Meet the civil engineer helping build one of the world’s most challenging tunnelling projects in Himalayas

Bineshian Hoss’ career as a civil engineer has taken him to the four corners of the globe. One city, however, captured his heart. Adelaide became Bineshian’s adopted home nearly a decade ago… and the place he returns to in between his overseas engineer postings.

After more than 20 years working in design and construction roles, his latest position would challenge even the most experienced engineer – constructing a 300km length of tunnels in India’s Himalayan range.

Rumoured to be the highest railway bridge in the world, the J&K Railway Project is also the largest project ever recorded in India, connecting the Jammu and Kashmir regions across the mysterious, untouched majesty of the Himalayas.

The early stages of the project, which includes 103 tunnels and 62 bridges, have an estimated 15-year completion date – four of which, Bineshian has been central part of as head of consultancy and engineering with Swiss company, Amberg Engineering.

“Most areas don’t even have road access, so the evolution of the project is slow. It has to be. India is new to tunneling, both in knowledge and infrastructure. It’s maturing as the years go on, thankfully,” Bineshian says.

Tunneling is now considered as much science as it is art, and within the “young fold Himalayan Mountains”, there’s a high degree of rock strata through which the tunnel is being bored.

“Road accessibility, geology of the Himalayas, potential landslides, and insurgency constantly plague our momentum,” Bineshian says.

He is part of a revolving team of dozens of engineers working on the J&K Railway Project. As it stands, the completion date is loosely set for 2024 and is “certainly not a project for the faint of heart”.

Bineshian doesn’t fall into this category, always embracing the next journey his career takes him.

Originally Iranian-Australian, Bineshian admitted at The University of Western Australia to complete a Masters and Doctorate in Civil-Geotechnical Engineering.

An invitation to keynote at an industry lecture in Hahndorf introduced him to life in Adelaide. This spurred an immersive research period where he explored Adelaide’s key industries, economy and easy travel to countries he’d frequented.

“I liked how central it was. And given I have a young son, its safety and friendliness was important, too,” he explains. “It needed to fulfil all those lifestyle perks, while still being easy for me to travel in and out of.”

Shortly after this, Adelaide became Bineshian’s new home.

“I believe it’s the best city in Australia. The weather is perfect, the people are friendly and respectful of their community. It’s like no other city I’ve been to before,” he says.

Civil engineer Bineshian Hoss, right, is now working on the USBRL project – one of the most challenging railway projects in the Himalayas.

Bineshian has lived in Aberfoyle Park. Nowadays, he returns every quarter, given the demanding nature of the J&K Railway Project.

“I have to be on the ground in India a lot, especially over the past four years. But, Adelaide is still my base,” he says.

Bineshian’s long-term plans are to return to Adelaide full-time.

“There’s a lot of movement in the city and I believe the transportation sector will be next, particularly with infrastructure,” he says. “Every time I return home, there’s a new building in development. I’d love to be one of the local engineers they turn to when we need bridges, highways and tunnels.”

Bineshian is one of the growing number of expats who keep Adelaide within reach. The lifestyle is the shared consensus regarding the gravitational pull of Adelaide.

He believes developments in South Australia’s transport industry could position Adelaide as “the world’s best city” – an optimistic title, he acknowledges, but one he truly believes.

And we know who will put up his hand to pioneer a project with such vision and to fulfil his dream, of course… to live and work in Adelaide.

The Hello From SA network is sharing the stories of SA expats from around the world. Do you know a South Aussie living, working or learning abroad? Get in touch via the Hello From SA Facebook or LinkedIn pages.

Hello from SA is the global community for South Australians living, working and learning interstate and abroad.

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Hello From SA brings together expats interstate and abroad

South Australians living, working or learning interstate and abroad are set to be connected through a new network, launched by Brand South Australia this week.

Bringing together South Australian expats, the Hello From SA network is content-driven, creating an informed, engaged and positive network for South Australians all around the world.

This content will encourage expats to become advocates for SA by maintaining or deepening their connection with the state.

“No matter where you are in the world, you’ll find fellow South Australians, and wherever they end up they take with them a connection to the state,” says Brand South Australia executive chairman Peter Joy.

“There are so many talented and inspiring South Australians out there achieving great things and we want them to re-engage with our state. SA has a lot to offer in terms of business and investment opportunities, and we want our expats to be aware of this, and perhaps even consider SA as a place worth returning to for career and lifestyle opportunities.”

Central to the network is the Hello From SA website, LinkedIn page, (@Hello From SA) and Facebook page (@HelloFromSA).

Through these platforms, SA expats can stay up to date with the latest news, business opportunities and industry insights from around SA, read in-depth profiles of successful South Australians and find out about the latest cultural happenings in the state.

The network also gives expats the opportunity to interact and connect with fellow South Australians all around the globe.’

