Our Latest IT Industry Greats: Pearcey Foundation Presents its 2022 National Awards
The Pearcey Foundation announced the recipients of its prestigious 2022 National Awards at the gala dinner held in conjunction with the Australian Computer Society (ACS) and TasICT at the 2022 Tasmanian ICT Conference. The Pearcey Medal is an individual award that recognises a distinguished lifetime of achievement and contribution to the development and growth of the Australian ICT industry and has been awarded annually by the Pearcey Foundation since 1998. All previous 24 Pearcey Medallists can be found at https://www.pearcey.org.au/awards/national/pearcey-medal.
The 2022 Pearcey Medal was presented to John De Margheriti, widely seen as a founding 'father' of Australia's video games industry.
“John De Margheriti’s lifetime contribution to the establishment and ongoing success of the Australian games industry cannot be underestimated. Without his vision, tenacity and passion, I doubt the industry would be as successful and vibrant as it is now. John has effectively had an influence on just about every Australian games studio and developer in operation today, not to mention his contribution to the broader ICT community and the international games industry,” said the Pearcey Foundation’s chair, Wayne Fitzsimmons.
The 2022 Pearcey Medallist: John De Margheriti
John De Margheriti is widely seen as a founding 'father' of Australia's video games industry and Australia's most experienced interactive entertainment business executive. He has founded many successful companies, industry organisations and Canberra business parks, as well as helped numerous entrepreneurs and start-up companies, especially in the Australian film industry.
John was born in Italy and moved to Australia in 1970 as a young boy. He graduated with a degree in electrical engineering from UNSW Sydney. Together with his wife Vicky, he founded Micro Forté in 1985 in Sydney and wrote games for a new company called Electronic Arts Inc. (EA). Its first project was the Official America’s Cup Sailing Simulation (1986) developed for the Commodore 64/128 and Amstrad. Micro Forté grew steadily and, in 1994, he moved his HQ to Canberra.
By 1996, John decided to address the shortage of 3D animators by founding the Academy of Interactive Entertainment (AIE). John started AIE because, at that time, no university offered the appropriate training courses for game developers. AIE helped the entire industry by training not only the staff necessary for Micro Forté, but also large numbers of staff for other game developers in Australia. Along the way, he also founded the Game Developers Association of Australia (now merged with the Board of the Interactive Games and Entertainment Association - IGEA) and initiated the first Australian Game Developers Conference in 1999. AIE and its graduates have won many awards over the years including twice being named the Australian Small Training Provider of the Year (2007 and more recently in 2016). Today, AIE has multiple campuses in both Australia and the US.
In 1999 Micro Forté received venture capital from Allen & Buckeridge and a grant from AusIndustry to underwrite the development of technology for massively multiplayer online (MMO) games – later known as the BigWorld Technology. Micro Forté won numerous export awards and won the Telstra National Small Business Award in 2003. BigWorld subsequently became a subsidiary of Micro Forté and over the next 10 years, BigWorld opened offices in Shanghai, Suzhou, Moscow, Austin, and Japan, but kept the global HQ based in Canberra.
BigWorld went on to become the leading global middleware solution for the development of MMO games, with clients including Microsoft, NetEase Games, Wargaming, Perfect World and Sohu. It eventually captured an estimated 60% of the Chinese online games market. BigWorld was used to create the online game “World of Tanks” which made Wargaming owner Victor Kislyi a billionaire. BigWorld was sold to Wargaming for US$45M in 2012.
John believes strongly in “giving back” and he has been very generous in his social entrepreneur responsibilities. He has founded three Canberra business parks, including Canberra Technology Park (CTP) in 1997, to help start-ups and other not-for-profit organisations in the Canberra Region. These parks have become significant locations for Australian film, games and special effects industries.
More recently, John has been focusing on the Australian independent film industry, including a not-for-profit university/film studio complex (community.aie.edu.au), a collaborative not-for-profit film studio for independent film-makers (filmplus.com.au), as well as running DEMS Entertainment, a film production company based in Los Angeles and Canberra to develop Australian feature films and TV series for the world market (demsentertainment.com).
John was recognised as Honorary Ambassador for Canberra in 2000 and awarded the 2013/14 ACT Chief Minister’s Pearcey ACT Entrepreneur Award.
