When Erick Hegh stepped into the Mount Isa Mines Payroll Office for his first ever 'real' job as a 17-year-old in 1966, he never dreamed he would spend his entire working life with one company.

"As a kid you don't think that far ahead," Erick says.

In October this year, after a career which saw him pioneering computer technology across almost five decades, Erick set off on a new journey; his well-earned retirement.

Born in Atherton in tropical north Queensland, Erick moved to Mount Isa with his family as a child when he began suffering from asthma. His parents hoped the dry climate would ease his symptoms.

Erick says Mount Isa was the perfect place for a kid to grow up, with the only rule being he had to be home by the time the street lights came on.

"My brother and I had a care-free, safe childhood waterskiing at Lake Moondarra, camping out in the bush and getting into mischief with the neighbourhood kids."

Erick even remembers sliding down the mine's slag heap on a piece of tin.

"I only did that once, as it was rather scary," Erick says.

Erick's earliest memories of working life at Mount Isa Mines were daily visits from one of the Isa's iconic mining heroes.

"Sir George Fisher would walk through the office with a cheerful 'good morning' and on Friday afternoons he'd wish everyone a good weekend," Erick says.

"He was an amazing old gentleman."

Three years after starting work at Mount Isa Mines, Erick moved into the Information Technology (IT) department where he worked as a computer operator.

"The computer of the day was an ICL 1909 loaded from a paper tape," Erick says.

"Computers had only been used at Mount Isa Mines for a short time, and by today's standards they were big and bulky.

"These days we would have more power in our mobile phones."

After a promotion to Shift Supervisor, Erick acted as the IT Operations Superintendent for 12 months. He was responsible for maintaining network and file security for Mount Isa Mines' Oakey Creek, Newlands, Townsville, Collinsville and Mount Isa operations.

In mid-1988, with an IBM mainframe being installed in Townsville, Erick was offered a role in Townsville. During this time, he was invited to be the Townsville industry representative for James Cook University's accreditation to the Australian Society of Computer Professionals.

Over the past thirty years, Erick's work has given him front-row seats to the lightning-speed evolution of computer technology.

"Things that were once a dream are now everyday reality," Erick says.

"I have really enjoyed facing the challenges of technological change throughout my career - change was a daily occurrence."

In 2014, after 48 years and seven months with the business, Townsville's longest serving employee farewelled his close colleagues and the friends he's made throughout his career and drove off site for the last time.

Thanks Erick, for your long-serving dedication and contribution to our business.

Mount Isa Mines careers

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