All South Australians are encouraged to share Hello From SA with their family and friends living interstate and overseas.

SA was once home to many notable faces, including Adelaide-born Gold Logie award-winning TV and radio presenter, Carrie Bickmore, most known for her role in hosting The Project.

Australia’s former Foreign Minister Julie Bishop grew up in the Adelaide Hills and studied law at the University of Adelaide. Now living in Perth, Julie was the country’s first ever female foreign minister.

University of South Australia graduate Tim Piper is the founding partner of award-winning New York creative agency Piro. Time Magazine named him one of the most influential people on the planet for his content work for brands.

Successful actor, musician and TV presenter Hugh Sheridan was born and raised in Adelaide and is well-known for playing Ben on popular Aussie family drama Packed to the Rafters. He now lives in Los Angeles.

Vogue Australia’s fashion director Christine Centenera was raised in Adelaide and now based in New York. In 2017 she co-founded WARDROBE.NYC with partner and Australian fashion designer Josh Goot.

Ken Wong is a successful game designer, director, and creative mind behind many popular apps. Growing up in Adelaide and graduating with a Bachelor of Arts from UniSA, Ken was the lead designer of award-winning game Monument Valley.

Bruna Papandrea is an SA-born now US-based film and TV producer and founder of production company Made Up Stories. Prior to this, Bruna co-founded Pacific Standard with Reese Witherspoon, a production company working on blockbusters Wild, Gone Girl and Big Little Lies.

So, do you know a South Australian expat, living, working or studying outside of SA? Share the Hello From SA network!

Feature image: Adelaide Oval, SATC.

Hello from SA is the global community for South Australians living, working and learning interstate and abroad.

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International education one of SA’s top export earners

The value of international students to the South Australian economy continues to grow – last financial year generating $1.62 billion and positioning international education as one of the state’s top export earners.

Almost 38,000 international students were enrolled in SA universities, education institutions and schools in the 12 months to November last year, and with universities opening their lecture theatres for the new semester later this month, thousands more students are set to arrive.

Karyn Kent, CEO of StudyAdelaide, the main organisation marketing Adelaide as the learning city, says Adelaide has always had a solid reputation as an education city, but the number of enrolments and the value of the sector are on the rise.

She says international student enrolments have been climbing by about 6% since 2014, with the majority of students coming from China and Hong Kong, followed by India, Nepal, Malaysia, Korea and Kenya.

“The value of the sector has been growing by about 10% (each year),” she says. “It’s estimated by Deloitte that around 43% of that ($1.62 billion) is spent on education fees, and the other 57% is spent on living expenses, housing, food, entertainment and things like that.

“That’s the ongoing daily impact that international students are having on our economy. It’s certainly generated some big investments. We’re about to do some research with city businesses to try and get a feel for the retail sector in the CBD and whether they’re noticing it as well.”

Karyn says a large proportion of SA’s international students in the vocational and higher end education sectors study business, accounting and finance degrees, while engineering, health and IT are other main areas of study, followed by hospitality and education.

Adelaide’s three main universities, the University of Adelaide, the University of South Australia and Flinders University, have various campuses across the city and regional SA. The University of Adelaide is the oldest, established in 1874.

Adelaide is home to dozens of other education institutions including TAFE SA and campuses of Carnegie Mellon University and Torrens University Australia.

So what makes Adelaide attractive to international students?

“Lifestyle is definitely one of the key benefits,” Karyn says. “International students can afford to live close to their campus here in Adelaide, we have a really diverse and welcoming environment and I think we give the impression that we’re a team and a family here.

“But if you look at other drivers of destination choice it’s ‘does the city have the course I want to study?’, ‘is it a nice place to live?’ and employability opportunities are all really important.”

SA is already home to a number of international student success stories, people who have gone on to stay in SA and pursue business ventures.

Web design and app development studio PixelForce was born from a university assignment that became one of SA’s fastest growing businesses. One of its most high profile clients is fitness guru Kayla Itsines, who tasked PixelForce with generating her Sweat app.

Another success story is Harbour Bottling, a wine bottling plant exporting up to 400 shipping containers of locally produced wine a year, mostly to China. Both these companies were established by international students who now call SA home.

It is unknown exactly how many international students end up calling SA home, but a 2018 report released by the Australian Treasury and Department of Home Affairs called Shaping a Nation estimated that 16% of international students in Australia eventually transitioned to permanent residency.

“The SA Premier (Steven Marshall) has been very upfront about migration as a way to address low population growth and international students are a big part of that story,” Karyn says.

“If we get the settings right, it makes it more attractive and easier for international students to stay.”

Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment David Ridgway says the State Government has demonstrated its commitment to growing international student numbers by increasing StudyAdelaide funding to $2.5 million.

