The Victorian Manufacturing Hall of Fame celebrates excellence in manufacturing.
At a glance
Value of this Award
Industry recognition of lifetime achievement.
Open to individuals who have made a sustained contribution to Victoria's manufacturing sector.
The Victorian Government, in partnership with industry associations identifies individuals who have made outstanding and sustained contributions to manufacturing excellence in Victoria.
Manufacturing is in Geoffrey Bell’s DNA. Following university at the Caulfield Institute of Technology, Geoff joined AW Bell in 1969 (then led by his father Alan Bell) as the patternmaking production planner.
Geoff became Managing Director of AW Bell in 1983. AW Bell is an advanced manufacturer of precision metal components, supplying castings and production machined products and services to a range of global Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) and supply chain programs.
Securing the company’s first F-35 Joint Strike Fighter contract in 2014, and successfully transitioning from heavy automotive to international biomedical, defence and aerospace markets, Geoff’s vision for AW Bell as an advanced manufacturer has not wavered. Geoff is extremely proud of our local manufacturing capabilities, and has supported many Victorian companies to grow, including by bringing in opportunities for these businesses to become more recognised in a global market.
David and Tony Ellul
David and Tony Ellul run Marand, a successful designer and manufacturer of aerospace, defence and rail tooling including machining and robotics. The business is considered to be one of Australia’s leading precision engineering companies. It employs approximately 220 staff at its facility in Moorabbin and exports around 25-30 per cent to the US, Portugal, China, India, and Singapore. Tony and David have made an active contribution to Victoria, including through regular engagement across a range of government bodies and manufacturing industry associations and workshops. David Ellul is the Executive Chairman of Marand, having been employed in the business for 35 years in a broad range of roles from Apprentice through to Executive Chairman today. David was the Managing Director of Marand from 2001 to 2014, a period that saw great growth and diversification into a broad range of industry sectors.
2017 HonoureePhilip Leslie
Philip Leslie has been with GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) for 26 years in various leadership roles in one of Australia’s largest pharmaceutical manufacturing facilities. During that time, Philip has been instrumental pioneering new techniques and evolving the plant into a modern technology led facility.
As Technical Lead at GSK, Philip supports the Boronia based teams with product and process improvements. His team progresses innovation using “Blow-Fill-Seal” technology, with the aim of reducing costs and increasing production of affordable medicines.
A passionate advocate of continuous development for both students and colleagues, Philip was instrumental in forming a partnership with Monash University, which helped over 85 students gain industry experience. This partnership formed the basis for the launch, in late 2016, of the Medicines Manufacturing Innovation Centre which supports the wider Victorian pharmaceuticals industry.
2016 HonoureeStuart Payne
Manufacturing in Australia is heading in a new direction. Australia can no longer compete for low-skill manufacturing and must focus on advanced manufacturing – Stuart Payne understands and represents this change.
Stuart has steered GP Graders to focus on supplying a global market, where demand for automation in fruit-sorting using vision technology is at an all-time high. Stuart has helped establish GP Graders’ innovative culture and reputation for excellence, including informing the market of what it needs to be more successful.
Stuart has made it a priority that the company’s value-add lies in design and innovation, and the assembly, ensuring greater control over quality assurance (something the company believes should never be outsourced). Stuart has helped the company evolve from an Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) of component parts to assembler of parts, and concentrates his effort on research and development, design, quality assurance, marketing and sales. Stuart has driven the company’s export focus from having 100 per cent of sales in Australia to now having 80 per cent export sales while retaining GP Graders’ Australian sales and revenue figures.
Joining the NASDAQ listed TriMas Corporation in 2008, Carl manages their Cequent Group operations across the Asia Pacific, Europe and Africa. Over a six year period, Carl tripled the Group’s revenues through both local and global growth and acquisitions.
