2015 HACCI Awards for Excellence Winners

The Spiros Stamoulis Lifetime Achievement Award 

Winner: Mr. Peter Kazacos

The son of Greek migrants Constantine and Maria, the winner of this award lost his father when he was a toddler. He was raised by his mother Maria who ran a local fish and chip shop in Bankstown with her brother.

He achieved a Bachelor of Electrical Engineering and a Bachelor of Science (Applied Mathematics and Computer Science) from the University of New South Wales and went on to have over 40 years’ experience in the IT industry.

He founded KAZ in 1988 and led the company over its 17-year history. He was responsible for guiding KAZ from a small IT services company in NSW to one of Asia Pacific’s leading IT services and business process outsourcing service providers. KAZ grew from 350 employees from its inception, through to listing on the ASX in 2000, to over 4000 employees, as a fully owned subsidiary of Telstra.

He founded and became Executive Chairman of Anittel Ltd, having spent 8 years building the company into one of Australia’s leading IT&C service providers operating outside the major metropolitan areas. In 2010, Anittel was acquired by publicly listed company, Hostech, representing a major strategic milestone in the transformation and convergence of the IT&T industry. Anittel was sold to Inabox Group in January 2015.

This gentleman holds a number of Executive Office positions and was the recipient of the inaugural, Australian Entrepreneur of the Year 2001 award in the Technology, Communications, E-Commerce and Biotechnology category. He was also inducted into the Hall of Fame for the 3rd Annual IT&T Awards in October 2004.   This Award was in the category of “Champion of the vendor community”. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame at the inaugural ARN IT Industry Awards Ceremony (September 07).

He was the recipient of the prestigious CSIRO Tony Benson Award for Individual Achievement in ICT at the 2008 iAwards. This award is presented in recognition of outstanding accomplishments of an individual in the Australian ICT industry.

He was also the Southern Highlands Foundation Philanthropist of the Year for 2009.

The Philanthropy Awards honour the significant service, efforts and contributions of those involved in philanthropy. This award is given to celebrate of the outstanding contribution of time, leadership and financial support made by the many wonderful businesses, individuals, volunteers, community organisations and schools in the Southern Highlands.

Peter and his wife Vicki have 3 children, Constantine, Marie & Stephanie. All three children are proving to be entrepreneurial in their chosen fields.

Together with his wife Vicki, he founded the charity Your Angel which focuses on providing direct support to disadvantaged people in the community.

Through this initiative, Cookability provides support for people with physical, mental and financial disabilities. Your Angel also provides support to the indigenous community through the Koori Kulcha Aboriginal Corporation.

The Delphi Bank Business Excellence Award

Winner: Mary Paidoussi-Revis

The winner of the 2015 Delphi Bank Award for Business Excellence was born and educated in Alexandria, Egypt which provided a rich tapestry of culture and experiences for her childhood. When she was 17, she experienced the Egyptian revolution, lost her father to a heart attack, married and soon after migrated to Australia with her mother, husband and family.

She joined Myer Emporium almost immediately after arriving in Melbourne and immediately rose to prominence as a buyer and astute reader of fashion trends. Such was her impact, that she was noticed by Ken Myer who trusted her to make extensive overseas trips and drive the firm’s stylistic direction. At the time, it was extremely rare for a woman to have achieved such a senior position in corporate retail, let alone a recently arrived migrant woman.

Soon afterwards, she established the first ‘Miss Shop’ concept in the Myer Melbourne store, which went on and became a phenomenal commercial success. It was the first time that a ‘shop within a shop’ concept had been tried and the first time that retail focussed specifically on the teenage market. This concept became a national feature of the Myer organisation and revolutionised retail sales strategy. Within months, the majority of fashion retailers had followed a similar method of marketing their goods to a young audience.

In 1979, she was the first woman to be asked to join the Board of Directors of Myers. She continued to hold leadership roles across the industry, including Buckley’s (now David Jones) and Portmans where she drove the business from 10 to 120 stores nationwide. She also transformed Witchery from an obscure brand to one of Australia’s most successful retail businesses, including a public listing and eventual sale in 2006.

She was also actively involved in the Greek community, including serving for 10 years on the Committee of the National Centre for Hellenic Studies and Research. She was also the first woman of Greek origin to serve on the Council of Latrobe University.

Due to her small physical stature and relentless drive, she was affectionately known as ‘The mini with the V8 engine’. During her career, she revolutionised retail sales strategy and inspired generations of women to follow into prominent leadership positions in Australia’s retail corporate industry – traditionally known a male dominated industry.

