Noel Thompson graduated in Science with Honors in Physics, Sydney University, 1964
For the next two years, worked in Civil Engineering at Sydney University, measuring the physical properties of concrete. This work resulted in the first recognition of the importance of coupled heat and moisture transport in concrete, and was published in a short note on difficulties met when measuring the thermal conductivity of concrete.
In 1968, completed a Masters Degree in Nuclear and Reactor Physics at the University of Birmingham, UK. Joined the Australian Atomic Energy Commission in 1969, and in conjunction with Ivan Mayer developed a theory of improved reactor safety from steam condensation on the secondary cooling circuit after a reactor accident.
In 1975, joined the University of New South Wales at the Royal Military College, Duntroon as a lecturer in Mechanical Engineering. On sabbatical in 1979, was visiting professor of Chemistry at University of Maine, and developed solutions to special problems in statistical mechanics, including phase transitions in two dimensional liquids (liquid crystal displays) in conjunction with Jay Rasiaha and Ben Frazier.
In 1982, joined BHP steel as a researcher in process engineering. Developed a theory of tension leveling that led to great improvements in flat steel processing and received the award for best manufacturing facility from the institution of engineers (awarded to the company!!!, no individuals in steel). Also developed a theory of stresses in wound coils that was specifically for steel, but also applicable to other coils such as paper.
Became involved in TQC and later delivery performance, and developed the now famous “packing curve”, a concept that has since been used in many areas and popularized through the book “Critical Chain” by Goldbratt.
In 1993, joined James Hardie, a building products company which at that time was almost unknown in the USA, as head of product development. This quickly changed to head of Research, Development, and Engineering for James Hardie, and General Manager of a separate company James Hardie Research. In this position, was one of the top management team that developed James Hardie into the largest single supplier of siding in the USA, and a fast growing building products company with products for flooring, walling, and other external cladding: a multi-billion dollar per annum company in USA, with manufacturing plants of their own exclusive design in five states.