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Meet Lily Collins – Non-Ferrous Trading Manager at InfraBuild 

5 March 2024

In support of International Women’s Day, we spoke to InfraBuild’s Lily Collins whose tenacity and willingness to take “leaps of faith” has seen her build an impressive career within the scrap metal industry in just six short years. 

Lily’s current role is as the Non-Ferrous Trading Manager at InfraBuild Recycling in Hemmant, a suburb of Brisbane, Queensland, close to the city’s port. The facility collects ferrous and non-ferrous scrap metals including copper, aluminium, brass, stainless steel, batteries and old cars. 

Lily started her career with InfraBuild back in 2017 as a one-day-a-week maternity leave cover weighbridge operator, while finishing a business degree majoring in economics. 

When an opportunity presented itself to assist the Trading team in Townsville, she jumped at it. She continued to complete her degree but liked the trading role and was clearly good at it, being advised she would have a trading representative role ready and waiting for her when she finished her studies. 

After a few years as a Trading Rep, Lily once again, despite only being 27, threw her hat in the ring to become the Queensland Ferrous Trading Manager, a position she was successful in securing.  

After becoming skilled in that role over three years, she then put her hand up once again to take on the State’s Non-Ferrous Trading Manager role which she has been in since January 2024. 

Lily’s day can be made up of a multitude of tasks but usually starts with checking the commodities market, current sales as well as her stocks, including what came in the day prior so she can make pricing decisions for her and her team’s customers. Followed by approving payments to customers and speaking to them about materials they want to sell or that we need. 

The customer diversity is huge as well, from working with the local ‘scrappy’, Councils to major mining sites. The items being recycled can be just as varied including ex-naval ships and an entire trampoline ‘park’. 

Lily said one of her favourite wins was when she was in Townsville.  

“I’d had a vague call about ‘heaps’ of cars about an hour and a half north. I was sceptical but ended up following it up anyway. The property ended up being tucked away off the main road surrounded by cane fields. When I rounded the corner there were over 800 meticulously processed cars lined up, ready for scrapping. So often when you turn up for these kinds of jobs you’re lucky if there are two old washing machines and a broken clothesline. You just never know who will have the scrap,” Lily said. 

“The role is very challenging as you need to work through lots of variables. No load of scrap is the same. The materials can vary in value and weight, so we need to work out what the parameters are and then literally ‘Can we accept it?’, ‘Can we do it?’  

“It’s challenging. But it’s really something you can sink your teeth into,” said Lily. 

A large component of her role is managing her team that works across Queensland as far north as Townsville, and she said the management is a massive component of her job and one that she relishes.  

“I spend a lot of time ensuring we have the right structure in place and helping the team achieve what they need to achieve,” she said. 

“I find managing really rewarding. I like getting to know how people tick and getting them excited about what they’re working on.” 

Lily agrees that diverse teams make for better outcomes, especially due to the diverse clientele. 

“We deal with a range of different people from the guy dropping off a small amount of scrap generated from his Air Tasker jobs to high-level executives at a mining site, as well as people from all different races and different cultural backgrounds”. 

Lily said she would strongly encourage women to consider a career in the steel industry due to the numerous opportunities, especially at InfraBuild, where she believes if you have a willingness to step up and take on a new challenge, you can be rewarded. 

“I would say to women, or anyone really, to keep taking leaps of faith in their careers. Believe in yourself. You may not think you tick all the boxes the role requires but what do you have to lose? Try anyway, you might get the role and more often than not, you will be capable. If you’re up for a challenge, you can make it a success,” said Lily. 

“I’ve found at InfraBuild, that there are plenty of good people around you that encourage you along and give you on-the-job training. It’s very much, “You can do it!” 

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