2020 Tas Award
Technology entrepreneur, software developer and electrical engineer Mike Cruse was awarded the 2020 Tasmanian Pearcey Entrepreneur of the Year. Mike is the founder and CEO of Definium Technologies, a company based in Launceston that designs and manufactures IoT devices and electronic products for national and international clients, as well as owning and operating a state-wide LoRaWAN network in Tasmania to support IoT deployments.
The award was presented by Hon Michael Ferguson MP, Minister for State Growth, Minister for Science and Technology, Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Minister for Finance at an event held last night at Macquarie House, Launceston. In a first for Pearcey in Tasmania, the event was a combination of a physical event and a virtual event given prevailing travel restrictions at this time. All hope 2021 will be a full physical 'normal' program. Also in attendance were the Mayor of Launceston Albert Van Zetten, CEO of TasICT Steve Alderman, President of Startup Tasmania Fiona Turner and Mr Ray Johnston, the winner's lifelong mentor and former Computer Science High School teacher.
Mike started exploring technology when he was still at school, where he had an opportunity to spend his weekends working in a garage in the Launceston suburb of Invermay. In that garage, Mike and his friends took on any project that was offered to them, ranging from building a new scoreboard for a local basketball court to fixing a fish egg sorter for a local business. Every project that came through the doors was a new challenge and a new learning experience. After working as a software developer in Melbourne, Mike moved to Silicon Valley and co-founded a smart grid startup which raised US$15m in funding before ultimately being acquired by Cisco.
Definium Technologies was started by Mike while he was still in the US. Definium would take on "projects in crisis" and help clients salvage failed prototypes, resolve reliability issues, and protect their investment in innovative products. After bringing the company back to Tasmania with him, Definium Technologies has grown rapidly and has established a state-of-the-art automated electronics manufacturing and assembly facility in Invermay, back to where it all started for Mike.
Definium currently employs 15 people and operates a sophisticated pick and place assembly line which enables the Definium team to take projects from concept to fully functioning prototype in 30 days, with all design, manufacturing and software development taking place in-house. Recent successes include designing and manufacturing the control system for Gekko Medical's 'GeVentor' ventilator, an Australian-designed device that could save the lives of COVID-19 patients around the world.
"The Pearcey Entrepreneurship Award recognises individuals who have taken risks, made a difference and inspired others. Even as Definium has grown, Mike has always made sure to try to open the same doors for others as were opened for him in his youth. Mike strongly believes that Tasmania, and in particular Launceston, can be a place where advanced technology companies can thrive and is intent on proving that to be true. In his career so far, Mike has certainly exemplified these values. In particular, it is well-known in Tasmania that Definium frequently makes time available to support visiting school groups, providing opportunities for local university students to work with them on projects and access their facilities and seeking opportunities to bring young people into the team," said James Riggall, Chair of Pearcey Tasmania.