Page 1

Vol 12 No 1


February 2012


The Young Leaders Group in action

CAMPBELL AND HEEPS Clocks up 80 years in business

Moving with



The association gets a

Your chance to have a say about your magazine

new name

HVG Flexes its Muscle! For more information on HVG, please see pages 17 & 46 ACASPA Member News • Training and Events • Member Spotlight • Developments









03 ACASPA officers’ reports 34 Membership Directory

06 Association name change 11 Young Leaders Group


The weekend that was — and that special project

04 The business landscape 08 Members’ news

26 Campbell and Heeps clocks up 80 years

Activities and achievements

Your chance for a say



48 Industry events and a list of RTOs

28 Driving the future of fabric structures


48 HVG, Ricky Richards, Miami Stainless and Absolute Trade Supplies

Update on industry innovation at its best

Gary Smith talks about the past and future

18 Showcasing members’ creative talents in outdoor dining

is published on behalf of the Australian Canvas and Synthetic Products Association Inc. by CommStrat Limited.


31 Readership survey




DESIGNER Odette Boulton CONTRIBUTORS Bob Cahill, Blaine Brownell SALES Yuri Mamistvalov CONTACT EDITORIAL

COMMSTRAT ABN 31 008 434 802 Level 8, 574 St Kilda Rd Melbourne Vic 3004

SUBSCRIPTIONS To subscribe to Connections for just $75.00 inc GST annually contact Ruth Spiegel

Disclaimer: Except where specifically stated, the opinions and material published in the magazine are not necessarily those of the publisher or the ACASPA Council.

ACASPA Suite 201, 22 St Kilda Road, St Kilda 3182 VIC Phone: 03 9521 2114 Local call: 1300 555 787 Fax: 03 9521 2116

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Our attention now turns towards a certain EXPO in Melbourne at the end of May... this event is set to be massive … and memorable.

First and foremost I hope you all had a great Christmas and New Year, with time to relax and enjoy yourselves before returning to business with a renewed spring in your step. One of the driving forces behind anyone’s decision to stand for Council of Management would have to be the possibility of helping make day to day business matters a little easier to deal with. Keeping that in mind 2011 saw ACASPA take some giant steps forward in terms of keeping our association moving in a positive direction. Among the many positive initiatives: the Young Leaders conference; the formation of the new Fabric Structures committee; enhancements and upgrades with training institutes; continued development of accreditation and many more projects that will drive us into this new and exciting year. This year starts with a BANG with the new name for our great association that is being revealed to members during special information sessions and I would love to see as many of you as possible at these events to enable us to embrace and launch the new name together. Our attention now turns towards a certain EXPO in Melbourne at the end of May. With an organising committee chaired by Brendan Hall and over 70% of the floor space sold out by the end of 2011, this event is set to be massive … and memorable. If I have one strong message for everyone it would be to please get involved if you can, whether it by way of entering one of your company’s projects in our awards for excellence, coming along to a member meeting, nominating yourself for Council of Management or simply dropping us an email or a phone call or jumping onto the new website … it all helps us move forward. The combination of senior figures mentoring and guiding the way for our emerging young leaders sets 2012 as an exciting time for the future of the association. For me, leading an amazing Council of Management through these dynamic times is an absolute honour and something I am thoroughly enjoying. I hope you all have a successful 2012 and I look forward to seeing as many of you as possible during the year.

Taking action Happy New Year to one and all. And as may be evident to you, we have hit the ground running this year; our agenda is proving something of a whirlwind. Many have commented on how busy the association has been in recent months and that has certainly been the case. But delivery, productivity and outcomes are what matter. In other words, results. Fortunately we will soon have much to show as a result of all our recent efforts. Just recapping our projects: there’s the Young Leaders Group, an eager and talented bunch who at our May Expo will be showcasing the results of their brainstorming sessions. Read more on page 11 about the nature of the smart project they are engaged in. And full credit to Bob Cahill of Tex Connex who cleverly stitched together several themes to develop a brilliant concept that’s set to produce all-round benefit. Currently the recommendation for the Name Change is very much at the forefront of our association activities and the Committee of Management (COM) and I are hoping to meet and discuss this with as many members as possible. The decision to change the name has not been taken lightly and for some it will undoubtedly be confronting, while for many others it represents a chance to embrace change and take a bold step forward. Regardless of your own position, I encourage you to come along to the February meeting in your state and hear directly from your COM on this critical initiative. Accompanying the Expo are our industry Awards for Excellence. A great opportunity to showcase your fine projects. Cut-off date is Friday March 30 and we do urge you to submit your entry by then. Also being progressed is the new website, Accreditation, and work undertaken by the National Fabric Structures Committee. And this year we are producing six (rather than five) issues of Connections. So it is no exaggeration to say it is all systems go … the wheels of our industry are whirring faster than ever — and very much in unison, for each of the above mentioned projects involves individuals working together productively and harmoniously. I would like to say I do hope your business is operating at full or near full capacity. And may each and every one of you have a pleasant, productive and profitable 2012. Finally, on page 31 you will find our first ever Connections Reader Survey. Having consolidated the changes we made late last year to refresh the cover and inside pages, our objective this year is to continue to improve the editorial content to ensure Connections remains interesting, informative and relevant to all our readers. I hope you will take a few minutes to complete and return it to us. FEB 2012 · 3

