17 Oct 2015

The Australian Institute of Management has continued its proud tradition of unearthing the most inspirational leaders in the Australian workforce.

At a glittering ceremony held at Peninsula in Melbourne last night, two Queenslanders, a Tasmanian and a West Australian were named the top managers in the country at AIM's 2015 Excellence Awards Finals.

Joe Rea (far right) was named the 2015 Manager of the Year for his role as the General Manager of Boyne Smelters Limited (BSL) in Gladstone, Queensland and he put his success down to being a servant of the people he leads.

Instrumental in driving a cultural shift in BSL’s safety performance, Mr Rea has led over 1,200 employees and contractors to reach the best ever safety result in the plant’s 33 year history after achieving 365 consecutive safe days.

Judges for the award agreed that Mr Rea is a rare leader amongst leaders showing transparency, competence and a great sense of humility. 

In an extraordinary business environment, Mr Rea has managed to draw on his life’s experiences to shape a successful workplace and motivate a significant team to impressive achievements.

Mr Rea said he was honoured to represent over a thousand employees at Boyne Smelters.

“These people dedicate themselves to adding value to Australian natural resources and they weave a thread of green and gold pride through everything that we produce,” Mr Rea.

“I’m grateful to the Australian Institute of Management for allowing us the opportunity to reflect on the work we do as managers and the way we inspire those around us.”

Rebecca McSwiney (inside right) from Toowoomba, Queensland was named the 2015 Young Manager of the Year for her role as Online Marketing Manager at the University of Southern Queensland, overseeing the award winning USQ content strategy and USQ social media portfolio.

Judges for the award said Ms McSwiney was an impressive and authentic leader as she manages the strengths and weaknesses of her team in a safe and inspiring environment.

After taking out the state award only a few weeks ago, Ms McSwiney said she is both humbled and proud to have taken out the national prize.

“I’m very lucky to work with the team that I have as they’re all as enthusiastic as I am about the work that we do,” Ms McSwiney said.

“I think it’s important to provide recognition to people when they’re working hard but also to make sure they’re having fun while they do it.”

Kirk Pinner (inside left) of Burnie, Tasmania was named the 2015 Owner Manager of the Year for his role as Managing Director at Outside the Square Solutions (OTSS), a business that specialises in providing training and employment solutions for locals.

Having progressively grown his business into a true market leader, Mr Pinner has devoted his skills to reducing unemployment and delivering education solutions that make a real difference in his community.

Based in Burnie and operating statewide, OTSS provides a range of services including training, career advice and youth programs.

“I’m very excited to win this award for Tasmania and especially for the North West Coast,” Mr Pinner said.

“We have a great culture and fantastic staff so this is a reflection on the team we have who carry out such great work within the local community.”

Marcus Stafford (far left) was named the 2015 Not for Profit Manager of the Year for his role as Chief Executive of the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Western Australia, an organisation that provides support and services to people living with MS, and approximately 30 other neurological conditions.

Judges were impressed by the way Mr Stafford was preparing his workforce for the future sustainability of the organisation while looking to international experience to inform local strategy for improving lives.

'It is a tremendous honour to receive this award from the Australian Institute of Management, an Institute that is synonymous with professionalism and integrity,” Mr Stafford said.

“Although I’m proud to have been singled out personally, I’m pleased to accept this award on behalf of the broader team, including the MS Society's Board of Directors, management, staff and of course the thousands of people with MS and other neurological disabilities who we are here to serve.”

AIM CEO David Pich congratulated all of the Excellence Awards winners and said he was blown away by the inspirational leadership qualities of all of the finalists.

"I'm sure the judges had their work cut out for them as it would have been tough choosing a winner in each category," Mr Pich said.

"These awards are unique amongst business awards as they honour the achievements of managers as individuals, regardless of their standing, location or industry.

"All four of these individuals exemplify the qualities that we champion in our work at AIM and we're honoured to be associated with these incredibly inspiring leaders."