Murdoch Chancellor digs deep for success

Dig for success

L-R: Mr Joshua Byrne, Ms Alana Kilmartin, Mr David Flanagan (Chancellor of Murdoch University), Ms Sophie Cerutti, Mr Chris Prendergast

Following an augural address last year by the Chancellor, Dr Alan Finkel AM, Mannix College recently hosted a second special guest lecture on the theme of entrepreneurship, business and innovation.

Like Dr Finkel, this year’s speaker is a university chancellor who is also a successful entrepreneur. Mr David Flanagan is Chancellor of Murdoch University in Perth and founder of Atlas Iron, a company that has grown from a one-person operation 10 years ago, to an ASX top 100 mining company with four mines exporting 10 million tonnes of iron ore a year and employing 600 people.

Addressing an audience of Mannix students, staff and guests from Monash Residential Services, Mr Flanagan said mining was a fiercely competitive industry whose major players often resorted to “brutal” tactics in order to thwart new entrants into the market such as himself. He agreed that business success is 1 per cent inspiration and 99 per cent per cent perspiration.

Mr Flanagan acknowledged that the nature of mining means that companies must engage with and contribute meaningfully to local communities, especially Indigenous custodians of the remote areas in which substantial mineral deposits are typically located.      

He suggested that while entrepreneurial activity could bring great rewards for investors and the nation as a whole, it was not easy and all entrepreneurs should be aware of the financial risks and personal pressures involved.

Despite the stressful elements, Mr Flanagan said he still loved the idea of what mining does to benefit Australia. He was especially proud of the many philanthropic endeavours which operating a successful mining company had enabled him to initiate and participate in.