VICTORIA

Victorian Young Achiever Awards

2015 Winners of the Victorian Young Achiever Awards

 

Overall Winner - Premier's Young Achiever of the Year

Georgia Retallick, 23 of Elsternwick founded The Y-House Foundation in 2010. It is a not-for-profit organisation committed to providing support and options for young people forced to live in, or at risk of, entering care. Named as one of the Women’s Weekly Women of the Future, she met with the Prime Minister Tony Abbott to discuss her work. Georgia’s goal is to build a “Y-House”, a $3.5 million rehabilitation facility for young people who have degenerative disease and serious brain and spinal injuries. Through fundraising, Georgia has already acquired $500,000 in donations for the building and a further $150,000 has been raised for the Foundation.

 

AustralianSuper Career Kick Start Award

Kate McLean, 25 of Reservoir has a passion for flowers. After completing a Diploma of Commercial Floristry in 2013, she launched her floristry business "Mary Mary Millinery" creating a niche market for fresh floral headpieces. Rebranding and relaunching as Mary Mary Studio last year, services were extended to include weddings, events, and special occasions. Mary Mary Studio has been featured on Frankie Magazine, and Kate regularly collaborates and networks with other industry creatives to expand her business. Kate’s business has flourished with a loyal customer base and wedding bookings from some of Melbourne’s most prestigious venues.


Victorian Government Innovation Award

Alastair Pryor, 25 of North Fitzroy was completing his Bachelor of Business in Entrepreneurship and Innovation when he had the concept of “Compact Shelters”, a collapsible shelter for the homeless. With a grant from Oxfam Great Britain, Alastair designed immediate response shelters for refugees as well as collapsible water tanks and water containers. He also developed the first collapsible latrine shelter and anti-bacterial mobile surgery room. Alastair is working with charities all over the world to provide innovative aid relief solutions focused on reducing logistics so that aid can be supplied to disaster environments much faster.

 

 

BASF Science & Technology Award

Dr David Riglar, 28 of Melbourne completed his PhD on the development and application of new imaging methods. He used a combination of electron, light and super-resolution microscopy, to understand how malaria-causing parasites infect human blood cells so as to better treat the disease. David has contributed to 14 publications and presented at international forums. He has been awarded the University of Melbourne's Chancellor's Prize, the Dean's Award for Excellence in a PhD Thesis, and a commendation for the Victorian Premier's Award for Health and Medical Research 2014. David has won two prestigious fellowships that will allow him to pursue postdoctoral training overseas.


The Coffee Club Arts Award

Rebecca Clark, 28 of Collingwood completed a Bachelor of Dramatic Art in Costume at NIDA, gaining experience in theatrical costuming, draping, tailoring and millinery corsetry. She works extensively within the circus and puppetry communities and collaborates with internationally renowned circus and sideshow performer, Lilikoi Kaos. Rebecca is touring with Circus Oz to develop three unique costumes for her Trapeze, Hula Hoop and Escape Routine acts. Her costumes have been seen on stages around the world and her film and television credits include Me and My Monsters, Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries and most recently The Dressmaker.


Victorian Government Small Business Achievement Award

Paul O’Shea, 28 of Glen Iris has built CS Town Planning Services from the ground up. Paul combined his qualification as a town planner together with local experience to begin work as a private consultant to help developers obtain application approval. Initial business growth was by referrals and through his website and a Google ads campaign. A notable success has been securing corporate clients such as Lend Lease and NAB. CS Town Planning Services currently employs three full time staff and recorded a gross net profit margin of 54% in the first quarter of this financial year.


Saward Dawson Community Service and Volunteering Award

Mark Green, 24 of Wodonga is passionate about celebrating diversity, equality and social justice. He co-created ‘Equal Love on the Border’, an advocacy for the LGBTI, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex community with information on health and wellbeing, education and marriage equality. Mark organises large scale events, writes a newsletter and uses Social Media to increase awareness. He is volunteer leader and mentor at Hume Phoenix, a social support and advocacy group for LGBTI youth, the WayOut Wodonga project at Gateway Health and the WoW Youth Action Group.


Academy Graphics Regional Achiever Award

Jessi McEwan, 21 of Morwell was selected to be Australia’s first Young Chef Ambassador and represented Australia in the 2014 World Chefs Forum in Norway. Jessi helps build young chef programs in Australia and collaborates with other Ambassadors, whilst keeping the World Association of Chefs Society informed of her progress. She is an active member of the Young Chefs Club, the Australian Culinary Federation and supports her community through fundraising initiatives. Jessi was named State Apprentice of the Year in 2013 and enjoys conducting cooking classes and inspirational talks to high school students.

 

Bartercard Online Achievement Award

Andrew Armstrong & Long Zheng, 27 of Melbourne co-founded 121CAST in 2012 to change the way people listen to radio around the world. The aim was to enable listeners to edit and create radio stations. Both Andrew and Long were awarded entrepreneurial fellowships by the University of Melbourne. They have built online products that millions of people use every day, including SoundGecko, Omny, Metrowit, Metro Trains Google Glass and Bigpond Movies and Music. In 2008, Long was one of four co-founders awarded first place in the Microsoft Imagine Cup chosen from 220,000 student entrants across 100 countries.

