SA & NT entrepreneurs make their mark
Friday, 5 August 2011 — Top entrepreneurs from South Australia and the Northern Territory took centre stage last night at the 2011 EY Entrepreneur Of The Year Central region awards in Adelaide.
EY Adelaide Office Managing Partner, Mark Butcher congratulated the winners saying the awards helped to showcase the significant contribution that talented entrepreneurs could make to the region’s economy, business development and the wider community.
The 2011 Entrepreneur Of The Year Central region winners, by category, are:
- Emerging – Yasser Shahin, Peregrine Corporation
- Industry – Michael Marinos, Nova Concepts Australia
- Services – David McMahon, McMahon Services
- Technology – Dr Leanna Read, TGR BioSciences
Also recognised in the non-competitive regional award categories were:
- Listed – Bob Kennedy, Beach Energy Limited
- Social entrepreneur – John Shepherd AM, Operation Flinders Foundation
- Champion of Entrepreneurship – Rick Allert AO
“The 2011 Central region winners join the elite ranks of over 900 outstanding Australian entrepreneurs who have been recognised for their exceptional ideas and accomplishments through the Entrepreneur Of The Year program since 2001,” Mr Butcher said.
As a global program, with 140 cities participating from over 50 countries, EY Entrepreneur Of The Year is considered the world’s most prestigious business award.
Mr Butcher said this year’s Central region winners and award recipients would contend for the title of 2011 Australian EY Entrepreneur Of The Year at the national awards in November.
“The overall Australian winner will then go on to Monte Carlo to compete in the EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year awards next year,” Mr Butcher said.
For more information on the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year program go to http://www.eoy.ey.com.au.
2011 EY Entrepreneur Of The Year category winners, Central region
Yasser Shahin – Peregrine Corporation
Yasser Shahin turned a South Australian chain of 24 hour convenience stores into a diversified convenience business, including more than 80 “On the Run” retail outlets, without reliance on a particular product or offering. Emigrating from Lebanon in 1984, Yasser’s father Fred took over a BP service station in Woodville Park. By 1997, Fred had built the business to four service stations and, after completing a Law/Commerce degree, Yasser put together a proposal for the petrol station business. His plan was to improve the service stations by making them less reliant on fuel sales, moving the associated convenience stores to 24 hour trading, and offering food alternatives of the highest standards. The On The Run brand was created with a promise: “We never close and we never run out”.
What the judges said: Yasser is a visionary entrepreneur, whose leadership has taken his business to a whole new level. His eye for good corporate governance and controlled growth has led to a stunning financial success in an incredibly competitive market.
Michael Marinos – Nova Concepts Australia
Michael Marinos pioneered and popularised the processing and distribution of animal body parts, such as pig ears, as treats to the Australian pet market. His company, Nova Concepts Australia Pty Ltd, will soon be Australia’s largest manufacturer of pet treats. Having seen the idea at a US trade show, Michael met with manufacturers and returned to Australia to begin sourcing raw products. At first, he relied mainly on third parties for products and materials, but soon realised how unreliable this was and decided to start his own factory. This was the beginning of Nova’s core differentiator; its ability to control vital manufacturing processes in order to achieve consistency and high quality standards. Michael’s new products took off. Even during the GFC, sales increased by 80%. Today, Nova is continuing to experience strong growth, with demand consistently exceeding supply.
What the judges said: Michael is a dynamic, serial entrepreneur who has created a whole new market for pet treats, boasting 80% sales growth during the GFC. Michael’s focus on product quality and staff development has seen him become the undisputed leader in this niche.
David McMahon – McMahon Services
In 1990, David McMahon started McMahon as a specialist asbestos removal and demolition business. Using the equity from his house and a loan from a family friend, David designed and developed technology, such as decontamination units for staff, vacuum extraction and an air conditioning decontamination system. David become a pioneer in the industry and was partly responsible for developing the national code of practice for asbestos removal. Acutely alert to the issues associated with landfill and waste management, in 1992, David started Resourceco with Simon Brown, with a view to recycling waste materials coming from demolition into saleable product. Ultimately, this led to David establishing Australia’s first waste to energy plant, using recycled waste materials to fire cement kilns. Today, both McMahon Services and Resourceco are leaders in their fields.
What the judges said: David has created a one-stop-shop servicing the growing building and construction industry. His palpable reputation for reliability, can-do attitude and outstanding financial performance has seen him become the market leader.
