Meet our independent judging panel

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The award programme is about delivering "value-in" participation to all nominees. The independent judging panel is made up of people with business expertise and entrepreneurial spirit who will provide valuable insight and feedback to award participants during the judging process.



Greg Cross image

Greg Cross
Cross Ventures and PowerbyProxi
Chair of Judging Panel

Greg is a serial entrepreneur who spends most of his time working as CEO of his wireless power company PowerbyProxi. In the last 12 months they have added deals with industry heavyweights Samsung and Texas Instruments as they move closer to their ultimate vision which changes the way we charge all our devices and cut the last cable! He's also Chairman of NZX listed SLI Systems and on the boards of Metservices and Fronde. It doesnt leave him a lot of time for Cross Ventures but that's in the very capable hands of his wife Dr Helen Cross.  Building international teams which deliver against their vision is in his DNA and growth is at the top of his agenda.


Tim Aple JUICY

Tim Alpe
Winner Entrepreneur Of The Year 2010

Attitudes are Contagious, is yours worth catching? This is a philosophy that Tim Alpe lives by at JUCY.

From the outset, Tim and brother Dan wanted to create a business that was truly unique and based on attitude. As he says: “We wanted to create a business that was next generation and in the process develop a tourism brand not just a tourism business.” The idea was to create a business that embraced the latest technology which enabled travelers the ability to drive, sail and sleep JUCY.

JUCY now has over 2,700 vehicles on the road and offices throughout New Zealand, Australia and the US. The brand also encompasses a JUCY Hotels in Auckland City and Queesntown, JUCY CRUIZE in Milford Sound, New Zealand first and only car share business called JUCY Cityhop as well as JUCY by Design where the company’s camper vans are custom built.

Sir William Gallagher KNZM, MBE
New Zealand Entrepreneur Of The Year 2002

Sir William, CEO and Chairman of Gallagher Group, is internationally renowned, recognised and rewarded for his skills as a motivational, pragmatic and hands-on businessman. Whilst his achievements are not judged on awards alone, they are indicative of Sir William's leadership qualities. His reputation both as a dynamic leader and one of NZ’s most astute businessmen springs from the way in which he conducts his business.

Sir William maintains regular contact with customers in the 130 countries in which Gallagher products are sold spending up to 150 days a year on the road representing the company and its philosophies, while also emphasising the ethics and integrity of his professional and personal dealings.

His achievements have been officially recognised by a string of awards, including his most recent - a Knighthood in 2011.


Dr. John Penno
Products category winner – Entrepreneur Of The Year 2013

John co-founded the Synlait Group in 2000 and has been a full-time executive for the Synlait Group for the last 11 years.

John began career as a consulting officer for the New Zealand Dairy Board before joining Dexcel as a research scientist. In 2000, John was appointed General Manager of the NZ National Dairy Industry Extension Program which serviced farm owners, workers and rural professionals. 

John was appointed as Managing Director of Synlait Milk in 2013. John is also currently a director of SML New Zealand, Synlait Milk Finance, Synlait Farms, Synlait Farms Finance, Robindale Dairies, Thorndale Dairies and Riverlands Four. In the past five years John has also been a director of Dairy Insight, Axe Brasil, Synlait and a number of companies associated with the Synlait Group and/or dairy farms. John was the inaugural Chairman of the Dairying and Environment Leadership Group. John is a member of the New Zealand China Council Advisory Board. In 2009, John received an emerging leaders award from the Sir Peter Blake Trust and was also awarded the Federated Farmers inaugural agribusiness person of the year.


EY - Bridget Coates

Bridget Coates (Liddell)

Bridget is currently Chair and CEO of White Cloud Dairy Innovation, a New Zealand company which has recently launched a new consumer dairy brand into the US retail market – Kura Nutrition – with a product range based on high quality NZ dairy proteins.

Bridget was formerly Director of New York-based 212° Equity Management LLC, a group which invests in high growth businesses in the healthy living space. Bridget helped form ArcAngels in New Zealand, an angel group focusing on women-led growth companies and she retains a portfolio of early and growth stage investments in the US and New Zealand.

She is currently a Director of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand, a Director of BRAC USA (a global economic development organisation) and a Director of Communal Brands (a New York based wine branding and distribution company).

Bridget has been a Director of the New Zealand Superannuation Fund as well as public companies, Sky City and Fisher & Paykel Appliances Holdings. She was formerly CEO of Carter Holt Harvey Plastic Products and Director of Research for CS First Boston NZ, and the inaugural Chair of Auckland-based incubator THE ICEHOUSE.

Bridget has held Board governance roles with New Zealand/U.S. Beachhead Programme – a New Zealand Government programme offering strategic advice and mentoring to businesses seeking access to the U.S. market; Industry New Zealand, a precursor to NZTE; Competitive Auckland, a regional economic development organisation; and Auckland Uniservices, a technology transfer business. She holds degrees in economics and finance and also holds the Chartered Financial Analyst qualification.