The company behind the high-tech smart systems on our roads

A decade ago electrician-by-trade Damian Hewitt was working as a maintenance manager in Adelaide’s Holden factory when he swapped the automotive industry for a career in high-tech industrial automation and control.

He joined the Tonsley-based SAGE Automation, a company that has its foot firmly in South Australia’s transport infrastructure sector and is preparing the state’s motorways for the future.

“When I moved across to SAGE I loved it and have never looked back,” says Damian, the privately-owned entity’s national manager of transport.

SAGE Automation believes its technology and ‘intelligent transport systems’ hold the key to reducing road congestion.

In recent years it has deployed vehicle infrastructure communication systems across some of the state’s busiest highways.

SAGE Automation worked on the Heysen Tunnels in 2000.

Almost 20 years ago it designed the safety control system for the Heysen Tunnels, while it also provided the control system for the bridges on the Port River Expressway.

One of its biggest recent projects was delivering an intelligent transport system for the $160m O-Bahn tunnel.

This included the installation of hardware on all O-Bahn buses, giving drivers real-time alerts if they are travelling too fast or too close to the bus in front.

Roadside sensors at either end of the tunnel detect vehicles that are authorised to use the O-Bahn.

“We’ve also delivered the Torrens to Torrens project and we’re working on the Darlington Road upgrade now,” Damian says.

“Probably about 70% of SA’s managed roads, freeways and tunnels have SAGE Automation systems on them.

“Nationally, we’re doing the Monash Freeway in Melbourne and in Sydney we’re working on the Sydney Harbour Bridge’s electronic lane changeover system.

“The answer to reducing congestion isn’t necessarily widening motorways, it’s about using technology.”

SAGE Automation is currently working on smart transport systems for the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

From real-time electronic travel time signs to a smartphone app alerting motorists about traffic delays, SAGE is at the forefront of some of the state’s most transformative technology developments in road infrastructure.

Damian says SA is a national leader when it comes to the standard of technology being deployed on road networks.

“For example, full CCTV coverage has been deployed down the entire Torrens to Torrens upgrade of South Road including thermal video incident detection,” he says.

“No other motorway has that coverage.

“The Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure (DPTI) has also identified that the transport system is critical in emergency responses, so they have battery backups on the entire network.

The real-time travel signs tell motorists how far to particular destinations.

“If there is a state emergency, signage will direct people to where they need to go.”

SAGE Automation employs about 160 people in SA and more than 340 across the country.

It also has offices in India and is working on a global strategy to explore potential for further expansion.

But as far as manufacturing goes, Adelaide is home.

“We manufacture here in Adelaide and we’re seen as an industry leader,” Damian says.

SAGE Automation is also working on autonomous vehicle trials, something Damian says he envisages will become a part of everyday life within the next five years.

The company is working on three driverless vehicle trials, including a shuttle bus at Glenelg, driverless cargo pods at Tonsley and autonomous shuttles at Flinders University.

The smart shuttle stop, the OlliStop will make transport more accessible for aged care and disability groups.

“Our autonomous bus (at Glenelg), includes features tailored to the individual’s needs, particularly around disability and aged care groups,” Damian says.

“The vision impaired can use a voice activated messaging system that announces the arrival time of the bus.”

Damian says these advancements in transport infrastructure technology will boost demand for high-tech manufacturing jobs.

“The amount of change in the industry is going to cause significant disruption, but it’s going to excite high-end jobs,” he says.

“When you start and talk about electric vehicles and software upgrades, it’s going to create real high-end type work for our state.”

Visit I Choose SA for Industry to learn more stories about key industry leaders, why they’ve chosen SA as a base and how the state is enabling them to succeed.




Raw milk cheesemaking on the horizon for regional producers

Four regional cheesemakers have banded together to explore the possibility of allowing South Australian-made raw milk cheese to hit the luxury food market overseas.

The Barossa Valley Cheese Co in Angaston, Hindmarsh Valley Dairy near Victor Harbor, and Adelaide Hills cheesemakers Section28 and Woodside Cheese Wrights have formed a collective to explore the potential for raw milk cheese to enter lucrative national and international markets.

The group, named the South Australian Raw Milk Cheese Collective, recently received a $68,000 grant from the State Government’s Advanced Foods Manufacturing Program to create a consistent approval regime across the industry for the production of raw milk cheese.

