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Adapters: Perth Startup Ajero Brings Digital Know-how to Oil and Gas Decommissioning

From left:    Ajero Pty Ltd's David McLeod, Farzan Marfatia and Peter Walton

From left: Ajero Pty Ltd's David McLeod, Farzan Marfatia and Peter Walton

Three oil and gas industry executives have found a way to tap into a $35 billion pool of opportunity in the waters around Australia, with the launch of their company Ajero Pty Ltd.

They have identified an emerging new market from the decommissioning of old pipelines and offshore installations.

Ajero has developed a Software as a Service (SaaS) based platform - complete with algorithm/engine - to facilitate the decommissioning process for the oil and gas industry by helping to determine the best way forward to clear the world’s oceans of abandoned offshore installations.

Ajero is the brainchild of Perth local, Farzan Marfatia. “Australia is just starting to decommission its offshore oil and gas facilities. There are up to 80 offshore facilities and only a handful have been decommissioned,” he says.

“But procedures and standards for decommissioning are ambiguous. We’re striving to bring consistency and logic to the planning and decommissioning process, while keeping the industry up to date with the latest technologies and methods available.”

With often hundreds of millions of dollars provisioned to decommission a facility, the need to successfully navigate the minefield of legislation, regulation and opinion has never been more important.

 “Legislation calls for complete removal and rehabilitation,” Mr Marfatia says. “Literally, it means oil and gas companies must leave the title area how they received it.

"Complete removal is not always the best solution because new environmental research suggests that subsea equipment turned into an artificial reef or marine habitat may be beneficial to the environment. There is some evidence fish stocks improve around pipelines and infrastructure. So, the question is whether complete removal is really the best solution."

It’s a critical point, given that airlifting and excavation is often used for removal of equipment, but can significantly disturb seabeds and marine habitats, and remedial work must meet international maritime conventions to which Australia is a signatory.

The overall cost of decommissioning Australia’s fields is estimated at US$24 billion (AU$35 billion) over 30 years. With companies now required to have a decommissioning plan, Ajero developed software to independently assess each project efficiently at reduced cost using tested and validated algorithms.

Mr Marfatia combined his expertise as a project engineer with that of two former colleagues, Peter Walton, now Ajero’s managing director, and David McLeod, CFO/finance manager.

They targeted decommissioning work, reckoning that a digital platform could plough through the sea of regulatory and environmental issues faster and more efficiently than consulting hours. The digital technology provides the end user the ability to run through several decommissioning scenarios, while considering personnel safety and impact to the environment. Furthermore, the auto generated reports are immediately available to the user once the relevant information has been entered and agreed in a 'HAZID' style workshop. The report's format is consistent each time, which will help regulators reviewing the documents.

The result is an annual subscription service for Ajero software that can perform in-house, in one week, what usually takes an outsourced consultancy up to 18 weeks. The cost savings are significant.

“If an operator wants to leave some structures in place when decommissioning, there are questions," Mr Marfatia says. "What do they leave? What do they remove? And how likely is it to be accepted by the regulator? Ajero software platform can provide the solutions."

Aside from offshore oil and gas operators, Ajero has recently signed agreements with two global management consulting firms to explore the platform's use for the legal and insurance industries.

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Adapters: Balcatta Panel & Paint on Fixing Hi-tech Cars and Car Craft Crash-repair Quality

Andrew Jaques inspects a quality repair.

Andrew Jaques inspects a quality repair.

A Perth panelbeater has found that life-saving technology featured in modern cars and SUVs can greatly increase the cost of repairing these vehicles to manufacturers’ standards.

Andrew Jaques, owner of Balcatta Panel and Paint, says modern cars act like computers on four wheels and keep drivers and passengers safe with advanced sensor technology.

But a bingle in a vehicle with hi-tech safety features can cost much more to fix than a minor collision in a car not so well equipped.

“For example, blind-spot sensors fitted behind bumpers of new cars are actually a little radar,” Mr Jaques said. “As soon as you replace one you have to have the car recalibrated by the dealer.”

Recalibration increases the repair bill. He said replacing a sensor on a Kia Stinger, a luxury sports sedan that starts at $52,000, was costly.

“You think, Kia – inexpensive brand, but the sensor is $1700 plus GST,” he said. “After that we have to bring it to the Kia dealer to have it recalibrated, so you’re talking about more than $2000.”

Reversal into a roadside pole can incur a new sensor. “And that amount doesn’t include the cost of the bumper and paintwork repairs,” he said. “We always try to offer competitive pricing for private repairs, but we highly recommend getting insurance that will cover these types of expenses.”

Mr Jaques is an exemplar in the car repair business, after buying into it six years ago. His background in aviation led him to focus on high quality work that he insists on overseeing personally.

