18/02/2010 - 00:00

40 Under 40 winners

18/02/2010 - 00:00


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40 Under 40 winners

40 Under 40 winners


MIKE Bennett began his transition from engineer to financial adviser atop the Andes in Chile. After completing his advanced diploma in financial advice via correspondence, Mr Bennett took on his first role in the finance industry at Sovereign in 2001.

Nine years after joining the boutique firm, Mr Bennet highlights the GFC as the biggest challenge of his career.

The whole firm rose to that challenge, he says, with Sovereign posting significant growth over the past year.


Mr Bennet founded the Guy Wallace Foundation and Make a Difference Foundation, raising $350,000 in support of fellow horse rider Guy Wallace after he became a paraplegic. He has been involved with the WA Community Foundation and the Riding for Disabled Foundation.

Top tips

“It’s all about doing things differently. Often the actions that have fundamental change to the business can actually be very simple common sense initiatives.”

Impact on WA business

Mr Bennett facilitates a ‘board of advice’ to assist SME clients on strategic planning. The staff incentive program has helped SME owners and their staff reap the rewards as their businesses grow.


DARREN Berson developed maXx Professional to cater to a niche recruitment market in Western Australia – the technology sector.

Under Mr Berson’s watch maXx Professional, along with REM and Humanconnection, developed GroupHRM to foster inter-company partnerships and relationships in WA. GroupHRM’s services are now employed by a major government utility for information technology recruitment services. Mr Berson cites personal service, local knowledge and helping others to succeed through his own success as the values that have guided his career.

He believes people are the common denominator that leads to the success of a business, project, goal or objective.


maXx Professional recently formed an alliance with Bridging the Gap to provide services to the unemployed, youth and indigenous Western Australians. The company also provides ongoing assistance to WA university graduates.

Top tips

“There are those that look at things the way they are and ask why? I dream of things that never were and ask why not.” – John F Kennedy

Impact on WA business

WA organisations benefit from maXx Professional’s focus on providing small, medium and corporate sized organisations with contemporary recruitment solutions.


TIMOTHY Brady developed Credo Group in 2003 and has grown the business from an initial $2.8 million turnover to a $19.4 million turnover last fiscal year.

Credo Group has been working with Bunnings to manage the group’s retail store refurbishment, developing a strong relationship over this time. In 2006, Mr Brady realigned his business strategy to include recruitment, OH&S, workers’ compensation and industrial relations specialist services. This move resulted in an annual rate of growth of 60 per cent and a broader client base in industries such as printing, water pumps and pharmaceuticals.

Credo Group was acknowledged by BRW in the magazine’s Fast 100 list in 2008 and 2009.


Credo Group works with Salvation Army Employment Plus and Mission Employment, enabling Credo to provide employment to the often long-term unemployed.

Credo’s philanthropic ‘Aspire’ program assists the Sacred Heart Mission in supplying hot meals to homeless Western Australians.

Top tips

“No pain no gain; There has got to be a better way.”

Impact on WA business

Credo generates local employment and business with local companies. The international client base Credo maintains reflects positively on the services provided by WA businesses.


KERRY Brown says it was a considered risk taking 12 months to renovate Cafe Pronto in 2006. Spending $1.7 million and adhering to the obligations of the building’s heritage status, as well as incorporating a green approach to the building and business, was a challenge.

The risk paid off when the Mandurah cafe reopened in 2007, with sales increasing by 178 per cent in its first year of operation. Since then, Café Pronto has won gold in 2008 and silver in 2009 at the National Tourism Award in the ‘tourism restaurants’ category.

Mr Brown cites the recent economic downturn and its effect on people’s propensity to dine out as the biggest challenge for the business.


Mr Brown is a member of the Tourism Council of WA. Café Pronto supports the Mandurah Island Challenge sports event, local sports teams and local food producers.

Top tips

“Communicate your objectives well and empower people and they will become part of your vision.”

Impact on WA business

Café Pronto supports tourism in the Peel region, setting industry benchmarks for quality restaurants and infrastructure in Mandurah.


MELANIE Cave specialises in advising on the procurement and delivery of large-scale infrastructure projects, with particular focus on the water and waste industries.

Ms Cave, a partner leading the banking and projects group at Freehills in WA, was awarded the Law Council of Australia’s Young Environmental Lawyer of the year in 2009.


Ms Cave is active with the Scout Association, serving as a leader with the group since 1991. She is also a member of the Perth Big Issue Advisory Committee.

She is an active member in Freehills’ philanthropic branch as leader of the company’s community committee and member of the Freehills Foundation Board. Ms Cave has organised volunteering events through United Way and a program that supports Perth’s homeless and recently became a director of Ruah Community Services.

Top tips

“Understand the excellence that is around you, how you can promote it and it can promote you.”

“One size does not fit all; you need to understand who you are dealing with and adapt your style, approach and service accordingly.”

Impact on WA business

Ms Cave is involved in advising on some firsts for WA industry, including the first public private partnership by a local government and the first two desalination plants in WA.


UNDER the management of Lisa-Michelle Clarke, McLarens Hire has achieved an annual turnover of $14 million, with the business set to exceed the target of $20 million for 2010.

