After the success of the inaugural ‘Building Better Business Networks’ event in March, the Networking series continued at The Blairgowrie Yacht Squadron on 4 May.

Attendees were treated to a chance to connect with likeminded local business people over a hearty buffet breakfast overlooking the spectacular sunrise views of Port Phillip

A panel of very experienced marine themed business people were on hand to share insights from their decades of experience. The panellists included:

  • Mike Walker of SPX Corporation
  • Mal Hart of Hart Marine
  • Judy Muir of Polperro Dolphin Swims
  • Geoff Newing of Peninsula Fresh Seafood

The marine sector is a key industry that contributes 13% of the Mornington Peninsula’s total manufacturing production, so it was interesting to hear about their contribution to the industry, and the lessons they had learned along the way.

We asked them to share some insights from their years of business experience.

What are 3 things that you believe have made your business successful?


  • Being passionate about what you do – passion can break down barriers which leads to having a good team
  • Being authentic and sharing your passion
  • Really knowing what you do and why you do it
  • Creating an environment where staff love coming to work
  • Finding richness in what you do – remember that profits are the outcome


  • Having a growth mindset
  • Embracing hard work
  • Interacting with your customers; listening to and valuing their feedback
  • Taking up mentoring opportunities when they arise
  • Learning from mistakes


  • Being connected to our community and local residents; having a sense of place
  • Work with other businesses – don’t see them as competitors
  • Employing locals, they bring local connections and the community
  • Focus on people and processes
  • Support local suppliers

What advice would you give your younger business self?


  • Believe in yourself and your product/service
  • Understand what doesn’t work – think about what the customer wants
  • Own your mistakes and take responsibility
  • Have the courage to back yourself


  • When things gets tough, keep going
  • Learn to embrace your failures and think how you can turn things around
  • If you fail, look for the positives that you can work on and build on
  • Pick yourself up when you fall down


  • Have the ability to change and adapt quickly
  • Know your business and your market – know your limits so you know when you need to change things up
  • Invest in your staff’s wellbeing so that are more resilient

Meet Our Panellists

Mike Walker - Managing Director of SPX Aids to Navigation

With over 20 years of Sales & Marketing experience with multinational organisations across multiple industries, Mike is responsible for the Global Sales/Marketing and digital business Star2M Pty Ltd, encompassing Marine & Aviation Aids to Navigation product lines.

Judy Muir of Polperro Dolphin Swims

As co-founder of Polperro Dolphin Swims and Marine Education, Judy has spent her lifetime dedicated to environmental sustainability – a value that she passes onto the next generation through her passion and knowledge. Judy was awarded an Order of Australia medal for her services to the environment and runs the Canopy of Care program.

Mal Hart of Hart Marine

Hart Marine is recognised as one of Australia’s most experienced and best equipped advanced composite yards. Founder Mal is a master boat builder specialising in the manufacture of pilot boats, commercial craft, motor boat and high-performance vessels.

Geoff Newing of Peninsula Fresh Seafood

Geoff is the founder and owner of Peninsula Fresh Seafood, a Dromana based grower, processor, wholesaler and retailer of seafood. He has been growing mussels in Port Phillip Bay since the 1990’s, and in 2013 expanded his business into seafood processing and supply.

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