25 May 2021
25 May 2021, Comments Comments Off on 25th Australian National Conference proves a big success
25th Australian National Conference proves a big success

The Caravan Industry of Australia held its 25th annual National Conference from 5 to 7 May, 2021 which included giving seven awards for 2020 and 2021 (as is was not possible to run the conference last year). Aboutcamp BtoB’s correspondent attended the National Conference and there will be a comprehensive report in the next issue of Aboutcamp BtoB magazine, which will be published in week 23.

The seven awards included: the Eric Hayman Award for Excellence, the Richard Davis OAM Award, the Chairman’s Award, the Gerry Ryan OAM Award for Innovation, and the RV Boss Future Leaders Award.These awards were given to their worthy recipients at the 2021 Caravan Industry National Conference Gala Dinner, enjoyed by over 500 delegates on Thursday 6 May at RACV Royal Pines on the Gold Coast.

The Eric Hayman Award for Excellence is one of its most prestigious award. The award recognises extremely influential and hardworking industry leaders who have made a positive impact over the years. The Eric Hayman Award for Excellence Winner 2020 is Peter Buttigieg.

Award recipient Peter Buttigieg with Ron Chapman

The Australian caravan park industry has much to thank Peter for because at a time when no one wanted to embrace computers or software and maintained their love affair with “the book”, he battled on. He was a visionary for his time and proved that informed decisions and office efficiencies could not be made properly without access to data.

The success of thousands of businesses around the world was made possible by the pioneering work performed by Peter Buttigieg and the teams he assembled.

The Eric Hayman Award for Excellence Winner 2019 was Geoff Olholm. The Australian Caravan Parks Industry will long be indebted to Geoff Olholm for his contribution to its ongoing development. Cairns Coconut Caravan Village opened to caravan travellers at Easter 1987 and for the next 30 years it continued to innovate, push boundaries and grow into what is regarded by many as Australia’s best caravan park, receiving many allocates and awards. He was to the forefront of the ‘battle’ with the motoring clubs’ Star Ratings system which had been based on what the Clubs thought a park should be rather than what the market was looking for. Geoff and his wife, Jenny, sold Cairns Coconut holiday resort four years ago however they are still highly sought for advice by other park owners and managers who recognise them as some of the best operators in the industry.

Geoff and his wife Jenny celebrate the achievement

The Richard Davis OAM Award 2021 for Outstanding Contribution to the Peak National Body was given to RMS, a long term industry supporter which cut its teeth in caravan parks, and despite huge international success, continues to be true to the caravan park industry that it loves.

RMS have been a national industry sponsor of the national industry body and attended the national industry conference every year from its first origins over 25 years ago. It has assisted the association in the development of its internal computer systems and was the first to assist with the collection of caravan park data which is now the envy of many other tourism associations.

This year there were two worthy recipients of the Chairman’s award for outstanding contributions to the caravan and camping industry. The Chairman’s Award 2020 was given to The Hon Greg Hunt MP, the Minister for Health, in recognition of his contribution to the Caravan Industry Association of Australia initiative to provide a Defibrillator subsidy program, which has so far saved two lives across the country thanks to the federal government support through $1 million investment.

Award accepted by Angie Bell MP and presented by Chairman Grant Wilckens

The Chairman’s Award 2020 was given to Theo Whitmont who has owned and operated industry leading holiday parks in NSW and QLD for 20 years. He has a deep operating knowledge of the ‘coal face’ and has a demonstrated ability to interpret a business from the consumer’s view and thus navigate the ever changing demands that are placed upon small business in the tourism arena.   He is always willing to lend an ear and is sensitive to needs of park owners, community operators and those involved in the wholesale, retail and manufacturing sectors of the industry.

He has over 30 years experience operating manufactured home estates and has been the lead industry consultant to the NSW Government in relation to industry reform and legislative change, particularly with regard to the Residential (Land Lease) Communities Act 2013 and Regulation. Theo was first elected to the Board of CCIA NSW in 2008 and later served as the President of the Association between 2009 and 2020.  He continues his commitment to our industry as a current serving member of the Board.

Award accepted by Norton Whitmont and presented by Chairman Grant Wilckens

The Gerry Ryan OAM Award for Innovation 2020 was given to Pedders Suspension and Brakes for the important recognition of its innovation with the LoadRyder Onboard Scales, a cost-effective solution that delivers critical real-time vehicle weight information to the operator, enhancing safety and compliance for all road users.

David Schneiders from Pedders Suspension and Brakes accepting the award from Gerry Ryan OAM

The Future Leaders Award recognises and rewards dedication and outstanding achievements from the industry’s up and comers. The RV Boss Future Leaders Award 2021 was given to Justin Hales who founded Camplify in 2015 after identifying the need for localised sharing of assets to benefit both owners and hirers of RVs.  He has led innovation at Camplify to become the biggest RV rental company and digital platform in Australia. Since its origin ,Justin has also expanded internationally and has since scaled to three additional countries.

Over the past five years Camplify, has been building a brand, a community and growing the Camplify platform to generate revenue and expand the customer base.

Justin Hales,Camplify receiving the award from Luke Trouchet CEO of RV Boss