What’s next for Anton Andreacchio and Jumpgate VR?

Bold moving images of the South Australian landscape changing over three billion years are soon appearing at the renowned Venice Biennale, and Anton Andreacchio is among the Adelaide creative team making it happen.

“It started with an exhibition in Adelaide at the Hugo Michell Gallery and everyone was so blown away in the contemporary space they suggested we submit to the Venice Biennale,” Anton says.

Now Living Rocks: A Fragment of the Universe by artists James Darling and Lesley Forwood with Anton’s Jumpgate VR, composer Paul Stanhope and the Australian String Quartet is the only Australian project this year selected as an Official Collateral Event.

The stunning installation headed to Italy centres on a shallow 30m-long pool flooding an historic Venetian building, rock-like microbial structures will emerge from the water while a 36.5m-long and 3m-tall moving image artwork towers over its sides.

James Darling & Lesley Forwood, Living Rocks: A Fragment of the Universe, 2018, Adelaide, digital video (20-minute loop), 1.5 tonnes Mallee root & 4,000 litres of water, 1612 x 464 cm; Installation view at Hugo Michell Gallery, 2018. Photo by Sam Roberts Photography.

It is yet another impressive achievement from the creative company Jumpgate VR that further adds to its growing global reputation. In 2015, Anton’s thriving business created what is believed to be a world first virtual reality symphony with the Adelaide orchestra, the performance attracting work from all over the world.

For Anton, Adelaide has been the ideal place to launch his creative businesses, with the first digital agency Convergen started in 2009 with his brother Carlo.

Since then they co-founded four other companies, virtual reality company Jumpgate VR, film production company Double Bishop, and data science consultancy GMTI Consulting. Just a few weeks ago they also started post-production company Artisan Post Group with Michael Darren.

“We are already doing some of the post-production work on The Hunting currently shooting at Adelaide Studios, and we’ve just landed our first Hollywood horror movie that is about to enter post-production,” Anton says.

As the businesses continue to grow Anton has also emerged as a leading voice promoting the state’s creative industries. He is now a board member of the SA Film Corporation Board, Adelaide Film Festival and the inaugural Entrepreneurship Advisory Board, which has supported the launch of the new SA Office of the Chief Entrepreneur.

Anton Andreacchio of Jumpgate VR is the latest I Choose SA ambassador. Photo by JKTP.

His business is also taking a lead in moving into the State Government’s ambitious Lot Fourteen hub being created at the former Royal Adelaide Hospital in the CBD to create an entrepreneurial ecosystem.

The 7ha neighbourhood is designed to bring together start-ups, mentors, corporations, researchers and investors with creatives in a bid to nurture talent in some of the world’s fastest growing industries.

Anton’s team of 14 staff will be spread between Lot Fourteen’s Eleanor Harrald building and the current Adelaide Studios office, home of the SA Film Corporation in Glenside, “as it’s important to also be part of that industry base”.

An office in Melbourne has been closed with Anton saying it was an important space for building interstate relationships but has now served its purpose. The company is keen to remain nimble in a quickly changing world.

“It’s almost impossible to see more than six months ahead, particularly with how fast tech is changing, there was 100 years of change happening in 10 years and then that change is now happening in one year,” he says.

It’s not only the arts world where the suite of companies are rising stars. There’s a strong relationship with industry-based training organisation PEER and contracts in the sporting world after Jumpgate joined forces with the Australian Football League a few years ago.

Jumpgate VR created what is believed to be a world first virtual reality symphony with the Adelaide orchestra in 2015.

It’s cutting edge work with the game’s elite athletes to improve performance using virtual reality headsets to see replays or new game play simulations and has seen its AFL club clients swell from one to four.

Anton believes a key to building successful companies is taking “an Adelaide approach, let’s build relationships, then ask where it fits”.

“We’ve had to have a local sensitivity but a global focus, but wherever we work we like to act like we are local,” he says.

“We’ve found we have to be relationship focused and it’s not constructive to be over promising, in the entrepreneurial and tech space there’s a lot of over-promising.”

It is a consistent message from the young achiever who has a strong belief in the future of the state’s creative industries.

“I feel excited about the year ahead, we are in a great position, there is just so much to do and it’s good fun,” he says. “We are planning for our future as well as looking at what’s happening in SA and thinking this is a great time to be here, we are kind of countercyclical in SA from the rest of the country … we’re finding there’s more demand than ever.”

Anton Andreacchio is Brand South Australia’s latest I Choose SA ambassador for creative industries.

Industry in focus: Creative Industries

Throughout the month of March, the state’s creative industries will be explored as part of I Choose SA.

South Australia is home to a thriving ecosystem of creative businesses and specialists who are delivering world-class works VFX, TV and film production, app development and the VR space. Read more creative industries stories here.

Visit I Choose SA to meet the people building business and industry in SA, and to find out how your choices make a difference to our state.

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From Holdens to home batteries: sonnen helps recharge workforce

Adam Williams began his first full-time job as an apprentice toolmaker at Holden’s Elizabeth factory at the age of 19. Fast forward more than two decades and instead of cars coming off the production line it’s home battery systems.

After almost two decades working at Holden in various roles including leadership and management positions, Adam is still in the manufacturing game and is back under the same roof of the historic car-making site.

He now leads manufacturing operations at sonnen, a global home battery giant that has set up in the old Holden factory, now rebadged as Lionsgate Business Park and home to a small handful of other hi-tech manufacturing businesses.