News round-up GRANTS WORTH $2.5 MILLION UP FOR GRABS “Clever and creative” small businesses in the Textile, Clothing and Footwear (TCF) sector can apply for Federal Government grants of up to $50,000 for business improvement projects. With innovation regarded key to turning challenges into opportunity, this latest round of grants is part of a $406 million total package to transform the TCF sector … to “help maintain and grow a vibrant TCF sector as well as securing and creating high-wage, high-skill jobs for Australians,” said Senators Combet and Carr. “Around 42,000 people are employed

overseas. The Gillard Labor Government understands the importance of tackling these challenges, strengthening manufacturing and improving productivity and competitiveness in the TCF sector. Since 2005 the TCF SBP has distributed $15 million to over 400 small TCF businesses that manufacture in Australia, or design for manufacture in Australia. The grants will be awarded to support projects in areas of marketing and branding, process and strategy improvement, supply chains, e-commerce and export opportunity development. “It is the enterprising and innovative

in TCF manufacturing — many in small and medium sized businesses. It is an important and highly competitive sector of the economy,” said Combet. Carr added “These grants will help Australian firms improve their productivity and give them an edge to compete with overseas based manufacturers.” “The TCF sector faces challenges — in particular from cheap manufacturing

businesses that will become the next generation of Australia’s leading manufacturers and designers,” Mr Combet said. Applications close on 24 February 2012. Visit for more information, or call the AusIndustry hotline on 13 28 46 or email

MORE GOOD NEWS. The manufacturing sector nudged positive territory in December with the latest Australian Industry Group — PwC Australian Performance of Manufacturing Index (Australian PMI®) rising by 2.4 points to 50.2. Note — readings above 50 indicate expansion in activity, and strongest expansions were seen in the miscellaneous manufactures sub-sectors of basic metals; paper, printing & publishing; and transport equipment. This was counterbalanced, however, by falls in fabricated metals; chemicals, petroleum & coal products; construction materials; and textiles sub-sectors. While production levels and supplier deliveries increased in December, manufacturers’ profitability continued to be squeezed as the rise in wages and input prices gained speed with selling prices continuing to decline. Ai Group Chief Executive Heather Ridout commented: “Manufacturing


‘mercifully’ fell across the line into positive territory in December — on the back of a pick-up in production and new orders — in what was a better end to 2011 than might have been anticipated after such a tough year. “The result points to the resilience of Australian manufacturers against formidable headwinds. However, it needs to be borne in mind that the majority of the sub-sectors recorded declines, highlighting the continuing impact the high dollar, soft domestic demand and the uncertainty in the global economy are having on the industry. “Therefore, while the tentative pick-up in manufacturing activity is encouraging, clearly the sector remains vulnerable to any renewed downturn in the global economy and to the underlying structural pressures associated with strong commodity prices.”

IFAI EXPO ASIA 2012 POSTPONED The Industrial Fabrics Association International announced that the uncertainty of the completion of construction at Singapore’s Suntec Center and continuing softness of the global economy prompted the postponement of IFAI Expo Asia 2012. As many acaspians will attest, IFAI Expo Asia 2011 premiered strongly in late March 2011 at Singapore’s breathtaking Marina Bay Sands Convention Centre, where the specialty fabrics trade exhibition and symposiums covered the spectrum of industry’s cutting-edge developments occurring in the industry.

CASTING SHADOW Adelaide based Shadeplan was recently placed in administration, with administrators Ferrier Hodgson putting it up for sale or alternatively considering restructuring operations. Nonpayment of a small number of contracts, and one in particular, forced the move. Founded in 2003 by architect Andrew Ferris, Shadeplan specialises in three dimensional cutting for complex shade structures and designed the eye catching Clipsal 500 grandstand shade structure. With branches in Brisbane and Perth and a $5 million turnover, the company employs ten staff. Reports indicate the cut off for expressions of interest to buy the business was late January, with the outcome announced in mid February Connections was told that this ACASPA member was “substantially” underquoting on projects in order to secure contracts. However costs were too high for them to sustain such practices on a long-term basis.

IFAI’S INTERIM EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT Still on IFAI, in November last year Mary Hennessy was appointed interim executive vice president after President/CEO Stephen Warner stepped down. Hennessy has been with IFAI for 23 years and most recently held the position of vice president of communications and publisher of IFAI's seven industry magazines. IFAI soon celebrates 100 years.

