Young achiever makes an impact

The 2023 Australian Defence Industry Network (AIDN) SA Young Achiever has been announced, with Aurizn Associate Research Scientist, Jonathan Hedger, receiving this year’s honour.

The 17th annual AIDN SA Young Achiever of the Year was recognised at a celebration event held at the Naval, Military and Airforce Club in Adelaide. The award recognises the outstanding work of young professionals under the age of 30 who are working in the defence industry and making a meaningful impact in their business and to Defence.

Jonathan’s passion and commitment to the defence industry was recognised among a strong field of 11 young professionals across various sectors that were nominated for this year’s award. He is currently working as an Associate Research Scientist on a leading technology acceleration project for optical sensing, where he is focused on locating critical gaps in the technology and addressing them with potential scientific solutions.

Since it began in 2008, the AIDN SA YAA has showcased the outstanding performance, leadership and achievements of many talented individuals within the defence industry.

AIDN-SA President Graham Priestnall OAM recognised the high calibre of this year’s nominees.

“The AIDN Young Achiever Award is a unique award in that it recognises young professionals across the defence industry which encompasses many industry sectors, such as engineering, services, manufacturing and innovation,” Mr Priestnall said. “However, all candidates share common traits, they are smart, driven, excel in their fields and have the potential to be future leaders.”

With South Australia set to play a lead role in the defence projects that flow from AUKUS, the South Australian Government is working diligently to invest in the skills and workforce that is going to be required to grow and sustain the state’s defence industry workforce for the future. The award provides an important platform to recognise emerging talent.

Chief Executive of Defence SA, Richard Price, said the agency was proud to sponsor the award once again.

“A highly skilled and sustainable workforce is critical to the success of our defence industry and it is great to see the commitment and talent coming up in the workforce and the meaningful contribution they are making to building our sovereign defence capability,” Mr Price said.

“Today’s young achievers are tomorrow’s defence industry leaders and I would like to congratulate Aurizn’s Jonathan Hedger for the outstanding achievement of being recognised as this year’s AIDN SA Young Achiever.”

Jonathan will now go on to represent South Australia and compete for the national title at the AIDN National Dinner to be held in Canberra in 2024.