Dr Leanna Read – TGR BioSciences
A failed clinical trial of a therapeutic product led scientist Dr Leanna Read to refocus her company around ground-breaking assay (diagnostic) kits. These kits are accelerating drug discovery and cell biology research by pharmaceutical companies and research laboratories worldwide. In less than five years, Leanna’s company, TGR BioSciences, has brought nearly 100 assay kits to market, with annual sales revenue increasing by more than 30% every year. Leanna’s entrepreneurial about-face has turned a struggling biotech company into a thriving, multi-million dollar business, with strong global recognition. Almost all of the world’s major pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies are now TGR’s customers, with the company widely recognised as a leader in developing innovative new assay technologies. TGR’s kits address unmet market need for speed, simplicity and sensitivity, solving a long-term issue that global pharmaceuticals had failed to crack.
What the judges said: In a highly competitive industry, Leanna has created an innovative biotech company with world-class products which she is already commercialising. This company has a real potential to make a lasting global impact.
2011 EY Entrepreneur Of The Year non-competitive regional award recipients
The Social entrepreneur and Listed award recipients will go on to compete at the National awards against their regional counterparts.
Bob Kennedy – Beach Energy Limited
Bob Kennedy was appointed a Non Executive Director of Beach Energy Limited (Beach) in 1991, after being approached to assist the company in fighting a takeover bid. In 1995, Bob was appointed Chairman. Under Bob’s leadership, Beach has grown from a relatively small domestic petroleum company into a multidiscipline, international energy and resource company with a current market capitalisation of approximately $1.26 billion. Today, Beach is the market leader in exploring for Shale Gas (unconventional gas) within Australia. Beach has oil and gas reserves of 66 million barrels of oil equivalent and contingent resources of 297 million barrels of oil equivalent. In FY2010, it produced 7.3 million barrels of oil equivalent. It also has an active drilling program within a well balanced portfolio of tenements and an exposure to geothermal energy and international exploration in Egypt, Europe and Tanzania.
Category: Social entrepreneur
John Shepherd AM – Operation Flinders Foundation
Former police officer, John Shepherd is Executive Director of the Operation Flinders Foundation, which runs a world leading wilderness adventure program for young offenders and young people at risk, offering them the opportunity to take a new direction in life. Each year, the foundation runs an eight-day program for over 300 young people in the northern Flinders Ranges of South Australia. Through demanding outdoor challenges and ongoing support, the program help participants develop values of self-esteem, motivation, teamwork, goal setting and community responsibility. In 2001, an independent evaluation found that program participants underwent a significant positive change. In his 19 years of leadership, John has raised the foundation’s profile. A third of the foundation’s funds are now provided by the South Australian Attorney General’s Department and John has also established a group of committed sponsors.
Category: Champion of Entrepreneurship
The Champion of Entrepreneurship is a lifetime achievement award that recognises individuals who: have a long-term record of outstanding entrepreneurial achievement; have driven the growth of an Australian company, or companies, over a sustained period of time; and have made a significant contribution to their community.
Rick Allert AO
Rick started his career as a chartered accountant in 1959 with Carroll Winter & Co, and became a Partner of Peat Marwick Mitchell & Co in 1973. In 1979 he left the firm to form a specialist insolvency practice, Allert Heard & Co. When Arthur Andersen acquired that firm in 1989, Rick became a professional company director.
Rick is currently Chairman of Western Desert Resources Limited and Deputy Chairman of Gerard Lighting Group Limited. He is a Director of AMP Limited, Genesee & Wyoming Australia Pty Ltd, Cavill Power Products Pty Ltd and RG & RT Trott (Wirra Wirra Wines).
Rick is actively involved in a range of social ventures as Chairman of both The Aboriginal Foundation of South Australia Inc and Australia Council’s Major Performing Arts Board. He is also a Member of the Australia Council for the Arts and a Member of the Australian Forces Entertainment Board.
Rick’s long and prestigious career includes former appointments as Chairman of: AXA Asia Pacific Holdings Limited; Tourism Australia; Coles Myer Ltd and Coles Group Limited; Southcorp Limited; and AustralAsia Railway Corporation. Rick was also: President of the National Heart Foundation of Australia; a Member of Review of Business Taxation (Ralph Committee); and Deputy Chairman Adelaide Football Club Ltd.
In 1997, Rick was made a Member of the Order of Australia “for his service to business and the community, particularly through his work with the National Heart Foundation”. In 2000, he received an Honorary Doctorate from the University of South Australia and in 2003, was awarded a Centenary Medal “for service to Australian society through rail transport, business and taxation”.
In 2008, Rick was made an Officer of the Order of Australia “for service to the business sector through visionary leadership and promotion of corporate social responsibility, and to the community through involvement with the support for a range of artistic, charitable and educational organisations”. In 2010, Rick received the AbaF Richard Pratt Business Arts Leadership Award.
Outside the boardroom, Rick is a vigneron, and football, horse racing and fishing enthusiast.
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