Stephen Renkert, managing director of Sydney-based communications and navigation specialist Electrotech, met up with Defence Connect to revisit his own experience of helping guide an SME to access the defence sector.
"We started essentially in about 1990, with an … I'd like to say a business plan," Renkert told Defence Connect. "But it was more [the case that] an opportunity emerged in the commercial shipping space around [delivering] the bridge, navigation and communications equipment, where there was a market place that wasn't being adequately serviced."
After establishing Electrotech, Renkert and the team employed a group of highly experienced electronics technicians and engineers with a focus on commercial shipping, communications and navigation equipment, including radios, gyros and radar.
"At the time, GMDSS was coming in, which is the global safety system, and we rode that wave by procuring, installing and maintaining equipment on commercial ships," he recalled.
"As we developed, and the business grew through an expansion into the more significant ports around Australia … we developed a feeling that you have to have your own established network, so that you can control the quality, the training and all of the other issues that emerge."
"As we developed. it became pretty clear that there were a number of opportunities within the Navy," continued Renkert. "We had … navy staff come to us and say, 'Look, how can we work together, because what you are doing, we need to be doing in such areas as radar, navigation radar, radio, autopilot, gyro, etc'.
"And … with one toe in the water to start with, we fairly quickly moved to develop relationships with Defence in those particular areas, and that has developed since in very focused areas where we [fix] our attention on service and performance.
"And I think we've been quite successful in that area."
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