Mrs Clarke attributes McLarens’ success partly to her ‘yes we can’ ethos and her innovative approach to business. She has been in charge of developing standard operating procedures, developing the McLarens brand and corporate image, and implementing the 2009 four-day conference to develop leadership in the company as well as mutual understanding in the team, goal setting, recognition and reward.


McLarens was involved in fundraising for the Victorian Bushfire Appeal. The company has also supported Karratha’s FeNaCle festival for three years and provides ongoing support to the remote art exhibition – the Cossack Art Awards.

Top tips

“Dream, believe, achieve. Remember where you have come from and keep clear the vision of where you are going.”

Impact on WA business

McLarens generates work right across WA, including the Pilbara region. McLarens also assists a range of companies from small to large, such as Chevron, to capitalise on their business contracts.


SEAN Clarke began his career as a successful welding apprentice, being named Westrail’s apprentice of the year twice in the early days of his career.

Not content with that success, however, at age 23 he started McLarens Hire with little more than a four-wheel drive and a ‘business mentality’. On his first day at a new welding job Mr Clarke put a proposition to his boss – would he be interested if Mr Clarke could provide a LandCruiser for the same rate as the ute his boss was hiring. The answer was ‘yes’ and with that, McLarens Hire Karratha began. Eight years on, McLarens Hire now boasts 500 vehicles and the widest fleet range of hire vehicles in the Pilbara. It has a number of major clients, including Chevron.


McLarens is the major sponsor of the BMX North West Rounds event and sponsors the Port Hedland Speedway. McLarens also supports local schools of the Pilbara region.

Top tips

“When a client asks for something you don’t have, never say you can’t do it. The effects of this approach are evident through the business.”

Impact on WA business

McLarens contributes to the ongoing success of the WA resource sector and provides employment opportunities in the Pilbara.


DURING Richard Cohen’s leadership of the railways division of Rio Tinto Iron Ore, tonnage transported by the rail system has increased by 50 per cent.

An earlier workplace fatality was instrumental in changing Mr Cohen’s attitude to workplace safety and motivated him to implement strategies that have led to a 64 per cent reduction in the number of significant potential safety incidents.


Mr Cohen is heavily involved in community groups in the Pilbara such as the Dampier Community Advisory Group, local area traineeship programs, Cossack Art Awards and is a steering committee member for the Rio Pilbara Community Partnerships Program.

Top tips

“Courage, trust and engagement are the key to a successful culture and the right culture is the key to success.”

“I never missed a free throw I didn’t take” – Michael Jordan.

Impact on WA business

Rio Tinto is a major employer in WA and contributes significantly to the state’s export income. Rio’s community contribution in 2008 was $34 million distributed among native title claims, management costs and community contribution.


LLOYD Constantine moved in to a marketing role with Anchor Foods in 2002, working as marketing director before moving in to his current role as company director in 2005. Under Mr Constantine’s watch, Anchor Foods has gone from a company with sales below $15 million to a thriving business with an annual turnover of $37 million. Mr Lloyd has used his marketing and brand management to radically transform the business and increase it’s enterprise value.


Mr Constantine has been heavily involved in developing mentoring programs among WA’s universities, focusing on Notre Dame, Curtin and Murdoch universities. He also initiated a fundraising program where sales from Anchor’s packs generate funds for Princess Margaret Hospital. Mr Constantine has also instigated a meeting among Perth’s marketing professionals in order to improve the marketing industry in WA.

Top tips

“Always focus on the outcome and not the process. First rule in business is to get the business. Never accept mediocrity, question everything and never take no for an answer. The ideas are the easy part, the implementation is the hardest part. Get the culture right and the rest will follow.”

Impact on WA business

Anchor Foods generates business, employment and growth in WA spending $35 million per annum with local suppliers.


GUS Costas set out to make a difference in the provision of engineering solutions when he opened AME in 2002. He has sought to make AME the type of company people want to work for, clients want to work with, and that everyone remembers.

Despite the ever-present difficulties of raising start-up capital for a new business, Mr Costas saw the challenge through and AME is now a business with a $6 million annual turnover.


AME and Mr Costas provide support to charities in WA on an annual basis, including PMH Telethon events. AME also supported The Sydney Morning Herald journalist Cynthia Banham, when she was badly injured in an Indonesian passenger plane crash in 2007, during her stay at Royal Perth Hospital.

Top tips

“The world is about people, people are the building blocks of even the largest company. Never forget this, treat everyone with respect and provide service that helps people. Do this and you will always have work.”

Impact on WA business

By providing the range of services and expertise that AME offers to the local oil and gas market, the company keeps projects and work in Australia and WA.


THE youngest CEO of a women’s college in Australia at the time of her appointment, Ms Crowe has helped grow St Catherine’s from a mid-level university college heavily reliant on a Singaporean client base, to a more dynamic, diversified business. The college now has a successful seminar and conference trade, which accounts for 25 per cent of profit, attracts women from over 20 countries worldwide, and in the past two years has recorded its highest academic achievement of any group in the college’s history.


