Craig Thornton

Craig Thornton

Managing Director, Hatch Digital

Craig began his journey at Hatch over three years ago after a thirty-five-year career leading companies engaged in automation and robotics system development for space, medical, nuclear, and manufacturing applications. Energized by the opportunity to lead a digital company inside a large engineering and professional services firm, Craig joined Hatch in 2016 as managing director, Hatch digital. The best part about Craig’s job? Having the opportunity to combine world-renowned subject matter expertise in mining, metals, infrastructure, and energy with leading-edge digital capabilities to solve our clients’ toughest challenges. When he’s not in office, you can find Craig relaxing at his family cottage or shredding up the trails on his mountain bike!

What does positive change mean to you?

“This one’s easy. For the most part our clients are in the very formative stages of their digital journey. They're struggling to determine where and how to apply technologies that will add real value to their operations. What could be cooler than helping them cut through the hype by bringing our combination of real subject matter expertise and the right technologies to affect real, persistent, and positive outcomes for them? At the end of the day, it's our goal to start them on a digital journey that will have a significant impact on the efficiency and performance of their operations. For instance, one of our bulk material handling solutions has resulted in 15% efficiency savings in a bulk port, leading to hundreds of millions of dollars in annual savings. That’s positive change.”

What do you think are the toughest challenges facing your clients?

“If I think about our mining clients, I can see many tough challenges including the concern about the energy intensity of their operations and having to tap deeper into the ground to find the needed resources. As they go deeper, it will take longer to reach the ore body, which will drive the need for fewer people and increased automation to maintain productivity. Our Digital and Controls and Automation teams can help develop the automated and autonomous technologies to tackle this tough challenge.

In infrastructure, as urbanization grows and cities densify, providing low-cost energy on demand is a key necessity. Again, Hatch’s energy teams are up for the challenge, with expertise across all types of power–from nuclear to renewables and even future technologies like fusion.”

What are you most proud of?

“My team. Since the beginning of 2017 (the birth of the “new Digital team”) we have grown the global Digital team from about 225 to 382! I'm very proud of this brilliant, diverse, and technically excellent team. In that time, we have:

  • Built a sustainable global digital business practice across our three sectors and have engaged in leading-edge digital projects for our clients across the globe.
  • Established our digital product journey with the re-imagining of some existing products and the introduction of several new products to the market.
  • Developed ground-breaking digital project technologies for the Jansen Project and through our own internal Digital Project Delivery program.
  • Rolled out an entire host of internal tools and capabilities including iPas PM, our ROAM safety application, and TCM, our total client management toolkit.”

What do you like most about working at Hatch? How do you think the Hatch culture is different from other companies?

“When I joined Hatch, we were just in the process of rolling out our Manifesto, which outlines our vision, mission, and values. Hatch invested an entire day in November 2019 to the Manifesto. Leaders and employees from around the globe engaged in a dialogue around the Manifesto, reaffirming our commitment to positive change. These aren’t just words at Hatch–they truly are ingrained in the way we operate and behave as a company. I begin every client meeting with an introduction to our Manifesto. It’s a great conversation starter as it focuses on how we can create positive outcomes for clients as we tackle their toughest challenges.”