Well, we have had 2 very busy days in a row!
It was nice to wake up Tuesday in our “home” for the week not having to worry if we were going to have to move, or where we were going. We had a late start on Tuesday – our first appointment was at Cochlear Hearing Implants. These amazing devices were invented here and we visited their corporate facility on the MacQuarie University Campus. Our tour guide manages the facilities and talked to us a bit about the history of the improvements of these devices over the years. He also discussed the quality control measures, lean production methodology, and gave us a tour of the assembly facility. Unfortunately due to proprietary security, we weren't able to take pictures inside the facility.
Since these devices are implanted inside the human body, being assembled in a sterile environment is crucial. The chamber area were they are assembled is 12 times cleaner than an open heart surgery theater. The entire volume of air is exchanged 12 times per hour, with specific attention paid to the directions of air flow, and HEPA filtering of all incoming air. Workers prepare to enter this chamber just like a surgeon prepared for surgery – scrubbing up, gowning up, gloving up, etc. Whenever a worker has the slightest inclining that they might have a cold or flu coming on, or if they develop dermatitis, they do not enter that work area for the duration of their illness.
We headed back into the city immediately following our visit to Cochlear so that we could meet with Ben Thompson, Founder and CEO of Employment Innovations and Employment Hero. Mt. Thompson is the epitome of entrepreneurship and innovation. A visionary, Ben has reinvented EI and transformed it from a client-based business, into a service business and now into a tech business. His wisdom and insight are always a highlight of our visits in Sydney. He mentioned he will be visiting the Toronto area this summer, and I am going to try to arrange a visit to the Clarkson Potsdam campus during his visit.
From there, we headed back to our rooms for a short break before heading down to Darling Harbour for our dinner cruise. What an amazing meal and experience.
We were aboard a very large glassed in vessel with 3 floors. It was stunning. We were served drinks and hors d'oeuvres on the top deck for the first hour, followed by 6 more dinner courses and a wonderful dessert. It was a very nice experience.
On Wednesday, we started our day with a trip to IBM in St. Leonard’s.
Our host, Christine, took us on a brief tour of their office and arranged a visit the one of their managers, Todd. Todd is deaf and has managed to traverse the corporate ladder because of IBM’s inclusive culture. He told us about his experience getting his job after graduating and how welcomed he felt from day one. He is a great leader and engaging communicator! The students learned that IBM has radically changed from its roots of manufacturing type writers and mainframe computers. In fact, many workers there now use Apple products for their work computers!!
From there, we grabbed a quick lunch at the train station food court and then returned to the city so the students could tour the Sydney Opera House. This is an amazing structure full of history. One of the most recognizable structures in the world, the students had the chance to see the inside of the performance halls, and had a chance to talk to one of the facility lighting techs.
After the tour, we visited KPMG. This visit is always a highlight of the trip. Barry Sullivan and his team do an amazing job highlighting the things that They are doing with technology and data analytics. They completed a couple of interesting games with the students to illustrate the way that technology is able to acquire data to learn from.
They also demonstrated a dashboard facilities management solution that they designed. It was designed for a water delivery system and was interface through Alexa. It was amazing to be able to watch How a manager could use natural language to interface with technology to find out what important issues they had to face for the day.
This is amazing ground breaking stuff. The team explain to the students that regardless of their major of study that technology and data analytics would soon be part of it. They had a nice wine and cheese reception for us afterwards so the students could network with the team and explore the possibilities of interning or working with KPMG.
From there we hopped on a train and headed to dinner. I was able to get to the market today and bought the students a variety of gifts for their completion of the scavenger hunt. All of the students got a decorative boomerang and a business card holder. The winners received their choice of a Australia hat or coffee mug. After dinner we distributed gifts and everyone took off in different directions. We have an early morning tomorrow . We have to leave about 7:30 AM so that we can tour the Olympic stadium park. After that the students have a free day. At 6 PM tomorrow evening we're having dinner at the Braza Brazilian Steakhouse on Darling Harbour.
Friday is a free day as well and we head home on Saturday. Many students plan to tour the Blue Mountains on Friday . I suspect there will be a lot of shopping for souvenirs and picture taking before we leave. Stay tuned for the events of the next couple of days.