Media Release

Indigenous executive leads a diverse scholar cohort at the 2022 Industry Leaders Fund awards

Media Release

Diverse Scholar cohort at the 2022 ILF Awards

September 2022

Gibran Maher, co-founder and chief executive of spinal implant maker Additive Surgical, leads a culturally diverse list of South Australian business leaders awarded the opportunity to expand their companies and workforces through the 2022 Industry Leaders Fund (ILF) program.

Maher is the ILF’s first indigenous scholar, joining Cambodian-born Anthony Chhoy, Makers Empire co-chief executive, Kashmiri Australian Jenal Dhar, Tata Consultancy Services IT manager for the Santos site, and South African Indian descendant Kimal Singh, managing director at NDE Solutions, in a number of diversity firsts for the Program.

Half of the 24 award recipients awarded a combined $235,000 this year are engaged in IT or hi-tech manufacturing, the highest percentage for the sector in the Program’s 12-year history, reflecting the changing focus for industry in the State, said ILF chief executive Geoff Vogt.

Five of these businesses commenced operations about five years ago and already have 100 employees or are close to that number.

“This is the strongest indicator yet that the State’s transition from traditional to high-tech and advanced manufacturing has been successful,’’ he said.

“The depth and quality of applicants in 2022 was excellent, edging out scholars who would have been successful in previous years and showing our program is valued by  industry leaders wanting to expand their expertise and workforces.

“This year’s Scholars display a new high in diversity, although women scholars are lower this year. The ILF network will benefit from the addition of our first indigenous Scholar, our first Scholars born in Cambodia and in the Kashmir region, the first South African of Indian descent and several other migrants.”

The ILF, which helps current and future SA business executives achieve their full potential through professional education, presented the new Scholars with their grants at an awards ceremony on Monday, September 26 at the Adelaide Entertainment Centre.

The presentations included the third annual most outstanding Scholar award, the Colin J Peters AM Memorial Award , the second David B McNeil Award recipient for  the Scholar who is expected to add most to the growth of the SA economy who nominated to do the University of Adelaide Transformative Leadership Program and two new awards –  The Seeley International Imagineering Award, for the scholar who has demonstrated an innovative engineering approach in a manufacturing business, and the Lumination State Innovator Award for the scholar who demonstrates an innovative mindset; using technology to solve an important problem that enhances everyday practices.

The 24 new leaders bring the total number of Scholars to 261 and the value of grants since inception to $3.212 million.  

Among the 2022 Scholars are: 

Stephen Moss, (Colin J Peters AM Memorial Award), chief executive Trymoss Engineering, precision machine and hydraulic manufacturer and repairer, supplying mining, defence, food, transport, oil, and gas industries.

Matthew Wilkins (David B McNeil Award) chief executive of Venergy Australia, an energy efficiency leader, supplying the highest quality solar power systems to homes, communities, and businesses.            

Michael Clayton (Seeley International Imagineering Award) chief executive of Derby Rubber which manufactures highly technical natural and specialty rubber extrusions and mouldings for severe, critical or demanding applications.

Dr Brenton Cooper (Lumination State Innovator Award) chief executive of Fivecast, which delivers capability to explore masses of digital data to the world’s most important public and private organisations.

Gibran Maher, co-founder of two-year-old Additive Surgical, the first company in Australia to manufacture 3D printed titanium novel spinal implant technologies. The company aims to reduce Australia’s 80 per cent reliance on imports.

 Since the scheme began in 2010, its Scholars have created 2954 South Australian jobs with the average grant dollar cost per South Australian job now at $700 from $7,600 six years ago- lower than other job creation programs in the State and favourably comparable against any global benchmark, Mr Vogt said.

The 2022 Scholars will attend programs offered by Harvard Business School, Oxford’s Said Business School, Melbourne Business School, the University of Adelaide, Stanford Graduate School of Business, the University of South Australia and Columbia Business School, New York.

Recipients comprise executives, managers and leaders from diverse industry sectors such as wine and beverages, IT, advanced manufacturing, medical, education and space.

The ILF, a non-government organisation, is private-sector funded and has cemented its position as the leading fund in its field since transitioning from a state-based apprentice training scheme.

It is now recognised as the state’s leading education grants provider and is credited with developing some of South Australia’s highest achievers.  This recognition is reflected in an increasing number and generosity of donations which fund awards such as Lumination State Innovator Award (through Edward Carlson) and the Seeley International lmagineering Award (through Frank Seeley AM DUniv Flin, FAICD) and several others which support the general grant program of the ILF.   

The 2022 Scholars are: Laura Carter (Ochre Nation trading as Unico Zelo and Applewood Distillery), Anthony Chhoy (Makers Empire), Michael Clayton (Derby Rubber), Paul Coldrey (Data Effects and Luminent), Dr Brenton Cooper (Fivecast), Jeremy Curtis (Philmac), Marc de Maaijer (Ziptrak), Jenal Dhar (Santos through Tata Consultancy Services), Brianna Fieg (Comace Pty Ltd), Tom Hastwell (Lumination), Ryan Jones (Refuel Creative), Tara Madgett (McLaren Vintners Pty Ltd), Gibran Maher (Additive Surgical), Ryan McClenaghan (Fleet Space Technologies), Ben Mitchell (K-TIG Advanced Welding Systems), Stephen Moss (Trymoss Engineering), Jeremy Satchell (BAE Systems Australia), Kimal Singh (NDE Solutions), Joel Stevenson (Fyfe Pty Ltd), Justin Tiller (G Patritti & Co Pty Ltd), Grant Tinney (Starke-AMG Alliance), Jack Walton (d’Arenberg Pty Ltd), Daniel Widera (Codan Ltd), Matthew Wilkins (Venergy Australia).

This year’s Scholars were presented with their grants by Sage Automation founder and 2013 ILF scholar Andrew Downs.

Geoff Vogt
CEO Industry Leaders Fund Inc
0457 900 202