ALL WAYS CONNECTING WITH OUR COMMUNITY
goodbye yellow brick lunchbox
The iconic yellow lunchbox is flying the nest and unfortunately it is taking John Rickerby with it.
John, Connetics Design Engineer, has brought his yellow lunchbox to work with him every day since his daughter, Belinda, gifted it to him in 1981 when she was just 16.
John is a registered Electrician, NZCE (Electrical) and Registered Engineering Associate. He has been in the electrical industry since 1954, and his lunchbox has seen many lunch rooms in this time.
He started with a 10,000 hour electrical fitter's apprenticeship with the then State Hydro Electrical Department (later to become the NZ Electricity Department). On completion of his apprenticeship, John was involved in the installation of electrical equipment at the Wairakei Geothermal Station, the Tokaanu, Roxburgh, Benmore, Aviemore, Tekapo B, Ohau A and Ohau B Hydro Stations. During this period of 21 years, he moved from being an electrical fitter to an electrical inspector.
On moving to Christchurch, he became employed for 14 years in distribution work with the then Lyttelton Borough Council Electricity Department, Port Hills Energy and Powermark. John then joined Southpower Contracting (later to become Connetics) where he has been employed for the last 24 years. Initially he was appointed to the position of Technical Support and Pricing Coordinator. Then with the formation of Connetics, a design section was setup and he took up the position of Design Engineer.
John lives a very active lifestyle. He and his wife, Patricia, are keen Rock N Roll dancers and have been participants in the Christchurch Rock N Roll Club over the last thirty years. They danced in NZ and Aussie National Competitions between 1992 and 2011. In 2002, at the age of 65, they won the NZ gold medal in the Diamond Section for the over sixties. When they aren't dancing, they enjoy going on cruises with their 'RnR' friends. They have cruised around the Islands of Tahiti, Greece, The Mediterranean, Hawaii and from Singapore to Tokyo taking in Vietnam, Taiwan and parts of Japan.
Patricia and John have four children, Michael, Karen, Belinda and Paul, plus seven grand children!
It is clear that John lives life to the full. His bright, yellow presence at Connetics will be greatly missed. He has made a positive impact on many people and has built life long friendships with colleagues.
Aaron, from our Design and Engineering team, thinks of John as a mentor, and says he has "spent more time with John in (his) entire life than with anyone else."
John's last day with Connetics was Friday 22 March. We wish him all the best for his future adventures with Patricia, his friends, children, grandchildren and his yellow lunchbox.
CONNETICS sign on to deliver network programme for aurora energy
Aurora Energy is continuing to deliver on its electricity investment commitment with the signing of the first new Field Services Agreement (FSA) occurring this week with Connetics in Dunedin.
The negotiation of new contracts with Aurora Energy’s principal contractors Delta, Connetics and Unison Contracting was started in August last year and over the past year all three contractors have been supporting Aurora Energy on delivering on its major programme of work. Connetics and Unison, as new contractors have been gearing up for an April 1 start under the new contract arrangement.
Aurora Energy Chief Executive Richard Fletcher said the signing of the first FSA with Connetics is a positive step for Aurora Energy as it is part of ensuring that the business is able to efficiently carry out its major investment program over the coming years.
“The signing of the FSA with Connetics CEO Jono Brent, formalises our agreement for Connetics to carry out maintenance, renewal and development work on our network in the Central Otago and Queenstown Lakes District area,” Mr Fletcher said.
“We are in the early stages of a major programme of network renewal and investment to ensure our network is safe and reliable and meets the future needs of our customers.
“It is important that we have appropriate resources in place to ensure we can efficiently carry out our major programme of network renewal and investment.
“These arrangements which introduce contestability into our field service delivery, also provide certainty for Aurora Energy and our contracting partners.
“We will be holding formal signings of the other new FSA agreements with Unison Contracting and Delta in March.
“Connetics will be based in Central Otago, a region which is experiencing significant growth in electricity demand.
“As well as supporting our future network development, Connetics will also provide an important local backup to support Delta in response to emergencies and network faults.