Aside from organising the college’s donations of $30,000 to charity last year, Ms Crowe is coordinator of the Yarri Wada ‘Strong for Community’ project. St Catherine’s College students are involved in the Partnering Aussie to Aussie for Leadership and Service in the Kimberley.

Top tips

“How hard can it be?” – Ms Crowe’s father.

“Live while you can and die when you can’t help it.”

Impact on WA business

Ms Crowe is working to set a positive example to young women who go on to contribute to the world in constructive ways. She is hoping to address issues of gender inequality in WA through her work in the education sector.


PAUL Everingham brought an eclectic business background to his role with his government advisory firm. Having worked for Ferrier Hodgson accountants, the federal Treasury, the Liberal Party in WA and Chevron on the Gorgon gas project, Mr Everingham decided to develop Everingham Advisory in 2006.

He was then approached by the advertising and communications company, Clemenger Group, and its government relations business GRA. From there, GRA Everingham was born and the business has undergone significant growth since the joint venture was finalised and now has a $2 million annual turnover.


Mr Everingham has been involved with the Salvation Army Red Shield Appeal in the past and currently contributs to St Vincent de Paul’s fundraising and collection efforts. GRA Everingham Advisory also contributes to the Wunan Foundation, donating time and $40,000 per year in pro bono assistance.

Top tips

“Never worry what others are thinking or doing, just run your own race.”

“Wouldn’t it be amazing what we could achieve as a country if we all worked together and nobody cared who got the credit.” – Ronald Reagan

Impact on WA business

GRA Everingham has endeavoured to influence the future sustainability of the government advisory industry by maintaining its values of honesty, transparency and ethical behaviour.


CEYDA Genc moved from Sydney to Perth to help her father with Turkish Bakeries, developing a computerised invoicing and delivery system from the ground up. After successfully implementing the system, Ms Genc played a major role in getting Turkish Bakeries’ products into major supermarkets Coles and Woolworths as well as establishing a strong distribution channel throughout Perth retail and commercial franchises and major hotels. Ms Genc has helped the business grow from a turnover of ‘‘almost nothing’’ to a company with a $4 million turnover. Ms Genc highlights her passion for her family, business and product as a major driving force in her career.


Turkish Bakeries last year started to donate goods to various fundraising events across Perth and the company is looking to become more heavily involved in charities across Perth in 2010.

Top tips

“A true passion and belief in what you do, what you represent and your products ensures success for the future.”

Impact on WA business

Turkish Bakeries distributes to both national chains and WA based franchises. By maintaining a strong presence in both these areas the company represents WA in a retail and commercial forum.


BRIAN Gillett has developed the online business directory Bloo from one business contact to 110,000 listed businesses. Mr Gillett has developed and patented technology that allows users to call the listed business for free from the website along with map-based searches, SMS systems and an iPhone application for Bloo.

When the launch of the Bloo website was initially pushed out by 18 months, Mr Gillett pushed the business through the delays and Bloo is now on track to reach a $1 million turnover in its first year of operation.


Mr Gillett has personally been involved in building a daycare centre in Botswana, Africa. As well as supporting the organisation through administrative assistance, Mr Gillett spent part of 2009 in Africa helping to build the centre. Mr Gillett is also a supporter of Perth’s Esther House women’s refuge and plays in a band for prisoners at Wooroloo Prison.

Top tips

“Run your business with an open door, making yourself accessible to your staff, customers and the outside business world.”

Impact on WA business

Bloo was set up in order to aid SMEs in WA grow and prosper and will continue to do this with the company’s attitude to innovation and development.


IN 2002, Kellie Hill created her consulting firm for the supply of Aboriginal heritage and native title approvals tailored to the resource industry.

Kellie Hill Consulting now works from an office in Subiaco with five staff and 15 clients and 30 projects across Australia. Ms Hill not only developed her consulting company from the ground up, she also completed the final four years of her law degree at the same time.


Between 2004 and 2006, Ms Hill developed a program to provide pro bono legal assistance to families who had lost a member and were involved in coronial inquests.

Top tips

“Be the tree you can be.”

Impact on WA business

The support that Kellie Hill Consulting provides to firms in the resource industry, from small WA-based explorers to BHP Billiton and Chevron, positively contributes to the ongoing success of WA’s resource industry. The consulting firm is also positively affecting the Aboriginal stakeholders in the mining industry in broader Australia.


NARELLE Keough moved to Busselton to start a furniture business at the age of 24. Among her achievements to this point, Ms Keough names Katandra’s 34.5 per cent growth rate despite recent global financial woes as her biggest success. She puts the success down to the business’s marketing and positioning strategy, which has made Katandra one of the South West’s best-known names in furniture.

Ms Keough says she stops at nothing to make the business a successful, smooth-running operation. She also believes “failure to plan is planning to fail” and pinpoints her constant development and extension of products within the store as part of Katandra’s success.


Ms Keough is a member of the Busselton Chamber of Commerce and is the secretary of the Busselton Family Playgroup Association, aiding the participation of young families in the Busselton community.

Top tips

“Plan and analyse everything in detail.”