“Ironically, my very first day at Holden was in this building that sonnen is setting up in,” says Adam, Brand South Australia’s latest I Choose SA ambassador for the trade and investment sector.

“Holden was a big part of my life, it taught me a lot and gave me a big insight into business, lead processes, safety and culture, which are all invaluable to manufacturing outside of auto.”

sonnen Australia’s manufacturing manager Adam Williams is Brand South Australia’s latest I Choose SA ambassador. Photo by JKTP.

The former manufacturing plant in Adelaide’s north has remained relatively disused since the last of Holden’s Elizabeth employees officially clocked off for the last time in November 2017, closing a near-century old chapter of Australian car-making history.

But investment by Melbourne-based Pelligra Group in the site has seen advanced manufacturing tenants including sonnen move in and establish presences here in SA.

Founded in Germany in 2010, sonnen produces the sonnenBatterie, a hi-tech energy system that stores and adjusts household usage of solar power.

All but two of the current 50 employees at sonnen’s Australian HQ are ex-Holden workers, and Adam says their auto-manufacturing skills have been transferrable into the new industry.

“When you’ve been doing something for so long, you never quite know if your skills will be relevant in a different industry, but I quickly found the philosophies and mentality around manufacturing and business were very transferrable,” he says.

“Our employees bring many skills in terms of understanding continuous improvement, they understand safety, advanced manufacturing and lean manufacturing.”

The first employees at sonnen’s Adelaide factory when it opened in 2018.

Adam left Holden in 2015, two years after General Motors officially announced it would eventually close the Elizabeth plant. He went on to spend three years at medical x-ray manufacturer and start-up Micro X based at the Tonsley Innovation District, another old car factory once home to Mitsubishi.

Upon hearing the news of sonnen’s plans to invest in SA, Adam researched the home battery maker and was drawn to the opportunity to be a part of a global company with high manufacturing volumes of about 10,000 home battery systems a year.

“To see this site reborn is really exciting, it’s going to be good for the state and good for the northern area of Adelaide,” he says.

“I love manufacturing and the philosophy behind it, what it brings to the state and the economy. Even though I left Holden, it’s an industry I want to stay in.”

The sonnenBatteries work by controlling how the battery stores and releases solar power into the home. The system can isolate itself from the electricity grid during blackouts, allowing a household to use its own stored energy until the power comes back on.

In Germany, thousands of homes are already connected to a ‘virtual power plant’ – a sonnenCommunity – where power is shared between households, resulting in no need for a conventional energy provider.

Minister for Energy and Mining Dan van Holst Pellekaan, left, and Premier Steven Marshall congratulate Sonnen CEO Christoph Ostermann at the sonnen launch in Adelaide in 2018.

“That is the goal here as well,” Adam says. “The more people we have on batteries, the less demand on the grid.”

sonnen was the first vendor to be accredited to SA’s Home Battery Scheme, a $100 million government initiative allowing households to install solar panels and a storage battery at a reduced cost.

But it wasn’t the scheme that motivated sonnen to set up in SA, says head of Asia Pacific and managing director of sonnen Australia Nathan Dunn, but rather the state’s advanced manufacturing capabilities.

“The ready pool of talent in SA will allow us to tap into future demand for sonnenBatteries and allow us to scale our operations within SA,”  Nathan says.

“Another reason we have chosen to establish a presence in SA is the significant local ecosystem of suppliers that we can partner with to acquire components needed for the manufacturing of sonnenBatteries locally.

“Our goal is to ultimately increase the level of Australian sourced components to build a battery that is fully made in SA.”

Nathan says the goal is to produce sonnenBatteries to meet the needs of Australian customers before the company looks towards export opportunities into New Zealand, Japan, Thailand and Malaysia.

Read more:

· German battery giant to create 430 manufacturing jobs for SA

· Why energy giant sonnen chose to invest in SA

Industry in focus: Trade and Investment

Throughout the months of January and February, the state’s trade and investment industry will be explored as part of I Choose SA.

South Australia is in a prime position for trade and investment opportunities as we have a 24-hour connection to international markets and a prime reputation for our premium products and services.  Read more trade and investment stories here.

Visit I Choose SA to meet the people building business and industry in SA, and to find out how your choices make a difference to our state.

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Sustainable hemp at the heart of Good Studios

Ethical fashion designer Anny Duff is championing the use of hemp fabrics to create her contemporary clothing designs with minimal environmental impact.

Her South Australian-based ethical and sustainable fashion label Good Studios features clothing and homewares made from luxurious hemp linens and hemp organic cotton blends woven in Adelaide’s sister city of Qingdao, China.

Industrial hemp is still a fledgling industry in SA, with a number of growing trials rolling out in the Riverland and South East.

Anny, Brand South Australia’s latest I Choose SA ambassador, is passionate about hemp linen as a sustainable fabric, which she uses to create simple and minimalistic pieces, with colour palettes of blues, greys, naturals, blacks, earthy oranges and khaki greens.

Hemp linen is made from the largely misunderstood hemp plant, which aside from the clothing industry can also be used in the manufacturing of some health foods, skin care, construction materials, paper and biofuel.

Anny is quick to point out the differences between the hemp plant and its infamous cousin, marijuana. While it’s a variety of the cannabis sativa species, the chemical compounds of hemp are different to marijuana as hemp contains little to no levels of the psychoactive ingredient THC.

