Smart cards, ships set WA’s innovation pace

Meet the inaugural members of the Business News – Business Panel. Charged with identifying WA’s top innovators, these 10 leaders from the business community have produced a wide selection which should challenge all of us to think about who is generating new ideas and how they are being developed. See Editorial page 6.

Tim Moore

Chief executive officer, HP JDV

Just as going global from Australia is difficult, so too is becoming a national player from WA. With Tim Moore at the helm, HP JDV, the stockbroking and technology company which trades as Hartley Poynton, has done just that in the bruising world of financial services.

Jim Gill/Water Authority

Bringing innovation to the public sector

Joe Boros/Bunnings

Superb profit, excellent strategy

Peter Fogarty/ERG

Smart card / transit technology

Phil Sexton

Best user of brand creation for profit: Little Creatures, etc.

Stan Perron

Chose a boring area and has done it very very well for a long time.

Chris Renwick

Chief executive, Rio Tinto Iron Ore and executive chairman of Hamersley Iron

Holding one of the most important jobs in WA, Mr Renwick oversees the operations of Rio Tinto Iron Ore, which includes the huge Pilbara mining and export operations under the Hamersley banner.


In 2000, Shell won the Innovation category of Hamersley Iron’s Supplier Recognition Program. Shell’s innovative initiatives included both engineering solutions and steamlining of business processes. Together these provided in excess of $1 million of innovative solutions to Hamersley Iron.

Austal Ships

Austal Ships make high performance aluminium vessels and speed ferries.

Their achievements in design and exports have won them many State and National awards for manufacturing and exports.

Michael Smith

Executive chairman, The Marketing Centre

Michael Smith is one of WA’s most respected marketing consultants. When he is not advising retail giants around the country, Mr Smith has taken an active role in the development of a big WA sporting success, the West Coast Eagles.


Innovation through its technology (smart cards and transit systems)

Peters and Brownes Group

Product development, particularly the Cadbury Icecream brand.

Cedar Woods

Canal lot developments for new living.


New technologies and processes in radiology


For it’s Skyplan satellite-based fertiliser planning.

Ian Murchison

Managing director, Foundation Capital

Few people in Perth would be as well placed to list WA’s top innovators as Ian Murchison. Running venture capitalist Foundation Capital, Mr Murchison reviews many of the State’s start-up opportunities when they come seeking capital.

Mt Romance Australia Pty Ltd

Albany based processor of sandalwood oil and other essential oils, manufacturer of cosmetics and major tourist attraction in that region.

Allight Pty Ltd

Rapidly growing manufacturer and hirer of lighting towers, dewatering pumps and generators

Nilos Australia

Joint venture with German group to recondition conveyor belts for the mining industry. WA uses 480 km of conveyor belts typically 5-10 metres wide.

Worldwide Online Printing Aust/NZ Pty Ltd

New business model for a rapidly growing franchised, nationwide printing network.


WA leading e-commerce and technology consultants advising on investments. Assisting venture capitalists, investment banks, corporates and start-ups with their technology investment decisions essentially – reduce risks and identify and qualify market opportunities.

Mark Barnaba

Chief executive officer, Poynton and Partners

A Harvard graduate, Mark Barnaba heads Poynton and Partners, an investment banking operation which was formed around four years ago. The business was sold by its founders last year with a price tag which would place it among WA’s top 50 listed companies.

Michael Chaney/ Wesfarmers

Few companies anywhere in the world have increased value more than 200 times in the space of 15 years, which is what Wesfarmers has done since its 1984 compliance listing. This is especially impressive in light of the fact that Wesfarmers is a conglomerate and participates in industries that are generally not regarded as exciting or rapidly growing (e.g. technology). They have been particularly innovative in applying world class functional skills (e.g. strategic insight, financial discipline, strong governance) to acquisitions in industries they previously had no material exposure to.

John Akehurst/Woodside

Prior to Akehurst’s arrival at Woodside in early 1994, Woodside was a single project, single business unit, single geography oil and gas company, with limited growth prospects. It is now a more diversified, multi-geography energy company with exciting growth prospects and one of the lowest finding costs in the industry. This is no mean feat. The manner in which the senior management team has dealt with the Shell takeover has also been impressive and innovative. Much of what has unraveled over the last 6-9 months I believe has taken the market a little by surprise.


