Hoodlum steals limelight

Ranging from IT savvy businesspeople and investors to food processing innovators, the 2009 Lord Mayor’s Business Awards showcased some of Brisbane’s finest businesses and their contributions to the river city. In this special profile we talk to media company Hoodlum, which also won a Primetime Creative Arts Emmy in Los Angeles and profile other winners about issues such as corporate citizenship, sustainability and the old adage of practicing what you preach.

INTERACTIVE media company Hoodlum may have produced an online prequel to the hit TV series Lost, but the trailblazing Brisbane firm is certainly not off the radar in the eyes of the world and its hometown.

Hoodlum clinched the Optus Platinum Award at the Lord Mayor’s Business Awards in Brisbane, which is the icing on the cake following international recognition with a Primetime Creative Arts Emmy in Los Angeles.

Not bad for a company that started in 2006.
Hoodlum took out the award in the US for Outstanding Creative Achievement in Interactive Media – Fiction, for its prequel to series five called the Dharma Wants You project.

Hoodlum founder Nathan Mayfield, says the project used media platforms such as video, interactive games, mobile, Bluetooth and social networks to help audiences engage with the program.

“Audiences want to engage with content on multiple platforms and not just in a linear fashion — they want to be able to watch what they want when they want and to interact with the stories they love in new and deeper ways,” says Mayfield.

“We’re not making websites or webisodes – we’re creating engaging, dramatic entertainment experiences that deliver stories across platforms to the widest possible audiences.”

The series was made in conjunction with the producers of Lost and ABC (US), as the Brisbane-based company with 25 staff stakes its claim on the international stage of online entertainment.

“It has strengthened our ties with the ABC studios in the US and has already opened so many doors for Australia to be viewed a real global player in this exciting world where creativity and technology are truly converging,” says Mayfield.

“This sector is certainly emerging and so there is an increasing level of competition, however our market lead, global experience and robust technology delivery platform put us in an excellent position to remain leaders in the marketplace. Creatively, it’s very important that we continue to push the possibilities and create dynamic, exciting stories that audiences love.

“Our approach is very much about creating a collaborative culture within the company. We try to involve the whole team and invite them to contribute ideas wherever possible – we’re often working under pressure in a deadline-driven environment so it’s important we’re all working together, towards the same clear goals.”

The Optus Platinum Award makes Hoodlum the overall winner at the Lord Mayor’s Business Awards 2009, after taking out the Nova 106.9 Award for Business Creativity.

Andrew Jessett
is the Mercedes-Benz Young Business Person of the Year.

MINEWARE founder Andrew Jessett has played a large role bringing Brisbane’s mining technology to the world stage through the Pegasys Dragline Monitor System he developed.

Through this technology the company has triggered improvements in the state’s coal mining industry by measuring and reporting efficiency, safety and the performance of mines and equipment.

Jessett has managed to lay foundations for MineWare’s success in India, South Africa and the US, but young entrepreneurship has come with its challenges and advantages.

“From a positive perspective, high energy levels and enthusiasm definitely help. You’re often more flexible, open to new ideas and approaches, and have not been entrenched in one way of thinking and working,” he says.

“While there’s often more risk involved when you’re young, it’s also much easier to absorb that risk at a young age.

“One of the challenges for young entrepreneurs is juggling family needs and obligations. We’re usually at the age where we’re raising new families, so it can be challenging to ensure that you’re dedicating time to not only new business ventures and developments, but also embracing the special beginnings of your new family.”

For Jessett, confidence in his ability and ideas go above all else, while still listening and remaining open to new concepts.

Adrian Di Marco
is the Channel 7 Business Person of the Year.

WHILE Adrian Di Marco was content just to be nominated for the Lord Mayor’s Business Awards, he considers the win a bonus not just for himself, but for the innovative work of his company TechnologyOne.

“It’s more about the company than the individual, but it’s nice to see TechnologyOne get recognition for something that is breaking new ground, and we’re doing it in Brisbane,” he says.

“Brisbane is a really unique place and we should be the Silicon Valley of this region.”

He says the software developer contributes to the economy by providing 800 jobs in Australia and New Zealand, while also doing its bit in reducing Australia’s IT trade deficit.

“The majority of employees are based here as our R&D is based in Brisbane, which is one of the largest R&D centres in the country.
“There’s a deficit of $29 billion in this country that is caused just by IT, so companies like us help reduce that trade deficit – we help to replace that and we sell overseas.”

PIPE and Civil Constructions
Australia TradeCoast Award for Business Growth

PIPE and Civil Constructions forged its reputation three years ago with small scale projects throughout Queensland, but after its involvement in the $9 billion South East Queensland Water Grid project, it now operates in pipeline projects around the country.

Director and founder Brenton Euler says last financial year the company achieved a turnover of $50 million, showing phenomenal growth not just in revenue but in resources within such a short space of time.

“At Pipe and Civil we believe that standing apart is what drives a business ahead of its competition. To achieve this, the company focuses on people — employees, clients and suppliers,” he says.

