In September 2017, my wife Michele and I will be celebrating 20 years since purchasing REDARC Electronics back in 1997. REDARC was founded by Electronics Engineer, Bob Mackie in 1979 and we were very fortunate to be able to purchase the business from Bob’s family. It’s sometimes hard to believe that 20 years ago we were operating out of a tin shed in Lonsdale, South Australia with just eight employees. Over the course of those years, we have moved to various premises, and now operate in our own state-of-the-art manufacturing facility with 170 employees across two locations.
Beginning of an Era (1997) - original eight employees. Front (left to right): Caterina Taylor, Marcelle Simpson, Barabara Cromwell, Desmond Hutchinson. Back (left to right): Paul Savage, Lex Clarke, David Downie, Thanh Bui.
Front (left to right): Anthony Kittel, , Caterina Taylor, Barabara Cromwell. Back (left to right): David Downie, Lex Clarke, Thanh Bui, Paul Savage, Desmond Hutchinson, Dennis Brion.
As I reflect on what REDARC has achieved in the last 20 years, I think several of our biggest achievements were firstly, in 2014, REDARC was announced the Telstra Australian Business of the Year. Following a number of awards achieved for manufacturing excellence and fast growth over the years the Telstra Award was the pinnacle. Then, in 2015, we acquired Hummingbird Electronics a bespoke provider of electronic solutions for vehicles with intellectual properties in radio frequency. In August of this year, Hummingbird completed their relocation to their new purpose-built Innovation Centre located at the Defence Technology Business Park outside Newcastle in Williamtown, New South Wales.
REDARC wins 2014 Telstra Australian Business of the Year
Anthony Kittel and Norman Ballard at the grand opening of the Williamtown Innovation Centre.
Looking back one of the biggest risks we took was in 2005, we committed to building a new manufacturing facility at a time when most electronics manufacturing was being moved to low cost countries. This would be the third move we had to do at REDARC as we kept growing and needing more space and so we made the decision to invest in a greenfield site. At the time, our sales revenue was just reaching $5 million, and we chose to invest $5 million into the new site, a decision made only a few years prior to the GFC. We established a magnificent facility, a place where our employees love to come to work and where we were able to buck the downward trend in manufacturing. We are currently undergoing a tremendous change once again this year with our factory expansion well underway. The building extensions and the installation of an array of new automation and testing equipment is due for completion in 2018.
Anthony in front of the state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Lonsdale after completion in 2007.
I’m really proud that REDARC is an active member of our local and broader community through relationships with many sporting, social, charity and health and well-being organisations and individuals. These include Variety, Junction Australia, South Adelaide Football and Basketball Club and Red25 by Australian Red Cross Blood Service. We are also major sponsors of the TAFE, Flinders University, University of South Australia, University of Adelaide World Solar Car Challenge entries.
Being a part of the local and broader community is important to REDARC
We are very fortunate to have a considerable number of employees who have been with us for over 10, 20 and even 30 years. Without a loyal and engaged workforce, our brand and growth potential wouldn’t be at the level it is today. I want to sincerely thank all of the staff at REDARC for their support and hard work over the years. We have a great team and great culture and that is something that I am very proud of and highly value. The success that we have endured over the years is not just down to the fact that we make great products, it’s the great people that make these products and provide excellent service for our customers around the globe.
Celebrating the Turning of the Sod in 2017
Finally, it would be remiss of me not to thank our loyal, passionate and enthusiastic customers who ask for the REDARC product by name. The feedback we receive from the field, by social media, at trade shows, open days, by mail and telephone of the great experiences by our customers provides me with great satisfaction. At REDARC, we believe the ‘customer is king’ and employees go that extra step to ensure we delight our customers and it is so rewarding to receive the amazing reviews.
Over the last 20 years REDARC has grown from humble beginnings to become a world-class, advanced electronics manufacturer, servicing both domestic and international markets. We look forward to the future with great optimism, our goal is to be a significant exporter of Australian made, innovative, high quality products to Europe and North America and in doing so, develop the REDARC brand name worldwide.