Few companies have been able to achieve what Peter Fogarty and his team has managed to do at ERG. This is especially true of the manner in which they have commercialised a world class technology from a somewhat isolated business base while managing to win major contracts globally.

Anaconda Nickel

Anaconda has surprised many skeptics. Andrew Forrest has built, in a very short period of time, a world class team, a world class investor profile, and a set of strong and valuable relationships.

And this has all been done in a relatively short period of time. There are few better examples of how a world class reserve has been turned into a strong performing company.

Ian Constable /Q-Vis

Ian Constable is a rare example of an individual who has managed to simultaneously undertake an impressive academic career, build a world class not-for-profit institution (which has a track record of product and technique innovations), a start up and now grow a high tech biotechnology company. Q-Vis has had to be particularly innovative since it operates in an industry that has particularly high barriers to entry, in the sense of being highly litigious and oligopolistic.

Professor Ian Constable

Director, Lion’s Eye Institute

Professor Ian Constable is an inter-nationally renowned ophthalmic surgeon with a distinguished record of eye research and development in many areas, largely through his Perth-based Lion’s Eye Institute and recently listed Q-Vis.

Q-Vis/John Roper

One of last year’s top three technology floats.

Sirtex Medical/ Bruce Gray

Another very successful medical technology float last year.

Peter Fogarty /ERG

Has fostered a local technical base right through to a substantial commercial enterprise with a global influence.

Austal Ships

A highly successful niche position in shipbuilding achieved by outstanding technical innovation.

Tony Howarth

Chief executive officer, Challenge Bank

Playing a major role in the WA banking scene for the past decade, Tony Howarth has not only been privy to much the State’s investment activity, he has also overseen the successful merger of Challenge Bank with Westpac. Among his many hats, Mr Howarth is also chairman of AlintaGas.

Institute for Child Health

Fiona Stanley has achieved outstanding results from her research in areas such as SIDS and other early childhood issues.


World class technology now achieving greater market acceptance and penetration, particularly in Europe.

Austal Ships

World leader in high speed/light weight/high tech ferries. High tech solution to a traditional application.


Achieving success in world markets, has innovative technology .

Poynton and Partners

Creating significant value over the last few years in both their own business and other businesses through identifying, investing in, assisting and promoting emerging technology and innovation.

Patria Jafferies

Director, Dome Coffees Australia

Dome cafes are part of the landscape in Perth. Co-founder Patria Jafferies has played a key role in building this retail and wholesale coffee business into a well known brand name, taking on multi-nationals in overseas markets.

Clarie Metcalf/C Design

Started as a dancer moved to become a model then started her own design business and now sells bathers all over the world. Including key accounts in England and North America. She is only 30 years old.

David Stratton/Dusk

Vertical integrated business of candlemaking to store shop window now has 3 outlets with more to come. On display at Garden City. He has captured an opportunity in the market that is brilliant. This is not cottage industry.

Howard Cearns /Braincells/ Little Creatures Brewery.

One of WA’s most lateral thinkers. His operation of Braincells is a marketing organisation that looks at all levels marketing, market research and branding. Little Creatures is to fill the void where the original Matilda Bay left off in 1990.

Alan Linney/Linney’s

Value chain business that works from the pearl farm to the customer including design, style, export.

Professor Fiona Stanley/ Institute of Child Health Research

Achieving the dream of the institute and integrating research at a national level to further positive progress in medicine in this country.

Catherine Ferrari

Chief Executive Officer, WA Symphony Orchestra

A successful administrator from the accounting world, Catherine Ferrari has been charged with the job of running one of Perth’s premier arts bodies, the WA Syphony Orchestra.

Peter Lalor/Sons of Gwalia

For the development of their tantalum project.

Gary Roberts

Managing director, Mix 94.5FM and PMFM

Gary Roberts has emerged as one of the most successful media operators in Perth, constantly achieving top ratings for stations in the competitive environment of radio broadcasting.

Gold and Resource Developments Ltd

While many pretend, most are just recycling old ideas with a new twist. However, I believe this WA company is forging ahead with one particularly innovative concept (using waste for materials and energy).

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