Pearcey Hall of Fame Inductees – Len Rust and Bevan Slattery
John De Margheriti was also inducted into the Pearcey Hall of Fame, and has been joined this year by Len Rust and Bevan Slattery.
Len Rust was born in England in 1935 and educated at Watford Technical College, Hertfordshire just north of London. At the age of 16 he joined the Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve then the Royal Navy and went to sea for seven years working eventually on radar and underwater detection systems.
Len first migrated to New Zealand in 1959 with a group of his friends, and worked for the NZ Government installing automatic telephone exchanges. He didn’t last long there before returning home to England in 1962. Then, at the ripe old age of 27 he caught another boat back the very next year, ostensibly to NZ! However, he met an Australian girl on the boat who was from Palm Beach and so he settled for Sydney.
Len’s professional IT career commenced when he joined GE Information Services (GEIS) in 1963 as one of its sales executives selling timeshare services. From there, Len established a computing utility called Compunet with a group of industry colleagues. Compunet performed remote job entry (RJE) services, the equivalent of today’s cloud computing whereby users paid by the minute or the hour of CPU time. Around this time minicomputers were starting to emerge and Compunet was eventually sold to Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC).
Len stayed on at CSC as marketing director for two years before establishing his own ICT advisory service, Dialog Marketing Services in 1978. In the same year he helped establish the Australian arm of International Data Corporation (IDC), part of the International Data Group (IDG). IDC became the first ICT market research and analyst firm to operate in the country. It launched with David McNabb in charge, but soon afterwards Len became managing director. During his 20 years at the helm, Len grew IDC Australia substantially, which included expanding into Asia-Pacific and managing the operations across the region.
Len left IDC after refusing to relocate to the new Asia-Pacific headquarters in Singapore, and restarted Dialog, founding The Rust Report in 1999, expanding on the Rust Bucket column he had already been writing in Computerworld Australia for many years. The Rust Report grew to become one of the most influential ICT industry newsletters in Australia and New Zealand before it closed in 2017. As a result of his work on The Rust Report and across the industry, Len became the best-known ICT commentator in Australia. Everyone knew and knows Len. He has always made himself available to the major and minor players, from the early-stage local entrepreneurs to the government operatives who wanted to be known or tell their story.
Still a very active player in the Australian ICT industry today, Len’s interests run across the gamut of the industry including working diligently in various industry associations (including the AIIA and the Pearcey Foundation), government committees, advisory boards, keynote speaking roles, consulting roles for start-ups, and countries and international IT firms looking to enter the Australian market. Len has always been considered the expert commentator on any and all ICT industry issues – the ‘go to’ man, as he had his finger on the pulse across the whole of our national ICT sector. Len is a humble giant in our industry; quite remarkable really … a one-off!
Bevan Slattery can be best described as a serial entrepreneur whose commercial success has been outstanding ever since he started internet content filtering company iSeek in 1998.
Bevan grew up in Rockhampton, Queensland, graduating from North Rockhampton High School in 1988 and starting a business accounting degree at CQUniversity. (He later received an honorary MBA from CQUniversity for his business and community contributions.) Bevan then left university and started his career in administration in local and state government at the Rockhampton City Council before moving into telecommunications.
Following the sale of iSeek to US firm N2H2 in 2000, he joined forces with Steve Baxter (2016 Pearcey Medallist) to start PIPE Networks, which listed on ASX in May 2005, raising $3.5 million. It was subsequently acquired by TPG Telecom Limited in March 2010 valuing the company at over $370 million.
Bevan then moved on to form NEXTDC in May 2010, making it the first pure data centre operator to have been listed on the ASX. NEXTDC raised over $100m in equity and used the capital to deploy next-generation data centres in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, and Perth.
In 2012 Bevan founded the Asia Pacific Data Centre Trust (APDC), a data centre real estate trust; and SubPartners, a submarine cable group. The following year he co-founded Biopixel, a filming company specialising in natural history behavioural sequences for both clients and its own specialist library; and in the same year he founded Megaport, a technology networking business that offers scalable bandwidth for public and private cloud connections, metro ethernet, and data centre backhaul as well as internet exchange services.
