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In 2015 BlueZone Group was created when ATSA Defence Services and UVS were merged. ATSA Defence Services was founded in 2000 as the In-Service Support partner for Saab’s Double Eagle Mine Disposal System operated from the HUON Class Minehunter Costal ships by the Royal Australian Navy. UVS was founded in 1973 as a supplier of quality subsea equipment and services to the Offshore Oil & Gas, Defence, Oceanographic, Hydrographic, Diving and Water Utility market sectors. UVS Trenchless designs, manufactures, supplies and services all types of equipment used for condition assessment of water distribution and wastewater collection systems.

Our group has evolved from companies with strong connections to the customers and technologies of each market. Where there are synergies between market areas we look to leverage these for the benefit of our customers, reducing costs, providing faster delivery or developing innovative solutions resulting from bringing new vision and ideas from one market to another.

BlueZone Group maintains an Australia-wide footprint with approximately 40 staff operating from offices and fully-equipped workshops in Newcastle and Perth. This model enables BlueZone to offer local service, backup and sales to customers across Australia in markets including Defence; Offshore Oil & Gas, Oceanographic; Hydrographic Survey and Water Resources.

The strong sales capability of BlueZone Group is matched by a highly capable service and engineering capacity in underwater technology and systems engineering. BlueZone has completed multiple engineering projects for customers to meet tight deadlines and demanding operational conditions.

The focus of BlueZone Group companies is the application of world-leading technology to enable operations, science, maintenance and repair to be conducted in underwater or water-based environments. The BlueZone Group brings together the companies in a way that common understanding of technology can be shared with customers in varied markets. By working with customers ranging from science applications in the deep oceans to water infrastructure in busy cites, BlueZone companies can leverage the latest ideas and innovations from one market to another. Where the Group has several complementary capabilities, it can also combine these to offer wider solutions.

The products, capabilities and the application understanding uniquely position BlueZone Group in Australia to be able to provide system and sub-system solutions. These solutions are underpinned by experienced through-life management support capability that ensures the capabilities are delivered and sustained in-service.

The BlueZone Group actively invests in Research & Development projects to provide solutions for customer challenges across our market areas.

The BlueZone Group companies can provide support to its customers through the design, delivery and support phases of a programme. BlueZone Group provides the exceptional agility and responsive support of a small business, backed by systems and processes normally associated with then high-quality delivery of a larger business.

BlueZone Group Companies have a deep understanding of its specialist application areas combined with knowledge of the customer requirements to provide a capability to deliver innovative solutions to meet the customer need.

Elizabeth Karpiel: Chief Executive Officer


Elizabeth has a Bachelor of Engineering (Electrical), a Diploma in Project Management and is a Certified Practicing Project Manager (CPPM) with the Australian Institute of Project Management. Elizabeth’s eye for detail has been invaluable in her other company support roles in quality, safety and IT.  Elizabeth was the project manager for the SeaUrchin Marine Power Generator project in partnership with Element Energy Technologies. This project won the Engineers Australia 2012 Excellence Award. Elizabeth is also an excellent communicator, having held roles as associate lecturer and tutor at the University of Newcastle.

 Neil Hodges: Director & Chairman

Neil has executive responsibility for the overall operations and performance BlueZone Group. Neil served thirteen years in the Royal Navy before joining the commercial sector. Neil has Project Management experience through significant roles in Defence projects.

Neil managed the Test and Trials Program for the six ships constructed for the Royal Australian Navy Minehunter Coastal Project. This program of work included an extended series of sea trials for the first-of-class, HMAS Huon, together with full-ship explosive shock trials. At Thales Underwater Systems, Neil was Project Manager for the $9 million Acoustic Mine Imaging Sonar project, a world leading research and development initiative.

Neil is a Company Director and has sat on several boards. Neil holds a Master of Business Administration (Technology Management), an Advanced Diploma in Project Management and is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Darren Burrowes: Director & Chief Technology Officer


Darren monitors new technologies and assesses their potential to become new products or services provided by BlueZone Group companies to market sectors including Offshore Oil & Gas, Defence, Oceanographic/Hydrographic and Trenchless Technology. Darren has a background in electrical engineering and career experience including as a Weapons Engineer in the Royal Australian Navy, roles in two major shipbuilding projects, (ANZAC Ship and Minehunter Coastal), and experience in start-ups and growing technology-based companies. At BlueZone Group Darren leads an innovative and award-winning engineering team that is actively involved in customer application engineering and product development.

In 2000 Darren co-founded ATSA Defence Services Pty Ltd (ATSA) as the Engineering Director. ATSA was the only start-up company resulting from the $1bn Minehunter Coastal Project which saw six “Huon” Class Minehunter ships constructed for the Royal Australian Navy in Newcastle, NSW. Darren has continued to lead the growth of ATSA to become an innovative company with several interests in through-life support, robotics and electro-mechanical systems for harsh environments.

In October 2010 Darren joined Elemental Energy Technologies Limited, a company formed to commercialise the revolutionary marine energy turbine, the SeaUrchin™. As Operations Director Darren lead the engineering effort required to develop, test and commercialise the SeaUrchin™ technology. In November 2012, the SeaUrchin™ project received at National Engineering Excellence Award from Engineers Australia and was a semi-finalist in the CleanTech Open competition and presented at the 2012 Global CleanTech Open forum held in Silicon Valley.

Darren is an active Angel investor with a preference for investment in technology-based start-ups and is a founding member of the Rights House angel investment group.

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