16 April 2017

New board members bring a change of perspective

The two new members of the Southland Chamber of Commerce aim to bring a new perspective to help businesses in the region.

Focus Technology Group founder Rod Sinclair and SBS Bank chief executive Shaun Drylie were elected at the chamber’s annual general meeting earlier this month.

BNZ business partner Kirsty McNeill was also elected to the board, but was already a member, having been previously appointed to it through her role as chair of the Glass Elevator Committee.

The vacancies on the board were made available because EIS chief executive Dean Addie and Envious Photography general manager James Jubb stepped down from their roles. Returning as elected members of the board are Carla Forbes, Neil McAra, and Sean Woodward.

Rod Sinclair founded Focus Technology as a one-man operation in 1994, with the IT solutions company now employing more than 50 people in five different offices around the South Island.

Sinclair said his passion for growing businesses in Southland motivated him to apply for the board.

“I’m happy to do my bit.

“With initiatives like SoRDS, we can either sit back and do nothing, or we can be a bit more active and push to achieve those goals.”

Although his working background is in IT, Sinclair said he could bring a wider perspective to the board.

Sinclair said as well as growing up on a farm, he also runs a 65ha plot of land as a hobby farm.

“I like to think I can bring a mix of urban and rural views to the business table.”

As a member of the SoRDS innovation working group, Sinclair is also keen to equip businesses to come up with new ideas and solutions.

“Some of the things that came out of SoRDS was helping people to innovate within their own businesses.

“Innovation is everywhere, it’s not just about technology – it’s about becoming more customer-focused.”

The other new board member, Shaun Drylie, said he was looking forward to bringing an outside perspective to business in Southland.

“We’ve been in Invercargill for eight months now, one of the great opportunities was to be involved in the business community – but not just as a banker.

“It’s a chance to meet people and understand the business issues in Southland.

“I bring an outsider’s perspective, but with a view to being an insider for many years into the future.”

Drylie said having worked in big and small centres across New Zealand and overseas would help to pinpoint Southland’s unique qualities.

“It’s about how we sell who we are – what differentiates us from other places.

“I’m very excited to be a part of it, and will learn a lot from the chamber itself too.”

Chamber of Commerce chief executive Sheree Carey said the chamber was fortunate to have such good candidates joining the board.

“We were thrilled with the level of business experience from all of the nominees that were put forward.

“Shaun is very experienced in his field, while Richard has just gone from strength to strength with his business.”

Carey said the first full board meeting with the new members would take place in May.