Carl’s ability and policy direction has protected the heart of the Australian business through investment in efficiency, technology, productivity and customer and employee relations, and has leveraged this into international markets to successfully grow the company. Carl has firmly established the Australian operation as Cequent’s head office and the centre for Engineering Excellence.
Under his direction and guidance, subsidiary satellite manufacturing operations have been established in South Africa, Thailand, Germany, the United Kingdom, Finland and New Zealand, plus a sales office in China.
Prior to joining the company TriMas he developed a strong knowledge and skill set in the areas of sales, manufacturing, customer management, product development, IT and large scale project management at GWA International, Stramit Industries and Tubemakers.
2014 Honourees Ralph Wilson Snr
Ralph Wilson Snr is the Managing Director, Chairman and Proprietor of an Australian icon – Willow Ware, which has been manufacturing in Australia for 127 years.
Since he started working on the shop floor at 18 years of age, Ralph has worked in all areas of the business covering metal manufacturing, engineering, lithographic tin printing, plastic and moulding, product development, logistics, marketing and sales.
In the 1950s, when he took over the running of the company from his father, Ralph ensured the survival of the business by purchasing its first vacuum forming plastic machine and began to make vacuum-formed baby baths and then commissioned the first injection moulder in 1960. In the 1960s and I970s Ralph oversaw the introduction of new injection moulded products, blow moulding and expanded foam styrene to the company as well as the invention and manufacture of heat beads.
Ralph Wilson has cultivated a family company with family values -back in 1965, he was the first in the manufacturing industry to introduce superannuation to all employees, including backdating payments into the fund for the long term workers.
Whilst well into his 80s, Ralph continues to contribute by coming to the business every week.
Tom Hartley has been an outstanding Victorian manufacturer and employer who has made significant contributions to manufacturing, export sales and the continuous training of skilled staff.
Following his early training as a toolmaker with Repco Engineering, Tom Hartley commenced his own business – Hilton Manufacturing – in Dandenong in 1975. In 1976, Tom and his wife Margo bought out the other two partners and set a course for the company as it is today – a highly diversified, highly skilled sheet metal manufacturer.
In the early days, Hilton was known for producing high quality truck fuel tanks and components. This still continues today, as a key Original Equipment Manufacturer to some of the principal names in the trucking world but Tom had the vision to see diversification was essential. Under Tom’s stewardship, Hilton Manufacturing has grown to become a diverse subcontracting sheet metal manufacturer with products ranging from a barbeque, hospital bed, bus chassis, bull-bar, trailer, exhaust pipe and fuel tank.
Tom’s dedication to the empowerment of young people and the development of their skills is evident with more than 300 employees over the past 5 years achieving Certificates 3, 4 and diplomas in Competitive Manufacturing Systems. The company has embraced international quality systems, Kanban philosophy, world’s best practice and environmental issues to ensure long term sustainability of this vibrant family company.
Against stiff competition from major multi-nationals, Robert Wilson has established a vibrant services business which is an active exporter of power transformers to New Zealand, South East Asia, the Middle East and the United Kingdom with exports totalling in the hundreds of millions.
Under Robert’s leadership, the company has also invested in joint ventures in Malaysia and Saudi Arabia, established and invested in operations in regional Victoria and developed the Dynamic Ratings monitoring and control subsidiary into a global business.
The Glen Waverley-based Power Transformer Business has been substantially upgraded and expanded into a global best practice facility and employment has been doubled in this 100% Australian owned business to over 700 people including 80 engineers.
Robert Wilson has also been actively involved as a leader in the Australian Electrical and Electronic Manufacturer’s Association, the Australian Industry Group and the Australian National Committee of Cigre. In addition he has had a long standing involvement in engineering education and research particularly in supporting these activities at Monash University and more recently RMIT University.
Ken Grenda AM
Ken Grenda, AM was the principal of the Grenda Corporation that set up Volgren, a fully owned subsidiary in 1977. Initially focused on bus repair, Volgren is now a bus body building company that has enjoyed significant growth in recent years going from approximately 250 buses in 2005 to over 650 buses to date.
