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Movers and shakers: John Holley joins Graeme Dingle Foundation

Movers and shakers: John Holley joins Graeme Dingle Foundation

Spotlight on student programmes promoting entrepreneurship and interest in science, technology, engineering, maths and manufacturing (STEMM).

John Holley is now head of operational strategy and relationships at the Graeme Dingle Foundation. Before this, he was the head of information and communication technology services at Manukau Institute of Technology. He continues to be a board member of ChildFund and Accelerating Aotearoa as well as a reserve officer with the NZ Army. Holley has shown ICT leadership is a good springboard for operations roles, having also held the role of regional operations director for Jericho and Visible Results.

Duane Makin has moved to ProCare Health as programme director digital and transformation, following more than two years as chief technology officer at Atlantis Healthcare. Before this, he was with Vector, as technology strategy planning and manager, and also group manager, information technology.

Elinor Swery joins Soul Machines as conversational engineer, following nearly two years at IBM where she worked on digital strategy and artificial intelligence.

Elinor Swery
Elinor Swery

Rod Snodgrass has joined Vector in the new executive role of chief customer officer. He joins Vector from The Exponential Agency, a digital consulting and executive advisory agency to a number of blue chip New Zealand businesses. Prior to that he was chief executive of Spark Ventures, where he led the inception and development of Spark’s incubator and innovation arm, including the creation and brand-building of new businesses like Lightbox, Qrious, Skinny, Bigpipe, Morepork and others.  

Rod Snodgrass (left) with AUT Vice-Chancellor Derek McCormack.
Rod Snodgrass (left) with AUT Vice-Chancellor Derek McCormack.

Fortlock Group has acquired Wellington-based technology services company Comsmart.

Bringing the two companies together allows us to combine skills and leverage our abilities to provide a wider range of services to all our customers. Our management team will ensure the transition is smooth and seamless, working with the Comsmart team to ensure that each client’s business carries on without interruption,” says Patrick Shields, owner and executive chairman of Fortlock Group.

Established in 2007, Comsmart offerings include professional services, business analysis, project management and solution architecture through to Helpdesk support, recruitment and contract staff placement. It also provides full hardware, software and cloud solutions including Azure, Amazon Web Services and Apollo (Revera).

The acquisition sees the Fortlock Group expand to more than 200 staff in three locations across New Zealand. As a result of the acquisition, Fortlock Group has changed its executive management structure. Fortlock owner and CEO Patrick Shields moves to the role of executive chairman, while Jason Cherrington, previously the managing director of Fortlock, is now the group chief executive of Fortlock Group.

Patrick Shields and Jason Cherrington of Fortlock Group.
Patrick Shields and Jason Cherrington of Fortlock Group.

An annual initiative to find New Zealand’s most promising student entrepreneurs has launched - offering the winner a chance to compete at the international finals in Toronto.

The Global Student Entrepreneur Awards (GSEA), by the Entrepreneurs Organisation (EO) aims to support young Kiwi entrepreneurs. The competition entry is open until January 19, 2018. To be eligible, students must enrolled in a tertiary institution, and own a business which has been generating revenue for more than six months.

“The GSEA awards give students the chance to compete against some of the world’s most exciting, young entrepreneurial minds,” says Lester Binns, spokesperson for the NZ chapter of the Entrepreneurs Organisation.

“Student startups will be judged by a panel of successful business owners from the Entrepreneurs Organisation.

“The NZ winner will take home a $5000 cash prize as well as $1000 to attend a conference, a lunch with one of the high profile EO members and a shot at a prize pool worth almost $60,000 when they compete against finalists from more than 110 other cities around the world in Canada.

“There is also a entrepreneurial mentor prize which will provide invaluable one on one guidance for their winner at the beginning of their career."

Wellington students of engineering, information technology and architectural technology recently presented their projects that were completed with and for industry as part of their final year of study.

Hutt City Mayor Ray Wallace says the students are the future workforce of “Technology Valley” which has the fourth largest number of medium and high tech companies located in the area.  

“We are incredibly fortunate to have such bright young minds working in STEMM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths and Manufacturing),” says Wallace, who was joined by other speakers chief executive of WelTec and Whitireia Chris Gosling, chief executive of Engineering New Zealand Susan Freeman-Greene and Paul Matthews from IT Professionals NZ. The student projects covered a wide range of areas and proposed solutions for many real-world problems. 

The projects included an automated system for opening and closing existing household curtains, an Android App called “Raise your Game” for former Black Sticks Captain Suzie Muirhead where athletes can input their data and this can be used for planning and development with coaches. A group of students developed an App which allows the Wellington South Community Patrol to automate reporting to NZ Police. 

 A weather monitoring system for remote locations and a wireless sensor network for forest fire detection were showcased alongside seismic strengthening projects, designs for medium  density housing and ‘Green’ house design.  ‘Emugeddon’, an online game built from scratch, entertained visitors to the exhibition.

Students showcase their work, which include the Community Watch Report Automation project and the Earthquake Data Analysis project.
Students showcase their work, which include the Community Watch Report Automation project and the Earthquake Data Analysis project.
Send news tips and comments to divina_paredes@idg.co.nz
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