Steven Rowe, CEO of SRA Information Technology heads up a multi award winning company boasting offices in Canberra, Adelaide, Brisbane, Perth, Houston and Singapore as well as Darwin. As my guest poster this week, he shares insights into why Darwin is not only the head office for his company, but also the place he proudly calls home.
20 years ago, SRA Information Technology, and the Rowe family, came to Darwin. At that point it was part of a business expansion; we were chasing the opportunities of the NT market, and creating a stepping stone to South East Asia. As many Darwinians (do we count yet?) experience, we came for an initial 3 months to establish the office, and then we got drawn in by this unique place.
From a business perspective Darwin came with its opportunities and challenges. There’s the proximity to Asia, and the real linkages that business, community and neighbouring countries provide, including platforms for expansion.
The closeness of community in the NT, and Darwin, allowed engagement with a wide variety of people, from decision makers to those being impacted by decisions. This access and engagement allowed our network of contacts to grow rapidly.
The isolation from other ‘southern’ cities, and our ability to operate in this environment was a positive attribute enjoyed by our remote resource, government and community clients, if not necessarily by our southern city clients.
More than business though, the Rowe family became entrenched in the Darwin life. Sport, music, arts…Darwin is a place that will give back as much as you want to put into it. Our whole family has enjoyed the bounty of the Darwin life to the fullest. For me, hockey is my passion, and I have had 20 years of playing for Waratahs, representing the NT, playing with social teams in Singapore and Vietnam.
My wife, amongst other things, started the Parap Pumper Jumpers, and last year after 15 years of work and toil, five young Northern Territorians skipped at the World Competition in Sweden. Both my wife and I have had the absolute privilege of watching young NT players that we have sponsored playing for Australia. My daughter is more artistic, she has played her music at Bass in the Grass, and supported touring acts such as Big Scarey, Frank Turner and Jebediah.
It is not just in business, but in life that opportunities within the Territory abound.
Since establishing our Darwin head office back in 1997, SRA Information Technology has grown. Framed by our belief in sustainable development, and our technology bent, we created our environmental software that now operates throughout Australia, and in counties in South East Asia, USA, Canada, South Africa, New Zealand, Mongolia and African Guinea.
From our Darwin head office, we have overseen offices in Adelaide, Canberra, Perth, Brisbane, Melbourne, Singapore and Houston. Our success has largely been because of all the support and encouragement the NT Government and Territory community have provided us.
I enjoy working with people who have a vision and a vibrant energy to realise that vision. Sustainable progress is necessary for moving forward. We can’t hide from the world, and we cannot isolate ourselves from impacting trends.
Darwin is amazing, and part of what makes it special is that it has always embraced change. Katrina Fong Lim, who I’m guest blogging for today, is a guiding hand in the continuous momentum of change for the better – following in her father’s footsteps she is continuously striving to help Darwin grow into its full potential. Personally I can’t wait to see how far Darwin will have come in another 20 years, it’s truly something special.