Impact on WA business

Katandra aims to generate business and stimulate the Western Australian economy by promoting WA-made goods and keeping the dollars spent in their store within WA.


JOHANN Kim started Pigeonhole in 2007 after creating a brand of jewellery and developing relationships with suppliers and businesses willing to supply goods on trading terms or on a ‘pay-when-you-can’ basis.

With that, Mr Kim took his products to a Melbourne trade show and used the money raised through sales to launch his first retail outlet in Bon Marche Arcade. He has since opened a further two retail stores and built a wholesale distribution channel 500 outlets strong.


Pigeonhole has been involved in supporting Movember, the moustache-growing event raising funds for Beyond Blue and the Prostate Cancer Research Foundation. Pigeonhole also developed an exhibition space, ‘Cabin Fever’, in Bon Marche Arcade in 2009 to help give local artists a chance to make their work known in Perth.

Top tips

“Never despise the day of humble beginnings. You don’t fail, you just learn lessons. Quitting isn’t an option, you just keep trying until you get it right.”

Impact on WA business

Pigeonhole is a company run by young people, with no employee over 27 years of age. With this standard, Mr Kim aims to encourage young people to think outside the box.


SARAH Kinsey bought Ray White Uxcel in 2005 and used her experience as an asset-building adviser and with Elders Real Estate to change the business from a $20,000 annual profit to one now on track to gross $2.3 million in 2010.

Ms Kinsey took on the challenge of altering the business ethos at Ray White Uxcel and employed staff she describes as hard working, honest and successful.


Ms Kinsey cites her experience in developing a Malaysian college affiliated with Murdoch University and the Canberra Institute of Technology as her most significant business achievement. The Twining program within the college now educates 25,000 people across three campuses. In WA, she is involved with the Morley YMCA.

Top tips

“You can count the seeds in an apple but not the apples in a seed.”

Impact on WA business

With Ray White Uxcel revolutionising the traditionally commission based-way of running a real estate firm in to a salary based system, Ms Kinsey believes the company is leading the way in real estate by superseding practices of old.


RICHARD Klimek started his first family law firm, Family Law Services, in 2005 at the age of 25 despite scepticism from some colleagues as to whether he was experienced to take such a major step. Five years on and Mr Klimek is director of the largest sole director family law firm in Western Australia. He sought to develop a culture within his firm conducive to ‘Gen Y’ workers and believes this culture has led to the firm’s retention of staff and business success.


Klimek and Co works in partnership with Legal Aid and engages in pro bono work on a monthly basis. The firm also has been involved in providing legal services to the Citizens Advice Bureau.

Top tips

“Focus on people so they don’t so much remember what you said or did for them, but how you made them feel.”

Impact on WA business

Mr Klimek believes Klimek and Co has raised the standard of work conditions for young family lawyers in WA through its competitive work conditions and development of a desirable work environment in the area of family law.


JUST 2.5 years after Basil Lenzo started Datacom Systems WA, the company has achieved an annual turnover of $37 million. Mr Lenzo has a large goal for the company – to be recognised as the most respected professional IT business in Western Australia. In terms of growth, he aims for the business to be turning over $55 million by 2011.

Datacom was a winner of the WA Business News Rising Stars award in 2009, Mr Lenzo believes the most successful way to build business is by employing the right people, strategy, systems, process methodology and communication.


Six per cent of Datacom’s profits go back to community programs in WA. Datacom is also a founding sponsor of Strike a Chord for Cancer.

Top tips

“Respect others and you will be respected. There is no such thing as a self-made man; you will only achieve your goals with the help of others.”

Impact on WA business

Datacom profits are reinvested in WA, with 6 per cent of profits going to charities. By grossing $37 million and employing 51 staff, Datacom is working to promote employment in WA and supporting the WA economy.


IN 2005, Frank Letizia and three investors bought what was then called Casa Products. Since then the company has grown to boast annual revenue of $5 million. Mr Letizia has developed Casa’s export market, with the value of its overseas customer base growing 110 per cent since he took over as MD. He also developed a packaging system that has allowed the company to increase the shipping volume while simultaneously decreasing the required container space, reducing shipping costs and Casa’s ‘carbon footprint’.


Mr Letizia personally sponsors one player at the East Perth Colts per year and has coached junior soccer clinics. Casa Dairy has been involved in the Kids with Cancer charity ball and sponsors the Tri-events Women’s Mini Triathlon.

Top tips

“Never compromise on quality. Keep in touch with and be on the same level as your customers, employees and business partners.”

Impact on WA business

Casa Dairy is involved with the Buy West Eat Best campaign and its products are made from WA-sourced ingredients. Casa strongly promotes WA produce and supports regional dairy producers.


JOHN Lysaught’s vision to contribute a lasting benefit to the community as a whole manifested when he instigated, brokered and managed the merger of four disability employment services in Western Australia to prevent their closure. The entity that emerged from that merger, Forrest Personnel, provides a range of services in the disability employment sector. Mr Lysaught came to the business as CEO facing many challenges, not the least of which being that he had no industry experience and faced a business culture focused on welfare support for clients rather than empowerment.


