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Otago Business School Alumnews

Alumni in the News

Some Otago Business School graduates have been making their own headlines around the country since our last newsletter, including:

  • Peter Hills (BCom, Economics 1979) - Dunedin City Council
  • Neil Jorgensen (GCertBusA 2005, Executive Education) - Waitaki District Council
  • Mike Waddell (BCom, Marketing Management 2002) - Otago Polytechnic
  • Martin Matthews (BA, Economics (Hons) 1983) - Ministry of Transport
  • Simon Berry (BCom, Marketing & Management 1997; DipGrad, Geography 1997) - Whitestone Cheese

Peter Hills (BCom, Economics 1979) sits on the trust set up to govern the Dunedin City Council’s digital office. Established this month, the office will oversee the introduction of ultrafast broadband to the city and is part of the council’s digital strategy comprising 10 projects. Included in the strategy are the establishment of a wireless service across the central city and outlying suburbs, a Dunedin city portal to integrate information in a single entity, and a computer clubhouse to provide digital access to those without it. Peter has 30-plus years experience in education and information technology.

Neil Jorgensen (GCertBusA 2005, Executive Education) is assets group manager for the Waitaki District Council which recently introduced an online service for property rates inquiries. Businesses and individuals in the Waitaki region had been asking for the service for some years and the response has been positive.

Mike Waddell (BCom, Marketing Management 2002), communications manager at Otago Polytechnic, is enthusiastic about the introduction of a Maori trades training initiative, launched to counter New Zealand’s significant skills shortage. Mike says the new foundation programme, which offers Maori pre-trade students a 17-week certificate course, has been developed to allow them to embark on a range of trade qualifications. Participating students will undertake industry placements and learn literacy, numeracy and computer skills in preparation for the demands of higher-level study and workplace requirements.

Martin Matthews (BA, Economics (Hons) 1983) is the Chief Executive for the Ministry of Transport, having filled the role since September 2008. Overseeing the work of the Ministry is the latest in a long line of contributions Martin has made to government, public policy and monitoring and working with Crown entities. Prior to the transport job he spent 10 years as Chief Executive at the Ministry for Culture and Heritage where he successfully managed sensitive issues and high profile initiatives, and was responsible for signing off on the funding and accountability for 18 Crown entities, Crown companies and Non Governmental Organisations. He was also responsible for leading a series of nationally significant initiatives, including the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior, the New Zealand Memorial in London, the development of Te Ara (the online encyclopedia of New Zealand) and the transition to digital free-to-air broadcasting. Earlier in his career Martin joined the Audit Office in 1979 and was appointed Assistant Auditor-General in 1990. During this period he helped develop the Public Finance Act, the Public Audit Act and contributed to the design of the Crown Entity Act framework. From the Office of the Auditor General, Martin was appointed Acting Chief Executive of the Ministry for Culture and Heritage in July 1998 before becoming Chief Executive in 2000.

Simon Berry (BCom, Marketing & Management 1997; DipGrad, Geography 1997), as General Manager of Oamaru’s Whitestone Cheese, is glowing after another collection of accolades at the annual Cuisine New Zealand Champion of Cheese awards. Whitestone began business in a garage in 1987 but is now globally recognised. At last month’s awards Whitestone took away five gold, six silver and 16 bronze medals along with winning the champion blue section for the second year running and the packaging award for the third straight year. Topping the night was the lifetime achievement award to Simon’s father Bob for his outstanding contribution to the New Zealand cheese industry. Simon says energy will now be invested in growing the Whitestone brand domestically as well as consolidating its presence in Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Qatar, Bali, the United States and the Pacific islands.


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