I Choose SA ambassador Anny Duff is behind sustainable fashion label Good Studios. Photo by JKTP.

“I could spend hours talking about the vast differences between marijuana and hemp, they are completely different plants, just of a similar species. If you were to smoke a field of hemp you’d just get a headache,” she says.

“It was only recently that SA changed legislation that allows farmers to apply for licenses to grow industrial hemp. But we still have a long way to go.”

Anny works hard to ensure as much of her supply chain as possible follows sustainable paths.

“We have really tried to find companies who are doing really incredible things and we showcase their fabrics as much as possible with really simplistic designs,” says Anny, who has showcased her pieces from creative workshop, retail and gallery space Ensemble Studio since 2016.

“One of our suppliers is an incredible organisation and is the first Chinese company to be fair wear certified. We work with them to get their surplus and deadstock if we can, so we try to not make too much from scratch.”

Once Anny has sourced the fabric, it is dyed by Oeko-Tex Certified dyes before all design and manufacturing is done in Adelaide.

Some of Good Studios pieces are made from Australian wool, while the label’s line of swimwear is made from up-cycled nylon from salvaged fishing nets.

Good Studios also has a homewares line with bedding made from 100% hemp linen, known for its durability, antibacterial properties and for being naturally thermoregulating. The bedding is made to order with the help of Anny’s mother, a talented seamstress.

Anny says having a sustainable supply chain is sometimes a challenge due to cost and logistics, but she “couldn’t do it any other way”.

“There are moments you have to compromise but my mantra is to try and not compromise as much as possible,” she says.

“There are things you could just turn a blind eye towards but at the end of the day why should some people have less of a livelihood than you just because of the way things are? “Things need to change and need to be transparent.”

Anny founded Good Studios in 2012 after working in the film industry but longing to get back to the roots of her upbringing.

She grew up on an organic farm at Wistow in the Adelaide Hills and attended Mt Barker Waldorf School, a Steiner school offering an education rich in creativity and dynamic learning.

Ensemble Studios has a small retail space showcasing wares made by fellow SA makers, as well as a few selected pieces from sustainable makers across the country.

After completing Year 12 she got an apprenticeship in the film industry as a camera assistant before moving into art direction and production design. She worked on local feature film One Eyed Girl as production designer and set out to find simple, minimalistic, op-shop-style outfits for the cast.

“That sort of aesthetic of really paring back design to the bare minimum was really enjoyable for me and was definitely the first seeds of Good Studios,” Anny says.

“It (fashion design) started as something on the side in-between film projects but then it took on a life of its own and I was hanging onto the proverbial coattails.

“I had no background in pattern making or sewing, I have done a pattern making course since, but it’s been a baptism of fire making sure I work with the right people to deliver my vision.”

Filmmaking still takes up some of Anny’s time. In August she travelled to China to document Good Studios’ supply chain beginning in the hemp fields, and hopes to release a film in the near future.

Aside from Good Studios, Ensemble Studios is also home to two other resident designers, Beccy Bromilow of BB Shoemaker and plant stylist Emma Sadie Thomson.

“That’s probably the best thing that has happened from starting my label, meeting an incredible group of people,” Anny says.

“Consumers are placing a lot more value on the handmade and it’s such a human thing to make. To be able to do it for a living is really special.”

Industry in focus: Craft industries

Throughout the months of November and December, the state’s craft industries will be celebrated as part of I Choose SA.

South Australian craftspeople make up some of our most creative thinkers and makers of sustainable and innovative goods. Read more craft stories here.

Visit I Choose SA to meet the people building business and industry in SA, and to find out how your choices make a difference to our state.

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Robyn Wood crafting bespoke furniture pieces from Adelaide

Despite still being on the road travelling home from three long days at The Big Design Market in Melbourne, furniture maker Robyn Wood is keen to talk about her passion for the South Australian industry.

The talented designer runs her own studio from The Mill creative studios in Adelaide and is firmly behind the state’s craft and making industry growing its presence on the national stage.

“We have such an amazing culture for the arts, the next step is getting people to embrace the designers and makers, the artisans along with that, to somehow connect the dots,” says Robyn, Brand South Australia’s latest I Choose SA ambassador.

“I’m really keen to see the craft and making industry becoming like the food side of things, the wine, food and cheese in SA that is so well known.”

It’s been four years since the aptly named Robyn Wood – she married into the name, “how is that for serendipity?” – set up her own design studio at The Mill in Adelaide’s CBD.

After working as an interior architect for 20 years, her interest in furniture making was particularly stirred during a seven-year stint with joinery firm IJF.

Furniture designer and I Choose SA ambassador Robyn Wood at Neigbour Workshop. Photo by James Knowler/JKTP.

Robyn remembers a moment working with IJF after the Adelaide company won a three-year contract to fit out Federal Government embassies around the world.

“It was in Paris, 1995, 15th arrondissement. I was overseeing moving furniture out of an Embassy apartment complex as part of an interior fit out,” she says. “But this wasn’t just any furniture – it was mid-20th century. Timeless, elegant, iconic, built to last. It was beautiful.”

The experience stirred a growing appreciation for beautiful furniture, and in 2014, Robyn opened her own studio.

She now makes furniture and bespoke objects for architects, galleries and “lovers of good design” throughout Australia, selling at galleries, online, at two markets – The Big Design Market and Bowerbird – and on commission.

