REDARC, an innovative electronics manufacturer with a customer base extending to North America, France and New Zealand, is the 2014 Telstra South Australian Business of the Year.
The award was presented tonight by the South Australian Treasurer and Minister for Small Business Tom Koutsantonis at the Adelaide Entertainment Centre.
Owners Anthony and Michelle Kittel have transformed REDARC from a small business they purchased in 1997 into a research and development-driven manufacturer of patented battery charging, portable solar, electronic safety and voltage convertor products that now employs 95 people at its Lonsdale plant.
REDARC’s diversified range of electronic accessories and power sources is used in the automotive, trucking, mining, industrial, recreational vehicle, defence, agricultural and marine markets.
Anthony Kittel said: “Our entire model is based on innovation – we put technological development at the forefront of everything we do. Our products can be fitted to anything with a battery that moves.
“Our success has come from an unrelenting focus on new product development, employing and developing highly skilled people and providing excellent technical and after sales customer support. We continually invest at least 15 per cent of our revenue back into R&D and also make a significant investment in staff training.”
In 2005, REDARC took a big risk in spending the equivalent of its turnover in building a new factory. “We established a magnificent facility, bucking the downward trend in manufacturing,” Mr Kittel said.
Other winners of the Telstra South Australian Business Awards were Lee and Jan Stokes, who have driven a stylish renovation of the Clare Valley Motel, John Curnow, whose Payneham business Virtual Ad Agency has customers in every Australian state and territory, and Zoi Kokoti and Stephen Lowery, who offer classical French, modern Irish and Mediterranean dishes at Eire Café in Clapham.
Bowhill Engineering, a family-owned Murraylands business started in the 1970s by farmers Brendon and Averil Hawkes as a rural machinery maintenance and repair workshop, won the Regional Award.
Current managing director Jeremy Hawkes said: “To succeed, we have invested in facilities that are rare for a fabricator of our size, meaning we can lower overheads and provide great value for money.”
Will Irving, Telstra Business Group Managing Director and Ambassador for the Telstra Australian Business Awards, said, “All the winners are brilliant and inspirational businesses whose owners are recognised for their professionalism, innovation, leadership and creative use of technology.
“REDARC is an outstanding family-owned technology business that has dynamic leadership and a strong culture of core values and ethics. It designs and manufactures a patented range of high value-add electronics products and invests throughout its business in its products, people, processes and systems.
“Telstra Awards judges said REDARC, also the Medium Business Award winner, demonstrated a strong commitment to manufacturing in South Australia and continued to grow and innovate over many years,” Mr Irving said.
More than $800,000 in prizes will be shared by winners of the 2014 state, territory and national Telstra Business Awards - a program that has celebrated Australian small and medium businesses since 1992.
Winners of the 2014 Telstra South Australian Business Awards announced tonight are:
Telstra South Australian Business of the Year REDARC, Lonsdale