Russ: Hi I’m Russ Capper and this is The EnergyMakers Show; our topic today, the Australian American Chamber of Commerce Ninth Annual Energy and Technology Conference. My guests are Bruce Rutherford, Global Energy Practice Lead with JLL and Greg Foley, Business Development Executive with Entrance. Both are board members with the Australian American Chamber and both are Co-chairs for the upcoming conference. Greg, Bruce, welcome to The EnergyMakers Show.
Both: Thanks Russ.
Greg: Glad to be here.
Russ: So let’s start, give us an overview of the Australian American Chamber of Commerce
Greg: So the Australian American Chamber of Commerce has been here in Houston for over 25 years. We have our mission to promote business ties between Australia and the U.S. A lot of our focus is around energy given the nature of Houston, we also have the sister city program with Perth which is the energy capital on the Australian side so there’s a lot of synergies between both sides of the world.
Russ: Okay, is this the only Australian American Chamber of Commerce?
Greg: It’s not the only one; it’s obviously one of the more premier ones but we do have others around the United States, not all going under the name Australian American. We’ve got and American Australian Association up in New York, we’ve got an Australian American Chamber in San Francisco for instance, and there are others variously different titled – some include New Zealand because of the bonds they have as well. We always allow Kiwis to come to our events too.
Russ: There you go, that’s a good idea. So the Australian American Chamber of Commerce Energy and Technology Conference, does the chamber do conferences other than something focused on energy and technology.
Greg: This is our main conference event for the year.
Russ: Okay. Bruce, tell us about the conference.
Bruce: This is our ninth annual conference. We used to label it only an energy conference but technology is such an important part of the energy industry and it’s become even more important over the last 5 or 6 years in that technology has literally transformed the energy industry in both Australia and the United States. And we want to highlight those changes in technology that are causing these tremendous advances in the energy industry, but we also want to highlight how those changes in technology are creating business opportunities in both Australia and the United States for companies in either country.
And it’s pretty amazing how the energy industry has not only transformed itself, but is transforming the world around it. I am constantly amazed at how under appreciated the energy industry is by the man on the street in both countries. Imagine what it would be like if you flipped on the light switch and nothing happened. And imagine what it would be like if you got up every day and you had to walk to work because you didn’t have a car, a bus, a train; life would be very, very different. People I don’t think appreciate how important energy is in our daily lives and we certainly don’t appreciate how important it is to the rest of our economy and often to our very own jobs.
Russ: Absolutely, that under appreciation topic was a huge motivator in starting The EnergyMakers Show about 4½ or 5 years ago and I tell ya Bruce, I’ve started so many interviews since the shale revolution with the entre of why aren’t we having a national celebration, we completely changed the world. So I think it’s cool and I think Australians have that in common with us. So a bit more about the conference; where is it and when is it?
Greg: It’s on the 4th of May and it’s at the Hilton Post Oak.
Russ: And it lasts one day?
Greg: One day.
Russ: And what sort of agenda items will we see?
Greg: So we’ve got some keynote speakers, we’ve got some panel discussions; we’ve got the Executive Roundup which you’re hosting at the end.
Russ: I’m glad to.
Greg: Very much looking forward to that again. One of the keynotes is looking at the technology project that was done by Woodside in Australia using data collection, big data, the IBM Watson technology to really revolutionize how they collect data and how they use data.
Bruce: And the Cloud.
Greg: Up in the Cloud and all that. So some of them are more technical on the subsea innovations that are coming through, we’ve got some Australian companies that are trying to penetrate the market with some very advanced technologies that people want to come and see and find out about.
Russ: Okay, and the conference is open to the public – there’s a fee but it’s open to the public – how many people do you usually have at the conference.
Greg: We normally get 200 or 300. We’re open to more, we can accommodate more, but we typically get a fairly executive crowd so quality is more important than quantity. All the feedback we get from our participants over the years is always how much good information that they gathered on that one day. So it’s packing a lot into a day; we appreciate people don’t have a lot of time for long conferences so putting a very highly packed day together is good.
Russ: What is it, this thing about Australians and Texans? There seems to be some compatibility there doesn’t there?
Greg: It was put forward – actually Judge Emmett who opened our conference some years ago he made the comment that the reasons why Australians and Texans get on so well together is that they are both populated by people that no one else wanted. I’ve been in Texas now for 18 years and I just feel like home.
Russ: All right, fantastic.
Bruce: I spent a lot of time in Australia and I can tell you that Texans and Australians have many personality traits in common. They’re very warm, welcoming people, very, very open to new ideas and innovation and both are used to big, wide open spaces.
Russ: Absolutely. Well Greg and Bruce, thanks a lot for sharing this perspective, I’m looking forward to the conference and remind our audience one more time the date.
Greg: So it’s on the 4th of May and it’s at the Post Oak Hilton and you can register at AACC-Houston.org.
Russ: Perfect. And that wraps up our discussion about the Australian American Chamber of Commerce and my discussion with Greg Foley and Bruce Rutherford and this is The EnergyMakers Show.
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