Celebrating success: 20 years of the Telstra Australian Business Awards


As the 2008 Telstra Australia Business of the Year winner, Machinery Automation & Robotics (MAR)  were very pleased to be included in the ebook to celebrate the 20th year of The Telstra Business Awards  – an inspirational read!

Machinery Automation & Robotic’s CEO Clyde Campbell shared his business insights.

Clyde Campbell - CEO Machinery Automation & Robotics shares his business insights

Clyde Campbell - CEO Machinery Automation & Robotics


I started Machinery Automation & Robotics 25 years ago with a toolbox and a dream.

From these humble beginnings, working in the garage and focusing on one niche market in Sydney, MAR has grown to become a team of 70 staff providing automation solutions for Australian and international clients from offices in Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, and soon Perth.

I credit technical expertise and a vision for technology as the driving forces behind my rise from apprentice to CEO. My vision was to create a dynamic team of engineering professionals who could service the specific needs of production-critical companies with world-class automation solutions.

It was with this goal in mind that I launched CMC Electrical in 1987. A decade of solid business growth followed as we consolidated successful partnerships with key, world-class manufacturers.

By 2002 it became clear that we had an opportunity to grow in a new direction. My belief in the future of robotics for large-scale manufacturing processes led to rebranding the business and relaunching the company as Machinery Automation & Robotics Pty Ltd (MAR).

While the core service business is still strong today, MAR has rapidly expanded into the automation field and the high-tech world of robotic solutions.

We offer everything from design, manufacture and product management, to implementation and ongoing support – services that help reduce production costs, improve productivity and address OH&S concerns. By investing heavily in research and development, MAR has developed its own proprietary technologies which enable our clients to compete in a global market.

We have faced the challenge of growing a team in a continuously changing, technology-driven environment. Significant achievements over the last several years – including projects in Europe, NZ, China, the USA and Asia – have seen MAR springboard to a new level of strategic growth and partnership with major international organisations.

Winning the Telstra Business Award has been a great honour, and reflects the dedication and commitment of the entire MAR team.

Most important lesson learnt

Do what you say you are going to do – always. This goes for all relationships; with your team, clients and suppliers.

Most important leadership characteristics

Honesty and integrity are paramount with open communication between all of the team.

Avoiding traps in growing the business

Take time for yourself to plan what you want for the future. The critical part of planning is to ensure you take action to make this reality. Set benchmarks and measure the outcomes. Stretch goals with rewards for achievement so
that your team is engaged in the future plan for your company.

Retaining staff and driving a successful culture

Our company culture is to create opportunity for our team members to grow personally. We have a preference to hire internally for new positions, ensuring our staff have a career path with MAR. To this end, we’ve
established the ‘MAR Rewards’ program. This allows the team to vote for their fellow, high-achieving colleagues to share in over $100,000 that we encourage them to use for fun experiences.

Technology enhancing the business

Mobile connectivity has made a fantastic difference to our company. It enables us to communicate to clients anywhere at any time, and have remote connection to machinery all over the world.

Biggest external frustrations

For me, frustration is a good thing. It gives me the drive to move forward from a space where I’m not happy. In contrast, comfort can lead to inaction.

Work-life balance

I love investing time with my family in plenty of activities that we all enjoy together. Success to me is all about enjoying today while growing an even better future.


An ebook released today to celebrate the 20th year of the Telstra Australian Business Awards features the inspirational stories - written by the owners or founders themselves - of 20 national Awards winners from 1992 to 2011To hear more from other winners from the past 20 years  Download the ebook featuring the inspirational stories of 20 national Awards winners from 1992 to 2011.  Fascinating insights on leadership, overcoming challenges and surviving setbacks.

An ebook released today to celebrate the 20th year of the Telstra Australian Business Awards features the inspirational stories – written by the owners or founders themselves – of 20 national Awards winners from 1992 to 2011.*

Along with fascinating insights from the winners on leadership, overcoming challenges and surviving setbacks, the ebook illustrates why small and medium businesses are the lifeblood of Australia. Many of the best Australian small businesses of the past 20 years have gone on to compete successfully in overseas markets or become part of international organisations. Others have experienced significant growth in their domestic operations.

According to Will Irving, Telstra Business Group Managing Director and Ambassador of the Awards, “Small and medium businesses are taking Australian innovation and expertise to the world. Without exception, these 20 businesses are outstanding examples of local success, domestic expansion and international growth,” Mr Irving said.

“Some started out in a spare bedroom with a single idea and are now recognised as leaders in their field. Their success reflects not only the soundness of their strategies and the excellence of their execution but also the vision, focus, passion and sheer determination of those who founded them.”

* The Telstra Australian Business Awards were not held in 2000 and two businesses, SRA Information Technology, headquartered in Darwin, and Brookfarm, Byron Bay producer of macadamia-based products, were named joint winners of the top Award in 2007