Her very first piece made for small production is a favourite, a hand turned timber base Bud Lamp. It drew committed fans among the 70,000 people streaming through The Big Design Market held in the Carlton Royal Exhibition Building last weekend.

“Some of those people at the market saw me there four years ago and they bought my lamp and they came in just to say hello and thanks for the lamp,” Robyn says. “I can still remember their faces from when it was sold, I have some bizarre connection with it.”

There’s also a Reflect desk, vases, candle holders, along with a glass topped coffee table she’s recently finished. Most are made from wood and Robyn has a particular soft spot for sycamore maple and “walnut is lovely to work with too”.

There are other pieces made with glass and steel, with Robyn committed to ensuring each is made from sustainable, renewable materials.

“My design philosophy can be summed up in three words: warmth, simplicity and connection,” she says.

Her plan is to scale back selling smaller pieces with the focus turning to one-off larger designs “to show what I can do” through exhibitions, high-end galleries and stores.

It’s a carefully considered decision in a local industry where artists and designers are working to raise their profile and build stronger business models.

Robyn is a member of craft and design industry group Guildhouse and features on the organisation’s Well Made website, also regularly attending its professional development programs to hone her skills.

She believes there are enormous opportunities to develop a more vibrant local industry.

“I think there’s growing confidence coming through from artist and designers,” Robyn says.

Her career has been marked by the local scene’s strength in collaboration. Robyn regularly works with other makers like Tony Neighbour from Neighbour’s Workshop in Kensington.

“Adelaide is still small scale, its designers and makers are a tight community and I have access to all of that, there’s a lot of old school skills that are still around and I’ve a lot of people mentoring me,” she says.

“The collaboration and skill sets in SA are wonderful, we have so many great makers here.

“Guys like Tony, they don’t get the press and they don’t look for it, but he would be one of the preeminent production makers in SA – if you speak to (acclaimed furniture designer) Khai Liew and others in the know, Tony would be a guy they would all work with.”

Industry in focus: Craft industries

Throughout the months of November and December, the state’s craft industries will be celebrated as part of I Choose SA.

South Australian craftspeople make up some of our most creative thinkers and makers of sustainable and innovative goods. Read more craft stories here.

Visit I Choose SA to meet the people building business and industry in SA, and to find out how your choices make a difference to our state.

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Young, driven and ready for a career in agribusiness

At 22 years of age, Elizabeth Ward spends most of her working week among grape vines and under almond trees in one of South Australia’s picturesque food and wine regions, McLaren Vale.

Brand South Australia’s latest I Choose SA ambassador is in her final year of an agricultural science degree at the University of Adelaide and has scored an internship with independent agricultural consultancy DJ’s Growers, where she is learning about the world of agronomy.

Elizabeth has few doubts about her future and securing full-time work in SA’s agribusiness industry, with her university course’s webpage stating “there are five jobs for every one graduate”.

“One of the key selling points for students looking at studying ag science is the opportunity for graduates,” she says.

“I think people are pretty confident that there are jobs out there, and I’ve found from speaking to people in the industry that there are jobs to be filled.

“So I think SA is really cool in that there are many jobs in agriculture.”

Working for three days a week for DJ’s Growers in vineyards across McLaren Vale, the soon-to-be university graduate has already got her foot in the door of the state’s agribusiness sector.

I Choose SA for Agribusiness ambassador Elizabeth Ward is undertaking a paid internship at local agronomy consultancy DJ’s Growers. Photo by James Knowler/JKTP.

The business’s consultants and agronomists are in charge of regularly monitoring vines and crops, providing technical advice to producers of winegrapes, orchard fruits, potatoes, horticulture crops, pasture and broad-acre crops.

Agronomists help detect pests and diseases before suggesting and monitoring appropriate controls to help reduce economic damage to crops. They also monitor soil quality and salinity, and give advice on the right tools to improve produce quality.

Elizabeth is one of three internship participants currently monitoring vine health in large-scale and boutique vineyards prior to the harvest season in early 2019.

“We use an app called Agworld Scout to record and monitor the growth stage of the vines, then we report back to our agronomist, who reports back to the grower, who can then decide on the management of their crop,” she says.

“It’s wonderful working outside, I love it. McLaren Vale a great spot to work and I really enjoy working with such beautiful crops as well.

“The growth of them is so quick. In the past six weeks we’ve seen them go from being pretty much bare to really gorgeous canopies.”

DJ’s Growers intern and I Choose SA ambassador Elizabeth Ward monitors vine and crop health in preparation for harvest. Photo by James Knowler/JKTP.

Elizabeth’s curiosity about the world of food production and a passion for the state’s abundance of high-quality produce was all it took to spark a desire to pursue a career in agribusiness.

Studying for three years between the University of Adelaide’s North Terrace, Waite and Roseworthy campuses, she says her studies have exposed her to crop, livestock and soil sciences, biology, biochemistry, genetics, and soil and animal health.

Students also access the latest research and technology and build practical skills through a number of work experience opportunities, with 91% of the university’s ag science graduates finding full-time employment within months of finishing their degree.

Elizabeth also spent a semester on an agricultural science exchange at the University of Guelph in Canada.

Viticultural agronomist Joe Siebert completed the agronomist internship in 2016 before transitioning into a full-time role at DJ’s Growers.

Servicing soil moisture monitoring equipment installed in 200 vineyards across Langhorne Creek, McLaren Vale, Adelaide Hills, and Barossa Valley, he also provides technical support and knowledge for winegrape growers.

