A Champion of our Veterans

Article courtesy of Soldier On.

A Champion of Our Veterans
Back to top

Lee Powell

Operational Mines Manager at Atlas Iron.

Served with Australian Army 1996- 2006

Background in the service
Enlisted in the Australian Army February 1996 at the age of 17

1996  – Posted to the 1st Battalion Royal Australian Regiment
1999  – Promoted to Lance Corporal
2000 – Deployed on Operation Plumbob
2000-2001 – deployed to East Timor (6 month tour)
2002 – Promoted to Corporal
2003 – Deployed to East Timor (6 month tour)
2004-2005 – Posted to School of Infantry Rifleman Wing Instructor
2005 – Promoted to Sergeant
2006 – Posted to 1st Battalion Royal Australian Regiment

After leaving defence I moved into a role as an equipment operator, the skills and qualifications I brought with me from my time as an instructor provided me with opportunities to assist with developing training material and process.

The organisation I worked for at the time offered me a full time role doing this which was as part of the Health, Safety, Environment and Quality team. As part of this team I had a great deal of exposure to the requirements of the disciplines and whilst in the role I studied for a Diploma on Workplace Health and Safety and was trained as a lead auditor.

These qualifications and knowledge allowed me to be more useful to the organisation and my role expanded to include assisting with workplace health and Safety, quality system development and well as auditing.

As larger projects became available I returned to site based roles where I developed systems to track and cost mining productivity which later lead to roles as a Production Manager, Mining Superintendent, Project Manager, Quarry Manager, Site Manager and Manager Mining.

When you joined Atlas
September 2021

What you currently do for us
I am one of two managers that oversee Atlas’s current operational mines, Sanjiv Ridge, Mount Webber and Miralga Creek.

Our role is to provide leadership and mentor the Site Teams in relation Safety, Production performance, Contractor management, Regulatory compliance and Planning.

The role also involves being involved in system and process development, and value adding initiatives.

Message to veterans considering a career in mining at Atlas
I moved into the mining industry 18 years ago and have worked with many great people and organisations. Atlas is the best organisation I have worked for, it truly values it employees, and puts tremendous resources into looking after its people and developing inspirational leaders.

Michael (Mick) Findlay

Port Operations Supervisor.

Served with Australian Army.

Michael (Mick) Findlay joined the army straight out of school as a 17-year-old.

He completed his training at Kapooka in NSW, before being deployed to the First Field Engineer Regiment at Holsworthy Army Base in Sydney.

In his role as a field engineer, he was involved in a diverse range of duties from building bridges, mine warfare, to booby-trapping, demolition and mobile plant construction.

Mick joined Roy Hill in 2015 as a Port Operations Supervisor where he is responsible for managing the stockyards, loading of our ships and maintaining a constant flow of quality product to ensure we meet the demands of our customers.

When asked what he’s message would be for other veterans considering a career in mining at Roy Hill, Mick says:

“The company is diverse, with people from all different backgrounds and walks of life and it is just such a welcoming environment,” he says.

“One thing the Army taught me was respect, for yourself and for others. I have so much respect for our Executive Chairman, who is so empathetic.

“She really appreciates the service and contribution people have given this country and the community itself.

“I would strongly urge anyone transitioning from the Defence Force to consider a career at Roy Hill, it’s the place to be and will only enhance a lot of the skills that you have learned in the Army.”

Mick Findlay, with his daughter Krystal who followed in her father’s footsteps and joined Roy Hill this year
Mick Findlay, with his daughter Krystal who followed in her father’s footsteps and joined Roy Hill this year

Alice Henderson

HR Advisor at Roy Hill Port and Rail facilities.

Served with Australian Armed Forces 2016- 2018.

Alice Henderson was the first female to join the Australian Armed Forces through the Special Force Recruitment Scheme, to train to be a Commando.

Growing up in country WA, it was always Alice’s dream to join the Army and she made that dream come true. Entering the Army in 2016, Alice spent the next twelve undertaking an intensive training program on the East Coast. 

Due to a serious injury, Alice left the Army in 2018.

“After leaving the Army I bounced around from job to job for a few years, struggling to find the same comradery that I cherished as part of the Armed Forces,” Alice said.

“When I started at Roy Hill I finally felt like I was home.”

Having always admired our Executive Chairman from afar, Alice’s other dream was to work for Mrs Rinehart and Roy Hill was always on the wish list.

Alice joined Roy Hill earlier this year and enjoys working as a HR Advisor at our Port and Rail facilities.

“Mrs Rinehart continues to break through barriers, and I greatly admire this. One of the things I love about my role here at Roy Hill is that I can support our Chairman’s vision through supporting women and Veterans in the workplace.”

So, what advice does Alice have for other Veterans looking to embark on a career in mining at Roy Hill? Simple – don’t hesitate.

“Roy Hill values its people, and you really do feel as though you matter. It is a value driven company that puts its people first, and I have found the mateship I had been searching for since leaving the Army.”

Working on site, surrounded by other veterans is also a bonus.

“Being on site is amazing. You feel like you are at home and surrounded by a network of supportive family.  There is no other way to describe it.

“Mrs Rinehart, and all of the Roy Hill leaders, show true loyalty and care for their employees.  And, especially as a Veteran, where loyalty is given loyalty is returned and I am proud to be here.”

Apollo Jones

Production Supervisor at Roy Hill.

Served with Australian Army 1999 – 2004.

Apollo Jones, originally from Adelaide, has army in his blood and always knew he would join one day.

“I have a family history of relatives in the army so it was a case of not if but when. I entered the army when I was 18 years old – straight out of high school.”

“I joined the 10/27 Battalion Royal South Australia Regiment in 1999 and did my Officer’s course in 2000. As an Officer of the Australian Army, I took over a platoon, and served until 2004.”

After five years, Apollo was ready for a new adventure and left the army, taking with him half a decade of skills and experience he would find invaluable in the future.

Joining Roy Hill in 2020 as a Production Coordinator, it wasn’t long until Apollo’s skills were recognised.

“I was promoted to Production Supervisor after a year and it’s this role that I hold today. I look after a team of Mineral Processing Operators and our job is to make sure the plant runs smoothly.”

“I love leading a team and working together to achieve our goals and KPIs. We’ve got a great team who band together an example being our fundraising efforts for Movember this year.”

Apollo says it took him very little to adapt to the Roy Hill way of working and highly recommends it as a workplace for other ex-service people.

“I can’t recommend Roy Hill enough as a place to work and my time has been really enjoyable. I have been able to bring my training to a work environment and use the skillset I developed in the army.

“You’re building teams, responding to challenges, thinking on your feet. There’s so much work satisfaction in an environment that shares the same values as you and just as importantly values what you bring to the organisation.”

Apollo Jones, third from the right.
Apollo Jones, third from the right.