It is illegal to sell raw (unpasteurised) milk for human consumption in Australia, however, raw milk cheeses must be approved by the Food Standards Australia New Zealand, and meet certain criteria in maturation time, temperature and water content.

The South Australian Raw Milk Cheese Collective will collaborate with DairySafe SA and the University of Tasmania to establish protocols and validation for category two raw milk cheesemaking.

It’s believed the advancements will help expose South Aussie cheesemakers to a new market and rival with international counterparts.

Production trials and tests will go ahead across the state and are expected to expose challenges associated with unpasteurised cheesemaking.

The four regional cheesemakers have more than 50 years of cheesemaking experience between them.

Barossa Valley Cheese Company managing director Victoria McClurg says the grant will help the collective to access new markets and put SA at the forefront of cheesemaking.

“We hope to give SA the leading edge on cheesemaking by working with DairySafe SA towards unified standards and verification protocols for raw milk cheese production,” she says.

Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development Minister Tim Whetstone says the goal is to enable high-end local cheesemakers to target the luxury food market overseas and interstate.

The collective also hopes to create new market opportunities and scalable food safety mechanisms, he says.

“This project would see strong collaboration across some of the state’s most highly skilled and passionate cheesemakers,” Mr Whetstone says.

“It is a pleasure to assist the South Australian Raw Milk Cheese Collective access the expertise they need to put other exceptional SA-made products on shelves around the country.”

The world of cheese will be celebrated in Adelaide later this year when Kris Lloyd brings back the popular Cheesefest (incorporating Ferment the Festival) at Rymill Park on October 27–28.

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Drakes Supermarkets creating 550 jobs for SA

South Australian-born Drakes Supermarkets is building an $80m distribution centre in Adelaide’s north, creating up to 550 jobs.

The project has received the green light from the Playford Council and is expected to create about 300 jobs during construction.

Up to 250 full-time equivalent positions will be created once the centre opens in June, 2019.

The 17ha site at Edinburgh North will incorporate a $12m high tech warehouse picking system.

Drakes general manager Bob Soang says the centre is a major investment in the sustainable future of the local, family-owned business founded in 1974.

“It’s also a long-term investment and vote of confidence in our loyal customers and suppliers,” he says.

“As a local family-owned business we are pleased to create so many jobs in the northern suburbs of Adelaide which have faced many challenges in recent years.

“It will be the most advanced independent distribution and logistics centre in the state and is a key plank of our group’s vertical integration strategy within the supermarket sector.”

An artist impression of the distribution centre, expected to be completed in June, 2019.

Playford Mayor Glenn Docherty says the development is a major boost for the economy to support 35,000 new residents expected to live in the council area by 2026.

“As a gateway to the north, we are perfectly positioned to accommodate this development, particularly with infrastructure development such as the Northern Connector Expressway,” he says.

The 104,000sqm development will have the capacity to house about 23,000 lines of products including grocery, dairy and frozen foods and will include a site suitable for future development.

Drakes’ fresh fruit and veg distribution centre will continue at Pooraka, as will its meat distribution centre at Beverley.

Since being established in the ’70s, Drakes has grown to be one of the largest independent grocery retailers in Australia, with an annual turnover of more than $1 billion and 5500 staff.

It operates 57 stores across SA and Queensland.

Visit I Choose SA to find out how you can support our state by choosing South Australian businesses, products and services.

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Top Fast Mover Enviroclad on building its success

A Riverland business that manufactures environmentally sustainable products for the building and construction industry has taken out the top spot in the Fast Movers 2018 program.

Berri-based Enviroclad was awarded the fastest growing business ahead of 24 other finalists on Friday, May 25.

Co-founder Tony Vallelonga accepted the award along with nephew Ryan and says the company was born from a business idea sprouted with brother Frank in 1983.

The pair was supplying expanded polystyrene (EPS) packaging to local fruit growers when they decided they would start their own factory and make their own material.

Fast Movers 2018 winners Tony Vallelonga, left, and Ryan Vallelonga.

They bought two EPS manufacturing machines and constructed a factory in Berri before their customer base began to expand outside the Riverland into other regions.

EPS is a lightweight cellular plastic material that is renowned for being termite resistant and flame retardant, making it ideal for use in the building and construction industry.

It’s used to make insulated panels, rendered fence systems, insulated roofing and wall systems, and is popular in the construction of cold rooms, freezers, and piggeries, as well as residential and commercial buildings.

Enviroclad is a part of the Valls Group and was established as a standalone business in 2014.