“The Aurora Energy team is looking forward to working with Connetics and our other contracting partners as we position the business to better meet the needs of our customers.”
Connetics CEO Jono Brent said Connetics was looking forward to working closely with Aurora Energy to deliver their increased programme of works.
“We have multiple crews working on carrying out maintenance, renewal and development projects across the Aurora Energy network work in both Central Otago and Queenstown Lakes areas,” Mr Brent said.
“We are excited to have formalised our agreement and look forward to working closely together over the next five years to support Aurora Energy and its communities.”
Joshua Ashton, an apprentice test technician at Connetics, has been recognised in the 2017 Annual Connection Excellence Awards, coming in as runner-up in the Advanced Trainee of the Year category.
As an apprentice, Joshua works within a project team environment with teams being brought together on the basis of complementary skills best suited to delivering the job. Acknowledged for his exceptional problem-solving skills, he is credited with taking total ownership of a problem and delivering both a solution and rationale for having done what he's done.
It’s not just the judges that Joshua has impressed. During his time with Connetics, Joshua has made quite an impression on his peers. Approaching all aspects of his work with a positive attitude, his willingness to take on-board other perspectives and roll up his sleeves to get the job done are all qualities that make him a natural leader.
Joshua has not only been noticed for his skill, but also for his attitude and his sincere desire to succeed both for the business and for the industry. Project Manager, Kevin Zgymant says, "You couldn't want for more in a team member. Joshua is truly the complete package…he has every ability to go all the way to the top".
Connetics extends its support of high-performing secondary school athletes
As a company driven by high-performance within the community, Connetics is privileged to extend its funding of secondary school athletes from the football field to include the hockey turf, partnering with Canterbury Hockey to bring to life the Connetics Secondary Schools Premier (SSP) and Secondary School League (SSL) Hockey Championships. The 2017 SSP competition recently wrapped up for the season, with Christ’s College and Rangi Ruru Girls’ School claiming the inaugural title for their respective competitions.
Defending champions, Christ’s College were once again up against St Andrew’s College. The two schools have gone head to head numerous times in recent years. Since the SSP League began back in 2012, all six titles have been secured by either St Andrew’s or Christ’s College and they have met in four finals, two of which ended in penalty shoot outs. Unbeaten in the 2017 SSP, Christ’s College continued their winning streak, beating their rival 2-1.
Rangi Ruru Girls’ School beat foes St Margaret’s 2-1 in what Rangi Ruru’s Director of Sport, Jo Fogarty, described as a complete performance by the whole team where they worked together like a well-oiled machine. The two teams last met in a final in 2013, during St Margaret’s consecutive 12-year run of Canterbury titles. This year’s clash during pool matches saw each side come away with a win, however, St Margaret’s were a firm favourite to claim the Connetics Cup, having won their last 13 matches prior to the final.
The Connetics Shield (which is contested every time the holder of the Shield plays a game) ends the season in the hands of Rangi Ruru Girls’ School and Christ’s College and will be back in contest in the first game of the 2018 season.
Connetics Chief Executive, Jono Brent, says “it has been a pleasure to support this fantastic competition and to witness the competitive spirit and true sportsmanship shown during the Championship. We can’t wait to be part of the action again in 2018.”
Photo credit: Geoff Soper Photography
Connetics School Premier 1st XI Cup comes to a nail-biting finish
As a long-time champion of secondary school football in Canterbury, Connetics was proud to continue its sponsorship of the Secondary Schools Premier 1st XI competition and congratulates St Andrew’s College Boys First XI, winners of The Connetics Cup for 2017. Their triumph was hard-fought and came down to a nerve-wracking penalty shoot-out over rivals, St Thomas’ of Canterbury College.
St Thomas’ proved to be a strong rival for St Andrew’s this season, having beaten them 1-0 in the league to secure the league title. The Cup final was always going to be anyone’s game and it didn't disappoint, with the full-time score locked at 3-3, taking the game into a penalty shoot-out. This time, however, it was St Andrew’s who had the final word after a spectacular penalty save by Olly Drew that saw them secure the shoot-out 5-3 to claim the Connetics Cup.
