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Industry turns out to farewell Steve Dunwell

Friday, 10 February 2017
By Patrick Howard

Mates from away back: Bob Lockley (left) gave a fond farewell address at Steve Dunwell's retirement party.

They were all there, the heavy hitters of the printing industry; the big web printers, the newspapers and catalogue producers, the high-end sheetfed offset packaging makers, as well as leading supply siders. All came to the Banjo Paterson restaurant in Sydney to recognise the contribution of one of the industry’s true gentlemen, Steve Dunwell, managing director, manroland Australasia.

The stellar affair was a rare gathering at this scale – more than 60 industry identities who’ve crossed paths with Dunwell during his 40 plus years in the industry. It felt like the passing of an era but for many at the dinner who have already retired it was a chance to get back in touch.

Responding to a warm oration by long-term friend and customer, Bob Lockley, production director Fairfax, in an engaging speech Dunwell recognised, among others, his three main customers from the time he started selling printing systems for Datronics in 1978; News Corp, Fairfax and Hannanprint. “They’re still my biggest customers today,” he said.

He went on to single out individuals at the event who were part of his journey, starting with those from the newspaper industry. “Barry Johnson now retired from News Corp was one of my first customers in 1977.

“A special welcome to the elder statesman here this evening, John Parker, who was the managing director of Rural Press, instrumental in their rise as a major publishing entity that subsequently merged with Fairfax.

“Others here this evening [from both the newspaper and high-end web printing industry] that go back to the eighties include, Phil Taylor, John Engisch, Paul Selig, Brian Evans and Kevin Jones.”

As part of recognising his manroland sheetfed customers, he singled out father and son Charles and Sam Hanna, who are celebrating the 50th anniversary of their Hannapak this year. “Kevin Pidgeon from Lithocraft has flown up from Melbourne to join us this evening. In 1977 Kevin purchased a Singer 8400 typesetter from me for $15,300. Today Kevin is one of manroland’s key sheetfed customers with several manroland presses.”

There was also recognition to those who worked with Dunwell when he ran his own company, Media Tech in Sydney for many years.

“Adrian Fleming, kick started his career at Media Tech. I take credit that all my training and getting him involved in sales led to Adrian becoming the MD at Kodak. The fact he was an exceptional talent probably also helped.

“Stuart Lockley was a young kid of 17 when he started work for Media Tech 25 years ago as an apprentice engineer, he became one of our best engineers and went on to start his own business ventures.’

Both sides of the industry - supply and production were there; David Currie chats with Lindsay Hannan and John Engisch.

A significant part of Dunwell’s career was his role as NSW manager for the Currie Group in the early years of the century and he made sure to recognise their attendance.

“My six years at the Currie Group from 2003 to 2009 was a great experience. Selling the HP Indigo once again at the right time in its development was a great opportunity. Welcome to David, Phil & Richard from Curries. David has built one of the best companies on the supply side of the industry, equipment that is best in class, a good team of people, and has always been an advocate of close customer relations. The Currie Group is a credit to our industry.”

He paid tribute to the current manroland staff, especially to Dennis Wickham who is stepping into his shoes.

“I would like to take the opportunity to congratulate Dennis Wickham being appointed as managing director of manroland Australasia and Andreas Schwoepfinger on being appointed as the director of technical services. Also, a warm welcome to Tim and Dagmar Ruth, from manroland in Augsburg. Tim has been a director of manroland Australasia for seven years and a great supporter of our business.”

Dunwell has always been deeply engaged in the social infrastructure of the industry. A strong supporter of industry associations and a willing contributor of his time and effort to ensuring there’s more to printing than work.

“I’ve been a member of Gamaa, now Visual Connections, for over 30 years. There are four past presidents here this evening, Angus Scott, Adrian Flemming, Ian Martin and Mitch Mulligan. Karen Goldsmith the executive director was here earlier; she’s now at the Bruce Springsteen concert. Karen has and continues to be the driving force behind GAMAAA & Visual Connections.

Winding up, he indicated that the industry can still expect to see him in the future when he returns from his imminent travels with wife Carol, if only at a social level.

“I’ve been associated with Press Gang for over 30 years. James Acland, the current convenor and Barry Johnson the current treasurer are here and I’m sure they along with other press gang members can remember the press gang lunches at Johnnie Walkers that went well into the evening. I look forward to continuing as a retired press gang member.”

He stepped away to warm applause. Personally, I’m sure Steve Dunwell will always receive a warm welcome whenever he appears in any part of the industry. Bon voyage!

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