Finalists keep it in the family

IN Australia, 80 per cent of all businesses are family owned and operated and each year Family Business Australia celebrates their achievements through the Family Business Awards. The awards recognise new family businesses and those in existence for up to four generations, along with the best family business employer and businesses that encourage youth participation. WA Business News presents the finalists in this year’s Family Business Awards. The winners will be announced at a gala black tie function tonight and will be showcased in a special feature next week.

1st Generation

The Pursuits Group

The Pursuits Group includes a career counselling business, a temporary contract and administration personnel business, and an aged and disability care and training business. The business began in 1998 and now employs 45 full-time employees. The Pursuits Group has been recognised by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs as the leading supplier of home care services in the North and East Metropolitan Regions of WA. The company’s director and founder, Patricia Tassell, contributes in a voluntary capacity as chairperson of the Joondalup Lotteries House Committee and deputy chairperson of the Kingsway Community Bank Steering Committee. The company sponsors Neurological Council’s annual expo.

Messages On Hold Australia

Messages On Hold Australia provides recorded on-hold audio productions for businesses in the Asia Pacific Region. Kym Illman started the company in 1988, voicing and mixing productions using basic audio equipment in his two-bedroom flat. The company has grown to have customers in New Zealand, Singapore and Fiji. The company is the largest Australian provider of on-hold messages and is the sixth largest in the world. In 2000 Kym and his wife, Tonya, made the decision to move away from using an external financier to fund the rental equipment to clients themselves. It employs 33 full-time and 16 casual employees.

Breakthrough Corporation

Breakthrough Corporation is an advertising agency that develops advertising, direct marketing campaigns, and award-winning design work. Husband and wife team Rudy (pictured) and Charmaine Labordus operate the company. They believe in working in partnership with their clients to create a competitive edge and delivering them the highest quality and standard of work.

DVG Automotive Group

Seven Di Virgilio brothers formed DVG in 1992, even though their business experiences prior to that were extremely diverse. The group started with just a single car yard in Maddington that employed 10 people. Today the company operates 10 motor vehicle retail and service outlets around Perth and employs 250 people. DVG holds market leadership in Mitsubishi, Nisssan and Hyundai franchises. The Di Virgilio brothers attribute their success to the strength of their ancestry and family values. Their family culture has always been “one for all and all for one” and the brothers have applied this to business. The success of the business has enabled the Di Virgilio family to contribute to charities such as Telethon, The Salvation Army, and John Coutis Motivational Tour.

Agrimaster Pty Ltd

Agrimaster Pty Ltd is a software development company that specialises in developing training in the use of cashbook, budgeting, and online banking software for rural producers across Australia. The company was started by WA farmer Kent Egerton-Warburton as a part-time software development project and, 18 years later, the software and the company’s ancillary services are utilised by a client base of 4,000 nationwide.

STS Health

STS Health is a provider of sterilisation equipment and support services to the health industry and a manufacturer of blast initiation devices. The business has been operating for 10 years, initially trading as Scientific Technical Services. The business has survived the death of its managing director and technical expert, Ed Thame, and is now under the management of Ed’s wife Deborah. The company re-branded this year to take on the name STS Health while retaining the name Scientific Technical Services for the blast initiation devices.

2nd Generation

Homestyle Vegetable Processors

Homestyle Vegetable Processors Pty Ltd is the leading supplier of fresh and processed fruit, vegetables, mayonnaise, dressings and salads in WA. General manager Santo Merenda said an entrepreneurial spirit and a willingness to tackle challenges with innovative solutions had been the hallmarks of the company. His mother and aunt began the company in 1989 as a small home-based business. It has grown to employ more than 50 people. The company was the first food processor in Australian to achieve an ISO 9002 certification, which paved the way for the establishment of supply contracts to Kailis and France, Pizza Hut, Coles and Woolworths supermarkets.

Fotek School Portraits WA

Fotek School Portraits WA is a school photography company servicing schools from Kalamunda to Esperance. Deirdre, Les and Natalie Veal established the company in 1991. It has enjoyed continued growth and now photographs students at more than 800 schools a year. The influx of interstate competitors that offer lower prices and lure staff by offering higher salaries, has not unduly impacted on the business. The Veals said their business was still progressing well despite these challenges.