Ken used his innovative drive to obtain a licence from Switzerland that saw Volgren become the forefront of global bus manufacturing and transformed the local industry with the use of complex aluminium technology. This resulted in vehicles that are lighter, stronger, safer, easier to repair and more cost effective. The most significant benefit of this material is the fact it does not require fully refurbishment at half life cycle and that it can be fully recycled.
Ken is a leader in the bus industry. Under his watchful eyes, Volgren is Australia's largest and most respected bus body building company that continues to allocate very high levels of R&D resources into the evaluation of alternative fuel and power sources for their buses of the future.
Following several years of export of CKD kits to Malaysia and Indonesia, Ken's son Geoff designed and Volgren produced double deck buses for export to Hong Kong and Singapore and is currently working on a possible joint venture deal in the United Arab Emirates with a local Abu Dubai company to supply their buses.
Gerry Ryan, OAM
Throughout a long and prolific career, Gerry Ryan, OAM, has made an outstanding contribution to the landscape of Victorian and Australian manufacturing. As the Founder, Managing Director and Principal of Jayco Corporation Pty Ltd and the Jayco Group of Companies, he takes pride in steering the ongoing direction of the Jayco brand.
Jayco is the largest manufacturer of recreational vehicles in the Southern Hemisphere and the principle manufacturer of tourist park cabins in Australasia, with an annual turnover of $350 million and an enormous 45 per cent share of the recreational vehicle market.
In 2000, Gerry was awarded the Caravan and Recreational Vehicle Council of Australia Award for Excellence in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the Australian recreational vehicle, leisure and tourism industries having served a tenure as President of the Recreational Vehicle Manufacturers’ Association of Australia. He is also a founding member and former chairman of the national leisure and tourism body, Caravanning Australia.
Ross spent 25 years in management based roles at ICI Australia across operations, business development, projects and also in leading business units.
AS CEO of Qenos Ross has achieved significant outcomes and has overseen further development and consolidation of the company to become a vibrant and vital link in Australian petrochemical manufacturing.
Ross was appointed as a President of Plastic Chemicals Industry Association in his leadership, the chemicals and plastics sector has benefited from his enormous energy and enthusiasm which has been focused on delivering tangible outcomes for the manufacturing industry through broad networks across industry, government and research institutions.
Through effective partnerships between PACIA and the Victorian government including EPA, Sustainability Victoria and the Department of Sustainability and Environment, Ross has promoted Sustainability Leadership among PACIA members. This has seen the development of strategies, materials and services that deliver economic value for the manufacturing sector, while at the same time delivering environmental and social outcomes.
Under Ross's leadership collaboration between PACIA and the government has led to the delivery of sound and efficient regulatory reform. This reform has reduced the complexity of existing frameworks, while cutting costs associated with inefficient regulation both for the manufacturing industry and for the government.
Bill and Jim Sutton
Sutton Tools was established by Bill and Jim's grandfather, Henry Sutton in 1917 and rapidly expanded over the years. In 1960 operations move to a state of the art facility in Thomastown and in 1970 Bill and Jim take the reins the pair steered the strategic vision and direction for the company. Bill and Jim have grown Sutton Tools from a domestic business to an internationally competitive manufacturing company by their motto 'Manufactured in Australia, exported to the world.'
An aggressive commitment to technology and expansion has underpinned Bill and Jim's leadership at Sutton Tools. Education and staff development were identified by the pair as key focus areas. Today, workforce development strategies remain key business drivers and have seen over 155 apprentices trained within the company.
The brothers have introduced the first Physical Vapour Deposition coating facility to the country through the establishment of Surface Technology Coatings, a wholly owned subsidiary of Sutton Tools. First in the world to adopt the 'ground from solid' methodology for the manufacture of drills and cutters, a move that ensured the company's ability to export globally. It has been strategies such as these, coupled with a solid joint vision that has seen Sutton Tools grow in market share and production capability during the Bill and Jim era.
