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iiNet chief takes top award

IINET managing director Michael Malone has secured the top individual honour at this year’s Western Australian Information Technology and Telecommunications Awards.

Mr Malone won the coveted WAITTA Achiever award at the gala presentation evening, held at Burswood last week. The award recognises an individual’s outstanding contribution to the IT&T industry in WA.

The ‘student project’ was the only other category awarded to an individual, as opposed to an organisation, and this year was the only category with two winners – Jonathan Werrett from UWA and Ryan Fraser from Murdoch University.

The winners in other categories included: QPSX; Ripple Systems; Fremantle eTech; Ocean2Outback; Empired Limited; Water Corporation; Department of Land Information with Department of Treasury and Finance and Water Corporation; and the Western Australian Local Government Association in conjunction with Sinclair Knight Merz.

In winning the ‘achiever award’ Mr Malone has joined the ranks of other high-profile WA IT&T industry figures, including last year’s winner, Mal Bryce.

Mr Malone, who was unaware he had been nominated for the award, said he had previously not entered awards that recognised individual achievements, preferring instead to focus on the achievements of the company.

Mr Malone said that, while he did not know who was responsible for his nomination in the achiever category, he suspected one of iiNet’s staff might have put his name forward.

And while he was obviously very happy with the success of the company, it was as a result of the hard work of iiNet’s staff, combined with good timing, he said.

“We were very lucky to be in the right place at the right time,” Mr Malone told WA Business News.

“Our objective in the first year was to get 200 customers, because it would cover costs,” he said. “We have also been very lucky to attract some of the most talented people to work with.”

This year’s event was the 13th time the WAITTA awards have been held. The annual event is run by the WA Branch of the Australian Computer Society (ACS) to recognise the performance and achievements of the State’s IT&T industry.

The awards are run across 10 categories including ‘achiever’, ‘student project’, ‘innovation’, ‘exporter’, ‘infrastructure’, ‘service delivery and training’, ‘telecommunications project’, ‘regional, online’ and ‘product’.

The expanded range of awards has been run since 1998 in association with the Australian Telecommunications Users Group (ATUG).

Premier Geoff Gallop opened the awards, while State Development Minister Clive Brown presented the ‘exporter award’.

The committee dedicated this year’s WAITTA awards to the memory of Professor Jeff Rohl, a chief judge and contributor to the WAITTA for the past decade, who passed away late last year.

WAITTA chairman Michael Coles said this year’s awards drew a strong response from the local IT&T industry, indicating renewed optimism and activity despite the IT downturn of the past four years.

Mr Coles said there was almost 100 entries, with 31 of these selected as finalists.

“Some entries involved cutting-edge technology, which demonstrated the depth of ability and the strength of development in Western Australia’s IT&T industry.

Other entries took existing and tried technology and applied it to produce innovative solutions to problems,” he said.

ACS National president Edward Mandla, who flew to WA to speak at the event, said the awards were unique to WA.

He said computer literacy remained a personal passion and he was “supremely impressed” by the level of support shown by WA politicians.

Mr Mandla said IT issues fed into the wider community at an economic and social level.

“Any child who leaves school by 2010 without real IT skills will be setting themselves up for a life in poverty,” he said.

 

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