It has since gone on to experience a 298% increase in revenue in the past three financial years and employs 20 people across its Berri headquarters and another manufacturing facility in Orange, NSW.

Tony says the majority of its customer base is across the Riverland, Sunraysia and rural Victoria.

However, Enviroclad also exports a small amount to China.

“We do export a little bit to China, but a lot of it goes into Adelaide and rural Victoria, so we draw a recent radius around us,” he says.

“Our customer base is growing as well, which is excellent. The advantage of being here in the Riverland is that we’re close to regional Victoria and Adelaide.”

Tony addresses the room after Enviroclad was announced the top Fast Mover for 2018.

Tony’s nephew and managing director Ryan Vallelonga says his advice to other burgeoning enterprises is to hone their product before taking it to market.

“When the business first started, we didn’t want to get into the market without a quality product, we had to be confident we had the highest quality service and product,” he says.

Ryan says another key to success is learning to rely on other regions outside your hometown.

“My advice is that you have to consider transport and freight costs,” he says.

“With our business in Berri we can’t rely on the Riverland as our core, so we go into other areas such as Port Lincoln, Adelaide and Mildura.”

The family duo says the Riverland’s lifestyle offerings are one of the main reasons they choose to do business from the Murray and Malle region.

They say Enviroclad’s success is due to the dedication of their employees.

“We have a great group of staff and without great staff we’d really struggle to meet our needs and demands,” Tony says.

“We’re really thankful of our staff and our customer base.

“From day one you have to believe in your product and be prepared to put in a huge effort, you will have a rollercoaster of bad days and good days.”

Enviroclad took home $49,600 worth of prizes, including $10,000 in cash from Statewide Super, as well as training and services from some of SA’s top companies.

Fellow building business Elite Building and Renovations came in at second in Fast Movers 2018, while high-speed internet provider Uniti Wireless took third place.

Tony and Ryan join fellow Fast Movers winners, Uniti Wireless and Elite Building and Renovations, at a Q&A session hosted by Channel Seven’s Mike Smithson.

The annual Fast Movers program, presented by BDO SA and Brand South Australia, celebrates the state’s fastest growing and most innovative small to medium enterprises.

Brand South Australia CEO Karen Raffen commends all finalists for their significant growth which delivers economic benefit to the state.

“Each year Fast Movers helps to create passion, enthusiasm and exposure among our fastest growing companies and we are excited to the future of the program,” she says.

For the full list of the Top 25 Fast Movers for 2018, see The Advertiser’s SA Business Journal on Tuesday, May 29.

Header image: BDO SA managing partner Rudy Pieck, left, Brand South Australia CEO Karen Raffen, Enviroclad founder Tony Vallelonga and managing director Ryan Vallelonga, and Statewide Super business development manager Debbie Sterrey.

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A truckload of SA flour and tonnes of cheese: inside Goodlife Pizza

Goodlife Pizza’s dedication to supporting fellow local food producers is evident in the dozen sacks of Laucke organic flour piled up in the doorway of the Hutt Street restaurant.

But the Monday lunchtime delivery is only a snippet of Goodlife’s overall commitment to choosing South Australian businesses like the 123-year-old flour mill, Laucke.

Goodlife Pizza owner Jake Greenrod has done the sums and says his two restaurants – at Hutt Street and Glenelg – use 8.4 tonnes of Laucke flour every year.

They also use 4.2 tonnes of cheese by family-owned and Adelaide-based La Casa Del Formaggio and more than 2100 litres of extra virgin olive oil by Willunga producer Diana.

And then there’s the wine.

Photo by Nick Lawrence for Broadsheet Adelaide.

It’s hard to find anything but a South Australian drop on the wine list, with Goodlife popping the corks and twisting the caps off more than 5000 bottles every year.

Jake says the local focus is a “no brainer”.

“If you buy Laucke flour, it’s a 123-year-old family business that makes that flour from SA,” he says.

“If you’re also buying local cheeses and meats, that’s where the jobs are created.

“We’re not choosing SA produce for the sake of it, the quality is there and that’s where it’s important for us in making a great quality pizza.

“Nationally and internationally South Australia is known as a quality food bowl, so it makes sense for us to use that.”

Goodlife Pizza was founded in 2003 by Jake’s two brothers Michael and Martin.

The Hutt Street restaurant was the first to open under the Goodlife name, with its homely interior and simple pizza offerings that don’t overcomplicate things.

