Saturday is not only be a big day for the Kiama Downs community with the official opening of a new eatery, it is a major milestone for business owners Jason and Emma Young after a challenging few years.
The couple moved to the Illawarra from Sydney four years ago after working in painting, hotel and events industries.
But around the same time they stumbled on their dream home Mr Young was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease and then a benign brain tumour. Then just weeks before their second baby was due he was told by a specialist that the tumour had grown rapidly and had to be removed.
The couple postponed plans to open their first eatery in Kiama Downs and Mr Young underwent surgery after baby Lenny arrived as a little brother to Georgie.
The tumour was successfully removed and just weeks later buoyed by great family support and a community that had welcomed them with open arms. they finished transforming Kiama Downs Bakery into Stacks Burger House & Eatery at 21 Johnson St, Kiama Downs.
The 100-seat licensed cafe has been a huge hit with locals and visitors since it opened in December 2018.
That gave the couple confidence to start planning a second eatery within walking distance of Jones Beach.
Saturday's official opening of Fish Tribe at 13 Johnson Street comes almost two years to the day of their first foray into the restaurant scene.
Rather than burgers the new eatery specialises in fresh locally sourced seafood cooked to order.
Fish Tribe continued that local theme with musician Mark Crotti providing live entertainment on Saturday.
Executive chef Robert Blackburn, who has worked for Queen St Eatery in Berry, The Bridge Room and Cirrus Dining in Sydney, has been busy preparing the new menu which includes battered fish and chips, pan fried barramundi, Robertson potato scallop and chilli lime squid with green salad, chips and tartare.
"Robert has a really strong background and passion for seafood," Mr Young said.
Stacks is joining in the celebrations on Saturday with a Summer Mexican Fiesta. Seating will be at 5.30pm and 7.30pm. Fish Tribe will be open Thursday to Sunday from 11.30am to 7.30pm.
Great year for LBPR
The year 2020 has been challenging for almost everyone, but for Lisa Burling Blake it has also been productive.
Not long after her recent marriage, Mrs Burling Blake got word her business LBPR had been named National PR Consultancy of The Year at the Public Relations Institute of Australia (PRIA) Awards.
That was followed by news she had been elevated to the status of Fellow by PRIA.
The College of Fellows is a senior group of practitioners that bring their collective skills, experience and knowledge together to help guide PRIA through evolving issues in the industry, particularly in the area of ethics.
Mrs Burling Blake said it was the highest honour in the public relations industry and she was proud of her whole team for what LBPR has achieved in 2020.
"We were up against eight other small consultancies nationally and to take out the top award in a year that was tough is something I'm very proud of," she said.
LBPR has managed to grow in 2020 with the business taking on three new University of Wollongong graduates in the last six months, including a graphic designer for the first time.
The team has grown from four to eight this year and is now located in Smart Space at the University of Wollongong Innovation Campus.
Mrs Burling Blake said LBPR had previously won NSW Small PR Consultancy of the Year Award twice and been highly commended at the national awards. But to be named best in Australia in 2020 was particularly special.
"I set up the business in challenging conditions. Then during a global pandemic to have the best year we have ever had is amazing," she said.
"I have learned a heck of a lot in the last seven years. This year we have spent a lot of time working on team structure. We also have an incredibly solid client base.
"The businesses that we work with are predominantly from outside the Illawarra. They are big and they understand how critical it is to not only keep PR activity going but actually ramp it up during tough times.
"It is almost like we are reaping the benefits of the hard work we have put in over the last seven years."
Mrs Burling Blake said LBPR clients come from many parts of Australia and New Zealand looking for the content creation service it delivers.
"We are really fortunate to work in an industry where working virtually has actually allowed us to connect better with our clients this year because everyone is now so comfortable with Zoom. Location is no impediment to having a business that can spread its footprint nationally and internationally."
LBPR still does work locally for clients such as Destination Wollongong and RMB Lawyers.
The team ends the year twice the size it was when Covid-19 began.
- LisaBurling Blake
- Lauren Fellowes
- Kasey Simpson
- Colin Burling Blake
- Natalie Zagaglia
- Yazmin Thomas
- Amelia Penning
- Harriet Adams.
Prestigious honour for military man
Professor Michael Hough has been elected president of the Royal United Services Institute. RUSI is a professional organisation with a specialist military library and administrative office in the Hyde Park War Memorial building in Sydney.
It runs regular seminars, and produces a journal and regular newsletters about defence-related issues. RUSI's patron is the Governor of NSW and the three vice-patrons are the Fleet Commander (RAN), the Commander 2nd Division (Army) and the Air Commander (RAAF).
RUSI was established in 1888 and Prof Hough is its 45th president. "It is a significant honour," he said.
Prof Hough has a distinguished career in the military including 33 years' service with both the Air Training Corps and the Army Reserve where he saw service in South Vietnam. He has commanded the 8th/13th Victorian Mounted Rifles and the University of New South Wales Regiment.
Prof Hough is an active Rotarian and a senior member of the Historical Aircraft Restoration Society (HARS) where he is the project leader for the HARS Navy Heritage Flight.
He is currently a Professorial Fellow at the University of Wollongong's Sydney Business School where he works in the fields of risk management and logistics and the applications of new technologies to industries and economies.
Movers and Shakers is a new weekly feature of people doing significant work in or for the Illawarra community
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