Last Saturday, the Toowoomba business community came together for its night of nights: the Focus HR Business Excellence Awards, organised by the Toowoomba Chamber of Commerce. It’s a fantastic and well-earned celebration of our region’s business community and a chance for business owners and leaders to reflect on their achievements over the last 12 months. It’s no doubt been a challenging year on the back of a couple of challenging years with the pandemic, fires, floods and staff shortages affecting regional Queensland, but we’ve continued to see our business community locally adapt and overcome. They’ve successfully worked together under innovative initiatives like the Toowoomba Chamber of Commerce’s Food and Agri Network to attract new visitors and investment to the region. I think people in Toowoomba understand better than most that business is an ecosystem, and, the stronger we can make that ecosystem, the greater the benefits are for all.
Turning to the winners, the coveted 2022 Business of the Year Award went to Excavation Equipment, a local business servicing the earthmoving industry. Impressively, they were listed as a finalist in three other categories but ultimately took out the top one. On top of their high-quality work servicing big clients across the nation, they’re also well-known for giving back to our local community, supporting a number of charity issues.
X Factor Plumbing, a proud family-owned operation founded by Karl and Tiffany Ernst, received the 2022 CEO’s Award. On the night, Todd Rohl told the crowd that he’d picked X Factor Plumbing because they displayed the drive and passion of what it means to be a small business owner. He said their application of the award reminded him—
Hogans Family Jewellers were inducted into the Hall of Fame of the Toowoomba Chamber of Commerce at their Business Excellence Awards last Saturday night. It’s fantastic recognition of a great Toowoomba business.
The Hogans’s story is the story of Toowoomba. After establishing in Leeton and Griffith in New South Wales in 1945, Jack and Madeline Hogan moved to the fantastic fertile ground of Toowoomba to commence trading in 1953. All six of their children worked in the store. We are now down to Lachie Hogan, the third generation, running the store in Toowoomba. They’re experiencing what Toowoomba is experiencing at large—growth. After 50 years at the one location they’re now expanding next door to 241 Margaret Street. The multimillion-dollar expansion will be open in the next two weeks. Their growth is representative of what’s happening in our region.
They are training and bringing in experience. Just this year they trained both the Queensland apprentice of the year and the Queensland junior apprentice of the year. They focus on building those skills, bringing them to the regions and giving us the quality workforce we need. Very importantly, they’re exporting. Hogans now have over 50 per cent of their business going outside of Toowoomba. We see with our airports and with Inland Rail coming to us opportunities as a region to really expand the great products produced in Toowoomba. It is a great demonstration of why our region is such a focal point for local business, why we’re growing and why we’re thriving.
I congratulate all the winners. I offer special congratulations to Hogans Family Jewellers.