Unfortunately, she became seriously ill in 2012 and sadly, passed away in late 2013. The award was accepted on her behalf by her son Michael, with his wife Deborah, and sons Nicolas, and Thomas.

The Professional Excellence Award 

Winner: Professor George Varigos

Currently the Head of Dermatology at the Royal Melbourne Hospital and the Clinical Professor in the Department of Medicine at the University of Melbourne.

He graduated in Medicine at the University of Melbourne and completed his Fellowship training in Dermatology through the Australian College of Dermatology and then a PHD in Medicine and Immunology at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute. He has been a consultant for 35 years at the Royal Melbourne Hospital and the Head of Dermatology for 25 years till 2012.

In addition to numerous associations, memberships and accolades, he made a significant contribution in the administration of the health sector.

He was early to develop specialty clinics for both adults and children’s skin diseases to improve the role of multidisciplinary clinics.

He was also instrumental over 15 years ago in developing the role of Nurse Practitioner in Eczema at the Royal Children’s Hospital and helped established nurse led workshops on eczema for parents and carers. This was a first in Australia.

In relation to the rare disease Epidermolysis Bullosa, he coordinated and formed the first Paediatric multidisciplinary clinic for this group of patients which continues today.

He has developed the only Porphyria Multidisciplinary Clinic in Australia and referrals are widespread. More recently in Adults he developed Biologic clinics for psoriasis where now his clinic at the Royal Melbourne Hospital has the largest number of patients on biologics in a public hospital in Australia. He has also completed a significant body of work in clinical research.

The Chris Saristavros Young Achievers Award

Winner: Athan Dritsas

Athan has just turned 18, and currently finishing year 12 at Salesian College. At the age of seven, he started learning Karate and three years later at the age of 11 he achieved his black belt, followed by his 1st Dan Black Belt at the age of 13.

He has been a member of the Victorian State Karate team since 2009 and a member of the Australian Karate Federation team since 2011.

After many years of hard work, dedication and perseverance, he has been fortunate enough to be selected for the second time, to represent Australia at the World Karate Federation Junior, Cadet and U21 Championship held in Jakarta, Indonesia.

Some of his achievements include being National Champion, USA Open Champion, a silver medal at the World Youth Cup and Oceania Champion as well being selected for the last WKF Junior World Championships in Spain.

He dreams of one day being world champion. Perhaps the greatest compliment paid to him by his peers is not about his achievements in the martial arts but his humility, work ethic and fun-loving nature. 

The Community Service Award, presented by the Victorian Multicultural Commission 

Winner: Rena Frangioudakis

The recipient of the HACCI Award for Community Service started working with 3XY Radio Hellas from the very first day it began operations and later, when the newspaper ‘Ta Nea’ commenced, she joined their team of journalists in the latter part of 1995.

In 2000, she also became involved with Channel 31, reporting on various issues relating to events which were of importance to the Greek community.

Her contribution to community service in various capacities spans 50 years. She has served in various executive positions with Fronditha Care as well as in a volunteer sub-committee capacity for over 28 years.

She has worked as a journalist, reporting on Community Affairs with Ta Nea and ‘Neos Cosmos’ and Nea Patrida. She was a member of the Federal Government Migrant Advisory Committee and is a life member of the Pan-Cretans Association and Cretan Brotherhoods in Melbourne.

She is well known as a Presenter/Announcer/Commentator on Channel 31 for Hellas TV however she is perhaps best known as an Announcer on the Greek program for the 3XY Greek Media Group, since 1996.

She was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia for services to the Hellenic Australian community which represented significant recognition from the wider community.

This award has been made possible with the support of the Victorian Multicultural Commission.

The inaugural Sporting Excellence Award, presented by the South Melbourne Football Club

Winner: Stella Savvidou

Since arriving in Australia from England 8 years ago, the recipient of the 2015 HACCI Excellence Award for Sporting Achievement has achieved very high standing in her chosen sport of Artistic Gymnastics.

She is the current Australian National Champion and Victorian Champion in 2015. In addition to her Australian standing, she also competes for the Greek-Cypriot National Team at an international level. She was a finalist at the 2014 Commonwealth Games and participated in the first European Games in 2015. She has just returned from the World Championships in Glasgow held last month where she represented Cyprus. Her goal is to participate in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.

She is tireless in her love for her sport, training for over 30 hours a week in addition to her regular school work at MLC. This year she is completing her VCE and is fortunate to have received offers for full scholarships at various prestigious universities in the USA, including the University of Arizona, Yale and UCLA.

She is known for possessing an iron will, always positive and forward thinking despite setbacks, injuries and stress. Her peers describe her as an uplifting spirit, always appreciative and smiling with no complaints, no matter what is on her plate.