2019 Western Australian of the Year Awards

Business Award Finalists

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The Business Award is presented in celebration of excellence and outstanding ethics in business leadership, social entrepreneurship or innovation at a state, national or international level, resulting in major positive social or economic impact in Western Australia.

Meet our 2019 Business Award finalists:

Frank Cooper AO

Whether it is in finance or football – or hospitals, education or the arts – Frank Cooper AO is a true Western Australian leader.

He has more than 35 years’ experience in the finance sector including holding senior leadership roles at three of the nation’s largest accounting firms – Arthur Andersen, PricewaterhouseCoopers, and EY. He is currently a non-Executive Director of Woodside Petroleum Limited and South32 Limited, chairing the Audit and Risk Committee at both, and is a Commissioner and Chairman of the Insurance Commission of WA.

However, it’s not just in the boardroom where Frank excels.

Although culturally they might be considered worlds apart, Frank has made a significant contribution to both opera and football in our state – serving as chairman for both the West Australian Opera and the West Australian Football Commission.

His involvement in the not-for-profit sector has also extended to being a trustee of St John of God Healthcare, a member of the Senate of the University of Western Australia where he studied, and where he chairs the Strategic Resources Committee.

Frank was made an Officer in the Order of Australia for distinguished service to the community through leadership and financial management roles with cultural, medical research, sporting, child health and educational organisations.

Dr Rick Fenny

At age 70, most people are laying down their tools – but not veterinary pioneer and tourism entrepreneur, Dr Rick Fenny. The father of eight (and grandfather of thirteen), has dedicated almost half a century to caring for pets and animals, establishing the Pets + Vets brand of veterinary clinics as well as tourism ventures, property and pastoral holdings.

Dr Fenny also has a passion for sharing WA’s beautiful landscapes and stories with the world. He is currently filming a television series, Desert Vet, that is set for national and global distribution with Karratha, Port Hedland and Shark Bay amongst some of the featured locations. Building on last year’s one-hour pilot that was seen by 812,000 viewers on Channel Seven, this four-part series will be followed by a book that Dr Fenny is writing about his life, career and close association with Red Dog, the red kelpie who inspired the film of the same name.

His dedication to regional eco-tourism has seen Dr Fenny build two successful businesses: Albany’s Maitraya Private Retreat and The Ocean Park Aquarium – which attracts 48,000 visitors a year and recently gained a Gold Travellers Choice Award in 2018 from TripAdvisor.

Animal welfare is also never far from Dr Fenny’s mind. Working tirelessly as an ambassador for Perth Pet Expo, he donates his time to sharing pet health advice and is a key supporter of WA re-homing charity SAFE (Saving Animals from Euthanasia), which was founded in Karratha in 2003.

Steve Scudamore

Steve Scudamore is a highly respected company director and leader, contributing his professional business skills to a wide variety of industries, as well as serving the community through his directorships in the not-for-profit sector. With over 30 years’ experience in professional services, Steve has demonstrated sustained leadership which culminated in his role as KPMG WA Chairman of Partners from 2004 until 2012. During this time, he encouraged over 500 staff members to become involved in community activities that improved the lives of others.

Steve’s business leadership is widely felt by the Western Australian community. His non-Executive Director role at Pilbara Minerals (an ASX 200 listed company) is of particular significance as the company undertakes the Pilgangoora Lithium Project, generating hundreds of local jobs and considerable export income.

Steve also contributes to a number of not-for-profit and community-based organisations. He serves as Chairman of Amana Living -one of the largest aged care providers in WA, and is a former director of major disability employment provider, Edge Employment Solutions. A keen advocate of education, Steve is a Council member of Curtin University, and acts as Chairman of both the Kalgoorlie Campus of the School of Mines and the Australian British Chamber of Commerce in WA. Steve is also Vice Chair of the WA Museum at an exciting time with the new development in the Perth cultural centre.

Steve also offers his expertise to the Telethon Kids Institute as a serving member of their Development Council. As well as being a major donor, he assists the Institute in its fundraising efforts to support continued medical research that helps the lives of WA children.

Dr Erica Smyth AC

With 45 years’ experience in the mineral and petroleum industries – oil, gas, uranium, gold, iron ore, diamonds and mineral sands – Dr Smyth is a pioneer in bringing companies, communities and governments together on exploration projects.

One of the first female geologists in WA in the 1970s, she spent her early career at BHP and later Woodside, moving from minerals exploration into project management, government approvals, corporate affairs and community interactions. Dr Smyth has chaired or been a director of more than 20 listed and private companies, charities and government boards and is one of few women to chair an ASX-listed company.

Widely considered a trail-blazer for gender equality within her field, Dr Smyth has been actively engaged in enabling women to create their own future through mentoring roles with WIMWA; Chair of the UWA Centenary Trust for Women and as Ambassador for 100 Women – a philanthropy group that works to provide grants for women in health, safety and education.

After suffering a life-threatening experience in remote WA, Dr Smyth also became a passionate supporter of organisations that respond to need. While working as a young geologist at Newman, she was evacuated by the Royal Flying Doctor Service for emergency medical treatment for, what turned out to be, undiagnosed Type 1 diabetes. Dr Smyth’s way of giving back to the RFDS was to become a Director of its national board and Deputy Chair of its western operations. Similarly, she went on to become a Director of and later Chair of the Diabetes Research Foundation of WA and Centre for Diabetes Research for 18 years.

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