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ACASPA is changing its name The new association name will be revealed during a series of member information sessions What’s in a name? More specifically, a name change. A fair bit of soul searching, we suggest. Especially when it involves finding then agreeing on a name that best represents the majority of members. Trouble is, association members cover a vast array of products and services. From dam liners on a massive scale to backyard awnings and all in between — and that includes boat canopies, tents, flags and more. Few would dispute that represents a rich and varied mix, a widespread contribution to the landscape. Fortunately there are some common themes, traits that are shared by members. And as it turns out, all it takes is an open mind and a few sparks to trigger a series of suggestions combined with a group endowed with pride and passion to reach a popular consensus. Let’s revisit the July 2011 AGM where the association renaming exercise was kickedstarted. Members may recall the vigorous debate that took place about the association’s proposed name change, prompted by strong


After all previous options were re-assessed and progressively eliminated, a new short list was “roadtested” with a group of young leaders and legends of the industry

Below: Above: A meeting of today’s and tomorrow’s leaders. Ana Drougas (far right) and Mina Geremia (bottom left). At the centre wearing shades and a check shirt is ACASPA President Glenn Barlow.

feedback from a majority of members who felt the current name — ACASPA — was no longer appealing or relevant. Although none of the proposed new names presented on the day of the AGM were adopted, a strong mandate for a name change still existed. In the months following the AGM, Council of Management continued to progress the name change with the assistance of an independent marketing and change consultant who reviewed the process and outcomes achieved to date and then augmented this with additional research and consultation with Council of Management and members. After all previous options were re-assessed and progressively eliminated, a new short list was “road-tested” with a group of young leaders and legends of the industry at the inaugural Young Leaders’ Conference held in Sydney in November 2011 (see full report on page 11–17). The options presented at the Young Leaders’ Conference sparked further robust debate and feedback from attendees on the day confirmed the need and desire for a new name that is both contemporary and succinct and reflects the quality of work produced by members as well as the overall creativity, dynamism and positivity that persists in the industry today despite the challenges faced by members. “Our young leaders have a very clear and uncompromising view of how they want their industry and association to be positioned and perceived by people in the own industry as well as in the wider environment,” says Glenn Barlow, ACASPA President. “For them, as well as many of our legends, it’s all about being seen as fresh, vibrant, innovative, leading, responsive, adaptable and specialised.” Although words like “industrial” have their place, our leaders and legends largely saw this as being synonymous with a long past era and persisting with words such as “canvas”

The association’s proposed new name will be formally unveiled at member information sessions taking place in each capital city in early February

and “synthetics” was seen as no longer appealing and relevant to a majority of members, particularly those eager to look towards the future and embrace the emergence of new technologies. At the conference Ron Gottlieb summed up group sentiment thus: “The word industrial ties us with the past. Bearing in mind swift advances in fabric nanotechnology what we are dealing with is all about ‘advanced’, ‘engineered’ and ‘specialist’ products.” Bob Cahill noted that these words sparked positive connotation.

Moving forward Glenn Barlow acknowledges that it has been a long, and sometimes painstaking, journey, but he strongly believes “we have a new name that will address both concerns about our existing name, position us strongly into the future, and help us avoid future concerns about relevancy from particular segments of our membership base. We also think the proposed new name will be accepted by the majority of members.”

We have a new name that will address concerns about our existing name and position us strongly into the future

The association’s proposed new name will be formally unveiled at member information sessions taking place in each capital city in early February, just as this issue of Connections hits members’ desks. “We want members to hear directly from Council of Management on the proposed new name”, says Association Manager, Ana Drougas, “and we also want to give members a chance to preview the new visual identity and hear about progress towards industry accreditation and training developments.” The locations and dates for all member information sessions are as follows: • Perth — Monday, 6 February 2012 • Brisbane — Tuesday, 7 February 2012 • Sydney — Wednesday, 8 February 2012 • Melbourne — Thursday, 9 February 2012 • Adelaide — Monday, 13 February 2012 The information session will include light refreshments and an opportunity for networking. “Members were mailed their formal invitations advising venue and times in late January,” says Ana. “These details are now also posted on the website — — to enable members to register online. Glenn says “Once the member engagement period has been completed in mid–February, we expect to be able to move quickly to formalise the new name. The issue of our name has preoccupied this — and previous — Council of Management for a long time, so we are all eager to have a new name in place so we can maximise our promotional opportunities in the lead up to our Expo 2012 in May.”

Above: Going, going gone — history in the making — soon to be replaced?