Joe’s work involves regular monitoring of vineyards for pests and diseases, assessing the quality of the vine and crop, and advising on the appropriate use of fungicides, insecticides and herbicides when needed.

Photo: PIRSA.

DJ’s Growers takes pride in its Integrated Pest Management (IPM) approach, which involves more environmentally sensitive methods for controlling pests, rather than the use of chemicals and insecticides.

An example of IPM is the use and fostering of ‘beneficial insects’ released into strawberry crops or hot-house environments to control unwanted insects.

Joe also provides services on mapping, canopy measurements, soil and plant nutrition, irrigation water quality and irrigation advice.

He says DJ’s Growers is an independent and unbiased agronomy business that places paramount importance on the needs of local growers and their crops.

“Our primary focus is to provide good technical advice that improves crops and returns to the grower. We try and look at it from the perspective of ‘how can we make sure they are still doing business in 10 years’ time?’

“We are very much tailored to every grower’s needs.”

DJ’s Growers is currently supporting more than 100 producers growing a number of crops including winegrapes, potatoes, strawberries, cherries, almonds, olives, onions, garlic, broad-acre crops and salad greens, just to name a few.

DJ’s also stocks its own line of organic and conventional fertilisers designed for local conditions to combat problems such as low yields and build ups of high soil salinity.

Industry in focus: Agribusiness

Throughout the month of October, the state’s agribusiness industry will be under the magnifying glass as part of I Choose SA.

South Australian farmers, producers, agricultural researchers and biosecurity workers are the lifeblood of our country communities and are big players in the state’s overall economic welfare. Read more stories here.

Visit I Choose SA to meet the people building business and industry in SA, and to find out how your choices make a difference to our state.

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Axiom is moulding a new manufacturing future

In his 12 years working with Axiom Precision Manufacturing, Shannon Wride has seen a transformation in the way the business operates.

“We’ve strived to take on that high end work, and as a company we’ve always tried to do the jobs other people say they can’t do,” says the company’s operations supervisor and Brand South Australia’s latest I Choose SA ambassador.

“We’ve had people come to us saying no one else is willing to touch this and we’re always willing to give it a crack.”

When Shannon started out with Axiom as an apprentice in 2006 the company was then called Diemould Tooling and was based in Edwardstown, the work focused around the state’s automotive industry in producing plastic injection moulds.

As automotive work slowed down and China began taking over an increasing slice of the sector’s manufacturing pie, the SA-owned company took stock and began looking to change the way it operated.

The business began courting defence and aerospace companies and, eventually, new jobs began to roll into the workshops.

Axiom Precision Manufacturing operations supervisor Shannon Wride is an I Choose SA ambassador for the advanced manufacturing industry.

Before long, Diemould Tooling was merged with Numetric Manufacturers in Wingfield and the company renamed Axiom Precision Manufacturing.

Now the family owned business that started in 1979 works extensively on high-end metal component design and manufacturing jobs for the aerospace and defence industries.

It has worked hard to achieve AS9100 accreditation – meaning its quality system meets top level aerospace requirements, and the business has its highest ever staff numbers at about 60.

There are also plans to further develop land owned by the company next door to its Wingfield site, where its purpose-built manufacturing facility, delivering special purpose equipment, tooling and injection moulded components, is based.

It’s been a remarkable turnaround for a company relatively new to the nation’s defence industry. And it’s one that saw the company win a 2016 Defence Industry award for Most Outstanding Small-Medium Enterprise from the state’s Defence Teaming Centre.

The award recognised how it had excelled in engaging with the defence industry “to build their capability and to work in defence”.

Shannon, who first completed a four-year tool making apprenticeship, is now in charge of “day-to-day operations”, scheduling machine loadings and overseeing the inspection department.

He is in charge of “trouble shooting” and ensures orders reach customers on time with Shannon saying the company’s client base stretches across Australia.

He says one of the jobs he’s proudest of overseeing involves making moulds for a device that protects frontline defence forces from bomb detonations.

Shannon went through a four-year tool making apprenticeship and now works in an SA company that is taking advantage of the state’s growing advanced manufacturing sector.

“We’ve heard first-hand from people who have come in and seen these devices work in the field,” Shannon says.

“It’s saved lives, just hearing that is so rewarding, we are contributing to the protection of our defence forces.”

The company’s capabilities in precision machining also has seen it selected to manufacture components for space projects, from world class telescopes to high precision components supplied to Orbital ATK.

This space company manufactured fuel cells that launched the space shuttles to the International Space Station.

Axiom also makes components for the Australian Collins Class Submarines, ranging from precision-machined engine components to electronic hardware and the manufacture of tooling for battery components.

And it has a decade of experience in manufacturing medical devices and components including producing bone plates, dental implant components and specialised surgical equipment.

It’s this range of work – from defence to mining, food and beverage and medical devices industries – that’s kept Shannon committed to his role in a company that is not only growing but also taking on apprentices to train staff for high-end manufacturing in the future.

The business currently has three in-house apprentices and is looking to have another start next year with Shannon saying the state has a bright future.

“We hear that manufacturing in SA has been through a rough time but the ones who have managed to diversify early enough, we are booming, we haven’t had a quiet spell in years,” he says.

“And we’re attractive as employers, we’ve got a guy working here from South Africa and he picked SA because of the liveability and cheaper housing and with talk of the state being a defence hub as well.”