A Ministerial Advisory Committee for International Education has also been established, bringing together education institutions, peak bodies, government and private providers to develop a strategy to sustain further growth in the sector.

“International students make an enormous contribution to the state, not only economically, but also socially and culturally and become invaluable tourism ambassadors for SA among their friends and family back home,” Mr Ridgway says.

“Graduating international students become young professionals with a global outlook and we have seen countless examples of them joining or creating local businesses to help drive economic growth across industries in our state.”

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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Thomas Foods links exporting and innovation

Prosperous export businesses don’t succeed by chance. Thomas Foods International has grown to become Australia’s third largest meat producer – and the sector’s largest family owned business – with an annual turnover of about $1.3 billion.

CEO Darren Thomas says this is the result of 40 years’ work in international markets, built around a strong but highly flexible business strategy.

“The goal is not just about establishing export trade, but thinking about the market you are going into, and the relevance of your product in that market,” Darren told a full auditorium at a recent Brand South Australia I Choose SA industry briefing on the trade and investment sector.

Implementing this idea means examining the numbers to understand precisely what your product means to a global market, and this has prompted Thomas Foods to move far beyond its original business of meat processing and distribution.

Thomas Foods’ original business was in meat processing and distribution.

“Australia cannot feed the world,” says Darren.

“We can produce enough food to feed about 60 million people, and the markets we are already exporting to have a population of three billion people, so therefore we are always going to be a boutique producer, no matter how much the company grows in size and reach.

“This understanding was behind our very first decision, which was to concentrate on premium products.”

Darren says a key to export success, which now represents about 80% of Thomas Foods International’s business, has been through investing directly in markets where Thomas Foods International is trading.

It has built infrastructure and distribution hubs in the US, entered business partnerships with foreign companies and purchased several others to establish a solid beachhead in 85 key international markets – from Dubai and Cairo, to South America, Shanghai and Tokyo.

Recently Thomas Foods International purchased a company in the Netherlands, which had been a long-term customer, strengthening the company’s position in Europe.

“If you want to succeed in other countries, you have to get closer to the customer – there is no other way,” says Darren.

The expansion of Thomas Foods International also signals that progress depends on being reactive to what happens in the market, rather than staying fixated on your existing products.

With this in mind, Darren says he is aware that selling traditional boxes of meat will eventually be phased out altogether, which is why Thomas Foods International is a keen and active participant in emerging e-commerce technology and marketing strategies.

“You have to keep asking yourself how you remain relevant,” says Darren. “It’s crucial to keep abreast of technological changes in your sector, to know what your opposition is doing in the same competitive space, and to understand what your customer’s customer wants.

“We need to read and understand consumer habits and preferences, to embrace change in the marketplace as it happens.”

This has seen the company expand to include food retail label Thomas Farms, meat wholesaler Holco, ready-to-cook meal business Thomas Farms Kitchen, and sustainable seafood export business Thomas Cappo Seafoods, a collaboration with Cappo Seafood.

Some of these businesses have taken off internationally in ways that don’t happen in Australia – such as surging US popularity in prepared meals.

Thomas Foods Fresh Produce is Australian owned and Australian grown.

This underlines the need for an expansive exporting company to have separate businesses that can react swiftly to how customers evolve and buying trends erupt in different markets.

Darren has noticed that leading global tech companies dominating the retail sector – Alibaba and Amazon – are now investing in new-style bricks and mortar retail shops that have hi-tech purchasing models, with the first checkout-free Amazon Go shop now operating in Seattle.

This has inspired the company to trial new food packaging and marketing ideas in South Australia first. Eight months ago, Thomas Foods combined with Tony and Mark’s grocery stores and Uber Eats to introduce the world’s first home-delivered fresh food packs, providing ingredients for chef-designed, ready-to-cook meals via a phone or online instant delivery service.

It’s an innovation that Darren believes will soon find traction in the international market, and therefore give his company a competitive advantage.

“It’s a snapshot of opportunities that can exist,” he says, “so it’s important to get out and have a go.”

Such progress is a powerful positive statement from a company that was hit by an unexpected disaster when a fire destroyed its Murray Bridge abattoir and meat processing works in January 2018.

The company has underlined its firm commitment to rebuild in Murray Bridge, and is looking to invest in next-generation technology to improve cost-effectiveness and efficiency.

Darren says that taking this approach reinforces that Adelaide will always be home base for the company.

“There need to be improvements – especially for governments to knock down existing trade barriers if we are going to grow further – but we have a strong platform in SA to build a strong export business on,” says Darren.

“We are very confident of the future. I believe we can afford to be bullish in our business forecasts.”

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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Boost after buyouts of SA businesses

The recent sale of several high-profile South Australian food and beverage manufacturing companies has presented new growth opportunities due to significant capital injection, without sacrificing the input of local talent and leadership.

