The Golden Gecko Award is the most prestigious award for environmental practitioners working in industry in Western Australia. It is an initiative of the Department of Mines and Petroleum (DMP), and one that recognises “leading practice and innovation in environmental management”.
The last time I attended the Award ceremony was back in 2010, when I was representing Crosslands Resources. We won the award that year, along with Phoenix Environmental, for innovative research into the effects of vibration on the shield back trapdoor spider, Idiosoma nigrum. I remember being so proud of the entire team for just getting shortlisted. I crossed my fingers, arms and legs and hoped for the best as the awards were being announced. As Crosslands was named the Golden Gecko Award winner, our team let out a cry of excitement, and were hugging and congratulating each other. It was an incredibly exciting time.
This year I attended the ceremony with the Aurecon environmental team for what was an amazing evening. I sat in the audience with the same sense of anticipation as I did two years ago, remembering and understanding what the participants must be feeling. It was very surreal. The companies that were shortlisted for the award were: Karara Mining Ltd; Murphy Pipe and Civil; Pendoley Environmental Pty Ltd; Barminco Ltd; Argyle Diamonds Ltd; Citic Pacific Mining Management Pty Ltd; and ESS Support Services Worldwide.
The charming emcee described each project as visuals were cast onto the screen. The Hon Norman Moore spoke for the last time at the Awards as he finishes his final year before enjoying his retirement, and was joined by the Director General, Richard Sellers, Deputy Director General, Approvals Group, Tim Griffin and Executive Director, Environment, Phil Gorey of the Department of Mines and Petroleum. We were also honoured with the presence of the Chief Scientist of Western Australia, Professor Lyn Beazley. And then the winners were announced:
- The Certificate of Merit went to Argyle Diamonds Ltd; and
- The Golden Gecko Award went to Pendoley Environmental Pty Ltd
When the group from Pendoley were called out, cheers and woo-hoo’s came from the audience. Kellie Pendoley accepted the Award from the Hon. Norman Moore with a hug and kiss on the cheek. As Phil Gorey described the science and innovative approach to tracking and understanding the movements and ecology of the turtles visiting Australia’s coastlines, Kellie stood on stage glowing with pride and excitement. This Award represented years of hard work and dedication. Kellie described the beginnings of the company after being let go from a previous organisation due to cost-cutting, how as a company they often provided information to the community, consultants and industry free of charge, and how their work was never compromised by answering to industry, government or other various stakeholders. Kellie made us laugh and infected us with her excitement. The atmosphere in the room was electric. The innovation, collaboration, hard work and leadership was an inspiration to us all.
The evening was brilliant, thanks to a small team from the DMP. The jovial nature of those handing out our name tags, the choice of venue, the drinks and nibbles, the stage backdrop, length of speeches and program in general was all coordinated by, what is to most of us, a virtual group of people. My only suggestion for improvement is that they should have been brought on stage and applauded for doing such a great job.
The Golden Gecko Award and everything they represent both directly and indirectly inspired our environmental team to further embrace the Aurecon values:
- Fostering human achievement through excellence, innovation and collaboration;
- Celebrate diversity and respect others by acting with integrity and honesty;
- Work to build a vibrant and brighter future for all.
The Awards this year represented the values that Aurecon as an organisation stands for – an amazing event inspired this year by an amazing woman leading a company that has demonstrated leading practice and innovation in environmental management.
Congratulations to Kellie and the team at Pendoley Environmental Pty Ltd!