Forrest Personnel has been involved in Shave for a Cure and World Vision’s Bunbury Quiz night. Forrest Personnel currently works to support and empower those who are disabled in WA with employment.

Top tips

“Always act with impressive certainty and for good or ill own your decisions – that is what defines you as a leader and a human being.”

Impact on WA business

Forrest Personnel has facilitated the creation of 900 new jobs in the five years the organisation has been under his management. This has resulted in the supply of quality staff to WA business operators and a significant reduction in welfare payments.


YVETTE Manolas was named one of only four experts in ‘shell-perforating subject matter’ in the world in 2007, and is the youngest and only female expert in this field. Since then, Ms Manolas managed the development of a shell perforating software package with world-class analyses and scope, which is currently used by most major oil and gas companies around the world. She won the WA Telstra and Marie Claire Young Business Woman of the Year award in 2009.


Ms Manolas is involved with many community organisations, including Women of Woodside and The Lunch-Box List, both of which strive to promote women in the resource sector.

Top tips

“Succes is not final, failure is not fatal, it is the courage to continue that counts.” – Winston Churchill.

“Be determined, have courage and step out of your comfort zone and strive for success.”

Impact on WA business

Ms Manolas’ management of the development of shell-perforating software has had a direct impact on company profitability and subsequently contributed to the state’s economy. She constantly works to inspire other young Australians to succeed and follow their dreams.


PAIGE McNeil started EMC in 1997 with the aid of her husband, and in 2006 started the ASX -listed junior mineral exploration company, Frontier Resources. In 2009, Mrs McNeil and EMC created the PNG subsidiary Quintessential Resources, with the aim of applying for a prospective tenement in the highlands of the PNG.


Mrs McNeil first worked in education and continues to give back to the community through this medium in both Western Australia and PNG. She is actively involved with Guildford Grammar as secretary of the school’s parents’ and friends’ board and is liaison parent coordinator at the school.

Top tips

“Realise the impact of attitude on life. Life is said to be 10 per cent what happens to us and 90 per cent how we react to it. Be authentic and act with integrity. Surround yourself with outstanding human beings. Find and appreciate balance.”

Impact on WA business

EMC aims to accomplish major long-term flow-through effects with its business practices, supporting local suppliers and generating employment in WA.


RON Padua started his role as operations manager with Professionals in 2005 and one year into his management had secured a 5 per cent increase in gross commissions at the Canning Vale branch. Mr Padua says it was his attention to hiring the right staff that led to the ultimate success of the company. Under his management, the Canning Vale office was recognised within the Professionals group as the most improved office two years in to its operation, in 2007.


Mr Padua was elected as president of his local Parish Council in 2007 and has been involved in supporting the elderly through this organisation. Professionals is involved in generating funding for the National Breast Cancer Foundation.

Top tips

“Avoid hubris.” – Michael Chaney

“Complacency in business is cancer.”

Impact on WA business

The visual portal of Professionals website services the state by catering to the community’s real estate needs.


DIANA Rigg has developed a multi-disci-plin-ary approach to issues surrounding literacy in Western Australia involving speech pathology, occupational therapy and education. She is considered a leader and innovator in the field of literacy. PLD has grown from being a consultant operation to having a team of speech pathologists occupational therapists and designers. This has resulted in consultancy, publishing and clinical recognition.


Ms Rigg makes her services and lectures available to universities in WA as a guest speaker to curb the funding limitations of tertiary institutions. Ms Rigg is involved with the Zonta Club of Perth, which is comprised of professional and executive women working to advance the legal, political, economic, education, health and professional status of women globally and locally.

Top tips

“A leader is a path maker; one who carves a new path, finds or designs new ways and moves in a new direction.” – JC Nader

Impact on WA business

Ms Rigg believes poor literacy is a political and economic issue, the outcomes of which produce a financial burden that society as a whole is responsible for. PLD is working as a prevention and early intervention agency to build a foundation of early age education that will lead to successful secondary education.


BRYAN Pyne has a large portfolio to manage, with St John of God Health Care grossing $807 million last financial year and holding $697 million in assets – a role he defines as his biggest business achievement. Mr Pyne has rebuilt his team in his 12 years at St John of God and attributes the success of his role to his values: staying true to who he is; treating people as his biggest asset; and using communication as his sharpest tool in winning hearts and minds. In his time at the organisation he has reduced working capital and increased operating cash flow, improved cost control and redefined internal and external reporting.


Mr Pyne is on the steering committee of the health care group’s outreach and advocacy program as well as a board member of the St John of God Villa. The villa is a facility offering care to aged religious clergy.

Top tips

“If you bite off too much, just chew faster.”

Impact on WA business

Mr Pyne’s position at WA’s largest private health care provider is pivotal in the continuance of the provision of employment opportunities and health care to Western Australians. Operating profits from the hospital are returned to expand WA-based community outreach programs and health care services.


SCOTT Robin-son began his career in marketing at the age of 15 and has learned his trade not at a tertiary institution but with hands-on experience ever since.

Jack in the Box secured its first major eastern states client, Peter Brock’s original road car business HDT Special Vehicles, in 2008. The major contract not only proved to Mr Robinson that being based in Busselton is no setback for the company, it has helped the firm to leverage the significance of this contract when dealing with potential clients.