Udder Delights Cheese, Pirate Life Brewery and MOJO Kombucha are all now owned by international corporations, but the local entrepreneurs who formed these companies have remained at their helm.

They say new ownership has strengthened these SA-based operations and increased the SA workforce, rather than having enforced changes applied to existing operations.

Udder Delights founder Sheree Sullivan says the Lobethal-based cheese producer has continued to prosper since giant Japanese dairy company Snow Brand purchased a majority shareholding in November 2017.

She underlines that foreign investment has provided an essential platform for growth that most local people don’t realise, while Sheree and her husband Saul have remained in the roles of chief executive and managing director respectively.

Udder Delights is led by Sheree and Saul Sullivan.

“Many people just think we’re sold out, and there has been negative social media messages posted, but these people don’t understand how important it is for SA to have international business investment such as this,” explains Sheree.

“This has ensured that Udder Delights can continue to grow stronger as a SA manufacturer, far beyond what we could invest in the company.”

In the year since the change of ownership, Udder Delights has recorded 35% growth in sales, while $1 million infrastructure improvements have been made at the Lobethal factory in the Adelaide Hills, with another $1 million earmarked for further development in the next few years, based on the Sullivans’ suggestions.

“We continue to put together the vision of what we want the business to look like,” says Sheree.

“We still have ambitions for the company to grow, and Saul is now more focused on product development. Before the sale, he was under too much pressure and had too little free time to think creatively and innovate. Now he has the headspace and motivation to start testing new cheeses again.”

The Udder Delights factory in Lobethal.

The Sullivans say this positive sign emphasises that the new company ownership structure has quickly settled into a productive rhythm and is playing to Udder Delights’ enduring strengths.

“Our investors have seen the value in keeping the entrepreneurs who started this company, because they couldn’t do the same things themselves. They respect our ingenuity and vision,” says Sheree.

“They also understand that we bring experience and knowledge to the new company structure, while they’ve lifted the company’s performance in areas where we didn’t do so well. With the sum of all this, we can see that the company is thriving.”

In September 2018, Willunga husband and wife team Anthony and Sarah Crabb sold their company MOJO Kombucha to Coca-Cola. What started a decade earlier with experimental blobs of bacteria and yeast in their back shed to create an innovative drink that was initially sold at farmers’ markets and health food shops, made the transition to supermarkets.

This saw annual turnover rise to $7 million a year, making it the market leader in kombucha drinks and attracting the attention of Coke.

MOJO CEO and co-founder Anthony Crabb with some of the kombucha products.

While MOJO grew quickly through its initial decade without significant external funding, additional capital was needed for it to remain market leader in this rapidly-expanding drinks sector, and the purchase offer from Coke suited the Crabbs’ purposes perfectly.

“While other investment options had been considered, the proposition by Coke was the most attractive and beneficial,” explains MOJO director of sales and marketing Andrew Buttery.

“It allowed Anthony to continue in his role and run the business from its Willunga base as an independent operation, with the benefit of plugging into Coke’s sales and marketing network. This was the best option to take the business to another level, both nationally and internationally.”

Mojo expects to double its sales volume in 2019 as a consequence of Coke’s reach beyond grocery stores into petrol and convenience stores, and on-premise hospitality venues – all happening from a SA production base.

“The ownership transition has been smooth, albeit going through a steep learning curve,” says Andrew. “The support Anthony is getting from the Coke team has been first class, and we expect a big future.”

From left to right: Co-founder Jack Cameron – Hon. David Ridgway MLC, Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment – Pirate Life CEO John Phinney – Senior Project Manager Josh Smith from Promanage Australia.

Pirate Life has immediately benefitted since being purchased in November 2018 by Carlton & United Breweries, a subsidiary of Belgium-based international drinks company Anheuser-Busch InBev.

A new $10 million Pirate Life brewery and canning facility is being constructed at Port Adelaide, due to be completed in March. It will enable the popular craft brewer to escalate annual production from about three million litres to about eight million litres, to meet growing national demand.

It also means the company is able to operate two facilities, with its original Hindmarsh brewery now dedicated to creating new beers, including innovative sours and barrel-aged brews.

Pirate Life is expecting continued growth following on from its takeover by Carlton & United Breweries.

Pirate Life co-founder and chief brewer Jared Proudfoot says the sale will enable continued growth for the company that has enjoyed immediate popularity since releasing its first beers in March 2015.

“The reality is we have run out of capacity at Hindmarsh. With this partnership we’re in a fortunate position to upgrade to a new, bigger brewery while dedicating Hindmarsh to innovate and craft a whole range of new styles to make sure we keep pushing the boundaries and evolving.

“Our whole team is sticking around and it’s invaluable for all of us to be able to benefit from the knowledge and skills of some of the best brewers in the world.”

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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