Business Achievement Award Winners
This award aims to recognise either an individual or a business who has contributed
over many years to both business and the community as a whole.
Previous Winners of the Commerce Ballarat Business Achievement Award...
Bruce E. Bartrop, Bartrop Real Estate
Bruce has a strong commitment to the Ballarat community. He was the founding secretary of the 1st Mt. Clear Scouting Group in the 1960s and held numerous portfolio positions with Ballarat Apex, which included being President in 1964 and serving as a District Governor before his appointment as an Honorary Life Member in 1977.
He also joined Wendouree Rotary in 1974, became its President in 1977 and was appointed as an assistant to the District Governor in 1978. He was Conference Chairman of the District and was appointed a Paul Harris Fellow of Rotary circa 1981. He is still an active member of Rotary today.
Bruce was Chairman of the major Ballarat Base Hospital Appeal in 1978 and was appointed a Life Governor of the hospital in that year. He was also appointed a Life Governor of the Queen Elizabeth Geriatric Centre in 1991, a Life Member of the Ballarat Children’s Homes in 1988 and was a Governor of the Ballarat District Community Fund.
He was an inaugural member of the Board of the Ballarat Health Services Foundation and was its Chairman in 2005. In that same year he was also appointed a Life Governor of Ballarat Health Services.
Bruce was also an inaugural member of the Committee of the then Ballarat Chamber of Commerce and served as its President in 1977.
Retirement as VS&L managing director in 1992 led to Joe becoming:
• A director of Ballarat Credit Union/Gold Credit
• Member of McCallum House Committee of Management
• Chair of Central Highlands Water regional water authority
• And mentor to two of his children who were establishing businesses.
Joe spent about 15 years on the CHW board – eight as chairman. During this time, CHW made substantial gains in securing a quality water supply and sewerage treatment plants for Ballarat and much of the Central Highlands region.
In 2000 Joe was elected chair of McCallum Disability Service; the position he still holds today. Under his leadership McCallum has been transformed from a struggling enterprise to the strongest disability service provider in the Grampians region.
He is a sporting enthusiast having played Australian Rules, tennis, golf, cricket, basketball and indoor bias bowls.
Joe’s service also extends to many community organisations with perhaps the most predominant being the Ballarat and District Trotting Club committee of which he has been a member for more than 20 years, from 1994 until 2015. He was a member of Ballarat Rotary Club, chaired the St Patrick’s Cathedral restoration committee and the parish finance committee and was a member and chair of several school committees and coached junior football teams.He has also been a representative on numerous industry bodies.
Allan ‘Doug’ Douglas Sarah OAM
Raised and educated in Ballarat, Doug grew up in his family home in Howitt Street along with his younger brother and twin sisters. He attended Macarthur Street Primary School and completed his education at Central Tech. He often credits his mother as the strong, defining influence through his childhood.
Doug began his career in retail and spent 10 years building up his skills before opening his own menswear store, Mr Casual, in 1960. For nearly 20 years Doug put in long hours with no holidays to develop his business. His dedication paid off, enabling him to purchase Shirt Stockade and expand Mr Casual to Warrnambool.
Doug often quipped that his goal was to retire at the age of 45 and the success of Mr Casual allowed him to meet this goal. However, Doug did not retire to do nothing; instead he invested his time and expertise into many theatrical, community and business groups. He went on to spend three years as Manager of Small Business Victoria before moving on to manage Greenhill Enterprise Centre at the University of Ballarat.
Doug also took his business expertise and became Chairperson of Victorian Business Enterprise Centres which educated people how to successfully venture into their own small business. He was part of the committee that formed the Ballarat Business Enterprise Centre where he was made Patron.
Doug has always had a passion for the arts. After a 10-year association with Ballarat Lyric Theatre, Doug joined Ballarat National Theatre where he spent 36 years as a board member, including 14 years as president, before standing down in 2009. He has also been an active member of the Ballarat Fine Art Gallery.
In addition to being an active member in the arts community, Doug played an integral part in the development of Sovereign Hill’s renowned Blood on the Southern Cross sound and light show. It was not uncommon to see Doug and his good friend Peter Tobin walking the main street of Sovereign Hill in their 40th Regiment of Foot uniforms. He then went on to sit on the board of Sovereign Hill from 1981 – 2012. Doug also served as Chairman of the Ballarat Tourism Board for 15 years, now BRT.
Although investing a lot of time in the development of new business, Doug was also instrumental and in some cases the founding party in some of Ballarat’s key community groups including Rotary Club of Wendouree Breakfast, Wendouree Women’s and Men’s Probus Clubs and Wendouree Rotary Club.
