16/03/2015 - 16:35

Deep talent pool on show, again

16/03/2015 - 16:35

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Now well into its second decade, Business News’ ground-breaking 40under40 awards never fails to deliver WA’s best and brightest.

Now well into its second decade, Business News’ ground-breaking 40under40 awards never fails to deliver WA’s best and brightest.

After 14 years of running 40under40, the Business News team is constantly amazed by the depth of talent in Western Australia revealed by this program.

While it is ostensibly a business prize, the attributes of the entrepreneur can be seen in many fields outside the direct process of selling goods and services for profit.

Hence, yet again, we have a medical specialist heading the pack, the third such winner in the 14-year history of this event. The previous two were Lyle Palmer (2005), who was seeking to emulate the Busselton Health Study with a

bigger version in Joondalup, and Michelle Ammerer (2008), a successful cardiologist with extensive management experience.

Angus Turner, the 2015 First Amongst Equals, has used his entrepreneurial talents to develop a not-for-profit solution to significant eye health issues in remote WA.

Dr Turner’s win puts the medical sector on par with resources and technology for taking out the top 40under40 prize. Winners from the resources sector were Australian Mining Services founder Julie Smith-Massara (2007), Atlas Iron

CEO David Flanagan (2009) and Northern Star Resources CEO Bill Beament (2013), while those from the IT sector were Commtech Wireless founder Nathan Buzza (2003), iiNet founder Michael Malone (2006), and Mpire Media founder Zheya Tsvetnenko (2011).

Arguably, 2014 winner Tony Loxton could be placed in the technology field too, although his work is predominantly advertising and marketing albeit in the digital space.

Rounding out our broad selection of winners taking out the top prize are: two investment bankers in Poynton and Partners founder Mark Barnaba (2001), and Hartleys director Grey Egerton-Warburton (2012); and agribusiness players, Wills Domain winery proprietor Darren Haunold (2004) and Bannister Downs dairy founder Sue Daubney (2010).

The final member of this group is Feature Tours managing director Manny Papadoulis, who shared the inaugural prize with Mr Barnaba.

The selection of winners well represents the broader group of 560 40under40 winners, with a couple of distinct exceptions.

Firstly, there are no community and arts sector winners, although all of the medical winners might well represent that field to a certain extent, based in part of their special projects or public service.

Secondly, the property industry has been a major source of 40under40 winners over the years but has yet to produce a First Amongst Equals. There’s no shortage of entrepreneurs in this field, so surely an overall winner will one day emerge from its ranks.

The key point of amassing all this data is to make the point that WA’s economy is not just alive with entrepreneurial talent but that it is extremely diversified, in contrast to the common perception that it is all about resources.

Many of the winners make their money or have formed their careers indirectly off the back of the resources sector, either because that industry is a significant client or the growth generated from mining and petroleum has contributed to the success of many other businesses.

Nevertheless, benefitting from a resources boom does not necessarily mean dependence.

This newspaper has regularly highlighted the fact that the wealth generated by minerals extraction, especially since the 1960s, and more recently from oil and gas, has made the state rich. As a result Western Australians have enjoyed better-funded social services for longer than most of the rest of the world, most notably in health. That has, by chance, meant that per capita investment in medical research is quite high.

It should not, therefore, be a surprise that so many 40under40 winners come from that pool, not to mention two Australian of the Year recipients, Fiona Wood and Fiona Stanley, if that helps prove the point.

We hope that by celebrating the diversity of our economy through these awards and highlighting the community-mindedness of the winners that we shine some light on the strengths of business talent in this great state.

We wish all our winners past and present, very good fortune in their current and future endeavours – for every success they have is of benefit to us all.


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