Newcastle doctors Alexander Post and Derek Gilligan were among the winners of the inaugural Future Makers Awards.
The Newcastle Permanent-inspired initiative, celebrating local people making a positive and meaningful impact across a variety of categories, attracted an impressive array of nominees.
Dr Post, co-founder of MGA Thermal, collected the accolade for innovation, thanks to his revolutionary work in clean energy, while Dr Gilligan took home the business honour.
They were joined by Lisa Urquhart (research), Tristan Harrison (sport) and Joshua Maxwell (community), who claimed their respective sections.
A graduate of mechanical engineering and physics from the University of Newcastle (UoN), as well as holding a PhD in concentrated solar thermal power with the CSIRO, Dr Post’s focus is renewable energy technologies.
He was delighted to receive the award, following an exciting year both professionally and personally.
“Winning the Future Makers is a huge honour to me,” Dr Post said.
“Our region is brimming with innovative people solving all sorts of problems.
“I’m stoked to be able to call myself part of that community and to help represent their accomplishments.
“My wife and I are also expecting our baby in October.
“I don’t think goals get much bigger than becoming a first-time father.
“It’s going to be a big time for our business, MGA Thermal, too.
“We’ll be switching on our world-first pilot to show the long duration storage of renewable energy here in Tomago.”
Dr Gilligan, meanwhile, has supported clients with mental health-related needs for more than three decades.
“Hopefully, winning this award helps keep the light on and the conversation going when it comes to mental health,” he said.
“It’s touching to be recognised for the work I do.
“We’re creating further platforms to continue discussion around mental health care needs by raising awareness around the limitations of the services available to the most vulnerable.
“Over the next 12 months, I will be seeking to expand my practice into more regional areas of NSW, offering bulk-billed telehealth services to remote regions, where it is difficult for people to access psychological services.”
Newcastle Permanent chief distribution officer Paul Juergens said the Future Makers Awards were a way to formally recognise the people who brought kindness and hope to local communities.
“The response has been truly overwhelming,” he explained.
“The quantity and quality of nominations we received was a testament to the many brilliant people in our midst.
“I’d like to thank everyone who took the time to tell us about a Future Maker – and to congratulate all our nominees.
“The Hunter should be proud of both the region’s winners.
“Dr Post is doing incredible work – his company MGA Thermal plans to grow in the Hunter to be a major employer and exporter of their renewable energy product out of the Port of Newcastle to the rest of the world/
“Dr Gilligan is ensuring mental health services are accessible for the community and has dedicated his career to exactly that – making support available to those who need it most.”
Each of the winners received $1,000, as part of Newcastle Permanent’s 120th birthday celebrations.
“As a customer-owned bank, we are incredibly passionate about investing in our community” Ms Juergens said.
“And, we’re extremely grateful for the support we have received over the past 120 years.
“Here’s to 120 more.”
For more community stories:
- Greater partners with batyr to support students’ mental health
- Deputy mayor Griffin pushes for Jocko Graves’ Heritage inclusion
- Electric bus trial road-tested in region
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