Jake says he has always had a passion for the food sector, working as a restaurant waiter while studying winemaking at Roseworthy College in Adelaide.

But something about hospitality stuck more and so he realised a life in the wine industry wasn’t meant to be (although now he runs his own vineyard, producing wine under his Green Road label).

Goodlife Pizza owner Jake Greenrod. Photo by Nick Lawrence for Broadsheet Adelaide.

Goodlife’s pizzas are simple, yet make the most of fresh, organic produce that is, of course, local where possible.

“Pizza is something that can be done really well and it’s simple if you’ve got the right ingredients,” Jake says.

“You don’t have to use fancy techniques, it can be honest, quality food.

“We’re just trying to focus on doing pizza and that’s what we do.”

Aside from its dedication to local produce, Goodlife is also a NASAA Certified Organic Trader.

“Organic produce has become popular but not everyone goes to the effort of becoming certified because it costs money and takes time,” Jake says.

“But it means lower food miles and better pay for farmers.”

Among its most popular pizza offerings include the Barossa Valley double smoked bacon pizza with fresh pineapple and Australian-made Swiss-style cheese.

The roast organic vegetable pizza is one for vegos, stocked with pumpkin, sweet potato, beetroot, green beans, capsicum, mozzarella and parsley pesto.

Goodlife Glenelg overlooks the busy seaside strip. Photo by Nick Lawrence for Broadsheet Adelaide.

Not only have everyday South Australians been fans of Goodlife Pizza for the past 15 years, but so too have celebrities.

“We’ve been lucky enough to have quite a few famous people through, including Pink and Carey Hart, who came in quite a few years ago,” Jake says.

“Hugo Weaving was probably our very first celebrity customer. We’ve done pizza deliveries to the Adelaide Entertainment Centre for Kylie Minogue and Lana Del Ray has come and collected takeaway too.”

As for the big question on everybody’s lips: does pineapple belong on pizza?

“I like pineapple,” Jake laughs.

“It’s controversial, but I suppose you’re asking someone who puts Asian-style duck on a pizza.

“We had George (Calombaris) and Gary (Mehigan) from MasterChef in once and George was smashing down the bacon and pineapple pizza we do.”

Goodlife Pizza is located on Hutt Street, Adelaide, and Jetty Road, Glenelg.

Visit I Choose SA to find out how you can support our state by choosing South Australian businesses, products and services.

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Outback opal hunters put Coober Pedy on the world stage

Larrikin hobby miners Justin Lang and Daniel Becker are 30m below ground in an abandoned mine shaft and if it weren’t for their head torches they’d be in total darkness.

The two mates are 870km from their homes in the small Adelaide Hills town of Hahndorf, Australia’s oldest surviving German settlement, but are under the spell of the opal, the queen of gemstones.

They say their playground – the deep, narrow and dusty mine shafts in Coober Pedy – is no place for those fearful of spiders, scorpions or centipedes.

Nor is it a place for those lacking the patience required to withstand ‘opal fever’, something Justin and Daniel say they have been infected with beyond return.

“When you find something, it’s pure excitement, there are screams, swear words, all sorts,” says Daniel.

“But then there’s the big question of ‘is there more?’ and you just keep digging.

“You hope you hit the jackpot, which can be a little jackpot but also a lifechanging jackpot worth a million dollars.”

Justin Lang, left, and Daniel Becker appear on TV series ‘Outback Opal Hunters’.

This year, the highs and lows of Justin and Daniel’s opal mining hobby have made it onto TV screens worldwide.

In 2017 they spent nine months filming for a Discovery Channel TV series, Outback Opal Hunters, which has not only been broadcast around Australia but also across Europe, South Africa and Asia.

The pair say plans are also afoot for it to show on 7mate in several months’ time.

The show, which is currently filming season two, follows mining crews around Australian mining towns in the pursuit of finding a fortune.

Justin and Daniel – who were labelled ‘The Rookies’ on the show – had a goal of finding $100,000 worth of opal – and they did it.

Since appearing on the series, the pair have received much media attention, including stints on national television, including the ABC’s News Breakfast and Channel 9’s The Today Show.

They’ve also used the show to promote Coober Pedy, a place they believe is “underrated” and “not always embraced”.

“We want more people to come to Coober Pedy because it’s such a unique place, anyone can have a crack at opal mining and potentially find a million dollars,” Daniel says.

“You need to do your research and safety is always first, but anyone can do it and that’s uniquely South Australian.

