Martz Witty, born the son of a preacher man, originally wanted to be a motor mechanic. However, failing to gain an apprenticeship on leaving school he ended up studying business at the local Polytechnic on his father’s advice. Seven (part-time) years later Martz emerged a fully qualified Chartered Accountant although he has never quite fitted the stereotypical mould – and still fails to do so! “With a name like Witty, maybe I was destined to entertain”, he says.
Martz career spans small and large Chartered Accounting firms, an 11 member group in the timber industry and an 11 member group in finance and furniture manufacture. This ‘true life’ commercial experience has contributed much to Martz’ success in business and in the advice he gives. Martz has owned some 8 businesses and is currently based in Christchurch.
If it can happen to you in business it most probably has to him, from hostile takeovers and tragic investments to unmotivated staff and failing systems. Martz has worked in small chartered accounting firms, large ones and in the real-life world of commerce too. It is through his masses of experience at a young age that he accumulated a wealth of knowledge about New Zealand business and how to be different from the crowd. He quips he survived the charisma bypass that so many accountants seem to stereotypically undergo when they qualify.
Achievements include being nominated for the CBA Young Accountant of the Year, being admitted as a partner in a Chartered Accountancy firm at 24 years of age and founding a boutique styled, niche marketed accountancy firm. Martz chooses to continue running his own Professional Speaking and Consultancy Business. He works with business nationwide and this keeps him fresh with ideas and invigorated with the issues of the day, many of these experiences are shared in his talks as he unfolds the strategies of success and failure, not to mention keeping him on his toes applying those skills gained across a varied and wide-reaching career.
In his spare time Martz enjoys renovating old houses and equally old cars. A current project is a 1974 Corvette Stingray which he quips will pass anything on the road except a petrol station.
Martz has been a solo father of his two teenage sons and this kept him very much alive to keeping an holistic approach to life and business. A passion and interest of Martz is to motivate and educate teenagers to gain greater self esteem and motivation which will give them a hand up and head start when they enter the working world upon leaving school.
Edwin Dando is the Managing Director of Clarus – a Christchurch based IT Consulting and Contracting company. He is known as an energetic and passionate person, committed to improving quality within the IT industry.
Edwin went into IT consulting straight out of university with Accenture and then continued in consulting with Synergy, Gen-I and then a number of years as an independent consultant. He started Clarus in 2006 to focus on IT delivery based on his foundation or personal ethics and values.
As certified Project Management Professional (PMP) and ScrumMaster (Agile), Edwin has a strong understanding of systems development, consulting and project management. He has worked on major projects for Vodafone, Telecom, Government Departments, software development companies and consulting firms.
Clarus is an innovative IT services firm with a clear difference. The company is built upon an invitation-only pool (Clarus members) of the highest quality IT professionals, supported by strong HR, project and consulting management teams. Clarus works with a wide variety of clients to supply people and solutions – from high caliber individuals to entire project teams.
With over 80 members, Clarus is able to offer a vast breadth consulting level services without the consulting price tag while financially rewarding the members doing the work. Members are provided the full support of the Clarus Consulting team and the Clarus Member Community, providing collaboration, knowledge sharing and support.
Clarus runs a Sustainable Business Programme, recognizing that the business exists within a natural environment and a society of human beings. Clarus maintains strict Carbon Zero targets, is a member of the Sustainable Business Network and encourages members and staff to work in voluntary positions to give something back to the IT sector and the broader community.
Update (15 April 2008): See Edwin's keynote presentation: Striving for Excellence [PDF: 162kB].
Dave is a refugee from the US and a grateful recipient of Kiwi Citizenship. He arrived in 1994 to take up a role as a Crown Research Institute research scientist and software engineer, working in groups first at Lincoln and then Canterbury Universities until 1998, developing a prototype image processing application on Linux.
In 1998, spotting a commercial opportunity and wanting to be his own boss, he left the CRI and started Egressive to provide commercial Linux and open source software support for businesses and organisations wanting to use the emerging technologies as a means to "egress" the landlocked world of Windows IT systems prevalent at the time.
Over the intervening 9+ years, Egressive has developed a diverse and happy customer base primarily in Canterbury. More recently, Egressive open source developers have been building web applications and providing hosting and support for businesses and organisations all over NZ and overseas.
Dave is a vocal proponent of open standards and has led efforts to encourage the NZ government's use of domestic software vendors, particularly those offering cost-effective open source solutions.
Update (16 April 2008): See Dave's keynote presentation: The Open Road; Doing the Right Thing and Making a Living
David Park is the CEO and Director of the Geospatial Research Centre. In his daily life, David successfully balances the roles of entrepreneur, businessman, and academic. This talent of balancing roles, combined with his passion for all things technology, and his empathy for students puts him in an ideal position for what he currently does - to motivate, nurture, and provide the right tools and resources for students to succeed from within a self sustaining business.
At university, his studies covered a wide variety of ICT domains; he studied at the University of Nottingham and received his BEng Hons (Civil Engineering), his MSc (Artificial Intelligence and Robotics) and his PhD in Digital Photogrammetry.
The Geospatial Research Centre is a joint venture between the University of Nottingham, the University of Canterbury, Canterbury Economic Development Fund, and the New Zealand Trade and Enterprise. It provides research and consultancy services in the fields of positioning and orientation, with particular expertise in sensor integration, image analysis, data visualisation and electronics.
For more information on David, check out the Introducing David Park blog post he did with the NZCSRSC team in December 07.
Update (23 April 2008): See David's keynote presentation: Be confident in who you are and what you do [PDF: 1.65MB].