His tireless work was acknowledged in January 2007 when Doug was awarded with the prestigious Order of Australia medal.
In recognition of his contributions to the economic environment, arts and community in Ballarat, Doug was presented with a doctorate of the University Honoris Causa by Federation University Australia in 2008.
By his side have been his devoted daughters, Virginia and Olivia and partner Penny.
Doug has been and continues to be an advocate for business, tourism and the arts in our community.
Barbara Hughes has provided many years of service to the Ballarat business sector and community and is a highly respected figure in the business and not-for-profit sectors.
Barbara has significant business experience and a long career in management with the Victorian Chamber of Manufacturers and the Ballarat Chamber of Commerce.
Barbara launched her own business in 1979; one of the first employment agencies in Victoria.
In 1982, Barbara was elected as a Shire of Ballarat Councillor, representing the Wendouree Riding, and went on to serve as Shire President in 1992.
During her role as Secretary of Ballarat Chamber of Commerce, Barbara created the Ballarat Business Excellence Awards which has evolved into one of the most respected awards within our region.
In 1996 Barbara was honoured by the State Government with an award recognising her service to local government and community. She was the Ballarat Citizen of the Year in 2011.
Barbara has been an active member of several organisations including, Ballarat Stereo Radio, Ballarat Aquatic Centre, Ballarat Area Planning Committee, Ballarat School of Mines & Industries Council, Group Apprenticeship Scheme Committee and Ballarat Regional Board along with several committees to do with state and regional planning and development.
Following her retirement, Barbara has worked tirelessly to support Ballarat District Nursing and Healthcare, sitting on the Committee of Management from 2001-2010 and serving as Chair for three years.
Barbara was instrumental in the writing of Nurse on Wheels, a book that recounts Ballarat District Nursing Healthcare’s history, and which was released for the organisation’s centenary in 2011.
Geoff Torney AM, BJT Legal
Geoff Torney A.M. is a well known and highly respected figure in legal, racing and Catholic education circles in Ballarat and beyond. During more than 40 years service to legal firm Byrne Jones & Torney (BJT Legal) Mr Torney earned a reputation for commitment, dedication and client relations that his partners and colleagues can only hope to emulate.
Mr Torney did not restrict his zest for excellence to his legal firm; he took it to many community organisations which have benefited greatly from his involvement.
Apex, Ballarat Water Board, the Sportsmen’s Club, Ballarat Special School, Ballarat Regional Industries and The Courier Charity Fund and Rural Press Limited are just some of the recipients of his expertise. Others are the Law Institute of Victoria, the Victorian Legal Practice Board and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission.
Also central to Mr Torney’s life are horse racing and Catholic education.
So involved was he in the racing industry that Mr Torney holds life membership to all metropolitan racing clubs. This involvement has included Ballarat Turf Club, Victorian Country Racing Council, Moonee Valley Racing Club and heavy involvement in the privatisation of Tabcorp and restructure of the racing industry.
Such was his involvement with the Catholic Diocese and Catholic education that Mr Torney holds the Order of St Gregory the Great – a Papal award for service to the Ballarat Diocese. He has a 30-year association with the Australian Catholic University through its Aquinas campus and various boards and chapters, is a legend of St Patrick’s College, Ballarat, and has been a member and chairman of several Catholic school committees.
Despite these many activities, Mr Torney lists “family” as his major interest – his wife Janet, and their five children while Geelong Football Club also holds a place in his heart.
Bill Flynn OAM, WM Flynn
Bill Flynn founded W.M. Flynn Pty Ltd in 1950 and continues to be closely involved with the company; it is one of the most successful family building companies in Victoria. Trading for more than 60 years, the company has constructed a number of Western Victoria’s commercial buildings including schools, hospitals and public buildings.
However in addition to his business achievements, Bill has actively engaged in leading community organisations and volunteered his time and energies in the affairs of local council and community groups.
These engagements are many and varied, and include but are in no way limited to: planning and overseeing the construction of the new library for the Central Highlands Regional Library Service; instigation of the transformation of the former Ballarat common to an industrial estate to employ hundreds of Ballart workers; Councillor for the Shire of Ballarat for 18 years and elected Shire President in 1982 and 1991; Director and Trustee of Ballarat High School Co-operation; board member, trustee and associate Governor for the Apollo Bay & District Health Foundation; Past President of the Dunnstown Football Club and Life Member; and one of the longest serving members of the Master Builders Association of Victoria.
Bill has taken on these roles with the interest of the community at heart and has freely given his time to the benefit of the Ballarat region. Last year, Bill and wife Mollie celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. They have six children and nine grandchildren.