“Cooper Pedy is the biggest opal field and has produced the largest quantity of opal in the world.”

The Hahndorf hobby miners’ careers differ greatly to their underground adventures.

Daniel owns the Aboriginal Art Gallery in Hahndorf’s main street while next door is Justin’s German Village Shop where he handcrafts cuckoo clocks and grandfather clocks.

The pair met about seven years ago as they live next door to each other and quickly bonded over a shared curiosity in fossicking for gold in the Adelaide Hills.

Before long they tried their luck with finding gemstones in Australia’s opal capital, travelling regularly to Coober Pedy in hope of spotting that flicker of colour among the dull sandstone.

They say they’d often be mining for a whole week and find nothing, then boom! Opal.

“When it appears, it’s amazing. It’s this beautiful, colourful stone sitting in the boring sandstone and you know you’re onto something,” says Justin, whose great-grandfather was an opal miner in the APY Lands community of Mintabie.

Justin spent the first year of his life in Coober Pedy as his family had lived there since the 1980s and owned the town’s caravan park before moving to Adelaide.

“I’m not a spiritual person at all, but I feel spiritually connected to that place in a really weird way,” he says.

“Hahndorf is the polar opposite to Coober Pedy, they’re almost 1000km apart but I love both of them.”

Daniel, left, and Justin spent nine months filming the TV series in Coober Pedy and snippets in their hometown of Hahndorf.

Daniel, on the other hand, is originally from Germany, moving to Australia in the late ‘90s to finish studies in anthropology.

During their trips to Coober Pedy, Justin and Daniel became good friends with John Dunstan, a veteran miner of over 50 years who in 2003 discovered the Rainbow Virgin Opal valued at more than $1m.

One day John told the pair that the Discovery Channel was snooping around town.

“Johnny said, ‘no one in Coober Pedy wants to be on camera but do you boys want to do it?’” Daniel says.

“We looked at each other and thought, ‘that sounds interesting’.”

The adventures on Outback Opal Hunters are fair dinkum, the pair say.

“Some people say it’s staged and it’s not real, but that’s ridiculous,” Daniel says.

“When we pull out real opal out of the wall, that’s what it is, it’s happening for real.”

Justin says opal mining – and even noodling (sifting through disposed dirt) – is anyone’s chance at finding a million bucks.

“It’s one big adventure,” he says.

“It’s one of the last places for a free man to try his luck at finding a million dollars.”

The next series of Outback Opal Hunters is expected to air in 2019.

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Robway Safety back from the brink

Once-struggling Thebarton crane safety technology company Robway Safety is reaching new heights after returning to South Australian hands a little over a year ago.

New owner and managing director Andrew Powell bought the 41-year-old business back from a US multinational company in March 2017.

He salvaged 15 local jobs and says the business is back on track.

“It’s a phoenix, we’ve come out much better than expected,” says Andrew, who first owned Robway for nine years before it was sold to a Canadian company in 2012, and then the US.

“We don’t owe any money, we have a really good team of people and we have money in the bank, we have stock, we have customers, a wealth of ideas and projects in a world that’s ticking along quite nicely.

“My main goal was to make Robway sustainable, so making sure it’s going to be here in the future and making sure 15 people weren’t going to lose their jobs, as they were going to. We’ve achieved that.”

Robway Safety at Thebarton is back in SA hands.

Andrew entered the world of crane safety when he bought the business off its founder, Robert Way, in 2003.

Robway Safety develops and manufactures safe load indicators and line tension monitoring systems for cranes and heavy lifting equipment.

Established in 1977, the business has gone on to become a leader in its field, working with rated capacity indicators, sensors, and web-enabled data telemetry to improve crane safety.

The load monitoring system monitors the load of a crane to ensure the machine isn’t at risk of tipping over.

Robway Safety is driven mainly by the oil and gas, resources, and construction sectors, with 50% of its sales going to the international market.

Andrew says a major advancement in Robway’s operations includes the use of telematics to enable data to be collected from equipment in the field for analysis.

Many of Robway’s employees are specialised software engineers.

“We’ve had big advances in telematics, we can beam up to someone’s mobile phone (and tell them) that their crane is being overloaded, or if you want to know how hard your crane is working, the data logging will tell you that,” he says.

Andrew says he stepped back into Robway after hearing of its demise “by accident”.

“My wife has an art gallery at the front of the (Robway) building and we were having Christmas drinks,” he says.