“The owner of the business has skin in the game,” Mr Jaques said. That approach helps safeguard the business in an evolving marketplace. “There’s always room for us as a niche repairer.”

Balcatta Panel and Paint is in the nationwide Car Craft crash-repair network that originated in WA in 1987 to improve industry standards. Mr Jaques and staff undergo tutorials to maintain quality.

He arrived from his native Sweden 30 years ago, having started working life as a pastry cook and chef who owned an American-made V8 Valiant at 16 when still too young for a driving licence.

In Perth he indulges a lifelong passion for cars from a spick and span workshop in Balcatta’s business community. “Our team is highly qualified, and we deal with local customers and businesses. We love to help getting fleet cars back on the road, and we offer priority services for local businesses.”

Away from work, it’s more cars. Mr Jaques is a member of the American Car Club of WA. “It’s a great way to connect to other passionate car lovers and sometimes I even bring the family along,” he said. For more information please visit www.balcattapanelandpaint.com.au.

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Adapters: Journeys of the Spirit's April Bhutan Tour Will Help Business People to be Happier

Owner of Perth-based Journeys of the Spirit, Julie Baker, Runs Extraordinary Tours

Owner of Perth-based Journeys of the Spirit, Julie Baker, Runs Extraordinary Tours

Perth entrepreneur Julie Baker is tapping into demand from a growing number of people who are seeking relief from stress.

Her WA company, Journeys of the Spirit, guides business owners and professionals on two-week sojourns of self-discovery in mystical locations that include Bhutan, Land of the Thunder Dragon.

She hit on the wellness formula by packaging her two passions – spiritual health and wellbeing, and travel. These she markets in journeys and retreats aimed at rebalancing stressed individuals.

“I am a business person,” Ms Baker says. “I love business, I love creating businesses and I love creating different business models.”

Stressed souls experience spiritual awakenings in Bhutan, Spain, Italy, India, Japan, Scandinavia, Peru, France, Hawaii or some other destination.

Ms Baker describes her ideal client as a successful person who is still not feeling happy. “They realise their version of success doesn’t necessarily make them happy,” she says.

It took her more than three decades and three travel-related businesses to produce Journeys of the Spirit, motivated in part by a devastating childhood experience at 15.

“My mum was misdiagnosed with menopause at 48 and had a mental breakdown,” Ms Baker says. The teenager stopped eating meat and gained a juvenile understanding of there being more to life.

It helps explain her captivation with Bhutan, a Buddhist kingdom the size and population of Tasmania landlocked in the Himalayas between superpowers China and India.

“Bhutan is the only place in the world that is 100 per cent certified organic,” Ms Baker says. “And wealth is not measured by GDP – it’s measured by Gross National Happiness.”

The scenery is an awe-inspiring panorama of rivers, mountains and verdant slopes. Journeyers, as Ms Baker calls them, are housed in three to four-star accommodation with private bathrooms.

They are immersed in Bhutanese community life, consuming some of the freshest produce on Earth and seeing how simple living and family values are central to happiness.

The experience aims to redefine their understanding of success.

One journey follows the trail of 8th century Indian sage, Guru Rinpoche, who brought Buddhism to Bhutan. It ends at breathtaking Paro Taktsang monastery, perched perilously on a cliffside.

Guides are all business owners. Prospective journeyers must first discuss their expectations, and are supported in their physical, emotional and mental preparations.

Ms Baker is proud of one seasoned traveller who had owned several businesses before going on one of her journeys to Bhutan. He said afterwards: “I learned to measure success in a different way.”

The next Bhutan journey runs from April 15 to 28. For more info go to: Journeys of the Spirit website.

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Adapters: Perth Complete Feng Shui Master Tells How Houses Win and Lose Money

Complete Feng Shui's Michele Vos Castle

Complete Feng Shui's Michele Vos Castle

People buying new homes in Perth’s sprawling outer suburbs may be putting their relationships, health and wealth at risk, according to businesswoman Michele Vos Castle.

“The newer the home and the further the suburb is in distance from the City of Perth, the weaker the luck seems to be from a relationship,  health and cashflow point of view,” she says.

Ms Vos Castle is a Master of Feng Shui, the art of harmonising buildings with environment and natural elements. Her business, Complete Feng Shui, fuses that knowledge with Chinese astrology.

Many new homes in Perth are long and thin with rear laneways and small front yards, she says. Such properties have trouble capturing and holding Feng Shui energy.

“If a home cannot capture and hold its energy then it can’t tap into its health or relationship luck and it also can’t hold its money luck,” she says. Those homeowners must work harder to make money and hold relationships.

Better home design and town planning fixes the problem, she says. People building a new home should consult Feng Shui when the block is still bare.

