HunterNet: A brand that was known to a brand that is well known
As we work our way towards HunterNet’s official 25 year celebration and awards night, we take the time to reflect and see how far the organisation has come from the inception of HunterNet all those years ago to today.
From the signing of the official paperwork on 11 December 1992 on the South Steyne to bring HunterNet into existence, the region has gone through some tremendous changes. In the early 90’s it was the demise of the shipbuilding industry in the region. We then had the closure of the steelworks; like it or not, that was the catalyst for the growth we see today. We had the resources boom that some thought was never going to end. It did, yet it was the resolve and industrious nature of the region that again shone through adversity.
The maturing and acceptance of the internet and the power it brings; industries started to evolve. High tech, megatronics and forward focus on what was to come started to become the norm in the vernacular. Businesses focused on not just the now, but also the tomorrow. HunterNet evolved alongside and sometimes in front of the trends; we were discovering the future and embracing what was happening.
Traditionally HunterNet was a locally focused industry association.It was a network that was great to be a part of and was enjoyed by many. It had the origins; vision and desire by the founders to ensure the local SME’s were and remained great. However, the world started to get smaller when the internet became a part of every household. When computers became a must-have item and not a luxury or something you just used at work.
The market was no longer just up the road and a drive away. The market and access to those markets now required an airline ticket. The resources boom brought opportunities to households that were infinitely different. The FIFO or fly-in fly-out was a topic of conversation at many family barbeques. Newcastle Airport grew and grew and our sea port was bulging at the seams. Expansions, capital spend, prosperity and the question of how we get the skilled workers to do the project, were a touch point in every project meeting room.
Unfortunately, it all started to crumble around 2013; we were affected by the GFC, but not decimated like other regions. It was the resources downturn in the region that shattered a number of businesses, both big and small.Though through all of this, HunterNet stayed positive. We continued to give our members belief in their capabilities; that were not only vital locally, but know-hows that were transferrable to markets nationally and internationally.
Through forums, briefings, seminars, training and confidence-driven conversations, we have grown up in the last few years and evolved from being known as a boy’s club to an association that regularly receives invitations to dine with the grownups. Our voice has always been for the majority; the Hunter and Central Coast has traditionally been our playground.Yet now, the world is our arena.
Today our brand is identified in many parts of the world. HunterNet is spoken about as the gateway to industry throughout Australia by many politicians and academics. We know, from member feedback, that our forums generate many opportunities, including networking opportunities not realised previously. A great example of this is that one of our forums generated $35million worth of contracted works; we know this because our members thanked us for the introduction.
HunterNet has helped change to be an avenue to explore different sectors, different markets and most importantly, for a lot of businesses to improve efficiencies within their existing structure. Change is now seen as opportunity, not disruption, and certainly something not to be scared of.
Many tier one companies seek us out to present at our forums. They seek us out to provide suitable companies to fulfil their needs. They seek us out because it is more efficient for them to have on tap a supplier list that is availed to them in a timely manner. The members of HunterNet are well respected businesses throughout our sphere of exposure. Just like our forefathers and as a collective, we will continue to promote the many attributes that our members champion, now and into the future.
Wayne H Diemar