An Irish entrepreneur has claimed a prestigious Australian business award.
Mark Keogh, from Rathfarnham in Co Dublin, was among the winners at the 2012 Telstra Australian Business of the Year awards on August 29.
Mr Keogh’s Perth-based company, UON Pty Ltd, was established to manufacture power load testing equipment that would survive Australia’s hottest temperatures.
UON Pty Ltd won the 2012 Commonwealth Bank Medium Business Award.
The company, founded in 1998, has grown from 10 to 148 staff in the past six years to become a preferred supplier to several mining companies.
It marks the second win for Mr Keogh’s business, after he took out the Telstra Western Australian Business of the Year award in July.
Mr Keogh then told the Irish Echo about his early days working in mines.
“On one job, we went to Mount Keith – the shift was 14 weeks on, one off. You lived in a very small room and there were 1000 men in the camp. We all shared the one kitchen and the one bar. It was hard work,” he said.
“They’ve got hotel suites now, in comparison to the conditions of the 80s and 90s.”
The experience was character building, he believes.
“I had to learn about the industry and I had to work within the conditions that existed in the time.
“My reasoning was, ‘this is what the work is and this is what the circumstances are. If you want to work in this industry, you need to get used to it.’”
The winners of the Telstra Western Australian Business Awards were judged against category winners from other states and territories in the lead up to the August 29 finals.
The winners will receive a share of $500,000 in cash and prizes, and become part of an exclusive national business alumni.
Other Irishmen in attendance at the Telstra Australian Business Awards, included Commonwealth Bank’s Garry McGrath and Megazyme International founder, Barry McCleary
Mr McCleary founded Megazyme in 1988 in Sydney but relocated to Bray, Co Wicklow, in 1996 to a purpose built research facility.