I Choose SA for Advanced Manufacturing stories are made possible by City of Salisbury:

Industry in focus: Advanced Manufacturing

Throughout the month of September, the state’s advanced manufacturing industry will be under the magnifying glass as part of I Choose SA.

As SA transforms away from traditional manufacturing processes, innovative and sophisticated products and services are taking their place, creating new jobs and investment opportunities for the state. Read more stories here.

Visit I Choose SA to meet the people building business and industry in SA, and to find out how your choices make a difference to our state.

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Mark Fusco: advanced manufacturing critical to the economy

Cutting edge technology is helping to generate new advanced manufacturing potential for South Australia to grow the economy, according to business improvement specialist Mark Fusco.

“I’m really quite excited for the future in the sense that some of these changes in technology help the smaller companies compete, we don’t have to send things to Asia to be made if we use the technology available in a smart way,” says Mark, Brand South Australia’s newest I Choose SA ambassador.

He says advanced manufacturing in SA is helping level the global playing field so local companies can better compete, grow and create more jobs in the state.

“Advanced manufacturing is such a critical part of any advanced economy, it’s a creator of net wealth, it’s high tech, high value and it’s exportable,” Mark says.

He established award-winning Advanced Focus in 2005 “to help companies scale up” after spending five years working as production engineering manager for global car company Mitsubishi Motors.

He now works with more than 40 sectors in building more advanced systems – and is actually based in a former Mitsubishi building at the Tonsley innovation precinct.

Mark Fusco of Advanced Focus is an I Choose SA ambassador for the Advanced Manufacturing industry. Photo by James Knowler/JKTP.

The company specialises in working with high potential businesses to evaluate the way they operate and to help remodel their systems to boost efficiency and scale.

“If you’re a company that’s growing really fast there are often three things you run out of pretty quickly, you can’t get enough good people, you can’t get enough money to fund expansion and you’re outgrowing your premises, facility and processes,” Mark says.

It’s been a rewarding process, with Advanced Focus winning awards and helping create success stories, like the company’s second customer SA’s Redarc Electronics.

When Mark first worked with Redarc and its managing director Anthony Kittel there were only 15 staff but management was committed to building a global company.

“He had the ambition and we’ve worked in partnership ever since, the company now has over 200 people and is really going well based at Lonsdale,” Mark says.

“You don’t see that ambition often, it’s fantastic to work with a company that really wants to make a change.”

Since then Advanced Focus has worked with the Osborne-based builder of the nation’s Collins class submarines to dramatically slash dry docking maintenance times.

It has also worked with leading defence industry leader BAE Systems Australia and electrification, automation and digitalisation company Siemens.

Last week, Mark was meeting with senior members of the Australian Navy, introducing them to a range of smart SA companies like Tauv, a manufacturer of lightweight military-grade armour.

Tauv has applied world-first technology to additive manufacturing to develop stronger, lighter and smarter armour for defence, law enforcement and the civil industry.

Another is Resonate, a company specialising in the design of custom measurement systems, software development, complex data analytics and systems integration services.

“They’ve created a company called Ping that has created an acoustic sensor that can listen using artificial intelligence … that is being used to monitor wind turbine defects,” Mark says.

Mark is now also focused on recognising the abundance of high-potential companies in the state.

Along with two other companies, Mihell & Lycos and Adept Technology, he established the not-for-profit Impact Awards in 2014.

The aim was to draw together highly respected leaders in the SA business community to help develop and grow more global companies.

Its mission is “to deliver significant value to the SA economy for the long term by actively working with proven, high-potential companies to help them globalise”.

The awards find companies with the greatest potential to impact world markets – with winners paired with the group’s ambassadors to help them achieve their global ambitions faster and with less risk.

Ambassadors include Rheinmetall Defence Australia managing director and Sydac founder Adrian Smith and angel investor and co-founder of Australian company Humense, Amber Cordeaux.

Mark says winners like last year’s Supashock, HMPS and Ziptrak had judges “blown away that they have never heard of some of these companies and also what the have achieved and done it in SA”.

The awards website says it all.

“SA as a high cost economy, with a small and isolated population, needs global companies generating profound impact on the world,” it says.

“By uniting with proven leaders and influencers, our local business community can achieve incredible things to make SA not just one of the best places to live, but also one of the most exciting places from which to run a global enterprise.”

I Choose SA for Advanced Manufacturing stories are made possible by City of Salisbury:

Industry in focus: Advanced Manufacturing

Throughout the month of September, the state’s advanced manufacturing industry will be under the magnifying glass as part of I Choose SA.

As SA transforms away from traditional manufacturing processes, innovative and sophisticated products and services are taking their place, creating new jobs and investment opportunities for the state. Read more stories here.

Visit I Choose SA to meet the people building business and industry in SA, and to find out how your choices make a difference to our state.

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OZ Minerals’ Katie Hulmes: SA mining sector creating benefits for all

South Australian geologist and engineer Katie Hulmes admits that earlier in her mining career, she’d look around and realise the room was full of men.

But that scenario is increasingly changing, says the 35-year-old General Manager Transformation and Readiness at one of South Australia’s largest mining companies, OZ Minerals.

She says it’s both men and women who have helped shape her successful career in mining, an industry that employs 10,000 South Australians.

“I’ve been really lucky to work with amazing men and women throughout my entire career, and OZ Minerals has always brought a diversity of thought and process to what we do,” she says.