FEB 2012 · 7



2 Striking stripes

Who is doing what …

1 French connection Surprise! Association Manager Ana Drougas arrived back home in Melbourne late on Sunday after ACASPA’s Young Leaders weekend and was greeted by her husband Nick waving two plane tickets to Paris. Joy mixed with trepidation best sums up Ana’s reaction. All she could think of was the office in-tray groaning under the weight of the inevitable ‘must do’, ‘follow up’, and ‘urgent action’ items. Fortunately President Glenn Barlow and co–worker Mina were in on the surprise, and helped smooth the way for Ana’s take off.

She had just 1.5 days to unpack and repack, and we can reliably report she and Nick enjoyed a few gulps of bubbly at Tullamarine while completing departure forms, exchanging currency and texting family and friends to rearrange the week’s social schedule! And so Ana and Nick Drougas flew off into the sunset and city of romance. The happy occasion: to mark their 20th wedding anniversary. The city sparkled, Ana said. “Christmas decorations adorning streets and shops, colourful festive lights glowing from later afternoon when dusk fell.”

Melbourne’s spring racing carnival is all about image — and that means glamour and colour. Last year was no exception. One of the many standout displays was The Birdcage which was designed to evoke the glamour of UK’s famous Ascot horse race as depicted in the 1964 film Yellow Rolls Royce.  The production of the colourful structures relied on speedy service by ACASPA members Innova International and Big Red Shade Products. Chalet structures and internal soft coverings were fashioned from Spanish Sauleda Lisos acrylic fabric and pagoda conicals featured pre–tensioned blockout membrane fabric, both carrying the Serge Ferrari brand name and imported from France

by Innova International within just two weeks of the order. The 1200 metres of material was 100% water and windproof and flame retardant to Australian standards… in other words well equipped for the typical fourseasons-a-day dished up in Melbourne. Designer Christian Wagstaff contracted Clark Shade Sails for the fabrication and installation of exterior awnings and roofing and Big Red Shade products assisted Clark Shade Sails with the steel framework.

1. The Arc de Triomphe, Paris 2 The snappy look of the Birdcage


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3 Roses for royalty

4A  n admirable job

It is not every day that a little girl gets to meet a princess. But Thursday November 24 was extra special for Gabriella Knight, granddaughter of Des Tebb. Crown Princess Mary of Denmark who was in Australia for a few days on official ‘green’ business visited Pakenham Springs Primary School to mark the opening of the school’s stateof-the-art environmental and high technology centre, the Envi Building. Envï is the first energy efficient relocatable classroom. Mary headed the ‘State of Green — Join the Future Think Denmark’ delegation showcasing sustainable and energy efficient buildings. The royal tour also took

Working for a company with a strong reputation and handily situated within shouting distance of one VIP residence stood Dan Wright of Pattons Textile Fabrication in Kirribilli in good stead. He landed a top job servicing the deck chairs housed at nearby Admiralty House which is frequented by the Governor General and important overseas visitors including heads of state and members of the UK’s Royal Family. The work entailed re-covering four chairs on the upstairs balcony, and four on the downstairs deck. “It was a case of replacing the chair covers on some old cane chairs that had been exposed to

in Castlemaine, Parliament House and Docklands. The princess’s visit to Pakenham may have been brief but the memory of it will last a lifetime for the 700 children and their parents meeting and greeting the princess with colourful posies and a sea of Danish flags. On her departure Princess Mary shook hands with many students and it was then that brave young toddler Gabreille took a step forward and presented the princess with home grown roses. Meanwhile her grandfather Des, a Collingwood supporter, is in the enviable position of having won an AFL raffle for a $20,000 trip for two to Europe. A question for Des: will he be visting Denmark as part of his 2012 tour de Europe?

the outdoor elements for many years and were looking a little shabby,” Dan told Connections. “They were custom covers that were fitted to the chair and featured a bow around the back. The chosen fabric was Sunbrella’s natural shade.” The job entailed five visits to Admiralty House, and took in a sideline task repairing the swimming pool cover. “All up the job took about three days — it was not too complex at all,” Dan said. Unlike the tight security surrounding the residence. Dan and colleagues had to front up to the security gate where they surrendered their drivers’ licences to Federal Police when signing in. The custodian of Admiralty House escorted them to and from the work area.

“Security was as tight as you could imagine,” said Dan, adding his disappointment at not meeting the Governor General herself. “But we did have a tour of the lower level of the house, including the Governor General’s sitting room which happens to be decked out in very regal and elegant fashion — just like the woman of substance herself.”


3 Toddler Gabriella Knight, grand-daughter of Des Tebb, bravely presents Princess Mary of Denmark with a posy at Pakenham Springs Primary School. 4 A view fit for royalty: image taken by Dan Wright from the grounds of Admiralty House overlooking Sydney Harbour:

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Vol 11 No 4

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Connections February 2012 – Vol.12 No.1  

Official publication of ACASPA - Australian Canvas and Synthetic Products Association Inc.

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