Internet of Things is a hi-wire act for Forrest Electrical

THE EMERGING world of the Internet of Things (IoT) is both a challenge and an opportunity, according to Forrest Electrical Group, which specialises in creating smart electrical solutions for residential and commercial clients throughout South East Queensland.  

“The rapid increase in demand for automated electrical systems has been aided by the release of products like Google Home and Amazon Alexa, and there is also the timely linkage with energy efficiency,” Forrest Electrical Group director and founder Luke Forrest said.

“Sensible programming, such as movement-sensitive lighting, is enabling homes and businesses to perform with better environmental responsibility. 

“As in most areas of modern life, the technology moves fast and product choice can be overwhelming.  Our clients are wondering what automation products they should use and which are reliable, and it’s our job to navigate these waters.”

Forrest Electrical has been involved in the industry for 25 years, and has been at the forefront of the introduction of sophisticated automation and control systems.  

“Of course technology constantly improves, but this is a positive thing as its applications become broader, enabling us to diversify across sectors and reach new users,” Mr Forrest said. “There are currently possibilities within the disabled sector, as automated technology is being introduced to improve the lifestyle and capabilities of disabled persons in the community.

“Opportunity is knocking everywhere we turn, and it’s an exciting time.”

However, Mr Forrest said his teams were also mindful of the security challenges new technologies may introduce.

“Introducing sophisticated technology raises occasional concerns for our customers, and our industry is not immune to questions of internet-based security threats,” Mr Forrest said. He said most concerns were mitigated “by ensuring we use all manufacturers’ security protocols to protect our clients” and attention to “future-proofing”. 

“With regard to this, the fact is most of these automated technologies have been around for many years already but, until now, not at an accessible price point,” Mr Forrest said. “They have and will continue to require software updates etc, but rather than panicking about obsolescence, we choose to minimise risk by dealing only with reputable suppliers and encouraging clients to maintain current software.”

Forrest Electrical increasingly found its teams were fulfilling much more of an advisory role regarding technology.

“Narrowing down the appropriate product always starts with questions,” Mr Forrest said.

“How does the device need to work? Is it Bluetooth-based for access while you’re home, or wi-fi-based, so that you can control it from anywhere in the world?  Does it require secure keypad coding for 10 different users? 

“We like to spend time with clients to educate them in all options, so they can feel empowered to ultimately decide what will best suit their requirements.”

Forrest Electrical Group is a 2018 Queensland Leaders Executive Member. 



Premium Pilates and Fitness means business

PREMIUM Pilates and Fitness director Christopher Boult wants Australian business leaders to help overcome the rise of cardiovascular disease – the nation’s biggest killer – by simply encouraging staff to ‘get moving’.

“Throughout the corporate landscape, sedentary lifestyle has become quite prevalent, particularly with rapid technological advances,” Mr Boult said. 

“Greater education and awareness regarding recommended movement and health patterns, set out by the Department of Health, can help in preventing Australia’s leading killer.”

Mr Boult said physical activity was “a great way to increase energy levels, release feel good hormones, build healthy bones and prevent osteoporosis in later life”.

“A minimum of 30-minutes of moderate intensity cardiovascular exercise a day is recommended for healthy populations to maintain current health status as well as two resistance training days per week,” he said.

Cardiovascular disease was the leading cause of death in Australia in 2011 according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) 2013 health survey.

“Negating any genetic predisposition, cardiovascular disease is entirely preventable,” Mr Boult said.

“However, an increased sedentary lifestyle has become a greater social norm resulting in decreased exercise, poor dietary habits and an upsurge of mental illness.

“Examples of moderate intensity cardiovascular exercise include walking, jogging, cycling, swimming, running. Examples of resistance training include free weights, circuit training or Reformer Pilates.  

“In the same ABS survey, only 43 percent of Australians were reported to be reaching this exercise goal.”

Mr Boult said healthy physical practices should coincide with healthy nutritional practices. 

“Fad diets are not the way to maintain a healthy lifestyle or eating practices,” he said. “All macronutrients – carbohydrates, proteins, and fats – are necessary for the body to function optimally.

