North Queensland Bio-Energy Corporation (NQBE) directors, staff and shareholders are in mourning following the sudden and shock death of the company’s General Manager, Ken McIntosh.

Mr McIntosh, who masterminded the design of NQBE’s $520 million multi-functional sugar facility for Ingham in North Queensland, which has received Federal and State government Development Approval, passed away on Monday after suffering a heart attack at a Townsville shopping centre.

NQBE Chairman, Robert Carey, said the thoughts of everyone at NQBE were with his family at this time of tragedy.

The 63-year-old Townsville-based engineer had been on holiday after working tirelessly during the past 12 months to complete the final design of the new state-of-the-art renewable bio-facility and was due to return to work this week.

A highly regarded international sugary industry professional, Mr McIntosh started his working life as an engineering apprentice with the Colonial Sugar Refining Company (CSR) at Ingham’s Macknade Mill in 1970. He attained a Diploma in Industrial Instrumentation whilst employed with CSR and later completed a course in raw sugar manufacture at Nicholls State University in Louisiana, USA.

During his career in the international sugar industry he held senior management roles and designed, constructed and commissioned sugar mills in Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Indonesia, Guyana, Bangladesh, Kenya, Somalia and most recently Australia.

NQBE Chairman, Robert Carey, said Mr McIntosh joined NQBE in 2010 and had been instrumental in shaping and designing the company’s highly efficient new “state of the art” sugar facility, which will be the first of its kind in Australia when operational in 2017.

“Having spent most of his working life in the sugar industry overseas, Ken saw the opportunity to return to Australia and design the new facility as a way of giving something back to the local community,” Mr Carey said. “He went to school in Ingham with most of the local cane farmers, many of whom are now NQBE shareholders.

“He was committed to completing the final design, calling tenders for construction, commissioning the new factory and seeing it through its first year of operation before enjoying a well-earned retirement.”

Mr Carey described Mr McIntosh as “a perfectionist who left no stone unturned to incorporate the very latest technology in the NQBE facility”.

“With Ken, near enough was never good enough. For that reason the new NQBE facility will set a benchmark for the sugar industry in Australia and overseas.”

Mr Carey said finding a suitable replacement would not be easy.

“Industry professionals with his wealth of experience, expertise, drive and determination are few and far between, but he and I had already identified some possible candidates who could come on board during the construction phase and then eventually take over when he retired, so I’m confident we will be able to find the right person.

“Ken was determined to start construction this year so he would want us to keep the project moving forward.”

Robert M Carey

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