Ms Vos Castle advises corporate clients on locations for business premises and how to create and improve existing environments, which includes designs for business cards.

Residential clients learn how to create harmonious homes and improve the chances of selling them. Behavioural issues in children are addressed as well as clients’ health, wealth and happiness.

Ms Vos Castle talks from experience. Years ago, she hired a consultant “to Feng Shui” her then home as well as her dream house under construction.

Happiness was abundant in her old home but her marriage failed in the luxurious new one. She intensified her interest in Feng Shui by studying under several Masters and travelling overseas.

Fifteen years ago, she combined her newfound knowledge with pre-existing studies on interior design to launch a career teaching and advising on Feng Shui, Chinese astrology and metaphysics.

“My style is to simplify it and deal with what actions people really need to take and what they really need not worry about,” she said.

Four times a year Ms Vos Castle takes clients to Bali for five-day retreats on Feng Shui basics. “I find it’s more powerful if you take people away – there are no interruptions,” she says.

Feng Shui is a mathematical art about colour and placement, she says. “Whether you believe in it or not, you are still affected by it.”

www.completefengshui.com

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Adapters: Perth Business Captivate Connect Keeps Customers Calling Globally

Captivate Connect Mark Horwood

Captivate Connect Mark Horwood

Perth-based company has revolutionised the dreaded 'on hold' experience by developing new technology that transforms call wait times into payday time.

Mark Horwood, chief executive officer of Captivate Connect, compares being on hold as akin to waiting for luggage at an airport. “There’s nothing you can do but stand and wait.”

His company, now run from modest offices in Burswood, stunned the corporate world in 2002 by offering daily news, sport and weather information to callers on hold.

“Commercially, it was very successful for us. The technology was internet-based to help accommodate the immediacy of updating the daily news and sport,” Mr Horwood said.

Captivate Connect is now inspired by internet multimedia technology and once again is refining the “on hold” experience; this time for mutual enrichment of callers and businesses.

The company sponsored a website called Horrible on Hold to determine exactly what people disliked about waiting on hold. There was an overwhelming response that it’s generic, repetitive and boring.

“This wasn’t anything new to me,” Mr Horwood said, “but how can we play audio everyone will be happy with? We give them the choice.”

Music not your thing? Perhaps a quiz or a podcast may be more up your alley. Globally, this interactive-on-hold has never been done before and there’s no-one else who can do it, he says.

Callers become immersed in the business, causing these callers to become loyal brand ambassadors, relaying their experiences to friends and associates – in turn, boosting sales.

“The only way to win word-of-mouth referrals is by delivering an experience that exceeds expectations,” Mr Horwood says.

Interactive-on-hold collects caller data. A caller being directed to the sales department can be offered a brochure on any new/best-selling products. The Caller opts to receive the brochure by entering their number, it is then sent via text and, in return, the sales team effectively gathers the caller’s details to follow-up.

After two minutes, callers are invited to leave their name, number and reason for calling to receive a call back. This costs as little as $1. Mr Horwood believes businesses employing more than 20 people would readily pay $1 to retain a customer.

Statistics suggest that, within five years, 68% of all business transactions will involve the human voice – down from today’s 72% – but the importance of these transactions will become more valuable.

“Fax is virtually redundant, snail mail doesn’t work, and trying to get anybody to respond to emails is like pulling teeth, which is why we’re seeing a shift back to phones,” Mr Horwood says.

Visit www.captivateconnect.com to find out more.

This column is part of the Adapters series produced by Perth Media. It profiles Perth Media small business and not-for-profit clients exclusively.

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Perth Media Expands Team, Client List and Opens New Nedlands Office in Perth

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PERTH: Media content and public relations firm — Perth Media Pty Ltd — has opened a new office in Nedlands in line with continuing expansion plans.

The development is the latest news in a series of organic growth milestones for the Perth-based small business.

Perth Media managing director Cate Rocchi said: “Perth Media has, to date, been a small operation but we have consistently built powerful global profiles for our clients through tailored integrated media and communications services.

“We act in an advisory, creative and media service capacity and have a strong network of journalist and broadcast partners and connections, so are uniquely placed to deliver global-standard media management services in the sectors of finance, mining, renewables and agribusiness.”

Perth Media was established in 2015. It rebranded from Cate Rocchi Communications which began in 2011.

Major clients include: resources companies Australian Vanadium (ASX:AVL), VSUN Energy and Bryah Resources (ASX: BYH); urbi; Partners in Grain; and Rockcliffe winery.

The Perth Media team now includes editor/writer Torrance Mendez (formerly of The West Australian).

“Our team — which has welcomed high calibre artists, photographers, former reporters and film makers — produces some of Australia’s best, most consistent media content for corporates,” Ms Rocchi said. “It has taken many years to assemble productive working relationships with such a talented and professional group. We have also been careful to grow our business conservatively, so quality has remained excellent.”

