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Five Standout Business Leaders

31 August 2005

Five Standout Business Leaders Compete for the Title of Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2005

Ernst & Young is delighted to announce the five Category Winners in the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award 2005.

Selected from a field of 17 outstanding finalists, including one joint entry, the Category Winners were chosen by an independent panel of judges for their exceptional qualities and outstanding entrepreneurial spirit.

The 2005 Category Winners are:

- Retail, Consumer and Industrial Products: Annah Stretton of Stretton Clothing Co Limited
- Services, including Financial Business, Property and Arts: Katherine Corich of The Sysdoc Group
- Technology, Communication and Biotechnology: Ken Stevens of Glidepath Limited
- Master Entrepreneur (for leaders of well established businesses which have a significant commitment to entrepreneurship): George Fistonich DCNZM of Villa Maria
- Young Entrepreneur (aged 30 or under at the time of close of applications): Paul Manning of Metromedia

In addition, Sir Ronald Carter, Strategic Advisor (formerly Chairman) of Beca Group, is honoured with a Commendation for his commitment to entrepreneurship and exceptional achievements in business.

Chair of the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year judging panel, David Johnson, says that each of the judges were impressed by the high calibre of the finalists.

"All of the finalists have created strong and successful businesses but it is the five category winners who truly reflect the entrepreneurial spirit that Ernst & Young is celebrating. Each category winner demonstrates leadership, innovation, passion and the focus to create successful businesses."

David says the judges were impressed with Sir Ronald Carter.

"Our decision was unanimous in agreeing to highly commend Sir Ronald Carter as his service to business has inspired generations of entrepreneurs."

The five Category Winners will now compete for the overall title of the 2005 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year with the winner announced at a gala banquet in Auckland on Wednesday, 12 October.

The winner of the New Zealand title will go on to represent New Zealand in the Ernst & Young World Entrepreneur of the Year Awards in Monte Carlo in May 2006.

Detailed information about each Category Winner is outlined below:

YOUNG ENTREPRENEUR
Paul Manning
Director
Metromedia Advertising Limited
www.metromedia.co.nz

Metromedia is a communications management agency, which has evolved into a multi-million dollar marketing hub for many successful business and organisations.

Established by Paul Manning and Ant Hassett in 1999, Metromedia had just one prospective client when the business opened its doors in Auckland. A month later it was assigned to the client's national franchise account and has enjoyed continued growth ever since. Metromedia is the sole marketing services supplier to Auckland City Council - the country's largest local government communications contract and has recently won BMW Group NZ's prestigious retail marketing account.

Central to Metromedia's success is its robust structure with management of all core communication services occurring within the agency. This allows it to offer unparalleled consistency, greater brand intelligence and significant savings through consolidation, whilst enabling the team to share knowledge across projects simultaneously.

Employing 20 full-time and eight part-time staff, Metromedia expects to be at the forefront of the industry's continuously evolving trends as it couples the efficiency of traditional media with the interactive potential of digital media. With further planned expansion this year and the imminent acquisition of several complementary businesses, Metromedia is set to further deepen its service offering and growth.

MASTER ENTREPRENEUR

George Fistonich DCNZM
Managing Director
Villa Maria Estate Limited
www.villamaria.co.nz

Villa Maria Estate Limited is the largest privately owned winery in New Zealand. It is the country's third largest wine company, employing more than 200 staff and producing 750,000 cases of wine per year. The original wine business was founded in 1961 by Managing Director George Fistonich, whose family continues to own 100% of the business today.

At the age of 21 George leased five acres of land from his father in Mangere to start his business with very little capital and no business plan. Shortly afterwards he purchased equipment from the Maungatapu Winery in Tauranga and started buying grapes from Kumeu, Whenuapai and Te Kauwhata. Initial sales were from the cellar door and when not winemaking or tending the vines, George travelled up and down the country selling wine.

In 1976 George decided to buy a second winery, Vidals, in the Hawke's Bay to gain access to a further supply of grapes at a time when there was a great shortage. In 1978 he opened New Zealand's first winery restaurant at the Vidal Winery, despite restrictive restaurant and local body legislation.

The company expanded rapidly in the late 1960s and early 1970s, overcame voluntary receivership and financial difficulties as a result of price wars in the mid 1980s, and went on to grow UK and US export markets. Today the company exports to more than 50 countries with exports accounting for 52% of its total sales.

While recovering from receivership George saw an opportunity to purchase the Glenvale winery in Napier. He closed down the Glenvale brand and continued as Esk Valley Estate, making only table wine.

In 1992 George floated the first specialist publicly owned vineyard company in New Zealand, Seddon Vineyards of Malborough Limited. Six years later he floated a second vineyard company, Terra Vitae Vineyards Limited, raising $9.5 million.

Villa Maria's growth and success led to the development of new facilities in both Marlborough and Auckland, as part of a 50 year expansion plan. The $30 million Villa Maria Auckland Winery and Vineyard Park was officially opened earlier this year.

Villa Maria was the first major wine company in the world to move to 100% screwcap closure and holds the status of "New Zealand's most awarded wines," testament to its absolute focus on quality, innovation and investment in state of the art technology.

SERVICES, INCLUDING FINANCIAL BUSINESS, PROPERTY AND ARTS

Katherine Corich
Director
The SYSDOC Group
www.sysdocgroup.com

The SYSDOC group is New Zealand's leading specialist knowledge management, business process improvement, training and information management company.