Coach Matthew Jansen says, "I was very proud of our boys who had to dig deep against constant pressure from St Thomas’ to get the result on the night. It was obviously nerve-wracking going to a penalty shoot-out, however, the self-belief the boys had saw us convert all of our penalties”.
Jansen credits leading goal scorer Declan Hickford, captain Jake Neill, goal keep Olly Drew and centre-back Matt Jones - who is currently competing at the U17 World Cup in India – as instrumental in getting the team over the line. Jansen says the off-field support was also a highlight.
“I have never seen such a great atmosphere down at English Park, so a massive thank you to the supporters for getting behind both teams and making it a memorable occasion. We're looking forward to the challenges of next season where we hope to be fighting at the top again!”
Meanwhile, the Connetics Shield (often referred to as the ‘Ranfurly Shield’ of the competition, as it goes up for grabs every time the holder of the Shield plays a game) was hotly contested throughout the season. Current Connetics Shield holders Burnside High School have been in outstanding form, winning their last four games and keeping the Shield securely in their grasp at the end of round robin play.
Congratulations to St Andrew’s College and Cashmere High School on their successful season and well done to St Thomas’ of Canterbury College, Burnside High School and all of the competition teams for their true sportsmanship and remarkable skill displayed throughout the competition.
Connetics pitches in fOR summer starter
It’s becoming an annual fixture at Connetics – pitching in for charity and community wellbeing at the ASB Summer Starter run/walk challenge. The run/walk along Christchurch’s coastal suburbs on November 27 featured 100 Connetics staff and family.
Summer Starter entrants found the 4km and 10km courses scattered with various entertainment including musical surprises all the way from New Brighton to Redcliffs. The event wrapped up with a Finishers’ Party for the whole family in Redcliffs Park.
“Connetics lived up to the spirit of the event, which is about bringing Canterbury back together, focusing on our own well-being,” Connetics chief executive Jono Brent says.
Fairfax Media started the event in 2014 as a fun and fitness-minded way to celebrate Christchurch, back some great charities and bring colour to local communities.
By entering online and participating, $3 from every entry and a full $5 entry fee for children under 9 automatically went to the nominated charity, St John.
Summer Starter also offered peer to peer fundraising in the 2016 event. After entering online, entrants could set up their own fundraising page with EverydayHero and raise money for the charity of their choice.
Connetics award-winner james gallagher
Multi-skilled Connetics line mechanic and cable jointer James Gallagher has won a national award celebrating his specific type of expertise.
James is the 2016 winner of the annual Connexis Connection Cable Jointer Competition, winning the award at his first attempt, edging more than a dozen other more experienced entrants.
James became trade qualified about a year ago, having nearly complted a qualification as an electrician and has been with Connetics since 2012.
Connetics have been hailed by all partners for their outstanding work during the official ceremony to switch on the state-of-the-art floodlights at Foster Park in Rolleston last night.
Connetics project manager Mike Hennessey and his team were responsible for installing one of the largest sports field lighting projects in Canterbury for the Selwyn District Council, on behalf of contractor Musco, and council management were not hiding their appreciation.
Twenty LED-floodlights will light up six full-size sports fields, the first of 20 playing fields planned at the park. Selwyn Mayor, Kelvin Coe, said that Connetics had done a superb job before he flicked the switch, while project manager with Selwyn District Council, , John Reid, was impressed by the Connetics’ installers delivering the floodlights on time and without incident.
“We’ve been delighted with the support of our partners including Connetics and Musco in getting the system designed and installed in time for the winter season.”
The Connetics team worked closely with the Selwyn District Council staff and engineers from US lighting firm Musco who designed the LED lights and towers. Mr Hennessey said that Connetics was proud to be involved in the project which is the first LED-lit sports park in the country.
“It is always interesting to work with new technology. These LED lights are expected to need a lot less maintenance as they are supposed last about 50,000 hours instead of 5,000 hours for usual flood lights. Mr Hennessey said that the anchoring technique was also slightly unorthodox by using a deep pile as foundation instead of a pouring a wide concrete pad.