Mr Robinson was awarded the South West Young Business Achiever of the Year Award in 2003 and was a WA Business News 40under40 winner in 2004.


Jack In The Box has been a supporter of the Festival of Busselton and the Geographe Community Centre. CinefestOz has also received support from Jack In The Box with donations of in-kind marketing efforts worth more than $80,000.

Top tips

“The more you love what you are doing the more successful it will be for you.” – Jerry Gillies

Impact on WA business

Jack In The Box’s marketing solutions are aimed at making its clients more successful, assisting in the growth of WA communities and having a positive effect on the social environment.


GRANT Ribb-ink’s business strategy is to drive change in Wrays and position the organisation for growth. Since he took on the role three years ago, the business has grown from a $7.5 million business to a $13 million company with three divisions offering a full suite of intellectual property services.

Mr Ribbink set about developing a new culture within the organisation to facilitate a full extension of services and the firm now offers intellectual property legal services.


Mr Ribbink has instigated the development of an organisation to aid the training and provision of diving opportunities to physically disabled individuals in Western Australia. He has sourced support in the form of national dive operations, equipment providers, instructors and ancillary businesses for the organisation and is well in to its development.

Top tips

“I never worry about action, but only inaction.” – Winston Churchill

“Risk is a part of life and business and you might survive through deferral, delay and vacillation but you’ll never be great.”

Impact on WA business

Wrays’ only offices in Australia remain in WA despite the company’s growing business in the eastern states and New Zealand. The company’s 90-year WA heritage has led to it giving a wealth of intellectual property consultation to WA businesses.


WHEN Byron Smith bought MYO with his father and brother in 2007 he was unaware of the extent to which the business needed a strategy shift; franchises were close to failure and the culture was not encouraging franchise owners to develop their own customer relations and store presentation.

After working with his core values of honesty, respect, hard work and taking calculated risks, he has turned the business around, to the point where it is turning over about $9.5 million a year. Mr Smith now has his sights set on expanding MYO’s current CBD model to include 33 stores nationally.


MYO has been partners with Diabetes Queensland and WA since 2007 and is helping to promote healthy eating in preventative measures for diabetes. MYO also partnered with Movember in 2009 and Mr Smith is endeavouring to make MYO a carbon-neutral franchise by next financial year.

Top tips

“Only those that dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.” – John F Kennedy

“It is during our darkest hours that we must focus to see the light.” – Aristotle Onassis

Impact on WA business

MYO offers the opportunity to seven Western Australian families to own their own business and is committed to the expansion and development of new small business opportunities in WA.



BRAD Stinson started Stinson Air at age 20 with no training in business and experience only as a tradesman. It was a steep learning curve, to say the least, and one he says has continued throughout the business’s 15 years of operation.

Stinson Air will turn over almost $4 million in 2010 and Mr Stinson puts this success down to hard work, planning, goal setting and a clear company conscience.


Stinson Air supports a number of charities, including the WA Special Needs Christmas Party, the Lions Club Children’s Special Day Out, the Telethon Trek and the Variety Bash. As fitters of air-conditioning systems, Mr Stinson believes Stinson Air is responsible for providing its clients with energy efficient air-conditioning systems.

Top tips

“The Stinson Air Code – choose your attitude, play above the line, make someone’s day and play to keep it fun.”

Impact on WA business

Stinson Air is committed to generating employment in Western Australia and supporting WA and Australian businesses to grow.


WADE Taseff started Balance Legal in 2008 and has grown the company from a consultancy with four staff to a firm with 22 staff and a $4 million annual turnover.

Mr Taseff puts Balance Legal’s success down to its provision of legal secondment to business in Western Australia and Melbourne. The legal secondment market offers an alternative to traditional law firm or hiring of in-house lawyers. Mr Taseff believes the success of his business reflects his fundamental values of honesty and loyalty, and living a balanced life.


Balance Legal is involved in the sponsorship of the Anaconda Adventure Racing Series and the Australian Corporate Lawyers Association. On a personal level, Mr Taseff is a supporter of local community sports teams and guest lecturer at universities and private institutions and organisations.

Top tips

“Hard work brings success.”

Impact on WA business

By creating the legal secondment market in WA, Balance Legal has not only provided employment opportunities to Western Australians but has extended the level of legal expertise available to businesses in WA.



PETER Thomas began as CFO for the Fortescue Metals Group Pilbara Iron Ore and Infrastructure Project before moving to his current position of general manager. During his time as CFO, Mr Thomas assisted in lowering the project’s projected cost by $3 billion within six months.

An MBA from Harvard and investment banking experience have been instrumental in his success within FMG, as have his values of communication and investing time in people.


Mr Thomas is a board member of the Central Desert Native Title Services and is developing the organisation’s financial and corporate governance. With his partner, Mr Thomas has started a Perth-based film production company and in 2009 their film ‘Conscience’ was aired at the Cannes Film Festival.

Top tips

“A leader’s actions are far more important than their words.”

