What was your first job?
My first truly permanent job was as a high school maths teacher. However, I had spent a few weeks as a trainee chemical engineer at BHP’s Port Kembla Steelworks when I first left school. I quickly realised that wasn’t the job for me.
During late high school and through my university days my only income came from playing professional rugby league. It was only for six months of the year, but it got me by.
When did you know you wanted to start your own business?
When I realised the enormous potential contained in ocean waves. There is enough energy in the waves that wash up on the beaches around the world to power the planet twice over. I decided someone had to develop that potential and decided, with my co-founder, John Brown, to establish Wave Swell Energy (WSE).
We now have a technology that is ready to be commercialised as both a generator of renewable electricity and as a form of coastal protection against erosion and severe storm events arising from climate change.
When did you first discover the concept of Impact Investing?
I became aware of sustainable investment funds about 20 years ago. It was quite new at that stage. There is a lot more focus on impact investment now. It’s great to see such a large chunk of society insisting on their superannuation and other investments being made in companies that are sustainable and ethical.
What’s one exciting development you and your team have in the pipeline?
With the King Island project having proven our technology, and an independent assessment by the CSIRO quantifying its commercial potential, the technology is now ready for an exciting commercialisation phase. We believe that, with its ability to double as both a renewable energy source and a form of coastal protection, the technology is well positioned to take its place as part of the global energy mix.
What’s the most interesting development in the Ocean-Economy space you’ve come across in the past 12 months?
Without wanting to appear biased, I believe the proving of our technology via the King Island project to be the most exciting development in the sector in the past 12 months. And, as described in earlier questions, its unique ability to play the dual role of energy generation and coastal protection sets it apart from its competitors. Being able to effectively act as an energy generating seawall or harbour breakwater is something no other technology is capable of, to the best of our knowledge.
What’s your vision for social enterprise in 5 years time?
I would like to see the current trend, toward an increasing focus on triple bottom line investing, to continue and be even more important in the years to come. I can’t see this trend going backwards, which is very encouraging, not just for the renewable energy sector, but for society in general.