Melbourne Business Awards Presentation

Filed under: Awards

Paul Dawson receives the Speedshield nomination for the 2007 Melbourne Business Awards from former Australian Test Cricketer – Keith Stackpole. Paul presented a brief history of our company and talked about the importance of speed control in addressing both industrial mobile equipment safety and on road motor vehicle safety. Throughout 2007 10 companies will be nominated for the award with the winner announced in late 2007.

Speech presented by Paul Dawson:

“Some years ago, at 4am in a K-Mart carpark, Speedshield was born of a V8 Holden Ute. The baby was Intelligent Speed Control. The young parents, all of them male and engineers, danced in the rain having not slept in days and having worked solid for months, realised just how hard won is the road of engineering innovation.

Ladies & Gentlemen, Distinguished Guests

Nil Sine Labore was the motto of Warrnambool High School, my School, latin for “Nothing without Work” – and no more so is this the truth than in the field of innovative engineering.

To put things in perspective, if commercialising a ground breaking idea was like a horse running in the Melbourne Cup – the original Concept wouldn’t get you out the gates.

Innovation is no sprint, 9/10th’s of the race is just an ultimate test of commitment – with many people left demoralised. Like the Melbourne cup, this is not a race won by money or talent alone, there are many knobbly kneed cup winners.

At the clock tower, under the whip from the bank, its guts and determination that gets you through. The last half furlong, facing the breeze, only the support and belief of family and investors gets you to the line.

Seeing through the challenges, with the sun breaking through the clouds and over your back, as you wind down, you meet the realisation that through innovation, you can make a difference. That is the business of making innovations happen, and that’s what our company does.

At Automotion, the core of our company is based on these people, sons and daughters from Port Lincoln to the Illawarra, some from abroad – all moving forward with purpose to deliver on a promise of technological benefit for society under the banner of Australian business.

Starting in Warrnambool, Victoria – a famous racing district – we took up the challenge to create intelligent Control Systems – the original need, was to automate Mobile Barriers for the trots. That saw us win an Australian Design Award.

We then gained confidence to broadly apply the technology. Soon, we were making some ripples with intelligent speed control technology being applied to forklifts and were awarded Best Risk Solution by Worksafe for our efforts.

Soon after we attracted key investors, Peter & Margaret Whiffen, who shared the vision and with them our company started Melbourne operations on the 1st of January 2005.

Myself and Nathan McKenzie a fellow sharer of the dream being the only staff to make the trip to the big smoke.

Two years later, now almost 40 strong, R&D accounts for half of our business activity. With an engineering manager – Jason Ko – setting an extraordinary example for his young colleagues. Among staff, the feeling of hope for the future is infectious.

For industry, our technology means that forklifts and moving plant are operated safely. The time constraints that are part of the economics of doing business do not conspire to create accident and injury when your vehicles have been ‘Speedshield’ed’.

More than 10 of Australia’s top 50 industrials employ Speedshield technology as a key component of workplace safety. And it is spreading overseas.

With financial assistance from the Federal Government thanks to Ausindustry, and road safety experts behind the technology, Speedshield is set to revolutionise the way we drive.

Imagine being the parent of an 18 year male, Saturday night, mates, adrenaline, and vehicle. Now imagine trying to sleep. Speedshield technology means the car can be made only do what it’s allowed to 60 in a 60 zone, 80 in an 80 zone etc. It makes complete sense and is how motor vehicles should operate.

Over the next five years, it is my belief that our company will see through the promise of its technology and deliver more sons, daughters, mums and dads home safe to their families, from work and play.

And give plenty more reasons for hope in Australian business as a key International innovator and motivator.”