Local companies and people made their mark at the sector’s annual awards night in Canberra.
SEVERAL Western Australian companies and people stood out at this year’s annual Australian Defence Industry Awards held in Canberra.
The awards evening in September, hosted by Defence Connect, was a celebration of Australia’s defence industry.
The awards were split into two groups, recognising individual and company achievement.
Academic of the Year was awarded to Marian-Andrei Rizoiu of the University of Technology Sydney. He also took home the Excellence Award.
Consultant of the Year went to Leanne Given of KBR, Lawrence Marychurch of DroneShield won the Engineer of the Year award, Executive of the Year was secured by Nathan Bligh of Informatech and Female Defence Leader of the Year was awarded to Nathalie Sarlin of Buzzworks.
WA businesses may be familiar with Intract Australia, which has an office in the state and others across the country. Luke Taylor from Intract Australia took home the Indigenous Defence Leader of the Year award.
Innovator of the Year was awarded to Jeffrey Hawkins from Pivot Maritime International, beating out a strong pool of finalists that included WA’s Roy Mitchell from Onetide.
The Marketing/Communications Professional of the Year winner was Patrick Durrant of Rohde & Schwarz Australia.
Teddy Zvidza of Nova Systems picked up the Rising Star of the Year award. WA’s Bryce Solomon of DUG Technology was a worthy finalist in this category.
Technician of the Year was Ryan Hegarty of Northrop Grumman Australia.
In the group awards, Academic Institution of the Year was won by the Sir Lawrence Wackett Defence and Aerospace Centre at RMIT. It faced strong competition from WA finalist South Metro TAFE, among others.
Aerospace Business of the Year was awarded to Black Sky Aerospace.
AIC Champion of the Year was given to Downer Defence, beating finalists, including BAE Systems Australia, which retains a strong WA presence.
Consultancy of the Year went to the team from DEWC Services.
Cyber Business of the Year was won by archTIS.
DefenceTex Research Labs took home the Defence Innovator of the Year award, beating WA-based Luerssen Australia.
Estate and Infrastructure Business of the Year was won by TVN On-Country, a 70 per cent Indigenous-owned business.
PMB Defence was awarded Export Business of the Year.
Biodiversity Australia was given the nod as Indigenous Business of the Year.
Babcock Australasia, which maintains a considerable business in WA mostly focused in the maritime sector, secured Land Business of the Year.
Manufacturer of the Year was granted to Rheinmetall NIOA Munitions, beating out the team at Blacktree Technology, a wonderful WA success story, which was among the finalists.
Founded and based in Perth, and with an office in Canberra, Blacktree Technology was also a finalist in the Space Business of the Year, which was won by Inovor Technologies.
Naval Business of the Year was awarded to Beca. Among the finalists was BAE Systems Australia, which has many employees in WA, with most directly engaged in maritime business.
They should all feel proud of this recognition.
BAE Systems Australia was also among the finalists for Prime Contractor of the Year, won by Toll Government and Defence.
BAE Systems won the Veteran Support Program of the Year, beating finalists, including WA’s South Metropolitan TAFE and Working Spirit, a veteran support agency whose origin story started at RAAF Base Pearce in Bullsbrook.
SME of the Year was awarded to QuantX Labs, ahead of finalists that included WA’s Onetide and Griffin Marine Services, whose presence in the state has been increasing in recent years.
Sub-contractor of the Year was granted to Chillflow Solutions.
Pacific Aerospace Consulting took home System Integrator of the Year.
Training and Mentorship Program of the Year was won by Soldier On, a not-for-profit organisation supporting veterans. It is prominent in WA and around the country.
Congratulations to the finalists and winners, it is wonderful recognition.
I encourage readers to consider these categories and nominate your peers in 2024.
Over the years, I have sensed an underlying feeling from WA industry that defence can be somewhat east coast centric; that WA is an afterthought.
That is changing but it can be expedited by ensuring the many wonderful people and businesses in WA are nominated for national awards like this.
• Kristian Constantinides is the general manager of Airflite, and was chairperson of AIDN-WA for seven years; the opinions expressed are purely his own