Darryl Page was set on his career path in 1971 when he joined the Department of the Army as a Cadet Engineer. With a dedication to safety and quality, Darryl imparted an enviable safety record and safe and reliable munitions and weapons for the Australian Defence Force, an immense feat in an inherently hazardous industry.
Darryl co-founded the PARARI Explosive Ordnance Symposium, an event that has become the world's largest regular gathering of explosive ordnance technical experts. Under his leadership, this event has grown to attract over 300 delegates from every corner of the globe.
His most significant career contribution involved leading the transformation of the government operated, explosive ordnance manufacturing facilities into a profitable, commercial design, development and manufacturing industry. The success of this complex, 20-year change program was largely due to Darryl's energy, tenacity and leadership.
Darryl assisted Australian Government departments to access munitions at significant cost savings, increased employment in regional areas and opened new multi-million dollar markets for munitions components out of the ordnance facilities.
Bruce Parker began his automotive career as an apprentice motor mechanic with Preston Motors in 1960.
Bruce began Headmod, which grew quickly. A merger with Gem Engines in 1998 provided further scope for growth and set the company in a new direction. Headmod Group comprises HM Gem Engines and Nason Engine Parts with combined sales of over $30 million. HM Gem Engines is recognised as one of the world's leading re-manufacturers of automotive/industrial engines and cylinder heads, servicing the automotive and transport industry through a network of 20 warehouses and service facilities throughout Australia. Under Bruce's direction, the company has continued to expand through sound business practices, market growth and strategic acquisitions.
Bruce has paved the way for expansion into export markets including Indonesia, Thailand and Saudi Arabia. Also acquired 12 Repco engineering machine shops across Australia to facilitate the re-manufacturing of large commercial engines, a practice previously completed off-shore.
A commitment to developing employment opportunities for people with disabilities has led to 15% of his company's production workforce comprising people with some form of disability. He has practiced a strong policy of prioritising vacancies for the disabled where trade qualifications are not required and has maintained a stimulating environment to allow these employees to improve their learning, knowledge and skills.
Practices such as these helped the company to be named the Prime Minister's 'Employer of the Year' in the large business category in 1998, 2000, 2003 and 2005.
Peter Carthew AM
Establishing AME Systems, a small Ararat based manufacturing enterprise in 1977 was a move that set Peter Carthew AM on a dedicated lifelong journey. Today, that small enterprise has grown into a world class manufacturing facility, providing electrical wiring harnesses and signal distribution systems Australia-wide to the vehicle, marine and aircraft industries. Peter encourages the personal growth of his 270 employees and is continually investing in staff training and development including the promotion of Stephen Covey's '7 Habits of Highly Effective People' program to all employees.
Not content with just growing his company, he also invites local businesses to attend the workshops. It was initiatives such as these that ultimately led to AME Systems being awarded the Champion Employer of the Year by the National Employment Services Association in 2007.
A strong belief in the need to be innovative in order to survive and prosper underlies Peter's commitment as Managing Director of AME Systems to remaining at the forefront of the industry by utilising the Lean principles of manufacturing.
Peter Carthew received one of the highest honours bestowed upon an Australian, when in 2005 he was named a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in the Queen's Birthday Honours List. As the head of a thriving company, he was also present when AME Systems was inducted into the Victorian Manufacturing Hall of Fame in 2004.
Managing Director of the Steele and Lincoln Foundry, Douglas Maxwell is instrumental in obtaining government support to promote and establish the Australian Foundry Industry, a body committed to training, development and undertaking local and international promotion to ensure an ongoing viable and environmentally friendly industry. In 2003 Douglas was awarded the Centenary Medal for Outstanding Service for the Foundry Industry and for service as AFI Victorian Branch President.