Perth Media values include: staying true to the principles of integrity, authenticity and clarity; continuous improvement; and innovative thinking.

“We remain focused on improving media outcomes for our clients and enjoy the challenge of mixing social and traditional media as we embrace the communications of the future,” she said.

The company’s current list of services are: script/copy writing, investor relations management, content creation, blogs, photography, videography, social media strategy and delivery, infographics, strategic media advisory and support, campaign research, publicity, global TV, radio and press coverage, media training, CV writing and speech writing. Packages are available.

“We know how to achieve publicity and we will give clients authentic advice on which stories and media services they need to reach their customers,” Ms Rocchi said.

Perth Media Pty Ltd is now located at 47 Hampden Road, Nedlands, Perth. For the next four weeks (until November 15, 2018) the company is hosting some rarely-available media release writing sessions ($350) and media presentations, by appointment. There are only eight slots available. Terms and conditions apply.

There are other key developments ongoing such as a website rebrand, which will be launched in 2019.

Contact

Cate Rocchi

0428431699

cate@perthmedia.com.au

This story has also appeared in Perth Media’s Adapters column that features in Western Australian Business News.

This story has also appeared in Perth Media’s Adapters column that features in Western Australian Business News.




Perth Media's New Service Brochure

Case Study: Small Business Captivate On Hold (global tech company based in Perth, Western Australia)

Graphic by Nic van Straalen, Perth Media

Graphic by Nic van Straalen, Perth Media

People often ask – what does a media company do?

Primarily Perth Media, responds to its client’s needs. All small business are on tight budgets and have different strengths, and we always try to offer real value for money and complement our client’s own areas of expertise. If the team in-house are good writers, then our team may focus on graphics or PR, for example. Or, if the client already has great media connections, our team may set up social media scheduling, content calendars and begin a video blog schedule or write a series of press releases to assist in-house PR.

 In the case of Mark Horwood (CEO of Captivate On Hold; former head of the Truffle Producers of Western Australia and one-time truffle farmer), it has been all about flexibility and being proactive. Perth Media support has promoted the truffle industry (in WA Business News, The Australian, many regional papers and ABC radio); achieved PR that resulted in the sale of Mark’s own truffle farm; established a long-term dialogue with key global tech reporters and media experts in the tech space for Captivate On Hold; brought home some excellent media results (WA Business and ABC radio); and facilitated a seamless, professional, consistent social media presence, including blogs, podcasts, content calendars, graphics and twitter/facebook campaigns.

Here is a testimonial from Mark Horwood, CEO of Captivate On Hold, for Perth Media. Captivate On Hold provides On Hold products for callers waiting on the telephone, one recently-launched is Interactive On Hold. Most of Captivate On Hold's clients are international, and the firm has an office in South Africa, as well as Perth.

‘Our small business needed a good PR consultancy to expand into global markets from a domestic Perth-based Australian company. None of the ‘big PR firms’ wanted to help as our budget was limited. I met Cate Rocchi through my then chair role of the Truffle Producers of Western Australia in the regional truffle capital of Australia – Manjimup.

Cate was energetic and positive and wanted to help. Her background was PR in agribusiness so we got on well. When time pressures dictated the sale of my profitable truffiere, I appointed Cate to assist with the PR to sell a high-priced property in a depressed market. She was brilliant, we had TV, radio and press articles about the property sale. Agents expected to take one year to sell – it sold in a week, full price cash. A well-orchestrated campaign by Perth Media paid off for me.

From there, my business appointed Perth Media to do another seemingly impossible task, make a 30-year business to look like a global corporation – on a budget.

Cate and her team have struggled to do everything needed within the meagre budget we provided. They achieved some amazing results in social media, improved our corporate presentation no end and have set the scene for the global expansion we requested from them.

Personally, Cate is an energetic woman whose effervescence leads greatness. Her business has grown dramatically with ours and the other clients she has taken on. I recommend Perth Media.’

Perth Media has designed a tailored monthly package for Captivate On Hold, please contact us for more details on 0428431699 today.

 

Digital and Social Media Audit and Content Management Action Plan

By Cate Rocchi and Andal Shreedaran

Content creation, blogs linked to your website and social media management can improve the google ranking of your company and boost its digital footprint. We are here to help and Perth Media is offering 2 initial options throughout January and February, 2017.

Option A, Starter: $550 (1-hour meeting and 2 hours research for written report and action plan); Option B, Standard: $950 (2-hour meeting and 5 hours research for written report and action plan)

The plans include: mapping your digital footprint, audience mapping, strategy analysis and evaluation, and social media planning and strategizing.

Call 0428431699 or email cate@perthmedia.com.au