by Divina Paredes

Movers and shakers: Sean White of Masterpet and Trevor Leybourne of MYOB

Aug 03, 20145 mins
CareersIT Leadership

Sean White is now IS/IT manager, Pet Care Group, for Masterpet Corporation. He will be in charge of IS and IT across the group that includes Masterpet Australia and New Zealand, Aristopet, Botany Bay and the Lyppard Vet Wholesale business in Australia.

The group covers over 10 sites and has over 300 users with a multitude of platforms. Before this, White was ICT manager Australasia for MasterPet based in Wellington. His previous roles included ICT operations manager at CentrePort and systems administrator at the Department of Internal Affairs.

HackDays at MYOB

Accounting software provider MYOB welcomes the new government initiative to encourage more New Zealand students into technology careers.

The strategic plan A Nation of Curious Minds: He Whenua Hirihi I te Maharalt;/igt;, announced by Economic Development and Small Business Minister Steven Joyce and Education Minister Hekia Parata, includes a review of the digital technology curriculum in schools, and steps to encourage more girls into science and technology careers.

Further reform of the digital technology curriculum in secondary schools will help address the ongoing skills shortage in the New Zealand ICT industry, says Trevor Leybourne, MYOB NZ director and product development manager.

“Everything that takes place in business now, and in the future, relies on digital technologies, so it’s important that students get exposure to ICT as early as possible,” says Leybourne.

It isn’t just the salary package that attracts good talent, you have to create the right environment. Trevor Leybourne, MYOB

Leybourne has been working in NZ ICT for over 20 years, and says he is constantly on the lookout for skilled IT staff. “In a tight labour market it isn’t just the salary package that attracts good talent, what we’ve found is that you have to create the right environment,” he says.

He cites MYOB spent over $1.4 million this year to refurbish its Auckland office to enable Agile product development, “a collaborative style of development which relies on inter-disciplinary team work.”

MYOB has also been holding ‘HackDays’, in which product development staff put their daily work aside and spend two days to complete a special project of their choice. MYOB says it has held three such events in the past year, and a number of the concepts that emerge from these sessions are put into actual production.

Leybourne says the HackDays held last month focused on “making business life easier”.

“The next HackDay we have planned is a ‘hack for charity’, where we will be building tools, applications and services specifically for New Zealand charitable organisations.”

MYOB’s Agile team: Paul Uerata, Craig McGuff, Josh Maloney, Warren Chung, Jai Arunachalam, Bo Ma.

MYOB says it aims to hold these two-day sessions every four to six months.

Auckland University team takes top prize at Microsoft’s Imagine Cup in Seattle

A University of Auckland student team won first place and a $50,000 prize in the ‘Innovation’ category at the Microsoft Imagine Cup World Finals in Seattle this week for their social interaction app, called ‘Estimeet’.

Team Estimeet members Hayden Do (19), Jason Wei(19), Chris Duan (30), and Derek Zhu (22) designed the app to track the real-time locations of people making their way to business or social meetings.

Nigel Parker, developer experience director for Microsoft New Zealand, says this is the first New Zealand team ever to win a top category at the Imagine Cup.

“New Zealand has punched above its weight placing in the top ten in the world four times in the last five years,” says Parker. “We are so proud that this year’s team took out the Innovation category. It’s a great example of how this country is an incubator for top talent and world leading ideas.”

The winners were announced at the Imagine Cup World Championship ceremony during Microsoft’s TechReady conference at the Washington State Convention Centre.

Thirty-four student teams representing 34 countries competed in the World Finals after winning national and online competitions around the globe. Microsoft awarded cash and other prizes to the winning teams, valued at more than $1 million across the yearlong Imagine Cup program.

“There is not a business, vertical industry or person on the planet untouched by technology,” said Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, at the event, which was attended by around 5000 students, judges, partners and Microsoft employees.

Next: The call to support ‘Shadow IT’

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At least 21 groups have signed up to support ‘Shadow IT’ Day on August 27, and organisers are calling on more New Zealand companies to support the project.

The New Zealand Technology Industry Association (NZTech) and Manukau Institute of Technology (MIT) teamed up for the program, which will have high school female students shadowing technology professionals for a day in order to get a better understanding of the workplace and career choices available in IT.

NZTech says the organisations that have already signed up are ACE Computer Training, Air New Zealand, Critchlow, Dale Jennings Associates, Datacom, ECONZ, Fronde, Fujitsu New Zealand, Gen-i/ Telecom, Koordinates, Microsoft New Zealand, New Zealand Trade and Enterprise, NZTech, Orion Health, Pushpay, SimplHealth, TBWA,, Vend, Vodafone New Zealand and Wynyard Group.

NZTech, meanwhile, has elected three new board members: Jonathan Miller from Callaghan Innovation, Rob Old from Provoke Solutions and Fronde’s David Roberts.

They join Tom Duffy of Fuji Xerox, John Ferguson of NZTE, Gavin Greaves of HP New Zealand, Jo Healey of Fujitsu, Bennett Medary of Simpl, Steve Newman of EROAD and Bob Pinchin from Swaytech.

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Follow Divina Paredes on Twitter: @divinap

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