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Pearcey Foundation Unveils its 2021 National Award Winners

Announcement posted by Pearcey Foundation 24 Nov 2021

David Thodey awarded the 2021 Pearcey Medal; Judy Hammond and Alan Noble inducted into the Pearcey Hall of Fame; Mohan Koo receives National Entrepreneur Award from South Australian Premier Steven Marshall

The Pearcey Foundation announced the recipients of its 2021 National Awards as part of a virtual panel discussion ‘Predictions for 2022 and Beyond’. The Pearcey Medal is a prestigious individual award that recognises a distinguished lifetime of achievement and contribution to the development and growth of the Australian ICT industry and has been awarded annually by the Pearcey Foundation since 1998. All previous 23 Pearcey Medallists can be found at https://pearcey.org.au/pearcey-medals.

The ‘Predictions for 2022 and Beyond’ event was moderated by Pearcey Foundation’s National Chair, Wayne Fitzsimmons, and featured a panel of industry leaders including Maria MacNamara, CEO and Advisory Board Member; Kerri Lee Sinclair, Investor and Non-Executive Board Member; and Professor Toby Walsh, Laureate Fellow and Scientia Professor of Artificial Intelligence, UNSW. 

The 2021 Pearcey Medal was presented to David Thodey AO, Chair of Tyro Payments and Xero, and the former Chair of CSIRO and CEO of Telstra. 

“David Thodey has consistently demonstrated sincere and sustained interest in supporting many organisations in the Australian ICT industry, including the Pearcey Foundation, especially where the focus is on attracting the next generation into our industry,” said the Pearcey Foundation’s Chairman, Wayne Fitzsimmons.

The 2021 Pearcey Medallist: David Thodey AO

David Thodey has been an outstanding contributor in both the public and private sectors of the Australian ICT industry over many years.

Born in Perth, Thodey’s family moved to New Zealand where he finished his secondary education at Nelson College and completed a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology and English from Victoria University in Wellington. He first joined IBM in New Zealand in 1978 working in sales and marketing roles in NZ, Australia, Japan and the US, where he attended the Kellogg School of Management postgraduate general management program at Northwestern University in Chicago. He returned to Australia permanently in the late 1990s with IBM, holding the position of managing director for IBM Australia-New Zealand between 1999 and 2001.

He joined Telstra in 2001 as Group Managing Director of Telstra Mobiles, before taking on the role of Group Managing Director Telstra Enterprise and Government in late 2002. Thodey was appointed CEO of Telstra in May 2009, retiring from that role in April 2015.

Since retiring from Telstra, Thodey has taken on several high-profile roles for State and Federal governments including Chair of the CSIRO Board from November 2015 to October 2021, and Chair of the Independent Review of the Australian Public Service (APS). The review’s purpose was to produce “an ambitious program of transformational reforms to ensure the APS is fit-for-purpose for the coming decades, and to guide and accelerate future reform activities”, with the final report released in December 2019. In 2019, the NSW Government asked Thodey to chair an independent review of the State’s revenue system as it relates to federal funding and its interactions with the State tax system. Most recently, in March 2020 he was appointed by the Prime Minister as Deputy Chair of the National COVID-19 Coordination Commission, set up to coordinate advice to the government about the social and economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

In 2017, Thodey was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for distinguished service to business, notably to the telecommunications and information technology sectors, to the promotion of ethical leadership and workplace diversity, and to basketball.

He is currently Chair of Tyro Payments, and Xero, as well as being an independent non-executive director of Ramsay Health Care. David Thodey has exerted his competence and positive influence in many areas inside and outside the tech industry. 

Pearcey Hall of Fame Inductees – Judy Hammond and Alan Noble

David Thodey was also inducted into the Pearcey Hall of Fame, and has been joined this year by Judy Hammond and Alan Noble. 

Judy Hammond has been a major contributor to the ICT community, both in Australia and internationally, as a leader in the fields of human computer interaction, usability, and the social implications of information technology. She has done this as an educator, a leader in curriculum development at both school and university level, an advocate for the role of women in IT, as a broadcaster and as Australia’s representative on international bodies such as the International Federation of Information Processing (IFIP).

Hammond was born in New Zealand and graduated in Pure Mathematics from Victoria University in Wellington. She spent several years teaching in primary and secondary schools in New Zealand, UK and Australia before completing a Master of Science and Society at UNSW, bringing together her enthusiasm for education and technology to benefit society.

After working as a programmer and systems analyst, Judy returned to academia and joined the newly established Higher Education Research Unit at Monash University, and then the School of Computing Sciences at the University of Technology, Sydney. There she developed and taught courses in programming, information systems, and social implications of computers; in one of the early computing science degree programs in Australia. From 1978 to 1979, she was a visiting scholar at The Open University in the UK, developing course materials for the first distance-education course on computer-based information systems.

Hammond has contributed to several major State and Federal Government projects, concerning information technology and education. From 1984 to 1986, she participated in the National Computer Education Programme to introduce Computers into Australian Schools and was director of the Information Technology in the Curriculum Programme at the Curriculum Development Centre in Canberra.

She has been an active participant in professional society matters. She was one of the earliest members of the Australian Computer Society (ACS). Judy was Director of the Community Affairs Board (responsible for Computer Education, Community Engagement, Young IT and Women in IT) and Chair of the ACS National Education Committee and ACS representative on the Federation of Australian Scientific and Technological Societies, where she was Vice-President. As part of her ACS effort, she produced films and videos about information technology and social change – often with an educational focus – and, for two years, produced an interview series, "The Computer Programme", which was broadcast on Sydney radio station 2SER. Hammond also contributed a chapter on “ACS and Computer Education” for 'Computing in Australia: The Development of a Profession', published by the ACS in 1994, whose editors included Trevor Pearcey. She was the second woman in the ACS to be elected to the rank of Fellow, and was made an honorary life member and inducted into the ACS Hall of Fame in 2003.