Douglas heavily involved in government and educational programs, he was a member of the Steering Committee involved in the Federal Governments South East task force which developed and distributed materials for the 'We Can Make It' program to Victorian secondary schools until 1998. Again indulging his passion for combining manufacturing with education, Douglas became an initiating Steering Committee member of the M:Tec Manufacturing Awareness program in 2001 that became the forerunner to the Victorian Government's Careers in Manufacturing program.
A true champion of the manufacturing and sailing industries, Alistair has fulfilled many roles and undertaken many initiatives with the goal of advancing the industries. His list of recreational achievements includes World Masters Champion Sailor, Australian National Champion Sailor and twice U.S.A. National Champion Sailor among others.
Establishing Ronstan in the U.S.A presented Alistair with the opportunity to relocate to San Francisco to take up the position of the U.S Chief Executive. The company is an export success story and it was Alistair's export strategies that led to him being presented with The Victorian Governor's Award in 1989 in honour of his outstanding contribution to export by an individual. A sustained commitment to export success also brought him recognition in 2004 when he was again honoured by the Governor of Victoria with the Australian Export Hero Award.
Alistair is also the proud recipient of other esteemed awards including the Melbourne Marine Week National Industry Achiever Award in 1999, 2002 and 2007 and the Centenary Medal in 2003.
His past sailing credentials have included Founder and Past President of Sailing Division of B.I.A, Past Member of the Volvo Race Board, Past Board member of Sail America and Past President of Tasar Sailing Class Association.
Alistair Murray enjoys fulfilling his duties as a member of several prestigious Boards including the Bayside Business Board and Sail Melbourne Board and maintains his positions as Chairman of the International Sailing Summit Program, Ambassador for the International Sailing Federation (ISAF) and President of the Australian International Marine Export Group (AIMEX).
David spent his career developing sleep systems for everyone from hospital patients to astronauts. David became better known on the world stage after designing and releasing a laboratory sleep system and a portable system, which would become the foundation for Compumedics' P-Series portable sleep systems chosen by NASA in 1995 for two separate contracts involving Space Shuttle mission preparation, and international space station mission preparation.
Pitted against considerable international competition, the portable system won the right to supply diagnostic equipment to the largest sleep study in the world; the USA funded Sleep Heart Health Study (SHHS). Compumedics has also been recognised with many awards including being named Small Business of the Year in 1999 at the Telstra and Australian Government’s Small Business Awards and the AusIndustry Innovation Award.
The company also received the 2006 Frost and Sullivan Award for European Sleep Diagnostics Technology Leadership of the Year award as well as the 2003 Frost and Sullivan Award for Market Expansion Strategy; the 2001 Australia export Award for Small to Medium Manufacturers and the 2001 Governor of Victoria Export Award for Small to Medium Manufacturers.
Under Lee's management, Kidman Furniture established an enviable reputation for innovation and manufacturing excellence. In 1982, Lee himself founded the Industry Training Committee in Victoria which became the Victorian Furniture Training Council involved with improving the technical skills of trainees.
Kidman Furniture - like all local furniture manufacturers, has struggled against the import invasion since tariffs were lowered. Employee numbers have dropped to 15, however Lee remains as committed to the industry as ever. He has been the prime mover in helping young people who want to work in the industry, and has worked tirelessly to improve the standard of training in Victoria.
Andrew Stobart is the Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of Olex Holdings which is a division of Nexans, the world's largest cable company.
In 1998 Andrew was appointed Managing Director of the Pacific Dunlop Cables Group (Olex Cables) which employed 2,500 people and had nine factories throughout Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia, China and Sri Lanka with a total sales turnover of approximately $400 million.
In May 1999, the Australian and New Zealand energy cable businesses of Pacific Dunlop were sold to a management buyout consortium led by Andrew. The business was purchased by Nexans - a global company, headquartered in Paris. The organisation now employs 1000 people with revenues in excess of $700 million. It is Australia's largest and leading producer of energy cable and a major exporter to China and the Asia Pacific region.
