On a spring evening in November 2021, the inaugural WA Defence Industry Gala Dinner commenced with welcome drinks overlooking the picturesque Optus Stadium. Over 450 dignitaries and guests representing WA’s defence industry gathered for a stirring welcome to country performed by Noongar Elder Barry McGuire, against vistas of the Swan River, lights of the Matagarup Bridge and Perth’s stunning nightscape.
Together with hosts AIDN WA and the Henderson Alliance, 22 corporate sponsors and guests were treated to an evening of celebration for the year that was. The awards and recognitions reflected on a period of growth, challenges and achievements in the defence industry, and provided an opportunity for leaders and decision-makers to meet, mingle and look ahead to the next 12 months.
The evening’s key speakers included Hon. Melissa Price, Minister for Defence Industry, Michelle Strother, General Manager at Spartan First, and Chairperson of Henderson Alliance, Rohan Green. The Hon Paul Papalia CSC MLA, WA Minister for Defence Industry & Veterans’ Issues, applauded attendees for the quality of their support for the industry locally and around the globe.
The AIDN WA Young Achiever award was presented to a beaming Warren Ko, whose acceptance focused on sentiments around his support network and collaborative work. Similarly, Innovaero Executive Director Mike von Bertouch praised the enthusiasm of the Innovaero team, who took home the Excellence in Defence Industry Award. Terry Gropp of Maritime Defence Solutions was awarded the Defence Industry Minister’s Award for Individual Contribution. Terry commended the WA Defence industry for being the most innovative and entrepreneurial in the country.
Meanwhile, the bubbles flowed as the photo booth, live music and dancefloor took centre stage for some well-earned downtime. The event was applauded by attendees as a chance to connect socially and personally with peers, leaders and clients, with a shared appreciation of the great work achieved together in the Defence industry over the last year.