On 4 November 2022, Defence industry leaders and decision-makers brushed off their tuxedos and sequins for the second WA Defence Industry Gala Dinner at the magnificent Optus Stadium. With 600 dignitaries and guests in attendance, the glittering crowd was welcomed by Noongar Elder Matthew McGuire before AIDN WA’s Brett Peek officially opened the evening with recognition for the ongoing sacrifice of ADF servicemen and -women.
The night’s winners included Jack Morris, who received the AIDN WA Young Achiever award and a graduate of the Defence Industry Pathways Program under BAE Systems, and Greg Whitehouse, Managing Director of Precision Technic Defence, with the Minister’s Award for Services to Defence Industry. The Hon Paul Papalia CSC MLA, WA Minister for Defence Industry & Veterans’ Issues presented the Minister’s Award for Industry Excellence to Franmarine, graciously accepted by CEO Adam Falconer-West, who dedicated the win to the whole Franmarine team.
The unofficial theme of the evening was the value of support and teamwork, with many of the award winners and speakers acknowledging their collaborations and partnerships with other SMEs in the room, in a true celebration of industry camaraderie. Karen Hinder, Founder of Working Spirit, spoke with heartfelt passion about the organisation’s mission to assist in placing veterans in employment. Working Spirit has successfully placed over 200 military veterans in employment during its five years of operation.
After a decadent meal, with high energy and the spirit of industry pride well and truly underway, it didn’t take long for the music volume to hit dance level, and the floor lit up. Guests posed together for the media wall and the 360-photo booth had a workout. The dinner has absolutely made its mark as the premier event on the Australian defence industry calendar, and is an important show of recognition and pride, with a stellar party to match.