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Sep 28, 2023
Narrabri Shire has a consistent reputation as a leader in business and industry compared to its regional NSW peers.
Innovation has been a constant in the shire across many decades – and the shire is well-served by the high-tech solutions providedby Narrabri-based SierraTek Global.
Operated by Jamie and Annette Condon, SierraTek proudly works with a range of industries in Australia and overseas.
The 2023 Business of the Year, SierraTek was formed in 2017 to bring engineering and technical resources to the bush.
In the past year, SierraTek has embraced new opportunities in floodplain harvesting and non-urban metering.
“This space has opened up another sector for us,” Mr Condon said.
“This is the biggest reform in NSW’s history.”
In response to the opportunity, SierraTek has increased its number of staff who are certified with Water NSW. This process ensures people who are conducting metering installation services that they meet Water NSW’s specifications and high standards.
SierraTek was also awarded a contract with DPIE Water to roll out Flood Plain Harvesting Measurement demonstration projects across 50 farming operations in the Border and Gwydir valleys.
Mr Condon said this project demonstrated how to utilise the pattern approved technology for water take.
“There are quite a lot of requirements to manage the expectations of Water NSW, DPIE and the licence holder, it is quite a juggle and a complex and sensitive area,” he said.
SierraTek’s background in technology, innovation and problem solving has also placed the business in good stead to consult to both Water NSW and DPIE Water.
“The consultation process has allowed SierraTek to expand our services into government and utility companies at the highest levels,” Mr Condon said.
In addition to floodplain harvesting and metering, SierraTek has also been working across agriculture and the resources and mining sector.
SierraTek has been working in the mining sector in the Hunter Valley while also embracing opportunities working with the food and beverage industry in the Newcastle area.
In the agricultural space, it is the forward-thinking Farms of the Future initiative which has Mr Condon excited.
As recently reported by The Courier, SierraTek has partnered with INCYT to deliver agricultural innovation.
“We want their sensors and they want our automated technology. It’s a win-win,” Mr Condon said.
“INCYT is a major supplier of ag sensor technology.
“Our INCYT relationship is very important to us. It is great to be working closely with a like-minded company that wants to make a difference for Australia’s primary industry.”
SierraTek has a large role to play in the roll out of Farms of the Future and will install and support the introduction of agricultural technology locally and across other participating regions in NSW.
Mr Condon said the concepts of the Farms of the Future program were a great fit for his business.
“We’re excited to see where that take us.”
Ginning technology continues to be a major focus for SierraTek in both an import and export capacity. The business is currently exporting technology to the United States while also focusing on importing components to support the Australian cotton industry.
“We’ve worked hard on increasing our cotton ginning machinery and spare parts sales, this is so important for the Australian cotton industry and the success of the ginning facilities to have readily available machinery spares on shore,” Mr Condon said.
SierraTek is Australia’s largest importer Cotton Ginning equipment and the distributor for Continental Eagle and BC Supply, two very important manufacturers in the global cotton ginning industry.
Mr Condon said his business was aiming to be proactive in having more equipment ready to support the industry rather than gin operators being forced to wait months to import parts.
“We are bringing more and more parts here,” he said. “We are trying to make it work for all parties.”
Having the ginning parts in stock is a huge investment by SierraTek, however, Mr Condon is proud to support the cotton industry.
“When there’s a breakdown, the parts are here so people aren’t waiting months for a shipment to come in,” he said.
One of the exciting, recent additions to SierraTek’s broad repertoire is its investment in laser technology.
The newest piece of machinery is one of only two in the country and is capable of the laser cutting of plastics and equipment. It is capable of working on many materials. This high productivity CO2 laser cutter and engraver is perfect for demanding engraving and cutting applications.
These large format laser cutters are great for acrylic laser cutting, and perfect to engrave and cut a large choice of materials – wood, leather, paper, cardboard, plastic, glass, rubber, marble, stone, granite, foam, and many more!
Daniel Treseder, Laurel Van Den Elst, Graham Baylis, Gerrit Van Den Elst, Jamie, Annette and Lochie Condon, Janet Baylis, Cassey Treseder and Matthew Houguet celebrate SierraTek’s success at the business awards
“This machine is highly accurate and super fast,” Mr Condon said.
“It will have a lot of use for industrial businesses.”
Previously, SierraTek had to seek the services of other city-based businesses in the laser technology area.
However, its recent investment will mean it can now offer this service in Narrabri and beyond.
Software development has also been a great opportunity for the business.
While the SierraNet platform has become a signature product of SierraTek, it has also moved into the realm of software development for other businesses.
A recent achievement has been the development of a business application for a commodity training company.
This software has improved the efficiency and engagement of its users and has become the centrepiece of this business.
“We want to do more of this type of work and help other local businesses identify areas of integration that can further complement or develop their businesses,” Mr Condon said.
“Bespoke solutions can be difficult to find, particularly regionally. We are proud of our work in this area.”
The sweetest achievement in the past year for SierraTek, and the Condons, has been bringing Narrabri business A.M Electrical into its fold.
Mr Condon had his first taste of industry working for A.M. Electrical, operated by his father Ray Condon. Mr Condon completed his apprenticeship with A.M. Electrical before undertaking his electrical engineering post trade.
Ray retired earlier this year and A.M. Electrical became part of SierraTek’s growing offering. The addition of A.M. Electrical to the business means SierraTek offers a full complement of services – from residential electrical through to large-scale industry.
Mr Condon is proud of the growth of SierraTek and in return wants to support the town which has provided him with opportunities.
“We want to offer more jobs to keep our kids in town,” Mr Condon said.
With apprenticeship uptake declining in recent years, Mr Condon is keen to see this change.
Speaking of their success at the recent Narrabri and District Chamber of Commerce Business Awards, Mr Condon described it as a humbling experience.
In addition to taking out the top title of Business of the Year, SierraTek was also the winner in the Manufacturing/industrial/agri-business category.
“Whilst we are very proud of what we do, we were shocked,” Mr Condon said of the awards night.
“There are some amazing businesses in town doing great things and we are just one of them, trying to do our best for the community every day.”
Mr Condon said it is great to see local businesses thriving after recent uncertainties.
“We really appreciate this acknowledgement and would like to thank the Business Chamber and local community for all the support,” he said.
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