Impact on WA business

As the general manager of rail, Mr Thomas is at the forefront of facilitating commerce in the Pilbara. FMG has generated more than 5,000 jobs and $2.5 billion in annual export earnings.


REBECCA Thompson started MIOT in 2002 after adopting a business model that aimed to distinguish her from other private practitioners in occupational therapy.

An innovative marketing decision to generate word-of-mouth through feedback to referrers has meant MIOT can avoid legislative advertising limitations. By landing two major hospital contracts in 2005, the company employed 10 additional members of staff and now takes 270 referrals a month, up from five when the business started out.


Ms Thompson maintains an accessible fee structure for MIOT services so as to provide services to those who need them most. She makes charitable donations personally and through Maximum Independence.

Top tips

“Always be true to your own beliefs and act with integrity. Ensure your goals are clear and well defined, and keep them in mind at all times.”

Impact on WA business

MIOT has been an influencing force in the expansion of two rehabilitation wards at the hospitals the organisation is involved with. By purchasing IOTS in 2008, Ms Thompson has given greater opportunities for career development for occupational therapists in Western Australia.



JASON Turner has not let the fact he was born profoundly deaf get in the way of his business success. At age 13 he started his first business, designing and making skateboards and selling them to local business. In 1997 he started WUS.

Since then, Mr Turner has expanded the business to include motor trimming, roof lining and cafe blinds, and the company has landed contracts to upholster a $73 million cruise liner for SuperYachts Marine. Despite the communication challenges for Mr Turner when he started the business – email and text messaging was not in use – he succeeded in the development of WUS. He puts the business’s success down to his passion for his craft.


WUS provides students with experience through the Structured Workplace Learning Program. Mr Turner also supports prostate cancer research through the Charger Club of WA.

Top tips

“We should be able to leave this life when that time comes without an ounce of talent left. We should use up everything we have been given. We cannot take it with us.”

Impact on WA business

WUS endeavours to promote employment in Western Australia and encourages work experience through its program for students.


IN 2006, seven years after establishing CODA, Emma Williamson took on the role of managing director so her husband and business partner could oversee the practical side of the company. Since then the company has more than quadrupled its turnover from $250,000 to $1.3 million. CODA has received national recognition for its work and in 2009 was the second most awarded business at the WA Architecture Awards.


CODA engages in hands-on pro bono work. Staff at CODA committed weekend hours to developing the Palmerston Farm rehabilitations centre’s barn and are now helping to develop The Hilton Harvest Community Garden. CODA also works in conjunction with LandCorp to build sustainable and permanent communities for Broome and Kununurra.

Top tips

“Be useful – having an education is a privilege and putting this to good use is a driving motivation.”

Impact on WA business

CODA is committed to creating a more sustainable, multi-faceted city that also reduces consumption of materials, energy and fuel, and Ms Williamson believes this will encourage more people to live, work, remain in, or migrate to Perth.


GAVIN Ball is a small business entrepreneur who buys, starts and operates businesses through his Vorian Investment Group.

Mr Ball has spent the past 16 years investing in and managing a variety of businesses in many different and varied markets.

Vorian’s portfolio is extensive and includes a pretzel retail chain, a web design and marketing business, an audio provider business and search engine optimisation, digital marketing and online media company, Omnius.

During his business life, Mr Ball has been involved in the start-up of numerous businesses including Professionals Property, Y2K consulting company Millennium Solutions, online testing company RightPeople, Sonic Telecom, and the Allphones Group.

During his time with Allphones, Mr Ball helped manage and build the company to be 110 stores strong. Today, Allphones has well over 150 stores and is a major retailer in Australia.

Having been actively involved in the management and growth of every company started or purchased, Mr Ball has a wealth of hands-on experience in the start-up, development and growth of businesses.


SIMON Creek is the managing director of HHG Legal Group. He specialises in family law, de-facto law, and wills and estate planning.

In 2003, Mr Creek and his business partner and fellow director, Murray Thornhill, took over the then regional firm of Hudson Henning and Goodman. Following the 2007 merger with West Perth’s Wheatleys Legal, HHG Legal Group is now a growing law firm of more than 50, with staff and offices in West Perth, Albany, Denmark and Mount Barker.

Between 2000 and 2003, Mr Creek was a partner at Haynes Robinson. Before that he worked at the national firm Corrs Chambers Westgarth, where he built on his experience previously gained at Butlers, a leading boutique family law and estate-planning firm.

Mr Creek is also an author of the leading national legal resource and shares his experience working with students as a mentor through The University of Western Australia.

He is a member of a number of associations including the South West and Great Southern Law Society and the Law Society of Western Australia. He is active in developing Albany’s business community through his vice-presidency of the Albany Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Mr Creek was a WA Business News 40under40 Award winner in 2008.


CHRIS Benthien is the general manager for Ajilon Western Australia, a major player in WA’s consulting and IT services industry.

Ajilon has more than 350 consultants working for major organisations in WA, including BHP Billiton, Western Power, Synergy, HBF, Department of Planning, Department of Transport, GESB, Department of the Attorney-General, Rio Tinto, and Inpex.

Mr Benthien has 20 years’ management experience in both general business and IT-related roles. He is a proven professional leader in organisational change and transition services and has delivered major project and consulting initiatives to Ajilon’s key clients.