“Cutting out carbohydrates will not make you a healthier person even if you have lost a few kilos doing so. It all comes down to how much energy you are putting into your body and how much you are expending.

“Part of a sedentary lifestyle is the overconsumption of nutrient poor, energy dense food. So instead of reaching for that Snickers bar while you’re at your desk, try a piece of fruit. Sugar is not your enemy; the glucose that results from the broken-down starches provided by carbohydrates help your brain to function.”



Mr Boult has developed an easy routine to assist workplace movement:

  1. Get up from your chair every 25 minutes and do 10 squats. By the end of your work day, you would have done 190 squats.
  2. Snack on fruit, vegetables, nuts and legumes rather than chips, lollies, chocolate and biscuits.
  3. If you feel hungry, try drinking water. Thirst responses are more delayed than hunger so you could be drastically dehydrated by the time you start to get dry mouth and lips.
  4. Lower your portion sizes. Overconsumption is a major cause of energy excess for individuals. The recommended serving size for a piece of steak, for example, is 65g.
  5. Prepare your own meals. This way you know what goes into it and you know how much you are eating.


Three Optimum Recoveries team members reach the Pinnacles

BRISBANE-BASED debt management business, Optimum Recoveries, has recently had three staff nominated for the prestigious Pinnacle Awards, run by the Australian Institute of Credit Management (AICM).

The Pinnacle Awards recognise the year’s leading performers in the credit industry in each state, and they are presented at end-of-year awards dinners in November and December.

Three Optimum team members were nominated by their clients across four categories. Angela McDonald.

Lydia Harris has been nominated for NSW External Collections/Mercantile Agent of the Year; Angela McDonald was nominated for the Queensland External Collections/Mercantile Agent of the Year; and Tim Sullivan was nominated for both Queensland External Collections/Mercantile Agent of the Year, and the High-Five Award.

Optimum Recoveries director, Angela McDonald said the team was delighted with the nominations.

“We feel extremely honoured that our clients took the time to nominate us,” Ms McDonald. “We take our role of helping protect our clients’ businesses very seriously, and knowing that they value the work we do for them so highly is so rewarding for all of us.”

As part of the Pinnacle Awards nomination and voting process, nominees are allowed to sight the submitted comments, but all company details are withheld.

According to Ms McDonald, the comments received were overwhelmingly positive.

“It was quite humbling to read what clients said about us,” she said. “They volunteered that we have an unrivalled commitment and passion for the industry, and that they found our service, and the results we achieve for them, to be consistently outstanding.”

Ms McDonald noted that the most common themes in the submitted comments included Optimum’s high level of professionalism, exacting standards, and responsive and supportive customer service.

“For me personally, the most pleasing feedback was that clients view us as their true partner who goes above and beyond to achieve excellent results,” Ms McDonald said. “This is really our internal mantra, and this feedback shows that we are living and breathing it.

“Whatever the result, we’re thrilled to be in with four chances to win a Pinnacle and we look forward to celebrating with our team and some of our clients at the awards dinners.”

Optimum Recoveries is an Industry Expert member of Queensland Leaders.




Industry changes and the importance of your people

PENSAR managing director Karl Yunker knows how to best manage changes to any construction cycle – focus on having the best people on board.

As managing director of one of Australia’s best-regarded infrastructure solutions companies, Mr Yunker knows from experience that no matter how the market turns, making the most of it comes down to having the best people on board and keeping them motivated. It is a strategy that continues to pay off for Pensar nation-wide. 

“As does any managing director, I closely observe industry trends and predictions to ensure our organisation is always positioned to manage what the market may present,” Mr Yunker said.

Right now, he was observing a trend similar to that which followed the residential housing boom of the early 2000s.

“Across the infrastructure sector there is currently much rhetoric around imminent government spending on infrastructure and a potential boom period similar to that experienced in the late 2000s,” Mr Yunker said.

“This boom was preceded by a significant growth period in sub-division led residential housing. As this growth slowed, the government invested to stimulate the infrastructure and construction sector.”

Mr Yunker recalled that as a telling period for Australia’s construction and infrastructure sector, with skills challenges, funding risks and rising construction prices a result.