Hammond was Conference Chair for INTERACT ’97, bringing the IFIP’s international bi-annual conference on human-computer interaction (HCI) to Australia for the first time. She has published widely in the areas of social implications and HCI, and has been awarded many honours in Australia and internationally.


Alan Noble grew up in Adelaide, graduating in 1982 with first class honours in Electrical and Electronic Engineering from the University of Adelaide. Since that time, Alan has spent his entire career working in the ICT industry, both in California and Australia, collaborating extensively across the commercial sector, academia and government. 

In 1988, he gained a MSc from Stanford University in California, majoring in Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence. That same year he joined Schlumberger, where he honed his engineering and management skills, before co-founding his first startup, NetMind Technologies, in 1996. There he focussed on change detection and notification (CDN) at a time when most companies were still focused on Internet search. NetMind was the first company to develop so-called persistent search for automatically notifying users of changed search results, a capability developed only much later in products such as Google Alerts. While at NetMind, Noble also resumed a part-time lecturing role at University of California, specialising on delivering courses around distributed object programming and languages such as C++ and Java.

NetMind was acquired by Pumatech (later renamed as Intellisync) – with Noble appointed VP of Engineering – before it was in turn was acquired by Nokia. Noble returned home with his family to Adelaide, co-founded networking company Foursticks, then staged a management buyout with two former executives as NetPriva. Although ultimately, he and the team at NetPriva were able to sell the company in 2007, it was Noble’s encouragement of his fellow entrepreneurs at Foursticks, his resilience under pressure, and his ability to celebrate failure, that allowed them to move on to successful careers.

At this point, Noble was lured to join Google as Engineering Director for Google Australia, responsible for Google's research and development operations in Australia, overseeing the growth of Google's Sydney Engineering Centre from 20 engineers to over 650.

In 2008, Noble was appointed an Adjunct Professor to the Adelaide University's School of Computer Science; he was an advisor to Australia’s Chief Scientist Professor Ian Chubb from 2013-2015 on strategies and priorities regarding STEM education and skills; and he served as a Director of the South Australian Museum for seven years from 2014-2021.

Perhaps the most interesting element of Noble’s career is now emerging as he ‘gives back’ to the ICT industry. He mentored many young budding entrepreneurs and engineers while at Foursticks, NetPriva and Google, and took on many extra-curricular activities during that period. He co-founded StartupAUS in 2013, a not-for-profit venture fostering and building the community of technology entrepreneurship in Australia, and AusOcean in 2017, a not-for-profit organisation developing and applying technology to learn more about our oceans. He has attracted a diverse set of partners of like-minded people to this company who are determined to use advanced technologies to ‘save our oceans’, and he is keen to involve students in the enterprise wherever possible.

The Pearcey Hall of Fame was established in 2004 and details of its inductees is available at https://pearcey.org.au/pearcey-hall-of-fame.

“The great thing about our Pearcey Medallist and our Hall of Famer inductees is that each year they are chosen by their industry peers in a nationwide vote. These are the very best in our industry based on a lifetime of achievement, and their contribution to the Australian ICT industry is permanently recorded in our Hall of Fame,” said Mr Fitzsimmons

Pearcey National Entrepreneur Award 2021 – Mohan Koo

This year’s Pearcey National Entrepreneur Award was presented to the co-founder and CTO of DTEX Systems Mohan Koo by South Australian Premier Steven Marshall. Chosen from the 2021 State Pearcey Awardees (see list below with links to more information), the national award gives prominence to one of this year’s State Pearcey winners for inspiring leadership, scale, impact, innovation and acclaim on the world stage.

Commenting on Koo’s award, Rick Harvey (Chief Judge, Pearcey Foundation) said, “With all the complications that come with raising capital and engaging with international clients and partners, Mohan’s achievement in building a global cybersecurity company is nothing short of amazing. DTEX Systems is widely recognised as one of the most trusted brands in the global cybersecurity arena, relied upon to protect the workforce, data and systems of the world’s most critical infrastructure entities, businesses and government agencies. Mohan’s remarkable story covers 20 years of perseverance and resilience, and is a testament to his passion and advocacy for technology, and the expertise and innovation of Australian entrepreneurs behind it.”

2021 State Pearcey Entrepreneur Awards

ACT: Dr Daniel Shaddock, founder and CEO of Liquid Instruments.

NSW: Jordan O’Reilly and Laura O’Reilly OAM, co-founders of Hireup and Fighting Chance.

QLD: Michael Holmstrom, CEO and co-founder of STEM Punks.

SA: Mohan Koo, co-founder and CTO of DTEX Systems.

TAS: Nina McMahon, CEO and co-founder of PopUp WiFi.

VIC: Bronwyn Le Grice, founder and CEO of ANDHealth.

WA: Charlie Gunninghamfounder and principal of Damburst.


About the Pearcey Foundation
The Pearcey Foundation Inc. is a non-profit organisation established in 1998 to raise the profile of the Australian Information and Communications Technology (ICT) industry and profession. It was created in the memory of one of the greatest pioneers of the Australian ICT industry, Dr Trevor Pearcey. By celebrating the heroes in our industry, past present and future, the Foundation is looking to attract and encourage young Australians into this most exciting of global high technology sectors of our nation.

Web: www.pearcey.org.au

Twitter: @Pearcey_org #pearceyawards

LinkedIn: Pearcey Foundation #pearceyawards

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