A Who's Who's list of Gold Coast business community enjoyed the high life at the launch of the 2...
Gold Coast Business Hall of Fame
Each year the Gold Coast Business Excellence Awards inducts one business person into the Gold Coast's Business Hall of Fame.
The inductees are people who have made significant contributions to the Gold Coast economy and have helped shaped the city into the prosperous business centre that it is today.
Our Hall of Fame Members are:
Terry Morris, the founder of Carrara Markets and Sirromet Wines, has been inducted into the Gold Coast Business Hall of Fame.
Mr Morris, who heads up the Ashmore headquartered Morris International, is the 12th person to be inducted in the Hall of Fame, which is run by the Gold Coast Business Excellence Awards.Past inductees include Sea World founder Keith Williams, Dreamworld founder John Longhurst, Billabong founder Gordon Merchant and bikini pioneer Paula Stafford.
Mr Morris was born in Victoria and owned a successful insurance business in the La Trobe Valley before moving to the Gold Coast in 1976.
Mr Morris started his Queensland operations in Nerang Street, Southport and quickly built up the insurance business. He then successfully ran for election to the Albert Shire Council.
It was while he was at a dinner party, that he heard that Victorians were being slugged more money for cigarettes than Queenslanders. He saw a big business opportunity. He advertised in Victorian papers, offering to sell Queensland cigarettes to Victorians via mail order. The response from Victorian smokers was incredible and it started our hero in a whole new business.
Today Terry's business employs more than 500 people in a wide range of enterprises.
Renowned international architect Desmond Brooks has become the 11th person inducted into the Gold Coast Business Hall of Fame.
Mr Brooks and the company he founded were behind the designs of some of the Gold Coast's most amazing landmarks. They include Sheraton Marina Mirage, Palazzo Versace, Royal Pines Resort, Marriott Surfers Paradise Resort, Gold Coast International Hotel, The Wave, Soul, Ultra, Jewel, Verve, and Sierra Grand.
Born in Melbourne in 1931, Mr Brooks received his big break in Hollywood while embarking on an extended honeymoon with wife,Pauline, after finishing his architecture degree.
In summing up his career, Desmond says the secret of his success is to simply: "Just have fun. You have to want to come into work. If it's not fun, don't do it."
Norm Rix is Gold Coast developer, shopping centre owner and former councillor.
Born in Southport in 1935, he grew up poor. The property identity got his big break when he started working for real estate agent Laurie Wall, who was known nationally as Mr Millions.
At the age of 26 Mr Rix successfully launched his own real estate agency in Southport but finding houses to sell was becoming increasingly difficult. So Mr Rix teamed up with three friends to build spec homes. That was the start of his development career. He has built hundreds of homes since. He then expanded into apartment buildings, residential subdivisions and commercial developments.
Norm's personal motto is that the harder he works, the luckier he gets.
Jock McIlwain OAM, was a Gold Coast engineer, businessman, former councillor and philanthropist.
Mr McIlwain, who is referred to as the patriarch of Gold Coast canal development, was involved in designing and building many of the waterways that the city is now famous for.
During the 1970s and 1980s, Mr McIlwain became a major developer and was responsible for many Gold Coast and State canal developments. He was responsible for the development of great parts of the suburbs of Mermaid Waters, Broadbeach Waters and the areas surrounding Jupiters Casino where he built the first Gold Coast town-houses.
Mr McIlwain considers his "greatest engineering and business achievement" is the "Waterway Wonderland" that is Mermaid Waters.
Car dealership owner, Bruce Lynton, whose Bruce Lynton Prestige Automotive business now spreads across more than 10 different operations, was first set up on the Gold Coast 40 years ago.
The prestige automotive group that Mr Lynton first set up as a second hand car business at a service station in Southport, now has 10 motoring brands under its umbrella.
This includes the Gold Coast dealerships for Jaguar, MINI, Land Rover, Alfa Romeo, Fiat, Chery Tata and Ssangyong.
Renowned Australian boat builder Bill Barry Cotter created, grew and then sold the Mariner and Riviera boat companies.
Now in his 70s, the Southport-dwelling boating entrepreneur now owns the expanding Maritimo luxury crusing yacht company.
The Coomera-headquartered company now has more than 100 employees and exports around the world.
Serial entrepreneur John Longhurst is best known on the Gold Coast for being the man behind Dreamworld.
In 1973, he bought 85 hectares of land at Coomera, at the northern end of the city. He moved to the city in 1976 and set to work building the theme park, mostly by himself.
Dreamworld opened its doors for the first time on December 15, 1981 and it proved to be an instant hit.
By 1989, Dreamworld was receiving more than one million visits a year.
Gordon Merchant and his then wife Rena started a clothing company on their kitchen table in 1973.
That company, Billabong, grew and grew to become an international giant.
The company is now listed on the Australian Stock Exchange and is one of Australia's best known brands.
Real estate supremo Max Chrismas was known by the media throughout Australia as Mr Gold Coast.
During the five years from 1985, Mr Christmas introduced over $3 billion worth of property investment in Australia to Japanese investors alone.
These property transactions included four International Hotels on the Gold Coast and three golf course developments.
He was also involved deals that led to the development and/or extension of Sanctuary Cove, Sea World, Hamilton Island, Marina Mirage, Bond University and Warner Brothers Movie World.
Paula Stafford was running a small business in the 1950s which started by taking clothing orders on the beach at Surfers Paradise.
It soon grew and before long she had established Fiesta Toggs Pty Ltd employing 35 machinists in Cavill Ave Surfers Paradise.
It was Paulas sporty summer outfits in particular known only as 2 piece outfits - that gained good popularity for tourists on the beaches of the Gold Coast.
They gained even more popularity after a beach inspector said they were "too brief", which started a public argument that generated extensive publicity.
Bikinis - as they were later called - became a hit. Before Paula knew it she was operating two clothing factories, had about 65 people on staff and worked 18 hours a day supplying 400 shops around Australia.
Keith Williams brought Australian tourism into the modern age with his development of the Sea World and Hamilton Island resorts.
A former Australian water ski champion, he started the Surfers Pardise Ski Gardens on the Nerang River in the 1950s.
In 1971 he opened the immensely popular Sea World theme park on The Spit before selling it and developing the Hamilton Island Resort.
High-rise developer Jim Raptis has changed the Gold Coast skyline for more than 30 years.
The Raptis Group of Companies have built some of the Gold Coasts most significant architectural landmarks including the Towers of Chevron Renaissance in Surfers Paradise.
Mr Raptis, the chairman and founder of the Raptis Group, first entered property development in Sydney in 1967, and then moved to the Gold Coast in the mid-1970s.
Mr Raptis continued to develop a string of high rises, bringing the total number of Gold Coast tower projects that he had helped design, create and complete to more than 30.