“It’s definitely changed over the years, absolutely there are more women now.”

Joining the ASX-listed company in 2008, Katie’s current role involves helping OZ Minerals – one of Australia’s largest copper producers – progress as a modern mining company.

She began her career in the mining sector at the age of just 17, working as a field engineer for Golder Associates while, at the same time, pursuing a geology degree at the University of Adelaide.

The 35-year-old has not only managed to establish a career in the state’s mining sector, but maintain it here too, and says opportunities exist for others to follow suit.

Oz Minerals General Manager of Transformation and Readiness Katie Hulmes is an I Choose SA ambassador. Photo by James Knowler / JKTP.

“I’m a firm believer that individuals can create opportunities and SA is full of them,” says Katie, an I Choose SA ambassador for the energy and mining sector.

“I think when people go into university, they shouldn’t be thinking that they can’t because they absolutely can get a job in mining.

“Mining doesn’t just need people to come out with degrees in geology and mining engineering, we need people with a range of skills – as an example we employ data scientists, communication specialists, lawyers, nanotechnology engineers and biochemists.

“It doesn’t necessarily matter the field you study, there are opportunities in this industry.”

Katie took an unconventional path into the workforce, working full-time in the mining industry while undertaking her bachelor’s degree.

After Golder Associates, she worked for a company then called Resource and Environmental Management at Prominent Hill, south east of Coober Pedy in the state’s Far North.

Prominent Hill is OZ Minerals’ copper-gold mining operation that produces one of the market’s highest grades of copper concentrate.

While flying in and out of Prominent Hill, Katie also pursued her second degree, a Bachelor of Engineering (civil and environmental).

She witnessed OZ Minerals’ transformation in 2015, when it relocated its headquarters from Melbourne to Adelaide to be closer to its flagship operation.

Aside from Prominent Hill and projects across Australia and in Brazil, OZ Minerals also owns Carrapateena, a copper gold deposit 160km north of Port Augusta.

“SA was a local place to our operating asset at the time. It was a more affordable place to do business, so it made sense to position ourselves here,” Katie says.

“We changed our workforce, our direction and our vision and really tried to lift being a modern mining company to the forefront of everything we do.

“It allowed us to reconsolidate. It was an exciting time.”

Last year came a big announcement – board approval of a $916m investment to develop the Carrapateena mine.

The project is set to create 1000 jobs from construction through to production. It will be a 4.5 million tonne per annum (Mtpa) underground operation with an estimated life of 20 years.

Construction on site has commenced, with the airstrip completed recently. Commissioning of the mine is scheduled for the fourth quarter of 2019.

Katie says the operation will not only benefit direct job creation, but will also have flow on effects for supply chain companies throughout the Upper Spencer Gulf.

The impact on local community’s livelihood and prosperity will also be felt, she says.

“There is excitement in the community around Carrapateena getting started,” Katie says.

“As we are promising local employment and procurement, I believe there will be flow on opportunities for the next 20 years in the region.”

Visit I Choose SA to meet the people building business and industry in SA, and to find out how your choices make a difference to our state.

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Hillgrove Resources GM on SA’s world-class mining operations

As Hillgrove Resources explores ground-breaking opportunities for its Adelaide Hills copper mine in the energy business, its well-travelled general manager Lachlan Wallace is relishing being part of a world-class operation.

He’s a firm supporter of plans for a pumped hydro energy storage project at the Kanmantoo mine along with exploring some of the state’s untapped copper potential in the South East.

“Having worked overseas and seeing how mining is done elsewhere, it made me realise Australia is the best at mining effectively, we are the world leaders in mining practice and by a long stretch,” Lachlan says.

“I think also having lived and worked in Europe, Asia, Africa and on the east coast of Australia during the past 20 years, there’s no better place to live, nowhere more liveable than South Australia.”

It’s a bold statement from the proud South Australian whose diverse career kicked off with a mining engineering degree at the University of South Australia’s Mawson Lakes campus.

His first job was in Tasmania at the Savage River iron ore mine where Lachlan delivered wide-reaching training from equipment operation to surveying, geology and production engineering.

Hillgrove Resources general manager and I Choose SA ambassador Lachlan Wallace. Photo by James Knowler / JKTP

It was around the seven-year mark that his wife Rebecca, a talented jewellery maker he met at a Blackwood fruit and vegetable shop, was offered a rare opportunity to train in one of the world’s creative epicentres, Milan, in Italy.

“We both moved to Italy,” Lachlan says, and the decision also launched his own international career.

He worked out of Johannesburg in Africa on mines in Zambia and Guinea, in Switzerland and India and then the couple moved to Indonesia, before deciding it was time to move home.

“I’d been watching the project at Kanmantoo for a long time and saw it as an exciting new development in the Adelaide Hills where there hadn’t been any open cut mining for 30 years,” Lachlan says.

In February, 2012, Lachlan was named its mine manager, then in 2015 its general manager, working in a region thought to be one of the most under explored and prospective base metal provinces in Australia.

At this stage, the copper mine has a licence until the end of 2019, with Lachlan saying about nine months of mining is ahead and an additional 18 months of processing on site.

Work is also underway to look at the possibility of underground mining and also creating the onsite pumped hydro facility by 2021.

“We have what we believe would be the lowest capital cost per megawatt pumped hydro facility in Australia,” Lachlan says.

