4 October 2023

Canberra tech firms secure accolades at defence industry's night of nights

| Katrina Condie
Start the conversation
Man with award

Nathan Bligh was thrilled to be named Executive of the Year at the Australian Defence Industry Awards. Photo: Informatech.

Canberra Information and Communications Technology (ICT) specialist Nathan Bligh has scooped the Executive of the Year accolade at the Australian Defence Industry Awards, just one week after being announced the Prime Minister’s Veteran Entrepreneur of the Year.

The Informatech CEO and former Australian Navy officer said he was both thrilled and humbled to be among 30 winners at this year’s awards gala held on 21 September at the National Convention Centre, Canberra.

“This award is a bit of an affirmation and recognition that we’re doing the right things, we’re on the right track and that we are excelling as a company,” Nathan said.

“Personally, it makes me feel very happy. It’s easy to sit back and say you’re doing things right, but if the defence industry thinks that we’re doing the best out of all of Australia, that’s very flattering.”

Nathan started Informatech in 2015, providing technical services to the defence industry, but recently expanded to cater to Federal, State and Territory government departments and agencies, as well as the private sector.

“About two-and-a-half years ago, we made the decision that we wanted to be a bigger company, so we set ourselves a challenge to see how big we can grow,” he said.

“We got the right people in, and since then we’ve experienced about 120 per cent growth each year for two or three consecutive years, which is almost unheard of. It’s phenomenal.”

READ ALSO Canberra’s ‘POP’ app is already among the Top 100 for online shopping worldwide

Nathan said Informatech was veteran-owned and operated. Both he and his partner Scott Cleburne are ex-defence personnel, while the company supports a number of veteran charities, most notably Legacy.

Informatech uses Australian local supply chains and only Australian resources. Nathan said about 60 per cent of their work was defence-related, and the company’s goal was to “see how big we can get”, with plans to expand into the international IT consulting market.

“Informatech has an amazing team of almost 250 people who bring their A-Game every single day and who have helped to deliver 140 projects to 45 unique customers over the past eight years – more than 80 of these projects being within defence, spanning all groups and services,” he said.

“It’s easy to focus on one person, but the reality is that it takes an entire team of people with a common vision to achieve what we have within such a short timeframe.”

Canberra’s archTIS Limited, a global provider of innovative software solutions for the secure collaboration of sensitive information, was announced the Cyber Business of the Year for the second year in a row.

archTIS Managing Director and CEO Daniel Lai said the award provided “peer and industry recognition of the valuable contributions and leadership role archTIS has taken in solving the critical defence challenge of securing sensitive and classified information sharing”.

Papes on desk

ICN industry procurement and supply chain specialists introduce Canberra businesses to projects across Australia and New Zealand. Photo: ICN.

There were 30 winners at this year’s Australian Defence Industry Awards, with the Ukrainian Ambassador to Australia, Vasyl Myroshnychenko, attending the ceremony to address 800 members of the defence industry.

Industry Capability Network (ICN) Canberra was one of this year’s awards partners and was also nominated for AIC Champion of the Year.

Downer Defence went on to win the AIC Champion of the Year Award, and 28 other successful individual and group winners were recognised for their amazing work in the defence space throughout the evening.

ICN National office CEO Warren Jansen said the awards evening was a fantastic event where companies and individuals were recognised for their amazing work in the Australian defence space.

“It was a great opportunity to be present to recognise those making a significant positive impact within the defence industry, and we were extremely proud to be nominated for the prestigious award,” he said.

“ICN will continue to strive to drive economic growth in Australia and New Zealand by supporting local businesses through our trusted network of skilled industry specialists.”

READ ALSO Spend a morning at Canberra’s oldest markets: the freshest local foods and more

Warren said it was an exciting time in the defence sector and ICN was “on the front foot” working with various defence primes to ensure local suppliers were not only kept informed of opportunities but were able to take advantage of them.

“ICN is pivotal to identifying sovereign capability with access to an extensive national database, as well as highly skilled consultants on the ground throughout Australia,” he added.

ICN is helping to open up local, national and international project opportunities for Canberra subcontractors and suppliers.

In 2020-21, the Industry Capability Network (ICN) database had 4313 companies with defence capabilities. This has now increased to more than 10,500 in 2021-22, showcasing the value suppliers see in being a part of the ICN gateway.


Academic of the Year
Sascha Dov Bachmann, University of Canberra
John Coyne, Australian Strategic Policy Institute
Doris Grosse, Australian National University
Damien Guihen, AMC Search
Craig Stockings, UNSW Canberra.

Marketing/Communications Professional of the Year
Jason Perelson, creativeXpeople at Synergy Group.

Executive of the Year

Nathan Bligh, Informatech – Winner
Daniel Lai, archTIS.

Academic Institution of the Year
Capability System Centre, University of New South Wales, Canberra

AIC Champion of the Year
Industry Capability Network

Cyber Business of the Year
Mercury Information Security Services
Willyama Services.

Indigenous Business of the Year
AKJ Services
Willyama Services.

Consultancy of the Year
Aero PM
Aldermane (Canberra and Sydney)
Parbery Consulting.

SME of the Year
Yellow Hat Consulting.

Subcontractor of the Year
Parbery Consulting.

Start the conversation

Daily Digest

Want the best Canberra news delivered daily? Every day we package the most popular Riotact stories and send them straight to your inbox. Sign-up now for trusted local news that will never be behind a paywall.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.