 

First National Real Estate Leadership Award

Georgia Retallick, 23 of Elsternwick founded The Y-House Foundation in 2010. It is a not-for-profit organisation committed to providing support and options for young people forced to live in, or at risk of, entering care. Named as one of the Women’s Weekly Women of the Future, she met with the Prime Minister Tony Abbott to discuss her work. Georgia’s goal is to build a “Y-House”, a $3.5 million rehabilitation facility for young people who have degenerative disease and serious brain and spinal injuries. Through fundraising, Georgia has already acquired $500,000 in donations for the building and a further $150,000 has been raised for the Foundation.

 

2014 Winners

Overall Winner - Premier's Young Achiever of the Year 

Matthew Calleja, 24 of Lilydale has a love and passion for cars and for community. Leaving school in year 10 to start a mechanical apprenticeship, he soon realised that it was not for him. At only 17 years of age he created his own business; MRC Performance - Performance Parts and Fabrication. Commencing as an online home business, MRC is now a well-known, well established performance shop in Lilydale with six staff specialising in high performance parts for Australian cars. The business has expanded into Design and Fabrication and has recently added the Kamacarzi Car Care product range. Matthew provides significant support for local charities and holds regular car events and BBQ’s at his factory to raise funds for the local CFA.

 
Academy Graphics Regional Achiever Award

Tom Whitty, 26 of Princes Hill has made a significant contribution to changing the agricultural landscape through pioneering social media initiatives AgChatOZ and Rural Mental Health. AgChatOz uses social media to help give farmers access to ongoing discussions about Agricultural related matters. Rural Mental Health is a social media initiative aimed at raising awareness about mental health issues in rural Australia. Tom was instrumental in obtaining a $240,000 funding grant for an agricultural careers advisor and was named the 2013 Emerging Leader in Victorian Agriculture. This year Tom will present to more than 2,000 delegates at the AgChat Conference in Texas.

 

BASF Science and Technology Award

Lori Ferrins, 27 of Templestowe is currently completing her PhD with a focus on the complex research and design of new drugs to treat Human African Trypanosomiasis, known as African sleeping sickness. It is a debilitating parasitic disease affecting tens of thousands of people annually. Publishing several articles including in the European Journal of Medicinal Chemistry and Future Medicinal Chemistry, Lori was the first to publish findings on a new class of compounds active against the parasite. Lori has presented the findings at local and national conferences. These compounds have previously shown potent activity as agents in diseases such as cancer making the project exciting in its potential.

 

Saward Dawson Community Service and Volunteering Award

Maddison Parker, 11 of Caroline Springs runs a campaign to raise awareness for the debilitating disability Ehlers Danlos syndrome. She is determined to see state wide clinics established across Australia for those that suffer from connective tissue disorders, and for Ehlers Danlos syndrome to be a recognised and understood condition. Maddison has raised over $10,000 to help those with CTDs, and a further $2,000 for the YMCA open doors program. Despite constant chronic pain, daily dislocations and fatigue, she is determined to improve the lives of those living with the illness.

 

AustralianSuper Career Kick Start Award

Hayden Layton, 19 of Roxburgh Park started working at Youthworx Media, completed his accredited media training and was employed by two Production companies by the time he was 16. Last year Hayden completed his traineeship and was instantly promoted to Producer! He won a Film Award from the Oasis short film competition where he was presented with his award by Cate Blanchett. Hayden has secured funding by writing successful funding applications for new initiatives and projects such as “North” and “Live Up” and he is currently working on multiple short films and music videos. 

 

The Coffee Club Arts Award

Lesley & Patrick Francis, 24 and 22 of Keilor East collaborate as “Absolutely Awetistic Arts”. Patrick is a special needs artist and prolific painter using acrylic on paper as his chosen medium. He has won numerous arts awards, exhibited at the National Gallery of Victoria and has been included in every Arts Project Gala Exhibition since 2009. Patrick was showcased as a prominent “Melbourne Now” artist and is exhibiting at Safari 2014 and the Melbourne Art Fair. Lesley is an exceptional author, curator, arts writer and dynamic young entrepreneur who assists her brother. “Absolutely Awetistic Arts” have produced several books with Lesley as author and Patrick the artist, which are sold online. Profits are used for global awareness and research of autism and intellectual disability.

 

Minister for Youth Affairs Sustainability Award

Catherine Payne, 24 of Brunswick is a conservation biologist who is passionate about conserving wildlife and natural ecosystems. She has conducted research into human disturbance of birds, urban microbat roosting behaviour, and also invasive species ecology. Catherine has volunteered with conservation organisations in Australia and the UK, and in 2012 formed the now 800 member strong Deakin University Ecology Volunteer Register to help undergraduate ecology students keen to volunteer and get practical experience. A keen wildlife photographer, her photographs have been used in the media and on banners and websites to promote conservation.


Victorian Government’s Small Business Achievement Award

Matthew Calleja, 24 of Lilydale has a love and passion for cars and for community. Leaving school in year 10 to start a mechanical apprenticeship, he soon realised that it was not for him. At only 17 years of age he created his own business; MRC Performance - Performance Parts and Fabrication. Commencing as an online home business, MRC is now a well-known, well established performance shop in Lilydale with six staff specialising in high performance parts for Australian cars. The business has expanded into Design and Fabrication and has recently added the Kamacarzi Car Care product range. Matthew provides significant support for local charities and holds regular car events and BBQ’s at his factory to raise funds