“It could provide a much-needed energy storage solution and network stability for SA’s electricity grid.

“We are looking to build a facility that would store over 14 times the energy of the much talked about Tesla battery in the state’s north, for only double the cost.”

The mine is also recognised for it cutting edge technology.

When Lachlan arrived he found a way to create a pit with steeper sides saying for each degree steeper millions of dollars in costs were saved.

The operation has also been recognised for its commitment to working with the local community.

At the moment, 85% of its 200 FTE and 60 FTE contractors live in the local region including nearby towns stretching from Murray Bridge to Mt Barker.

There’s been a strong relationship built over the years, and the Kanmantoo and Callington communities are currently working with the company to develop a 30-year regional master plan for the site and the region.

Hillgrove Resources sponsors local events and sporting teams, and each quarter holds a public meeting alternately at the Callington or Kanmantoo town halls.

In 2016, the Hillgrove Resources and Kanmantoo Callington Community Consultation Committee won the Premier’s excellence in supporting communities in the mining and energy awards.

“One of the most enjoyable aspects has been working with the local Kanmantoo and Callington communities to develop a regional master plan which seeks to ensure that the mine’s presence results in a lasting positive legacy to the community surrounding the mine,” Lachlan says.

“The work that Hillgrove and the local community is doing is recognised as best in industry, something of which I am very proud.

“It demonstrates that mining can have a positive impact on local communities beyond employment, and sets the bar for community engagement which is essential to ensure social acceptance of mining into the future.”

“Keeping young people is so important to regional communities and that means creating jobs so they don’t have to leave the area where they grew up in to find work, we’ve managed to do that successfully around Kanmantoo.”

Visit I Choose SA to meet the people building business and industry in SA, and to find out how your choices make a difference to our state.

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No place like home for hugely successful Pocket Casts pair

Adelaide app developers Philip Simpson and Russell Ivanovic’s climb to the top of the tech game is the stuff of entrepreneurial dreams.

In 2008 the two work mates built their first app, Pocket Weather, as a side gig to their full-time day jobs.

A decade later and their Adelaide-based company Shifty Jelly and its hugely popular podcast app Pocket Casts has been snapped up by four of the biggest radio and podcast creators in the United States.

But despite the recent international investment in the South Australian tech company, the humble pair say they have no plans to move from Adelaide.

All development will stay in the city, with the Pocket Casts team based in a small office on Ebenezer Place in the Adelaide’s East End.

Their space is modest and shows no obvious signs of flashy success, although the duo joke that a Silicon Valley-style ping pong table would probably fit nicely in the corner and be welcomed by their small but soon-to-expand team.

“They were talking about wanting us to go to New York, but from the early days we said we wanted to stay in Adelaide,” Russell says.

“They could see that we’d make a successful product and they could have a level of trust in us so that even though they can’t be here all the time, they know our team will still deliver.”

Pocket Casts app developers and I Choose SA ambassadors Philip Simpson, left, and Russell Ivanovic. Photo by James Knowler/JKTP.

Since the acquisition earlier this year by the Americans – NPR, WNYC Studios, WBEZ Chicago and This American Life – Pocket Casts is knuckling down on its ambitions for the future.

I Choose SA ambassadors Philip and Russell say they hope to hire at least another six staff members before the end of the year, adding to their small team of five.

Weekly they Skype their new CEO, former iHeartRadio senior vice president and general manager, Owen Grover, who is based in New York.

Pocket Casts is a premium podcast listening app allowing users to access and manage more than 300,000 podcasts on Android, iOS or web devices.

It was launched a few years after Philip and Russell had quit their day job and started their own venture, Shifty Jelly, a two-man operation which grew to include a designer and support and admin staff.

Pocket Casts has been downloaded more than 100,000 times in Google’s Play Store and in 2015 the design was recognised by the internet giant at the annual San Francisco developers conference.

A recent ABC survey shows that almost 90% of Australians aged 18–75 claim to be aware of podcasts which allow users to download and listen to episodic audio files on electronic devices.

Pocket Casts was one of the first of its kind on the market and even came before Apple’s own podcast app.

Philip says having the backing of the US consortium means the team now has more flexibility and financial security to grow Pocket Casts’ features.

“We can be more flexible now … before we were always profitable but were restricted with money,” he says.

“Now we can expand more and put on more developers to help with the features we’ve been wanting to do for years, it’s very exciting.”

The popularity of Pocket Casts wasn’t Philip and Russell’s first brush with success.

Before launching Shifty Jelly in 2010 the pair’s first app, Pocket Weather, was released in 2008 and was an immediate hit.

Within one day of its release the weather app, showcasing live weather data from Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology, shot to number one in the Australian Apple App Store.

“It was amazing because we didn’t expect that, but we didn’t really know what it meant either,” Philip says.

“We were earning more money outside of work than we were at work, so we decided to take the jump with Shifty Jelly, and it was definitely worth it.”

Both Philip and Russell agree Adelaide’s creative industries and technology scene holds real job prosperity for graduates and job seekers.

“There’s plenty of work coming out of Adelaide if you want it, there’s the defence sector and the start-up thing is also happening,” Russell says.

“There’s almost no reason to move to Sydney or Melbourne, you’ll be paying five times more for housing, transport and everything else.

“If I was coming fresh out of uni, I’d definitely be getting a job in Adelaide.”

Visit I Choose SA to meet the people building business and industry in SA, and to find out how your choices make a difference to our state.

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