Established in 1987 by Katherine Corich, the company now has over 120 staff based in New Zealand, Australia and the United Kingdom. A qualified commercial pilot, Katherine saw a market opportunity to produce accurate and understandable instruction manuals, training and e-learning courses in a wide range of industries. Her motivation to help to make people safer and businesses more productive underlies all of SYSDOC's services.

Katherine is the architect of a number of proprietary award-winning products and methodologies, which are offered through the SYSDOC Group. Her passion for the business dared her to grow a small team into a global enterprise.

SYSDOC holds major global process education and training contracts with multinational companies, and has significant expansion plans with new service areas and international markets.

TECHNOLOGY, COMMUNICATION AND BIOTECHNOLOGY
Ken Stevens
Executive Chairman
Glidepath Limited
www.glidepathgroup.com

Glidepath is an engineering company that specialises in the design and integration of, electrical and mechanical systems for baggage handling, cargo handling and parcel sortation, all controlled by the company's own software automation systems.

In 1972 Ken Stevens purchased a small Auckland general engineering firm called Thompson Engineering, now known as Glidepath.

The company had carved itself a niche at Auckland Airport doing quick response welding jobs, building metal fences and occasionally manufacturing goods elevators and belt conveyors. Its first contract in the newly emerging airport baggage industry was to extend Air New Zealand's main domestic check-in elevator in 1972.
The company began exporting mechanical equipment in 1978 with a contract in American Samoa, entering the Australian market in 1979 and the US in 1983.

In 1992 Ken sold majority ownership to a US Fortune 50 company who consolidated the company into a global materials handling division, for which Glidepath controlled the Asia Pacific region. The US parent ran into financial difficulty so Ken seized the opportunity to buy-back the majority share in 1995.

Glidepath is now a world leader in airport baggage handling systems with 183 staff and offices in Sydney, Santiago, Toronto, Beijing and Dallas Texas, where Glidepath have developed a full manufacturing facility. The company has completed more than 426 projects in 31 countries and invests heavily in its research and development and manufacturing facilities to remain internationally competitive.

A recent initiative has been to open an office in Beijing China to pursue the fast growing East Asian market opportunities.

Glidepath is currently installing Baggage Handling Systems in 14 different countries.

RETAIL, CONSUMER & INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTS
Annah Stretton
Director
Stretton Clothing Company Limited

Stretton Clothing Company Limited is a manufacturer, exporter and retailer of women's fashion clothing.

The company was founded in 1992 by director and owner Annah Stretton, who was looking to establish a wholesale business within the 'rag trade.' A qualified accountant, Annah saw an opportunity to supply large fashion retailers with well-styled knit garments. She secured regular, large orders - up to 20,000 units - despite having no building to work from, no regular staff nor infrastructure. These orders provided the launching pad for the business.

In its thirteen years of business Stretton Clothing has consistently achieved year on year growth. It has a strong presence in the New Zealand market with 27 fashion retail sites operating throughout the country, employing more than 100 staff.

In a competitive fashion market Annah has created a successful niche by providing highly individualised, non-seasonal garments in limited numbers. This exclusivity provides significant sales leverage.

Annah has diversified her business base with the development of nine franchises in New Zealand, successful export markets in Australia, Europe, the UK and USA and the development of three fashion labels to maximise retail appeal. She has shown at three successive New Zealand Fashion Weeks and continues to have hands-on involvement in all parts of the business - from daily monitoring of cash flow, to PR and driving the creative development of all new collections.

COMMENDATION
Sir Ronald Powell Carter DE, KNZM (Sir Ron Carter)
Strategic Advisor, formerly Chairman
Beca Group Limited
www.beca.com

Sir Ron Carter is one of four founding partners of consulting engineering firm Beca Carter Hollings and Ferner Ltd (BCHF), which was established in 1968 through the merger of two engineering consultancies, Gray Watts and Beca and Hollings and Ferner.

Now known as Beca Group Ltd the company and its subsidiaries offer a 'one stop shop' for engineering services, including architectural, structural, civil, mechanical, electrical and industrial design and project management

Sir Ron saw potential in the export of New Zealand engineering services and established the offices in Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei, and was the director responsible for these offices as well as those in Australia.

Sir Ron's management strategies were instrumental in the company's growth. Today Beca successfully competes for work around the world, and has worked in 63 countries where its presence can be assessed from the scale of the projects it has performed. In Macau a 330 metre Sky Tower; thousands of kilometres of highways and bridges in places as far apart as Tanzania and Belize, industrial plants in Malaysia, China and Indonesia and several large commercial developments in South East Asian countries.

When Sir Ron stepped down as Chairman in 2001 the staff had grown to 1,200 with 15 permanent offices in Australasia and South East Asia. He continues his involvement with the company as Strategic Advisor.

During his tenure Sir Ron introduced innovative approaches to the business, including strategic alliances, an employee ownership structure and the establishment of specific purpose JV companies to deliver technology at international standards.

He is currently a Director on the Boards of Air New Zealand, Trustpower, Rural Equities, Cabletalk and the Auckland Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

The award programme was launched by Ernst & Young to celebrate the world's best entrepreneurs and share their stories to inspire others. The competition is now in its eighth year in New Zealand and nineteenth year worldwide.

ENDS

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