Mr Benthien was one of the original directors of AeM Group, an IT services start-up which enjoyed significant success, culminating two years ago in its purchase by Ajilon. Since then Ajilon has gone on to almost double its presence in WA. Prior to AeM and Ajilon, Mr Benthien was the general manager of group services for HBF.


FRANK Edwards has been chief executive officer of the City of Perth since April 2002. Before this he was executive manager of customer services, and then chief executive officer, at the Town of Kwinana.

Before entering local government, Mr Edwards was a career Army officer, rising to the rank of colonel. He served in command, staff and instructional postings in Australia, the US and Papua New Guinea.

Mr Edwards is a graduate of the Royal Military College Duntroon and holds a bachelors degree from the University of New South Wales and a graduate diploma in strategic studies. He is also a graduate of the Army command and staff college and the joint services staff college.

After leaving the regular Army, Mr Edwards continued to serve in the Army Reserve and held the rank of brigadier. He commanded the 13 brigade, based at Karrakatta, until 2003.


GREG Caust is general manager of the Commonwealth Bank’s corporate banking in Western Australia.

Mr Caust has been involved in the finance industry for the past 20 years with the Commonwealth Bank, working in various capacities and locations across Australia and now leads a team of corporate finance professionals that services the top end of WA’s business community.

He has a bachelor of business in accounting and economics and a master of business administration specialising in finance, part of which was completed in Berne, Switzerland.

Mr Caust’s Commonwealth Bank team has been recognised as the number one customer satisfaction corporate finance team in WA for the past 12 months ahead of the bank’s three major rivals.


ANTHONY Hasluck is the managing director of Clarity Communications, one of Western Australia’s leading communications consultancies.

A previous 40under40 Award winner, he has focused on growth for Clarity Communications for the past decade and has achieved substantial results. Mr Hasluck provides public relations advice for a number of large WA-owned or based corporations, particularly in the resources and industrial sectors.

Clarity works to advise and assist companies with their media activities, employee communications and a range of programs in the field of corporate social responsibility.

Clarity has one of Perth’s largest corporate design teams assisting clients with projects from brand development through to implementation, as well as a team of internet designers producing internet and intranet sites, animations and multi-media productions.

Mr Hasluck is also deputy chairman of not-for-profit arts organisation ArtSource, and a committee member of Heirisson Island Sculpture Park Inc.


HEATHER Merritt has spent more than two decades in marketing and external relations roles, holding senior positions in Canada, Indonesia and Australia.

Heather is now director of external relations at the University of Western Australia’s business school.

Ms Merritt’s most significant career accomplishments include managing the media for the Sydney 2000 Olympic Torch Relay, and while in Indonesia, working on crisis and reputation management campaigns for multinational global brands such as Nike, Emirates, Gillette, Samsung and Cemex.

She moved to Perth in 1995 to establish the Australasian operations of a petroleum software company, which was subsequently bought by multinational company Schlumberger.

In her role at UWA Ms Merritt is responsible for marketing all the business school’s programs and the management and strengthening of the brand and reputation in a domestic and international setting.



CHEOW Teck Ong is currently the Singapore Airlines state manager for Western Australia. He is responsible for all sales, marketing and operational matters for the state.

Before his current posting, Mr Ong spent eight years based at Singapore Airlines’ head office in Singapore. After holding several positions in information technology he moved on to loyalty marketing and subsequently to direct sales.

During his marketing stint he was directly involved in several marketing initiatives of strategic importance. He holds a bachelor of computing degree from Monash University.


MARK Pown-all holds the position editor-at-large, a senior writing role at WA Business News in which he provides an in-depth look at news in Western Aust-ralia.

For seven years before this role Mr Pownall was editor of the newspaper, charged with a brief to make the publication a ‘must read’ for the state’s business sector. During this period he also oversaw the launch of the popular email services, ‘Daily Business Alerts’ in 2005 and ‘Today’s Business Headlines’ in 2007.

Much of his early career was spent in daily news at The West Australian newspaper, but he has also worked in the London financial press, covering the fund management sector and world investment markets for weekly newspaper Money Marketing.

Mr Pownall joined WA Business News in 2000, shortly after the newspaper’s transition from a fortnightly to weekly publication. Born and raised in Perth, he has a bachelor of commerce degree from The University of Western Australia and a graduate diploma in English from Curtin University of Technology.



JULIE Strack is a principal in the business services and superannuation division of Pitcher Partners and has more than 20 years’ experience in public accounting and consulting in Western Australia.

Pitcher Partners provides dedicated and specialist services to small- to mid-cap companies in WA.

Ms Strack leads the division focused on providing taxation advice to corporate clients, SME business and high net wealth individuals and their families.

Her expertise lies in taxation and business consultancy for SMEs and succession planning advice on wills, trust deeds, company formation, land transfers and stamp duty issues.

Her past taxation and business services roles have involved consultation with a diverse range of clients.

Ms Strack has a bachelor of commerce from The University of Western Australia and is a member of the Self Managed Super Fund Professionals Association of Australia.


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