“Periods of big government spending in any industry hold the promise of opportunity and substantial work, however we know from the previous investment cycles that it can also create many challenges,” he said.

“As costs escalate and people resources become scarce, contractors and sub-contractors can quickly find themselves in trouble. Projects overrun their timeframes, costs continue to escalate above budget throughout the project life cycle as resources become more scarce, quality can be compromised due to inexperienced people and cost-saving efforts, and finally – and devastatingly – safety can be compromised.”

The signs are there, Mr Yunker said, for an upcoming infrastructure construction boost – and Pensar was preparing as it always has, by focusing on staff development and astute recruitment.

“As we observe the slowing of the recent apartment construction boom in Queensland, we need to be ready for the possibility of a new government infrastructure boom, and ensure strategies are in place to mitigate the possible risks,” Mr Yunker said.

“I believe the keystone of this strategy is quality people – and it’s a keystone for Pensar regardless of market cycles. 

“Effectively managing your people resources is fundamental to success across any industry.  The ability to recruit and retain quality people has far reaching implications for managing project timeframes, costs, quality, and safety,” Mr Yunker said. 

“As industry leaders it’s important to remember that our organisations are more than simply what we make, produce or deliver – they are about the people who make it possible.”


Pensar is a current Executive Leaders member of Queensland Leaders.


National HR consultancy emerges from Livingstones-SHR combination

HUMAN RESOURCE consultancies Livingstones and SHR have signed a heads of agreement to merge their businesses and create a broad based multi-faceted national consultancy aiming to better serve their combined client bases. 

Livingstones and SHR have worked together on many projects in the past and this highlighted the professional and cultural synergies both companies share. This prompted merger discussions and culminated in a period of extensive due diligence, according to the companies’ CEOs. 

The new company will commence operating on December 31, 2018, to be chaired by Alex Aspromourgos – he is Livingstones’ current managing director – and CEO will be Steve Rayner, SHR’s current CEO.

“As Livingstones and SHR join forces we remain fully committed to providing the very best services our clients have come to expect,” Mr Rayner said.  

“Our new national footprint will significantly strengthen our capabilities allowing us to increase our value proposition by providing more comprehensive people solutions.”

Livingstones teams are employment relationship advisors who provide employers with an extensive range of specialist services across industrial relations, human resource management and organisational development.  

Working within a wide variety of industry sectors, Livingstones services clients as diverse as independent schools, government departments and statutory authorities, government owned corporations, as well as clients in the power, utilities, fast-moving consumer goods, hospitality, entertainment and not-for-profit sectors. 

Livingstones have been in business for over 35 years and operates from offices in Queensland and New South Wales. 

SHR is a team of experienced human resource practitioners and specialists providing broad human resources consulting, industrial and employee relations, contracting, business migration and managed services to clients throughout Australia and the Asia Pacific region.  

While SHR supports clients across many industries, they are recognised for their experience and capability in the oil and gas, mining, construction, engineering, infrastructure and utility industries. SHR – Strategic Human Resources – has been in business for nearly 25 years and have offices in Western Australia and Victoria.

Livingstones is an Industry Expert member of Queensland Leaders, NSW Leaders and Victorian Leaders, the organisations fostering the next generation of leading Australian companies.




Dark arts: How to cope with Australian and global IP laws

EVEN with new intellectual property (IP) initiatives by the Australian Government designed to make the process easier, it is still a difficult area for most business leaders to navigate.

Yet it is becoming increasingly vital to get IP protections right, according to Andrew Dark of Dark IP.

“In the IP industry, particularly patents, we are constantly faced with the challenges of dealing with governments that sway from thinking IP monopolies are good things to IP being the destroyer of all innovation,” Mr Dark said. 

“Of course, we know that IP is essential for fostering investment and innovation as it is rare that people want to spend thousands, or even millions of dollars developing an invention just to see others profit from that investment.”

He said the major problem was that IP law seemed to be in a process of constant change, making long-term rights a challenge.

“The law on IP is in constant flux, in many instances as a result of the perception of the government,” Mr Dark said.