Perth Auto Parts

This company’s core business is the wholesale and retail of imported Japanese vehicle parts and engines. Tony and Lina Ghantous founded the business 11 years ago and their son Riard now holds a one-third share. Riard travels between Perth and Japan regularly and spent seven years in Japan exploring the conservative closed Japanese car market. Apart from becoming fluent in Japanese, Riard obtained key market data that has expanded the company’s operations, allowing it to enter the more specialised sports car market. The company has become the leading supplier of Japanese used car parts and engines in WA.

Gavin Construction

Gavin Construction was founded by Irish immigrant Michael Gavin and is now in its 33rd year. Michael’s son Sean is the managing director of the company that has gone from humble beginnings to become an industry leader in commercial construction. The company has worked on several key WA projects including Centrelink Midland, Enjo Australasia, Turner Engineering, Applecross Professional Dental, and Aussie Natural Spring Water.

Stott & Hoare Business Computers

Stott & Hoare Business Computers was established (in its original form) in 1915 to supply and service office equipment and has grown to offer a complete range of office technology. The company has won the IBM reseller of the year for the past four years and is business partners with leading brands, IBM, Microsoft, and Lexmark. The company is a significant supplier to some of WA’s biggest enterprises including Iluka Resources and BankWest. The company is operated by Jim Loader and is currently undergoing a business planning process to implement success strategies for the next five years.

Van Kuyl’s Bus and Coach Charter, Roberts Luxury Tours

This bus and coach company services local schools, pensioner groups, social groups, and also offers long distance touring. Bernie and Kaye Van Kuyl founded the business in 1982 when they bought a small school bus. The company now carries approximately 700 students to school and home again every day. It has expanded to include a fleet of five-star coaches to cater for school camps, pensioner social groups and long distance touring. Bernie and Kaye’s children, Julie and David, work in the firm as an office manager and operations manager.

Catalano Seafoods

This company is primarily involved with the processing and sale of fresh fish to supermarkets and local, interstate and international markets. The company began as a humble fish and chip shop in 1969 and now is a modern fresh fish processing establishment that employs more than 45 people. The business is owned equally by Francesco Catalano, Nick Catalano, and Paul Catalano. The company’s key highlights include extending the shelf life of most of its products by a minimum of three days, assisting in projects for the Seafood Quality Management Initiative Program, and winning the National Seafood Quality Award 2001 and WA Seafood Quality Award 2000. The company is continually developing new methods of improving quality and efficiency with its products and processes, which has ensured its success with the implementation of the SQF2000 quality standard. This standard requires the control and coding of products for shelf life so it can be traced back from the boat to the production line. The company holds a certificate of registration for meeting the requirements of the SQF2000 Quality Code.

3rd Generation

Kelmscott Transport & Agency and Lori’s Fuel Station

This operation is the oldest surviving business in the Armadale-Kelmscott district and was opened by Joe and Elsie Lori in 1928 as a simple fruit and vegetables delivery service. Their son Evan now operates the transport business with his wife Gabrielle. It primarily transports fruit, vegetables and compressed hay for the export market. The business also manages one of Perth’s few remaining driveway service fuel stations. The service station was forced to close for 12 months while the Armadale Council considered non-conforming rights when the business relocated. The company employs 28 people.

J Pilpel and Co

The print operation began its life in 1927 by Josh Pilpel who bought secondhand machinery and opened as a printer in Murray Street. The company is today managed by Josh’s son Dick and grandson Geoff and is now both a printer and a trade house for printing and finishing, employing 32 people. The company has printed material for the University of WA, Royal Perth Hospital, Cecil Bros, the Taxation Department, some of whom have been clients for over 20 years. The company enjoys a minimal staff turnover rate with a greater proportion of staff working 10 years or more with the firm. The length of client commitment is attributed to the company’s belief that “honesty is the best policy” and is backed up by “the customer is always right”.

4th Generation

W.D Moore & Co

W.D Moore & Co manufactures windmills and solar water pumping systems for water supply purposes in rural Australia and overseas. The company also manufactures the Metters Wood Stove. It was founded in 1862 by William Dalgety Moore as a general merchant business in Fremantle. His son, George, took over the business in the late 1800s and began importing windmills. These soon became too expensive and the company produced the first WA-built windmill. The company has since located to O’Connor and is under the guidance of fourth generation member, Geoffrey, and has expanded operation to include all states in Australia and companies throughout the world.

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