Airport named Telstra ACT Business of the Year

Charlotte 21 April 2020

Canberra Airport MD Stephen Byron with the airport's head of aviation, Matthew Brown (centre) and project manager for the new international terminal, Richard Phillips (right).

The Capital Airway Group, which operates Canberra Airport, was named the 2016 Telstra ACT Business of the Year at a black tie event in the National Gallery’s Gandel Hall last night, putting it in the running for the national title late next month.

Almost three million passengers travel through Canberra Airport to and from Australia’s capital cities each year, with that number expected to more than double within the next decade. Direct flights to Singapore and Wellington will commence in seven weeks.

Stephen Byron, Managing Director of Canberra Airport Group, said he was proud of the significant impact the business made to the local and national economy.

“More than 12,000 people currently work at the airport precinct across 280 businesses, making a major contribution to the local and national economy,” he said.

Stephen Byron

The airport operator also won the Medium Business Award. The full list of winners appears below, with details of the finalists at

Telstra Business Awards Ambassador Mr Andy Ellis said the Capital Airport Group had a long-term business model, demonstrating growth and complexity and resilience.

“The business is a tangible success story for Canberra and the region, bringing broader business opportunities to the community,” he said.

“Canberra Airport Group also boasts great employee advocacy as a result of excellent recognition and validation of their staff.”

Other businesses recognised at the awards last night include engineering and asset management specialists Relken Engineering Pty Ltd, which won the New Business Award; iSimulate, a business developing medical and emergency devices, with the Micro Business Award; The Rehabilitation Specialists, which provides medical and support services to help people get back to work, and won the Small Business Award and the iconic Ronald McDonald House which collected the Charity Award for supporting families going through childhood illness.

Now in its 24th year, the awards celebrate the achievements and entrepreneurial spirit of Australian small and medium businesses across five categories: Micro Business, Small Business, Medium Business, New Business and, new in 2016, Charity, which is designed to recognise the contribution of not-for-profit organisations to not only Australian communities but the economy as well.

State and Territory category winners will travel to Sydney for the national judging on Thursday 25 August and attend a celebration dinner on Friday 26 August.

The winners of the 2016 Telstra ACT Business Awards are:

2016 Telstra ACT New Business Award – Relken Engineering Pty Ltd, Canberra

Relken Engineering Pty Ltd helps its clients measure, understand and then improve the performance of their physical assets in order to increase productivity and reduce total cost of ownership. Director, Benjamin Mailler, said the motivation for starting Relken was to establish a sustainable business founded on a team of cohesive and motivated professionals that enjoys the freedom to adopt innovative approaches to solving clients’ problems.

2016 Telstra ACT Micro Business Award – iSimulate, Fyshwick

A monitor/defibrillator is a device used by health professionals to restart the heart when a patient is ill or the body goes into cardiac arrest, and can often be the difference between whether someone lives or dies. Whilst defibrillators are literally lifesavers, they are expensive and cost prohibitive for training purposes.

iSimulate sought to alleviate this problem by developing emergency, obstetric and stethoscope iPad simulator systems. The innovative software and bespoke hardware of the emergency system, ALSi can turn an iPad into a simulated patient monitor or defibrillator, which is completely safe to use on a human actor or mannequin for educational demonstration purposes.

2016 Telstra ACT Small Business Award – The Rehabilitation Specialists, Fyshwick

The Rehabilitation Specialists launched in June 2012 when co-founder Fiona Fonti identified a business opportunity to create her own venture in rehabilitation services. The core of the business is about helping people return to health and return to work. A range of services are delivered including case management, return-to-work and assessment services. Over the past four years, The Rehabilitation Specialists have grown from three staff to 23, have successfully tendered for a number of large corporate and government contracts and expanded their geographic footprint to include NSW, ACT, Victoria and the Northern Territory.

2016 Telstra ACT Medium Business Award – Capital Airport Group, Canberra Airport

When commercial pilot and former property developer Terry Snow acquired Canberra Airport in 1998, it was little more than a clunky terminal with a rundown runway. He set out to rebuild and create an airport worthy of the Australian capital city. With a vision of building the world’s best small airport, Capital Airport Group has invested $2 billion in the modernisation of Canberra Airport. Making the most of his property expertise, Snow developed 200,000m2 of office, retail and accommodation space adjacent to the airport, and used the revenue generated from the project to fund the redevelopments. The airport enables frequent and direct flights to almost all of Australia’s capital cities, with the first two international flights, to Singapore and Wellington, opening later this year.

2016 Telstra ACT Charity Award – Ronald McDonald House Canberra, Garran

Ronald McDonald House Canberra supports families from ACT and Southern NSW in their time of need by keeping families close through its five core programs: Ronald McDonald House, Family Room, Family Retreat and Learning Program. The facility is part of a global charity founded 40 years ago in Philadelphia by four people who saw a need for accommodation for families going through childhood illness. In 1981, the first Ronald McDonald House opened in Australia. Nationally, the charity runs 15 houses, 14 Family Rooms and five Family Retreats.

Ronald McDonald House Canberra opened in October 2012 in the Centenary Hospital for Women and Children. It features 11 guestrooms for the families of sick kids. In May of this year they welcomed their 1000th family into the fold.

Pictured at top are Canberra Airport MD Stephen Byron with the airport’s head of aviation, Matthew Brown (centre) and project manager for the new international terminal, Richard Phillips (right), and above, Mr Byron. Photos: CHARLOTTE HARPER

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