Two South Australian business innovators, a former Olympian and a gifted Indigenous artist have been celebrated this week with Honorary Doctorates from Flinders University.
Anthony Kittel, Chief Executive Officer of REDARC Electronics (pictured), and Frank Seeley AM, founder of Seeley International, and are both home-grown success stories, coming from humble beginnings to become giants of Australian manufacturing.
They have been joined by two other eminent high-achievers, including Olympic athlete Marjorie Jackson-Nelson, known as the ‘Lithgow Flash’, and First Nations artist and activist, Banduk Marika, on the distinguished roll call of Australians to receive honorary degrees from Flinders.
Anthony Kittel is the owner and Chief Executive Officer of REDARC Electronics, a firm that he took over in 1997 when it still operated out of a tin shed and employed only eight people.
Today REDARC is a $50 million business that employs 190 people and distributes world-class electronics products across Australia and Europe.
Under Mr Kittel’s leadership, REDARC earned the 2014 Telstra Australian Business of the Year Award and in 2015 acquired Hummingbird Electronics to further diversify and expand REDARC’s manufacturing capabilities across the transport, mining and defence sectors.
Mr Kittel is currently Deputy President of the Australian Industry Group in South Australia and a member of the Engineering Advisory Committee at Flinders University.
His Honorary Doctorate recognises his unrelenting focus on transformative workplace culture and new product development, as well and his investment in the business leaders of tomorrow through mentorship, professional development and career guidance.
Frank Seeley AM
Frank Seeley AM is an entrepreneur, innovator, businessman and philanthropist who started Australia’s largest manufacturer and exporter of heating and cooling products, Seeley International, in his home garage in 1972.
A passionate believer in the future of Australian industry, Mr Seeley has been a staunch supporter of fellow Australian businesses and encouraged his peers to surround themselves with like-minded people, invest in research and development, embrace entrepreneurship and give back to the community at all times.
Mr Seeley is a past recipient of many entrepreneurship awards including the 2012 Endeavour Lifetime Achievement Award; the 2013 Ernst & Young Champion of Entrepreneurship Award; and the 2015 IMPACT Awards Hall of Fame Award.
Mr Seeley’s passion for manufacturing is matched only by his enthusiasm for charitable works, and for more than twenty years he has provided free meals to local disadvantaged children in his home every week.
His Honorary Doctorate acknowledges his commitment to Australian innovation and his unwavering support for his local community.
Marjorie Jackson-Nelson AC, CVO, MBE
Nicknamed ‘The Lithgow Flash’ after her hometown in New South Wales, Marjorie Jackson-Nelson is one of the all-time greats of Australian sport.
She was the first Australian female runner to break a world record and the first Australian woman to win an Olympic gold medal in athletics. She was also the first female manager of an entire national team — the 500-strong Australian contingent at the 1994 Commonwealth Games in Victoria, Canada.
Ms Jackson-Nelson rocketed to national stardom when she won gold medals in the 100 metre and 200 metre sprints at the 1952 Helsinki Olympic Games, and went on to pursue an illustrious sporting career that also included seven Commonwealth Games gold medals and ten world-sprint records.
In addition to her athletics achievements, Mrs Jackson-Nelson served as Governor of South Australia from 2001 until 2007. A passionate advocate for leukaemia research since her husband, Olympic cyclist Peter Nelson, died from the disease in 1977, she is the founder of the Peter Nelson Leukaemia Foundation and has since helped raise millions of dollars for leukaemia treatment and prevention.
Her Honorary Doctorate recognises her outstanding athleticism and twin commitments to Australian sport and health research.
The first Yolngu printmaker from northeast Arnhem Land, Banduk Marika is both a celebrated First Nations artist and powerful advocate for the protection of Indigenous art, culture and land.
Her free-flowing, lyrical artworks have provided an important window on the ancient rituals and traditions of the Yolngu people and in 2009 she co-published an important book on the ancestral traditions of her homeland: Yalangbara: Art of the Djang’kawu.
As a traditional landowner at Yirrkala, Banduk lobbied intensely for Yalangbara (Port Bradshaw) to be heritage-listed and in 2003 was successful in having the region protected.
Banduk is a former recipient the Australia Council’s Red Ochre Award for her outstanding contribution to Indigenous arts and culture, and has fought tirelessly to ensure that the work of Indigenous Australian artists is copyright-protected.
In 1994, Banduk was involved in one of the most successful copyright cases in Australia when the Federal Court ruled against a company that had produced counterfeit woollen carpets based on her print, Djanda and the Sacred Waterhole.
Her Honorary Doctorate acknowledges her remarkable legacy as an Indigenous artist and cultural advocate and lobbyist for the Yolngu people and their heritage. Read more about Banduk Marika