“Some of the guys from Robway were there and told me they were going to be out of a job.

“I believed there was life in Robway yet, and there were sacrifices all round, but there was a complete change in company culture.

“Last year we stabilised things and I was prepared to take the risk involved in saving 15 jobs knowing it would be underpinned by the then-State Government’s Job Accelerator Grant.

“We’ve started hiring again and Robway now has a goal of sustainability rather than growth or profits.”

Andrew says the team at Robway comprises specialised software engineers who are the best in their field.

Such is their loyalty to the company that a number of employees have been with Robway for more than ten years, while one staff member is approaching almost three decades.

Robway safety and load monitoring systems are installed on cranes used offshore and onshore.

Robway load monitoring and safety systems are installed on cranes that are currently gracing the skyline not only across Australasia, but also here in Adelaide.

Among its clients is Port Augusta-based Max Cranes, while local construction projects, including the South Road corridor, “have cranes that have Robway systems on them for sure”.

Andrew says Adelaide provides good security for small businesses and that its working relationships are strong.

“Long term relationships are critical and seem to mean more in Adelaide,” he says.

“We need to jealously guard what we’ve got rather than letting it go offshore or wither away.”

Visit I Choose SA for Industry to learn more stories about key industry leaders, why they’ve chosen SA as a base and how the state is enabling them to succeed.

Inside the architecture of the new Rundle Mall Plaza, H & M store

Aspects in the design of the $40m Rundle Mall Plaza redevelopment featuring an H & M store will be a “standout” and will help reawaken a somewhat tired precinct along Adelaide’s premier retail strip.

Brand SA News caught up with one of the contributors to the four-storey redevelopment, Hames Sharley’s managing director Caillin Howard, for an insight into this retail and infrastructure coup.

Caillin, who has been with the Adelaide-based multidisciplinary design firm for almost 20 years, says the plaza revamp is one of Hames Sharley’s most exciting projects.

“Rundle Mall Plaza isn’t one of our biggest projects at the moment, but is it our favourite at the moment? Absolutely, because of its complexity, because it sits in the middle of the CBD, because it’s not just about retail,” he says.

“It has the ability to touch the most people in Adelaide, therefore it’s a pretty special project.”

Concept imagery of the plaza redevelopment.

Rundle Mall Plaza’s owner, The Weinert Group, announced the redevelopment plans in February, saying the addition of the Swedish fashion giant H & M would be a “significant drawcard for Rundle Mall in particular but Adelaide in general”.

While H & M will be the plaza’s major tenant, the redevelopment spans across four lower levels of the nine-storey building.

The lower ground is expected to become a ‘tech hub’ with offices and co-working spaces, while the ground floor will be dedicated to retail and fashion.

A new, higher-end dining precinct will unfold on level one, with large glass windows overlooking the mall, while a health and wellbeing precinct is envisaged for level two.

A multi-storey void at the main entrance will be a “standout architectural feature” and will host the relocated Progress statue, a welder copper sculpture created by Lyndon Dadswell in 1959.

The refurbished iconic Progress statue will mark the entrance to the plaza.

Caillin says the redevelopment presents a chance for the plaza to take better advantage of its Rundle Mall frontage as well as its activation with Gawler Place and the Myer Centre.

He says the higher-end dining precinct will also give shoppers and nearby workers another option to a unique dining experience able to be enjoyed within an office lunch break.

“You don’t have to have a burger, souvlaki, or sushi in a food court when you’re in that retail mall,” he says.

“You can go and have great fish and chips or great Italian and have a turnaround of 40 minutes rather than going to a café or restaurant.

“Adelaide has heaps of them (cafés and restaurants) and they’re brilliant, but you have to put aside an hour-and-a-half to do it.”

The dining precinct on level one will offer views over Rundle Mall.

Rundle Mall Plaza is just one of the many projects that Hames Sharley’s Adelaide team of 45 is working on, with the Cedar Woods housing development at Glenside among other ventures.

Its portfolio includes the design collaborations on the Adelaide Oval redevelopment and the University of Adelaide’s Braggs building, as well as the Channel Seven studios on Port Road, the Whyalla Hospital, Elizabeth Aquadome, and the West Lakes and Gilles Plains shopping centres.

Caillin says Hames Sharley prides itself on delivering “contextual architecture” by taking into consideration the impact of a building on its surroundings.

