2016 Territory business heroes

In celebration of local Territory businesses, this year we included Territory business heroes as part of the October Business Month (OBM) program.

Our Territory business heroes were asked to tell their story and share a tip for success in business based on their learnings in the business world.

Each OBM keynote event featured a Territory business hero speaker and these inspiring, relatable and honest presentations were thoroughly enjoyed by attendees. The Department of Trade, Business and Innovation sincerely thanks our 'heroes' who generously donated their time and stories.

Our OBM Territory business heroes include:

Darryl Thomas

Portrait shot of Darryl ThomasDarryl Thomas, a former professional athlete has lived in the Northern Territory for 32 years and has worked as a bank clerk, bookmakers clerk, policeman and the last twenty odd years in the liquor industry. The first Territorian to complete the Roseworthy Wine Marketing course in 1993, a passion for fine wine has resulted in a 'lifestyle' career and the establishment of Thomas Chin Pty Ltd in October 2002. Recently been honoured as the first Territorian to be invited to judge at a major Australian Wine Show (Royal Queensland).

Being the Northern Territory’s only private and locally owned liquor wholesale business has resulted in a strong on premise business, providing education and training to key restaurants and the general public. It has also created an opportunity as a wine writer and columnist for various local publications.

Thomas Chin Wines

Helen Summers

Upperbody shot of Helen SummersHelen has been in private practice in Darwin for 18 years. Remote clinics are supported with donated ready-mades, sunglasses and low cost glasses from Essilor Vision Foundation. In April 2014 the practice relocated to The Avenue, Parap and opened as Australia’s flagship Nikon concept practice. The practice also partnerships with Flinders and Deakin Universities and hosts final year students for training and mentoring.

Helen has an interest in dry eye and anterior eye disease, glaucoma and macula management, contact lenses, children’s vision, neuro-optometry conditions and indigenous health.

Directorships include:

  • Chairman of Australian Optometric Panel, Health Practitioners Alliance
  • Director of:
    • Guide Dogs SA.NT
    • The International Vision Academy, based in Singapore
    • Indigenous Working Group, Optometry Australia
    • Crime Stoppers NT.

Helen was awarded 2013 National Business Owner Award Winner, Telstra Business Women's Awards, 2013 NT Telstra Business Women for the Year, was an inductee 2014 Australian Business Woman's Hall of Fame, and 2015 NT Finalist, Australian of the Year Awards.

Helen Summers Optometrist

Portrait shot of Tim LambertTim Lambert

Tim is the former Managing Director of Top End Pest Control, one of the NT leading pest management companies. In 12 years TEPC was turned from a small one man operation to one of the largest pest management companies in the NT. Expanding services to include the entire NT, East Timor, Indonesia, Guam and the Federated States of Micronesia. In 2013 TEPC was awarded the NT Telstra Business of the year. In June 2016 Top End Pest Control was sold to Flick Anticimex Group, one of the world’s leading pest management companies where Tim is now the Northern Territory Business Development Manager.

Mary Linnell

Headshot of Mary LinnellMary Linnell owns and operates a successful glazing business in Darwin’s construction industry. She leads her team in fabricating and installing custom-made items for various applications, and provides a 24-hour emergency glass replacement service to our community.

Raised in Canada, Mary previously worked in travel and won 'Top Novice Worldwide' and 'Outstanding Achievement' awards at Flight Centre Ltd before launching her business in 2002.

Mary has recently won the prestigious Master Builders Association Excellence in Building and Construction Award for Women in Construction, and has previously received High Commendation for the same. Also, Mary has been awarded the 2015 NT Telstra Business Woman of the Year, and the 2015 NT Telstra Business Women’s Entrepreneur of the Year.

In these roles, Mary has been publicly speaking about the positive roll that women play within our industry, and further afield.

Easy Glass Services, 8947 EASY (3279)

Tom Falzon

Upperbody shot of Tom FalzonTom Falzon is one of four Directors and co-founders of Earth Sanctuary World Nature Centre in Alice Springs now in its 16th year of operation. Tom was born in Melbourne, Victoria and has helped to build Earth Sanctuary as the Northern Territories first 100% carbon neutral enterprise working to a triple bottom line metric whereby the company is measured by social, environmental and economic growth. This strategy has set the benchmark for ethical business in the region and earned Earth Sanctuary two Brolga awards as well as Eco tourism Australia's recognition for excellence. Today, Earth Sanctuary registers over 5,500 visitors per year and is growing at over 180% each year in the education, tourism and events market.

Earth Sanctuary World Nature Centre

Anya Lorimer

Portrait shot of Anya LorimerAnya Lorimer started her first company at 28 with a $10,000 overdraft and is a self-made sole business owner. Anya is so fearlessly innovative that if something doesn’t exist she will create it.

She has over 20 years’ experience in the advertising and marketing industry, and is the only Territorian to have been invited to pitch on the ABC program Gruen. Winning a trophy on national TV with over 1 million viewers was like winning an Oscar in her creative world.

She is a commentator on advertising, and speaks at business workshops on marketing, branding and campaigns. She has four companies, two patients for Indigenous communication tools and is currently breaking new ground marketing creative ideas in Dubai.

She is also the driving force and publisher of Territory Q and Territory Taste Magazines. Branching in to events, she recently added the Territory Taste Festival which attracted over 12,000 people in it’s first year as another brain child to her name. She understands that effective messages are always based on brand truths and knows how to develop and roll out a truly integrated campaigns including Indigenous communications.

She is a highly awarded creative, has been a finalist at the Australian Institute of Marketing Excellence Awards four times and is currently shortlisted to five nationally for her category in the 2016 awards later this year.

Anya Lorimer is a director + designer + creative thinker at Sprout who has developed some of the most recognised integrated campaigns and brands in the Territory.


John Tourish

Portrait shot of John TourishJohn grew up and was educated in country NSW and has a diverse background across various industries.

John commenced as an apprentice fitter and machinist with the NSW Electricity Commission before completing a Mechanical Engineering Degree at Newcastle University and a second Degree studying externally from the University of NSW. John then spent six and half years working as a contracts conciliator as well as various other roles in overseas postings. Following this, John took up the role of construction engineer with the Electricity Commission of NSW Bayswater Power Station construction.

In 1985 John opened his first McDonalds franchise at Penrith Leagues in Sydney, finally operating other franchises in the Penrith area until he sold the last one in 2007. In 1986 he purchased his first hotel, the historic Criterion Hotel in Rockhampton which he operated until 2001.

In 2005 John purchased the Walkabout Lodge and Tavern in Nhulunbuy (Arnhem Land) and upgraded the property over the next six years. In 2007 John commenced a weekly road freight service between Darwin and Nhulunbuy to counter the ever increasing freight cost to his business and the township.

In 2012 John was part of the ownership team that develops and currently owns and operates The Precinct Tavern at Darwin Waterfront.

Over the past 30 years John has served on a number of Boards and Advisory Committees and currently serves on the following:

  • Chairperson East Arnhem Land Tourist Association
  • Tourism Advisory Council (Reducing Red Tape in Hospitality and Tourism) NT Department of Treasury and Finance
  • Northern Territory Business Advisory Council, and
  • recently has taken up a directors role with the recently formed Territory Generation Corp.

Walkabout Lodge, Explore Arnhem Land - Australia