The company runs three factories in Australia; two in Victoria – Lilydale and Tottenham and the other in New Zealand.
As a 16 year old migrant from the U.K. he was billeted at the Church of England Boys home. In order to pay rent and support himself, he quickly applied for a position at one of Adelaide's leading printing companies Vardon Price.
Gatehouse became apprenticed and for the next five years learned the technicalities of the printing processes. Gatehouse's progress through management continued and in 1977 he was appointed Plant Manager of Grifﬁn Press. In 1980 Gatehouse was sent to Melbourne to run the troubled Wilke Plant in Clayton. He was later appointed Marketing Manager and then CEO. During this period Wilke's fortunes and proﬁtability improved and it became the country's largest web offset colour magazine and directory printer. Gatehouse is most proud of the work done in Maryborough in establishing the largest, most modern book manufacturing plant in Australia, equal to any in the world.
Under Gatehouse's leadership, McPherson's Printing has maintained an excellent track record of employee relations and worked closely with its staff and the union. Environmental issues were high on Gatehouse's agenda and he ensured that McPherson's met all of its environmental obligations.
As spokesperson for the industry, Gatehouse was instrumental in securing a major four year grant from the Federal Government for training and infrastructure development for all Australian book manufacturers. Part of this was used to establish a new and ﬂexible training regime in Maryborough, which has been welcomed by students, teachers and parents.
The name David Haymes is synonymous with arguably the most successful paint manufacturer in Australia. Haymes can look back with pride at the company he steered from a relatively unknown Victorian paint manufacturer to a bustling business supplying only the best quality products through specialist paint shops across the nation. Indeed, the company's motto is ‘Never taking short cuts on quality - in everything we do'. In 1988 Haymes purchased the shareholding to become sole proprietor of Henry Haymes Pty Ltd.
Haymes remains heavily involved in the local Ballarat community, currently and recently serving on many boards of local organisations including Chairman of the University of Ballarat School of Business Advisory Board, Executive Member of the Committee for Ballarat and a Member of the Advisory Board of Ballarat's daily newspaper: The Ballarat Courier.
Dr Graeme Blackman
Dr Graeme Blackman, has built a business that specialises in the development and manufacture of active pharmaceutical ingredients, primarily anti-cancer drugs.
the Institute of Drug Technology is one the few Australian manufacturers accredited by the US Food and Drug Administration, that manufacture active pharmaceutical ingredients locally, is one of the few international companies providing outsourced manufacture of cytotoxic anti-cancer API drugs
Dr Blackman has been a leader in developing Australia's overall pharmaceutical and biotech industry, heading up peak industry groups, chairing a Federal Government task force to develop a strategic vision for the sector and receiving some of the industry's leading awards.
Schiavello Group, one of Australia's top 500 private companies, with annual sales of $180 million and a staff of nearly 1000 people.
The company today provides more than just office partitions. Now, the Schiavello Group offers complete office fit-out services, with a growing focus on information technology products and services.
The company's emphasis on R&D, leading-edge design and world-best quality standards has seen it win a growing share of international markets and major clients such as NTT Japan, Hewlett-Packard, the World Bank HQ in Washington DC and Microsoft.
Tony Schiavello's business philosophy is simple: 'Know your costs, employ the right people and recognise the service they provide, and reward them accordingly.' It is a recipe that has clearly been successful for him.
Ernest Frederick Dawes OBE
Founder and Chairman of SGE International, one of the four key scientific equipment manufacturers in Melbourne, Ernest Frederick Dawes has an outstanding record of technical and business achievement.
Ern Dawes has developed SGE into a large multi-national group with a world wide reputation for innovation and products at the leading edge of their particular technology.
More generally Ern has contributed to the long term future of the industry by encouraging and promoting science as a career to secondary students. He has also played a leading role in a Rotary International humanitarian manufacturing project in East Timor.