“We believe that architecture has a responsibility to answer to its city, site or location, so we have as much responsibility to give back as to take,” he says.

While born in SA, Caillin undertook his secondary and tertiary education in Perth, where he joined Hames Sharley in 1999.

Hames Sharley collaborated with BVN Donovan Hill on the design of The University of Adelaide’s award-winning science and research facility, The Braggs Building.

Hames Sharley is listed as one of the 100 largest design practices in the world and has offices in every capital city across Australia. It was established in Adelaide more than 40 years ago.

With a grandfather as a builder and a father as an architect, entering the world of design was almost inevitable for Caillin, also a keen cricketer and yachtsman.

Stepping up to the role of managing director in 2014, he says there is no shortage of leading architecture and design companies in Adelaide.

“When you have a look at the large practices across the country, I think over 50% of them started in Adelaide,” he says.

“There’s us, Woods Bagot, Hassell, all of these big players who originated out of Adelaide.

“For me, geographically, Adelaide is a great place to be … we have great education and really smart people.

“It’s a really good place to centrally locate the business.”

Rundle Mall Plaza redevelopment is expected to be completed by the end of 2018.

Visit I Choose SA for Industry to learn more stories about key industry leaders, why they’ve chosen SA as a base and how the state is enabling them to succeed.

PixelForce is one Fast Mover

It’s a classic success story: the university assignment that turns into a start-up business run from a garage.

That’s how it went for web developer Hinney Lo, whose classroom venture became one of South Australia’s fastest growing businesses, PixelForce.

The Adelaide-based studio is now one of the city’s most trusted web designer and app developers, with a client list that includes South Australian fitness guru Kayla Itsines.

PixelForce’s rapid climb to success in a relatively short space of time – seven years – has now seen the business become a finalist in BDO and Brand South Australia’s Fast Movers South Australia 2018 program.

The program recognises the fastest growing and most innovative small to medium enterprises in the state, and winners will be announced this Friday.

To qualify, businesses must have a registered head office in SA and achieve a minimum turnover of $200,000 a year for the past three years, among other criteria.

“We are genuine and just try to be ourselves,” Hinney says.

“When we first meet our clients, we don’t promise them anything we’re not confident we can deliver, and we give genuine, honest feedback on the idea and concept.”

Hinney Lo is PixelForce’s managing director.

PixelForce’s 26 employees, ranging from high level designers to software engineers and project managers, work out of a Glen Osmond Road studio, designing and developing websites and mobile phone apps.

The business sprouted from humble beginnings when Hinney and a university classmate created a mock business as part of a final year project.

As a result, PixelForce Digital was born in 2011, with the uni pair offering web design services to the public.

Client demand soon grew and the business moved from the garage to an office along the popular nightspot Hindley Street.

“It was chaos to be honest,” Hinney laughs.

“But we landed a great client – Wokinabox – which had an office on West Terrace.

“Their marketing manager was walking along Hindley Street and saw us, walked in and we had a chat.”

Undertaking website and app development for the fast food eatery, PixelForce continued to build relationships with various SA businesses.

Hinney’s friend and now technical director Ben Zhang came on board and PixelForce Digital amended its name to PixelForce Systems.

By 2015 the business, now known simply as PixelForce, had build a core team of senior app developers.

The team secured a high profile client – Instagram fitness guru Kayla Itsines and delivered the workout and meal planning app, Sweat with Kayla.

The fitness star and her fiancé Tobi Pearce, who have built a global health empire worth $63m, placed at number 40 on the 2017 Young Rich List.

In 2016 PixelForce launched Kayla’s newest app, SWEAT.

“When we first met Kayla and Tobi, they were already really successful,” says Hinney.

“But they came to us because they wanted to build their app.

“We were chosen as a supplier and we’ve been a part of their success, so we’re really proud of that.”

Most of PixelForce’s clients are start-ups and entrepreneurs but it has also worked with larger entities such as Angove Family Winemakers, the South Australian Liberal Party and Adelaide City Council.

Hinney says 90% of PixelForce’s employees are recruited through an internship program.

“A lot of graduates come to us to work as interns and that’s a great way to pick our employees,” Hinney says.

“We train them from the beginning.”

Hinney is originally from Hong Kong and came to Australia at the age of 15.

He studied at the University of Adelaide initially achieving a bachelor’s degree in design studies before taking on a Master of Design in digital media.

Hinney says he chose Adelaide to be the home of PixelForce because of the city’s relaxed lifestyle and its support of emerging businesses.