“This enabled us to protect the newly sown grass on the playing surfaces, while we were installing the floodlights, which was particularly pleasing,” says Mr Hennessey.
John Reid said Foster Park is developing into a major asset for the Selwyn community. “The park is set to become a fantastic space for sports, events and recreation,” he says.
“The new lighting system is great for sports teams and for neighbouring residents, as it provides concentrated lighting but with very little spill into surrounding areas. It also uses around 70% less power than standard metal halide sports lighting.
NEW FIFA training facility officially opened
Dozens of high-powered officials from FIFA, Christchurch City Council and Mainland Football braved the cold on May 15 for the official opening of the new training facility at Avonhead Park for the FIFA Under 20 World Cup.
Connetics played a crucial role in the project by designing and constructing the state-of-the-art floodlights around the new artificial pitch at Avonhead Park in Christchurch.
Chief Executive Jono Brent and General Manager John Thompson were on hand to witness the official ribbon cutting ceremony by councillor Yani Johanson and FIFA U20 World Cup boss David Beeche.
The training ground is a collaboration between the Christchurch City Council and Mainland Football, who were able to source FIFA funding to contract Connetics to build floodlights fit for the world-class athletes that will be using the facility.
During the early stages of the World Cup, the facility will be used by the squads of Germany, Fiji, Uzbekistan, Honduras, Brazil and North Korea.
In the knock-out stages Christchurch could also get a visit from Argentina and Nigeria if results go according to plan.
John Thompson will be the New Zealand liaison officer for the Austrian team during the tournament and hopes his team will end up training under the Connetics lights before a potential quarterfinal in Christchurch. “But first they’d have to beat Argentina, so that may prove to be a tough ask.”
Once the FIFA World Cup is completed, Christchurch club FC Twenty11 will become the permanent user of the new complex.
STADIUM QUALITY FLOOD LIGHTS NEW MILESTONE FOR YALDHURST SPORTS CENTRE
The development of the International Sport Centre in Yaldhurst reached its next milestone when the first flood light masts were raised today.
The lighting and design engineers from Connetics today carefully placed the first of four 21-metre masts around the new two artificial football pitches. Connetics plans to place two more posts between the two fields on Thursday, which will offer the players superior light levels of around 450lux.
“The expertise of our lighting and design team has come to the fore in this project and will be there for all to see once the lights are switched on,” says Connetics chief executive Jono Brent.
Players of the Christchurch Football Academy, which is based at the Yaldhurst Road facility, hope to start training on the brand new artificial pitches by the end of May.
“Where most football players in Christchurch will be used to training in the winter under lights that may generate a fraction of this amount of light, these players will be training and playing under some of the best floodlights in the city,” says Mr Brent.
Mr Brent says that specialist lighting design is a vital component, “but sadly the importance of fit-for-purpose lighting and design is not always recognised. Athletes end up paying the price playing in substandard conditions which ultimately impacts on their performance.” Slava Meyn, the director of the International Sports Centre, says that these lights are an important step in his quest to provide world-class facilities for Christchurch players.
Once this first stage is completed in late May, construction will start on state-of-the-art clubroom facilities incorporating a bar and café area, as well as dressing rooms. The next stage will also include four smaller artificial pitches with floodlights and is expected to be completed by the end of the year.
Christchurch’s Top Execs Kick Off
Some of Christchurch’s most senior executives were out to prove their prowess is as finely honed outside of the boardroom as it is within when they competed for the 2015 Connetics Best Exec In Town title in a penalty shoot-out competition at ASB Football Park recently.
While the attendance of Football New Zealand’s hi-performance director, Fred de Jong and All White striker, Aaron Clapham, rose the skill level exponentially the level of enthusiasm among our executives for rekindling the agility of youth should not be without mention.
Connetics is the primary sponsor of Mainland Football’s Junior and Youth Football Competition in Canterbury.
Caption: John Thompson, Connetics Best Exec In Town 2015, flanked by All White Aaron Clapham and Football NZ hi-performance director, Fred de Jong.