“We practise what we believe and we have demonstrated it in our projects with an outstanding track record of completing projects safely, ahead of schedule, within scope and budget.”

Pipe and Civil was the youngest finalist in the business growth category, but was in a favourable position from exponential growth in revenue, size and market share.

GBST Holdings
National Australia Bank Award for New Investment

IN the last financial year GBST Holdings acquired two IT companies at a cost of $57.6 million, helping reinforce Brisbane’s status as a centre of excellence for IT research and development.

GBST group commercial manager Phil Dickman says the group made acquisitions of international software company Coexis for $55.8 million and Brisbane-based web developer and graphic designer Emu Design for $1.8 million.

He says the two acquisitions have expanded GBST’s range of services it provides to clients in financial services and also equips the team with home-grown talent.

“In summary, the best way to characterise the significance of this investment for GBST would be to describe it as evolutionary,” he says.

“Not only will this continue to enhance Brisbane’s reputation as a centre for global IT innovation, it will also establish Brisbane as the central point for a new GBST suite of globally adapted and technically advanced capital markets products.”

Australian Country Choice (ACC)
IBM Award for Business Innovation

OVER the past seven years integrated beef company Australian Country Choice (ACC) has made many groundbreaking innovations in its supply chain to streamline the transportation and processing of its products.

ACC CEO David Foote says in 2000 the company took the unique opportunity to buy an existing old government abattoir site and processing operations, to create a modern best-practise food processing precinct.

“A tortoise can never go forward without sticking its neck out,” says Foote.

“This new facility would complement the existing livestock supply chain to provide a whole of supply chain management solution.”

ACC has a philosophy to ‘never not supply’ and by selling beef products to Coles it has grown more than 300 per cent over the last decade, with revenue of $520 million last financial year.

McCullough Robertson
Brisbane City Council Award for Corporate Citizenship

QUEENSLAND’S biggest law firm takes its role of responsibility to the community very seriously, but McCullough Robertson special counsel Heather Watson admits many projects the firm has supported address issues considered difficult or unpopular.

“For example, mental health, Indigenous education and homelessness are issues which have been misunderstood and neglected in the past and in this way McCullough Robertson is proud to be a leader,” says Watson.

“A special project of the Community Partnerships Program is the firm’s commitment to increasing access to education for indigenous Australians.”

The program works to find pathways for indigenous Australians, with students sponsored to attend boarding schools through not-for-profit Yalari, as well as scholarships for indigenous law students at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT).

The firm also has a pro bono program to assist small but innovative non-profit organisations, like SmartCare Lifestyle Solutions.

“SmartCare is a Brisbane-based charitable institution with an associated DGR gift fund which is focused on providing innovative residential care for young adults with a disability.

“Our involvement with SmartCare is one of a number of examples where our involvement has contributed to the growth and development of the organisation, and has enabled them to focus on the priorities of their particular vision, which in turn benefits the community as a whole.”

Hassell Brisbane
Energex Award for Sustainability in Business

HASSELL’S architects and designers have made their mark on Brisbane’s modern skyline, but the company has strived to reduce the mark of its carbon footprint.

Hassell Brisbane managing principal Dennis Eiszele, says the company has been involved in a range of projects with a strong sustainability focus across all its disciplines of architecture, interior design, landscape architecture and planning.

While Hassell claims its own studio is sustainable, other projects include commercial towers on 120 Edward Street, 133 Albert Street, 230 Brunswick Street, Kelvin Grove Urban Village, the Tugun Bypass as well as other projects for the tertiary education sector.

“Buildings account for one-sixth of the world’s fresh water withdrawals, one-quarter of its wood harvest, and two-fifths of its material and energy flows, and design is particularly important in reducing the impact of buildings on the environment,” says Eiszele.

“We approach every project as a sustainable project, and this commitment is demonstrated through our many award-winning sustainable projects in Queensland.

“The sustainable solutions we plan and design would also not be possible without our clients with whom we have had the opportunity to collaborate to accomplish best practice in sustainability.”

Davidson Recruitment Award for Employer of Choice

DEVELOPMENT consultancy Conics has a diverse range of projects available to employees, with a focus not just on the need to attract external talent, but also providing opportunities to existing staff.

Deidre Rowe from Conics’ HR department says in the last few years there has been a shift from a recruitment-only team to providing services in areas ranging from mergers and acquisitions to change management.

“This flexibility, together with the employment offering which includes a range of benefits for our employees, means that we attract and retain the best people in our industry,” says Rowe.

“Having grown through acquisition of a number of smaller entities, Conics has also achieved efficiencies in the last two years through streamlining practices across our business while retaining the unique culture we have in each location.

“We are also very proud of our employee benefits program, Great Place to Do Great Work, which was developed with employee feedback from staff surveys and focus groups.”

The company also runs an internal education brand, Conics edu, as a forum for shared learning and integration across locations.

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