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The winner of the Innovator of the Year Award, Regulator Australia CEO, Neil Kenny, loves to compete.

When he is not racing his Juno Supersports car, he is developing control systems and finding ways to improve his already successful product range.

Even after 40 years in the business Kenny says he couldn't imagine waking up in the morning and not being a part of this industry. Even his family are involved in the business, and racing.

“The company and racing are in our blood,” he jokes.

Kenny's research and development efforts first began in the 1970s and led to the creation of temperature controllers that were so successful they stayed in production for 20 years.

“By the end of the 1990’s I designed and launched the System 2000 range of controllers with the TC2000 being our most successful controller and still in operation today,” he says. “To be the Innovator of the Year doesn’t just happen overnight, I feel it has taken many years to learn, fail, learn, fail and get up and keep trying.”

Kenny says the key drivers of a successful company include “having a great team” and “listening to customers.”

And the future, does he have plans? “Growing our Sydney based manufacturing, expanding our product range, employing more Australians and having happy and satisfied customers – that's the plan,” he says.

“We are proudly Australian and designing and manufacturing products with our name on it and sending them into export markets will allow us to maintain a cost effective local base.

“I feel the secret to the future is always to listen to your customers and to act accordingly by going back to them with your thoughts and ideas.

“It's important to always include their concerns and comments wherever possible.” In the age of technology, Kenny says its a challenge to find trained employees with field skills and the ability to work with their hands.

“The biggest challenges facing our industry are people, it worries me that we will not have enough skilled tradespeople for the physical manual work. This is work that must be done and it is not a male only domain. We really do need to raise awareness about the trade to attract more school leavers.”

When it comes to the HVACR industry, Kenny says there is no shortage of opportunities.

The Australian climate, he says, covers just about every possible scenario and local engineers are some of the best in the world.

Once again Toshiba Air Conditioning sponsored the Innovator of the Year Award. Toshiba business unit manager for Australia, John Caione, presented the award.

"Toshiba has always been an innovator, one example is the introduction of inverter technology back in 1981. We recognise that innovation is the lifeblood of growth for all industry types," Caione said.

"Toshiba Air Conditioning is extremely proud to have sponsored the 2018 Innovator of the Year Award, and extend our sincere congratulations to Neil Kenny at Regulator Australia.

“Innovation needs to be encouraged and by recognising its leaders and encouraging them to go further it inspires others to follow in their footsteps to usher in the next generation of innovators.”

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