Three new Laureate's were inducted into the North Harbour Business Hall of Fame at a black tie function held at The Wharf, Northcote Point in mid 2017. They were Paul Byrnes, Bill Speedy and Eric Faesenkloet.
Over 170 people attended the event which was MC’d by Michelle Dickinson and included musical performances by North Harbour Club AIMES Award recipients Henry Meng and Miller Christiansen-Yule.
The North Harbour Business Hall of Fame is managed by the North Harbour Club with the key sponsor being Milford Asset Management. New inductees are chosen annually by a judging panel convened by the North Harbour Club. This panel is chaired by Matthew Bellingham, includes existing Laureate's Sir Peter Maire, Jan Dawson and Gary Monk as well as North Harbour Club Trustees Ngaio Merrick and John Cobb. Nominations are open year round, and the panel actively search and recommend potential Laureates.
To qualify for induction into the North Harbour Business Hall of Fame nominees must be a current business leader, who has applied their skills and success to benefit the community. While each of the recipients are all incredibly successful in business in their own right, they have also played a major role within the community, not only giving in financial support but also their time, expertise and experience.
The first inductee of the night was Paul Byrnes. He was inducted by existing Laureate Sir Peter Maire.
Paul is a professional director and investor with over 25 years’ in CEO roles. In 1986 at age 32, Paul was appointed Managing Director of the struggling Holeproof Industries and within five years acquired 100% ownership. The business was restructured and returned to strong profitability before being sold. From 1998 to 2007 Paul was an active private investor, building a governance portfolio and working as a business consultant. He was a director of Hellaby Holdings for 12 years and a director and chairman of power company Top Energy for almost 20 years.
In May 2008 Paul agreed to assist finance company Dorchester Pacific through the GFC. He became CEO, leading a remarkable turnaround in that business. With recent acquisitions including Turners Auctions, Buy Right Cars and Autosure Insurance, the business has grown annual profits substantially and market capitalisation has also increased from $1.5m in those dark days to around $280m today.
Paul generously supports numerous charities including De Paul House and the Rosmini Foundation. He is also generous with his knowledge, as a guest lecturer on corporate governance at Massey University for three years, and mentoring others by passing on the benefits of his experience, and, as he likes to point out, his mistakes!
Bill Speedy, owner and director of Oceanbridge Shipping, which he established in 1981, was the second inductee of the night. He was inducted by existing Laureate Jan Dawson.
Bill is known to many not only for his business achievements but for his wide ranging contributions to the community. After 36 years, Bill still remains Managing Director of Oceanbridge. It has grown to employ over 140 people and to be one of the leading freight consolidators of cargo to and from New Zealand. They now specialise in the shipping and freight business whether it be by land, sea or air. Under Bill’s leadership the business has a reputation for integrity, honesty, value, reliability and the highest possible standard of personalised customer service.
2017 marks the 20th anniversary of the Oceanbridge Charity Golf Tournament. This event has raised significant funds for many different causes over the past two decades. YES Foundation, Language Lab, Well Foundation, Inzone, Neuro Research, Grief Support, Shine, Pike River, Christchurch Earthquake, Fred Hollows, Coastguard and many more. Charities are typically chosen by events affecting Oceanbridge staff and customers, and natural disasters around the country.
Bill – and his wife Lindsay – support the community with various local projects, including the Takapuna playground, donating lifejackets for the children’s Waterwise programme, cooking meals at Ronald McDonald House and gifting client christmas presents in the way of donations to 30 local charities. Their passion for the water includes supporting the annual OKI 24 Hour race at Lake Pupuke, the annual Oceanbridge Sail Auckland Sailing Regatta and supporting the logistics of Emirates Team New Zealand.
Bill has never expected recognition or thanks, and avoids the limelight. But his ethics, astute business mind and considerable contributions made him a truly worthy North Harbour Business Hall of Fame Laureate. This wasn’t the only accolade Bill has had recently: He received an ONZM in the 2018 New Year Honours List for services to philanthropy and watersports.
The final inductee of the night was Eric Faesenkloet, owner of the Golf Warehouse who is well-known for his philanthropy. He was inducted by existing Laureate Colin Harvey.
At age 20, Eric established Downtown Stereo Centre, importing and selling audio, video and televisions. Eric had a real ability to negotiate bulk deals and built the business into a sizeable operation. At age 30 he purchased Bond & Bond, the well-known chain which grew to be a retail leader and which he eventually sold to Pacific Retail Group in 1990.
Eric then became active in property investment on the North Shore, and in Queenstown, and in 1995 he established the Golf Warehouse from very humble beginnings, purchasing a stand alone driving range in Takapuna. The business has grown to become New Zealand's largest and most trusted golf retail company with 10 stores and three driving ranges.
While Eric’s businesses continued to grow, his philanthropic work, while relatively private, is extensive. He has supported thousands of charities over the years, including the Starship Hospital Foundation, North Shore Hospice, The Peter Jackson WW1 Museum, Sensible Sentencing Trust and The First Tee, Eric also likes to host golf tournaments involving dignitaries and other celebrities to attend, raising significant amounts of money for his chosen charities. Eric and his wife Sue are also substantial contributors to ‘Victims of Crime’. They sponsor The Sophie Elliot Foundation and were major contributors to the book “Sophie's Story”.
In 2013 Eric became a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to business, golf and the community in the Queens Birthday Honours List, and is a very worthy inductee to the North Harbour Business Hall of Fame.
Existing North Harbour Business Hall of Fame members who were present on the night were Ralph Roberts, Sir David Levene, Sir Peter Maire, Ian Calderwood, David Charlesworth, Colin Harvey, Jan Dawson, Gary Monk, John Spooner, Paul & Liz Blackwell. Existing Laureate’s who were not able to attend were Sir Stephen Tindall, Sir Graeme Avery, Peter Menzies, Diane Foreman and Annette Presley. Two inaugural Laureate’s Geoff Smale and Jim Smale have passed away.
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