Another sell-out dinner!

Tuesday, 08 January, 2008

Held in conjunction with the RadioComms Connect 2007 conference, the ARCIA gala dinner brought together over 350 industry professionals, including manufacturers, suppliers, designers and system users, to celebrate the industry and recognise some of its amazing talent.

The spectacular evening opened with a bang (literally) as the evening's host, MC Paul Guerra, general manager Vodafone, stepped through a cloud of smoke to welcome members and guests, with fireworks erupting at his sides.

Standing on a balcony above the Platinum Sponsors banner reading 'Sepura, First in Tetra', Guerra extended a very warm welcome to attendees and introduced Kevin Graham, Sepura Asia Pacific's regional director to open the evening as the Platinum Sponsor.

Floor space was at a premium as the crowd swelled with industry professionals catching up on a year of tremendous growth.

Along with conversation, drinks flowed freely due to the event's Gold Sponsor, Simoco/ComGroup, as old friends chatted and new contacts networked, celebrating the success of the Industry.

Mingling among guests, waiters served a plethora of finger foods and ensured glasses were topped up, while our MC and the roving performer juggled his way through the crowd.

Remembering an industry icon, the Peter Wallace Christmas Cheer was once again graced by the presence of Wireless Pacific's dressed to impress Fab Four, who along with other sponsors handed out personal torches, batteries, pens, stubby holders, magnets, stress balls and other novelty items, all of which were warmly received by attendees.

Wireless Pacific's Silver Sponsorship brought comedian Hung Le onto centre stage. He had the crowd in roars of laughter and helped dinner to digest with his tales of risotto and cornflake sandwiches. The industry guests wildly applauded as he closed with several satirically twisted songs harmonised on his ukulele.

The video screen provided a warm tribute to the late Sir Angus Tait. This reflected on his achievements and some of his thoughts on life and business and concluded with his farewell message to his staff - a message that had more than a few moist eyes in the crowd.

The gala evening's feature event, the Industry Excellence Awards, included two new awards to recognise talent from most corners of the radio communications industry.

Guerra, with the assistance of Natalie Pemberton from PWC, joined sponsor representatives in the award announcements.

As nominees' names from the industry flashed up on the screen, anticipation built on who would receive one of the stunning glass sculpted personalised trophies and sponsor prizes ranging from $500 travel vouchers to the latest iPod Nano Videos. The evening's winners were:

Professional Sales Award: Mark Gale from Tetracom.
Sponsor: Icom;

Customer Service Award: Linda Kelc from Polar Electronics.
Sponsor: CRS Accessories;

Technical Excellence Award: Leo Doherty from RFI.
Sponsor: Silver Comm;

Engineering Elegance Award: Colin May from Simoco.
Sponsor: Trio Datacom;

New Talent Award: split decision for Simon McClure from Vertel and Matthew Gibson from JRD.
Sponsor: Radio Warehouse.

Memorable highlights included highly respected design engineer extraordinaire, Colin May, collecting his award with sheer astonishment and with sincere appreciation, and also that of newcomers Simon McClure and Matthew Gibson who, although sharing an award, appeared more than pleased with their new video iPods.

The session naturally concluded with the Jonathon Livingstone Lifetime Achievement Award, a highly prestigious accolade, which was received by Graham Comber from Trio Datacom for his contributions to the industry.

Door prizes were awarded during the evening to two lucky guests who walked away with an iPod Nano from PWC and a 12 megapixel digital camera from RFI.

ComGroup drew the winning ticket to take home the ARCIA Member's Prize, a top of the range sound system from Kenwood.

ARCIA's president, Craig Ross, delivered his chairperson's message with a special thanks to ARCIA committee members. He also gave a special mention to Robert van Wijk from Kenwood for his sub-committee's development of ARCIA's soon to be rolled out 'Industry Accreditation Program', and also to Martin Cahill and David Cox from Pacific Wireless Communications for re-energising the gala dinner event by tripling attendees in two short years.

In closing, Ross presented Madeleine Cahill, the event's organiser, and Natalie Pemberton (also acting ARCIA administrator) with bouquets for their superhuman efforts in organising a hugely successful evening.

And with Guerra's shimmering blazer being swept aside for a more conventional dinner jacket, the evening officially ended when he invited guests to make the most of some extra networking time, with most staying long into the night.

It was an event enjoyed by all - the only hurdle now faced by the Association is where to accommodate the 500+ expected guests at the 2008 Dinner!

Please see for more pictures of the dinner and for information on sponsoring next year's event.

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