In 2014 Bevan founded Superloop, a fibre network infrastructure provider for the Asia Pacific region with networks in Singapore and Australia – operating as a network as a service (NaaS). He floated Superloop the following year. In 2015 he founded Cloudscene, the world's largest directory of colocation data centres, cloud service providers, and interconnected fabrics.
And then in 2021 Bevan Slattery announced HyperOne – his most ambitious project yet! This new initiative will see the rollout of a 20,000km fibre optic network that will connect every major Australian city. It’s a $1.5 billion hyperscale national fibre network that is expected to create more than 10,000 new jobs during construction. Critically, for regional and remote Australia, HyperOne will deliver up to 2,000 connection points or “on ramps and off ramps” linking thousands of Australians to critical digital infrastructure and providing access to high-speed fibre for the first time.
In August 2009, Bevan was awarded the ACOMM Australian Telecommunications Ambassador of the Year Award. In March 2010, Mr Slattery was also awarded the ATUG’s Charles Todd Medal for his contribution to the Australian telecommunications marketplace, including the construction of the $200 million PPC-1 submarine cable system connecting Sydney to Guam.
The Pearcey Foundation recognised Bevan in 2011 as its Queensland Pearcey Entrepreneur of the Year. He was inducted into the CommsDay Hall of Fame in 2017 for his significant contribution to the development of Australia's telecommunications industry.
The Pearcey Hall of Fame was established in 2004 and details of its inductees is available at https://www.pearcey.org.au/awards/national/pearcey-hall-of-fame.
“Our Pearcey Medallist and our Hall of Fame inductees are chosen each year for their lifetime achievements by their industry peers in a
nationwide vote. Each of this year’s recipients are rightly acknowledged as the very best of the best in our industry, and true visionaries
and pioneers in their respective fields. It’s an honour to elevate John, Len and Bevan to a permanent place in the Pearcey Hall of Fame,”
said Mr Fitzsimmons
Pearcey National Entrepreneur Award 2022 – Dr Mark Englund
This year’s Pearcey National Entrepreneur Award was presented to Dr Mark Englund, founder and CEO at FiberSense by Tasmania’s Minister for Science and Technology Madeleine Ogilvie. Chosen from the 2022 State Pearcey Awardees (see list below with links to more information), the national award gives prominence to one of this year’s State Pearcey winners for inspiring leadership, scale, impact, innovation and acclaim on the world stage.
Commenting on Dr Englund’s award, Rick Harvey (chief judge, Pearcey Foundation) said, “All of our 2022 State Entrepreneurs of the Year are superb examples of ‘taking a risk, making a difference, and being an inspiration’. Mark is a fantastic representative for this group; as an awesome entrepreneur, battling against all odds to successfully bring to the world some amazing, innovative, ground-breaking, and all-Australian technology that is making an impact on the global technology stage.”
At the event, Mr Harvey also made special mention of joint QLD Pearcey Award recipient Rebecca McDonald, founder and CEO of Library for All, leading an international digital education effort in Ukraine. Library for All is working with schools to provide Ukrainian children with free illustrated children’s e-books, that have been translated and tailored for Ukraine, as well as providing many thousands of e-tablets for those without access to mobile devices. https://libraryforall.org/ukraine.
2022 State Pearcey Entrepreneur Awards
ACT: Instaclustr co-founders Ben Bromhead and Adam Zegelin.
NSW: Dr Mark Englund, founder and CEO at FiberSense.
QLD: Rebecca McDonald, founder and CEO of Library for All, and Sarah-Jane Peterschlingmann, managing director and owner of ATech.
SA: co-founder and CEO of Fleet Space Technologies, Flavia Tata Nardini.
TAS: Andrew Davies, founder and CEO of Taz Drone Solutions
VIC: Jason Lohrey, CEO and founder of Arcitecta.
WA: Mahmood Hussein, founder and CEO of Global Drone Solutions.
About the Pearcey Foundation
The Pearcey Foundation Inc. is a non-profit organisation established in 1998 to raise the profile of the Australian Information and Communications Technology (ICT) industry and profession. It was created in the memory of one of the greatest pioneers of the Australian ICT industry, Dr Trevor Pearcey. By celebrating the heroes in our industry, past, present and future, the Foundation is looking to attract and encourage young Australians into this most exciting of global, high technology sectors of our nation.
LinkedIn:Pearcey Foundation #PearceyAwards
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