Senior Management Team

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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.

Andrew Hazell

Sales & Marketing Manager
Accounts Manager Defence

Andrew has extensive operations management experience ranging from market analysis, due diligence and acquisitions, to commercial, HR, IR, safety and quality matters. Andrew’s strong background in government relations, combined with developing and managing clients, supply chain and other stakeholder relationships has seen him successfully negotiate and manage contracts up to USD $62 million. With more than eight years’ experience delivering Hydrographic, Oceanographic and Geophysical systems within Australia and throughout South East Asia, Andrew brings a wealth of experience and a customer-centric approach to his role. Andrew holds an Executive Master of Business Administration (International Business) and an Advanced Diploma of Complex Project Management.

Norman Ballard

Engineering Manager

Norman brings a wealth of engineering and business experience to the BlueZone team. Having managed and directed a number of large companies, Norman has seen the semiconductor and electrical engineering landscape through a well-focused lens. In 2008, Norman founded Hummingbird Electronics, leading it to significant growth and recognition. Earlier in 2014, Norman was the recipient of the Business of the Year in the Hunter Region Business Excellence Awards and was selected as a finalist for the Innovation Rising Star Award at the annual Hunter Manufacturing Awards in 2017.
Norman holds a Master’s Degree in Electronics Engineering from the University of Cape Town.

Kathryn Bowdler

Commercial Manager

Kathryn joined the BlueZone team in 2020 and is responsible for the finance, administration, and marketing activities for the Group. She completed her MBA with a major in marketing, is a member of CPA Australia, and has a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Newcastle. Kathryn’s background in both the mining and manufacturing industries has given her extensive experience in financial management, process improvement, human resource management, negotiation, and change management.


Mark Hegarty

Accounts Manager Oceanographic, Hydrographic & Water Resources

Mark has been in the hydrographic surveying business for the past 34 years. He has spent 23 years in the RAN as a hydrographic surveyor, followed by 8 years in managing the support of the hydrographic and navigation equipment, installed in Hydrographic Ships operated by the Royal Australian Navy. Mark has a Diploma in Hydrographic Surveying and brings a hands-on approach to supporting customers with sales and service of oceanographic and hydrographic equipment. Mark has also completed training in Caris and Hypack and can support customers in the use of these products.

Darren Burrowes & Neil Hodges


In 2000, Darren Burrowes and Neil Hodges founded the company that has grown to become BlueZone Group. Darren brings a background in Electrical Engineering and served as a Weapons Electrical Engineering Officer in the Royal Australian Navy. Neil served with the Royal Navy, including operational Mine Counter Measures experience in the Arabian Gulf in two conflicts. Darren and Neil have always shared a strong vision to enable Australia’s MCM capability through the provision of excellence in service, support, and engineering of remotely operated vehicle technology for Navy operations. In time, this vision has grown larger, enabling many organisations to operate in Australia’s deep oceans, coastal seas and rivers with the world’s leading marine technologies.