10/03/2021 - 22:20

Verhoogt tops record field

10/03/2021 - 22:20

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Bruce Rock Engineering managing director Damion Verhoogt was named First Amongst Equals at the 2021 40under40 Awards, which were announced at a gala event in Perth on Wednesday night.

This year’s 40under40 also marked the 20th anniversary of the event, which celebrates Western Australia’s top young business talent across a diverse mix of sectors, from finance and health, to law and community leadership. Photo: Matt Jelonek

Bruce Rock Engineering managing director Damion Verhoogt was named First Amongst Equals at the 2021 40under40 Awards, which were announced at a gala event in Perth on Wednesday night.

This year’s 40under40 also marked the 20th anniversary of the event, which celebrates Western Australia’s top young business talent across a diverse mix of sectors, from finance and health, to law and community leadership.   

The 2021 gala was held at Crown Perth, with guests enjoying entertainment from the West Australian Youth Jazz Orchestra, singer Catherine Summers, and the string quartet and drum band AQUILA.

The night featured an appearance from the 2020 First Amongst Equals Rachael Ferguson, who spoke to guests about her experiences and achievements in the past year. Other First Amongst Equals alumni in attendance included Raleigh Finlayson (2018), Bill Beament (2013) and Suzanne Daubney (2010).

Business News senior editor and chief judge Mark Beyer said a record number of entrants applied this year, making selecting a winner a challenging task.

“The judges were looking for people with a track record of sustained success, over several years,” Mr Beyer said.

“We also looked for the entrepreneurs, people who were willing to take a risk rather than follow the safe path, people who drove change.

“While the awards are fundamentally about business success, that can come in many forms.

“It includes people who find time, in their busy lives, to contribute to their community.”

Mr Verhoogt was named this year’s First Amongst Equals for his work growing his parents’ modest business and turning it into a robust, diversified operation.

After pursuing a career away from the family business, Mr Verhoogt returned in 2003 to work as engineering manager and became managing director in 2014.

During the past 17 years, he has helped grow Bruce Rock Engineering from a staff of three to nearly 200 employees across six sites, and increased its product range from two to 12.

The business is now one of the largest trailer manufacturer and service provider to the road transport industry in WA.

Living in a small town, community is a priority for Mr Verhoogt, who is a founding board member of Bruce Rock Community Services, a fire captain for the Bruce Rock Volunteer Emergency Services and serves on the committee of the Bruce Rock Squash Club.

Mr Verhoogt also received the prize for the Family Business Category Award.

There were three other finalists for the First Amongst Equals: Delorean Corporation co-founder and director Joe Oliver; Lightning Brick Pavers principal and managing director Paul Claxton (Medium Business); and Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research rare disease genetics and functional genomics group lead Gina Ravenscroft (Intrapreneur).

Mealtime Enterprises founder Kyla Smith won Murdoch University People’s Choice Award and Delorean Corporation’s Mr Oliver was awarded the City of Perth Strategic Alliance Award.

Other category winners were: Fuel Trans Australia co-owner Neale Crawford (Large Business); Standing Strong founder Kim Smith (HBF Community, Social Enterprise and Not-for-Profit); Pentanet co-founder and finance director Timothy Cornish (Start-up Business); and Allen & Overy dispute resolution lawyer David Jenaway (Professional Services).

Congratulations to the 40under40 class of 2021

Aaron Teo: AVID Group

Adam Santa Maria: Discovery Capital Partners

Alex Dorsch: Chalice Mining

Andy Wood: Microsoft

Ben Aldridge: 30 Foot Drop

Ben Hollings: Blue Ocean Monitoring

Brendan Parker: Advanced Mining Production Systems & LiveMine Solutions

Brittany Garbutt: Pretzel Australia

Cameron Scadding: Source Certain International

Christian Stanes: Peritas Group

Damion Verhoogt: Bruce Rock Engineering

Daniel Estrin: Estrin Saul Lawyers

David Jenaway: Allen & Overy

Dawn McAleenan: Essential Personnel

Ella Hickman: Hickman Family Lawyers Perth

Erin Studsor: Traffic Force

Gina Ravenscroft: Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research

James Staples: SFDesign

Jaydon Hirst: JMH Group

Jess Karlsson: Cahoots

Jo Hawkins: University of Western Australia

Joe Oliver: Delorean Corporation

Justin Linney: Linneys Jewellery

Kate Holsgrove: Perth Airport

Kate Kirwin: Spacecubed

Katie Day: Fortescue Metals Group

Kim Smith: Standing Strong

Kyla Smith: Mealtime Enterprises

Melissa Strutt: Roobix

Michael Bartier: BGC Housing

Navik Shah: Flex Fitness Equipment

Neale Crawford: Recharge Petroleum

Neil Miles: Planted Passion

Paul Claxton: Lightning Brick Pavers

Rebecca Epworth: Coterra Environment

Rob Mason: WA Fuel Supplies

Sophie Doyle: Alf the Label

Steven Russell: Blasta Brewing Co

Tim Cornish: Pentanet

Wade Jolly: KTrans

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