Media Release, 08 July 2015

Executive Risk Solutions, a crisis management, emergency response and specialist security business operated by a former Special Air Services Regiment member, is the 2015 Telstra Western Australian Business of the Year.

After serving in senior military roles in international conflict, CEO Scott Houston set up his risk management venture in 2008, recruiting highly-qualified staff experienced in police, military special forces and fire and emergency services to work for Australia’s largest companies in the resources and oil and gas sectors.

With a workforce peaking at 110 and offices in Australia and Dubai, Executive Risk Solutions (ERS) has won operational contracts ranging from security for the Roy Hill Project in WA’s Pilbara region to emergency services at the Port of Geraldton.

Mr Houston, who runs the business with his wife and Business Services Director Fiona Houston, says: “My life experiences assisted me greatly in shaping my business based on military values and standards. My background in the SAS ensured that I always approached every task with a can-do attitude.”

He said the reputation of ERS was built on the professionalism of its staff and its constant innovation and he hoped his business would encourage others to start-up their own businesses.

“I believe that our story of transitioning from the battlefields in Afghanistan to the boardrooms of Perth, from a start-up company to a $20 million a year company in a short period of time, overcoming difficulties and learning along the way, can show that with hard work and commitment anything is possible.

“Providing 24-hour coverage in remote areas, particularly within the worldwide mining, oil and gas sectors, ERS differentiates itself by offering high quality personnel and tailoring solutions to the operational needs of our clients to enable them to focus on their core business,” Mr Houston said.

Other winners of the 2015 Telstra Western Australian Business Awards named tonight at Crown Perth include Karratha engineering and construction services business KBSS Engineering, Perth law practice Fordham & Roast, workplace injuries claims service injuryConnect of Applecross, and Albany whisky manufacturers Great Southern Distilling Company.

Will Irving, Telstra Business Group Managing Director and Telstra Business Awards Ambassador, said: “The WA winners are brilliant and inspiring businesses that are being celebrated for innovation, industry leadership, creative use of technology and their contribution to the local economy.

“Executive Risk Services is an authentic, rapidly-growing business with very strong financials and a pragmatic strategy. It is diversifying its services to mitigate risk while focusing on international expansion.

“The Telstra Awards judges said it is a great business with very strong leadership capability, investing in its culture, diversity and the skills of its staff to service customer needs, while happy to seek external help where needed,” Mr Irving said.

Winners of the 2015 Telstra Western Australian Business Awards are:

Start-up Award

KBSS Engineering Karratha
Pilbara-based KBSS Engineering started in 2012 with two employees and won contracts that rapidly grew its team by early in 2014. Its engineering services include onsite machining and mechanical services. Last year the business diversified and won an important new long-term maintenance contract in 2015. The Telstra Business Awards Judges said the business has very strong financials, a targeted marketing plan and currently about 50 staff. Describing KBBS Engineering as “a great success story” with a strong vision for its team, they said it is very community-focused with a respectful relationship with local landowners.

Micro Business Award
Fordham & Roast Perth
For 30 years, Judith Fordham and Steve Roast worked on opposite sides of Perth’s criminal law system. In 2012, they formed a multi-disciplinary law practice. As a trial lawyer and forensic scientist, Judith’s skill-set complements Steve’s background as a detective superintendent. The practice provides a one-stop-shop for clients with criminal law problems and has a motto of ABC – Assume nothing, Believe no-one and Check everything. The Awards Judges said the law firm was a great niche business with strong financials, good leadership and morals, and one that was making a huge difference to people’s lives. Its leaders were described as dynamic, passionate and engaging.

Small Business Award
injuryConnect Applecross
With many Australian businesses burdened by the administration of workers’ compensation claims, IT expert Glen McIvor developed a technology-based service to simplify the process. Finding that most existing IT systems were cost prohibitive and geared towards large organisations that self-insured, he formed injuryConnect in 2009 to help small and large businesses manage workplace injuries and compensation claims. Awards Judges said injuryConnect developed an innovative online system that saves money for its growing and strong client list. They described the business as recession-proof, low-risk and nimble with a good pricing model that could be easily replicated anywhere - which was part of their future vision.

Medium Business Award
Executive Risk Solutions Myaree

Regional Award
Great Southern Distilling Company Albany
Great Southern Distilling Company was established by Cameron Syme in 2004, turning his passion for whisky into a commercial reality. The company’s flagship Limeburners Whisky won the Champion Whisky Trophy at the Australian Distilled Spirits Awards in 2015. The Judges said the business has very strong processes in place and celebrates diversity and inclusion in its workforce. Due to open a second distillery in Margaret River this year, it has a set production vision, a strong sales strategy and business acumen, ambassador-based marketing and a unique product with unlimited potential.

Telstra Western Australian Business of the Year
Executive Risk Solutions Myaree
Winners of the Telstra Western Australian Business Awards will now proceed to the 2015 Telstra Australian Business Awards which will be announced in Sydney on 20 August.

For more information about the Awards or to nominate for the 2016 Telstra Australian Business Awards, visit or call 1800 AWARDS between 9am and 7pm AEST Monday to Friday.

The Telstra Business Awards were established in 1992 to celebrated brilliant Australian small and medium businesses.