“This is true not only in Australia, but across the globe. So, it’s not only a question of understanding cutting edge technologies in a variety of industries, it’s also essential to know the ins and outs of the laws in the major jurisdictions.”

In Australia, the IP legal profession is going through huge changes. Several of the nation’s major players are listing on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) and smaller players are being absorbed.

So while the challenges are major, Mr Dark believes the personal approach of his boutique IP agency is able to stand out from the crowd.

“It’s a challenging prospect, both professionally and personally, but I am looking forward to what the future offers this independent, boutique IP company,” Mr Dark said.

Dark IP was created in January 2012, at the conclusion of Andrew Dark’s 21 years of working for a variety of organisations across the Australian IP industry.

He specialises in the fields of chemistry, material science, nanotechnology, mining and energy, mineral analysis and building systems. Mr Dark is a registered patent and trade mark attorney in Australia and New Zealand, a fellow of the Institute of Patent and Trade Mark Attorneys of Australia and a Certified Materials Professional recognised by the Institute of Materials Engineering of Australasia.

Mr Dark is also a committee member of the Asian Patent Practice Committee of the Intellectual Property Owners Association, IPO, in the US, which provides recommendations and input into the development of patent law and practice in the Asia region. He is also the founder of the Australian Patents Forum on LinkedIn and a Director of the Australian Nanotechnology Alliance.

“I had worked as an examiner of patents, earned my stripes for a decade at one of the ‘big’ firms and had been a partner at a mid-sized firm,” Mr Dark said.

“Looking back, it was still a gutsy move to start a business while still under a non-compete agreement, with no clients and two young children in tow.

“I won’t say that it’s been all smooth sailing. I started the business with a co-director and the transition to sole directorship was tough.

“And now, here we are some six years later ready to move into a new growth phase.”

Dark IP is an Executive Leaders member of Queensland Leaders.



Taking insurance in toughening times? Be choosy says Gallagher

MOST business leaders agree that the insurance markets are ‘hardening’ – but how to handle this to best business effect is as challenge.

One experienced insurance advisor is suggesting business leaders do what he is doing: take a lead from how insurance brokers are handling the situation themselves.

Gallagher Queensland’s Chris McKeown, a respected corporate advisor with more than 20 years experience in the insurance industry, said in general most types of insurance are likely to be harder to place for brokers, the deals will be less advantageous and cover will cost more. 

“That’s where a low claims record, sound risk mitigation strategy and good advice can achieve savings,” Mr McKeown said.

“Everyone is talking about a hardening insurance market but what does that mean for insurance brokers and their clients?”

Mr McKeown said after a year of catastrophic weather events in 2017 global disaster insurance losses were estimated by global reinsurer, Swiss Re, to be in the region of US$306 billion.

“In an environment where reinsurers and insurers alike are very much international players this matters because capacity is reduced,” he said.

“Locally we are seeing a governmental crackdown on financial institutions, corporate governance is being made more accountable, insolvencies are on the rise, flammable cladding has increased risk in construction and Australia is one of the most litigious countries in the world when it comes to liability suits.

“That’s without touching on the cyber-crime wave of attacks on businesses that experts such as digital security specialists McAfee are predicting.”

Mr McKeown – who has advised start-up organisations through to multinational companies – said an insurance broker who understands how a business operates and the conditions it operates under, and who takes the time to run analytics on its risk profile, “can make better informed suggestions about managing these risks and is a key asset in these kinds of market conditions”.

According to Mr McKeown, another major consideration should be achieving integrated cover without gaps or loopholes that can occur when shopping for insurance on a piecemeal, separate policy basis.

“A tailored solution packaged into a single program ensures your business is comprehensively covered and offers its owner greater control with a preferred insurer,” he said.

“Insurance is one area where the cheapest option isn’t necessarily the best deal. Shopping around for a broker with experience in your industry and insight into your professional needs will pay off when you need to claim.”

Gallagher began trading in Australia in 1985 and is wholly owned by Arthur J. Gallagher and Co, a family-owned US brokerage founded in 1927. In Australia and New Zealand, Gallagher employs more than 2500 staff in over 60 locations.

Gallagher is an Industry Expert member of Queensland Leaders.



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