relations Unit and built capability, processes and systems to support the enterprise.

In the next few years Sarah undertook various roles and responsibilities in contributing towards the ongoing transformation of Aurizon.

Sarah and her family relocated to Rockhampton in 2013 to take on her current role of General Manager, Network Operations for the Central Queensland Coal Network (CQCN).

In this role, Sarah is responsible for ‘day of operations’ through the consolidated Central Queensland Control Centre as well as planning and scheduling services on Australia’s largest export coal rail network. She leads a team of approximately 170 employees spread across Mackay, Rockhampton, Gladstone and Brisbane, mostly in the 24/7 operations within the Control Centre.

Her leadership and achievements within the CQCN are outstanding. Some of these include:

• Her ongoing support for ZEROharm, which is reflected by injury free teams across all locations she manages and leads.

• Achieving record coal tonnes in FY14, FY15 and FY16. Railings in FY15 and FY16 were over 223 million tonnes.

• Running the longest ever Aurizon train in March 2015. The train had 136 coal wagons.

• Sarah was integral in leading the world-class response efforts when Tropical Cyclone Marcia hit Rockhampton in February 2015, with devastating effects on the local community and Aurizon’s Network Control Centre.

Sarah is an inspiring Aurizon leader. She loves working with the people in Aurizon and their passion for delivering excellence in rail and building a strong organisation not just for today but for the future. Sarah also supports and participates in a broad range of activities and committees across the organisation. She is a Committee Member for Aurizon’s grants program, the Community Giving Fund, and represents Aurizon at external forums such as the Diversity symposium for Women in Project Management.

As a mother of two, she balances being a parent, staying fit and performing in her role with the highest level of professionalism each and every day.