“We really like the environment and vibe here,” he says.

“Melbourne and Sydney are too big, and Hong Kong is like that as well.

“That was one reason why I came to SA, it’s a bit more relaxed and there are a lot more opportunities here for start-up businesses.

“South Australia gives start-ups a try.”

PixelForce is among the 25 nominees for the Fast Movers SA 2018 awards, announced on Friday, May 25 at a gourmet breakfast at Adelaide Oval.

Tickets are available now, click here to purchase.

Header photo is Hinney Lo, left, and PixelForce technical director Ben Zhang.

Country Arts SA has brought theatre to the regions for 25 years

In six months’ time the rows of the Northern Festival Centre in Port Pirie will be lined with theatregoers awaiting the world premiere of emerging playwright Elena Carapetis’ Gods of Strangers.

Written by Port Pirie-raised Elena, the historical fiction piece is inspired by migrant stories of regional SA.

The show will be seen by regional audiences ahead of their metropolitan counterparts, and be added to an ever-growing list of productions that have spilled onto country stages for close to three decades.

Although commissioned by the State Theatre Company, Gods of Strangers is one of a string of shows brought to the regions by arts organisation, Country Arts SA.

Country Arts SA CEO Steve Saffell.

The regionally-focused organisation is celebrating 25 years of performing arts in the country.

Country Arts SA CEO Steve Saffell says accessibility to the arts is crucial for the wellbeing of regional communities.

“I believe it’s always about creating equal accessibility to the arts for people living in regional SA to provide them with the opportunities that people living in metropolitan areas can take for granted,” he says.

“It’s fair to say that the arts play a really important role in community wellbeing, economic development and tourism.

“For many regional communities, sport is freely available and important but there are many who need more or who don’t play sport, and this (the arts) provides an invaluable opportunity for these people.”

The Chaffey Theatre, Renmark. Photo by Chris Herzfeld.

Aside from programming thousands of performances across regional SA over the years, Country Arts SA also remains a strong funding source for regional artists and communities.

It manages four major regional theatres, the Northern Festival Centre in Port Pirie, the Chaffey Theatre in Renmark, the Sir Robert Helpmann Theatre in Mt Gambier and the Middleback Arts Centre in Whyalla, in addition to the Hopgood Theatre in Noarlunga.

Steve says it’s hard to pick a favourite among the thousands of shows that have graced the stages.

“There have been so many performances that have come through, from the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra to the Australian Ballet and the opera,” he says.

“This year Adelaide circus company Gravity and Other Myths came to Whyalla with their major show, Backbone.

“They stayed for a whole week, did workshops and engaged with local schools.”

Backbone performers putting gravity to the ultimate test. Photo by Carnival Cinema.

Steve says interactive performances are becoming more prominent.

Past examples have included multimedia police drama experience, Bingo Unit, where audiences helped film scenes in locations across their communities.

The audience was also invited on a backlot tour of the regional theatres, where they could choose to interrogate suspects, search for evidence, or simply watch the drama unfold.

Steve says many modern day theatre productions aren’t intended to fill hundreds of seats.

“A lot of the shows these days aren’t always intended for big audiences,” he says.

“Some performances just don’t work on a big stage with 500 seats in front of them.

“It’s much more about participation now and getting people involved rather than having a passive audience.”

Bingo Unit toured the regions in 2014.

Mt Gambier theatre director Jamie Harding knows the effectiveness of immersive audience experiences.

His regional production company Gener8 Theatre’s production, In the Pines, involved extensive community consultation and involves the audience donning visual reality (VR) headsets.

Premiering in August, In the Pines examines how the drug ice has an impact on local communities.

Wearing VR headsets for half of the performance, audience members are able to step inside the world of drug addiction and its devastating consequences.

“Nothing like this (use of VR) has ever been attempted in Australia and maybe even the world,” Jamie says.

In the Pines will have its world premiere in Mt Gambier in August and then a season in Adelaide in 2019 before touring nationally.

A scene from ‘In the Pines’.

Gener8 Theatre is supported by Country Arts SA and Jamie says art, cultural and theatre “should be at the heart of every community”.

“It’s a creative way to get them to talk about their sense of place and issues they feel are important,” he says.

“I think it’s vital to create from the regions and have work that is made in the regions and shown not only in SA and nationally, but on the world stage.”

Header photo is Rosalba Clemente in ‘The Gods of Strangers’.