CYCA Rear Commodore, Noel Cornish has been recognised as a Member in the General Division of the Order of Australia (AM) for significant service to business as an advocate for industry policy and development, to tertiary education administration, and to the community.
The owner of Sydney 47 moored at the CYCA, St Jude, and former BlueScope boss has been national president of the Australian Industry Group since 2013 after serving as NSW president, a director of the Forestry Corporation of NSW since 2013, a former board member of the Illawarra Business Chamber and many roles at the University of Wollongong.
He has been a deputy chancellor since 2015, council member since 2006, chair of the Finance and Resource Committee since 2015, member of the Board of Directors at University of Wollongong Enterprises since 2011, member of the Audit and Risk Committee since 2012 and member of the External Advisory Council since 2013.
His many other roles include being chair of Snowy Hydro since 2015 and a director since 2012, voluntary director of the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia since 2013 and chairman of the Sailing Committee.
Mr Cornish, of Coledale, is also a former chair of the Salvation Army’s Illawarra Advisory Board and recently became chair of IMB Ltd where he has been a director since 2010.
He said everything he did was about going above and beyond the requirements of each role he has been fortunate enough to have.
“This is certainly a great honour and I feel very humbled,” he said.
Mr Cornish said in every role he always thought tertiary education was a great way to make a lasting community contribution because it helped so many people of all ages embrace and keep up with change. And that is important regionally and nationally.
“I have been privileged to be involved in the University of Wollongong,” he said.
University’s can generate new opportunities...and really assist with innovation...and help young people coming out of school get career ready. They also give people a chance to re-skill”
Mr Cornish said even when he was at BlueScope the company was always happy for him to participate in the community in many ways such as his work with Lifeline and the Salvation Army. Even in his great recreational love of sailing he is proving opportunities and three years ago helped Emma May become the youngest ever female to compete in the Rolex Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race.
“She has just completed her third race. She is as keen as anything,” he said.
“Emma is the bow person on the boat which is quite a complicated job. She has established herself in that role and is doing a wonderful job. It was my 10th year in the race this year and I have always wanted to give young sailors from the Youth Sailing Academy an opportunity to do ocean racing because it is pretty difficult for some to get onto boats,” he said.
Mr Cornish said he also felt blessed to be able to contribute at a national level after leaving BlueScope.
“Working with the Australian Industry Group team and being able to have input at a Federal and State level on public policies that can assist business to thrive and grow is important at a national level because business drives so much economic activity and so much wealth for a country.”
Mr Cornish said having a set of public policies that support business is something he has always considered important because it creates jobs and helps everyone.
He also loves facilities such as iAccelerate providing opportunity for new businesses getting the support they need to try and get started.
“The University of Wollongong with its Innovation Campus is I think a real leader,” he said.
“I do love it when businesses and universities can come together and collaboratively work on research and innovation. I think that is where real benefits can occur.”
Mr Cornish said one of the great things about his involvement with UOW was he appreciates it and the region’s history and how both have evolved.
He said UOW trained many engineers and accountants for the steelworks in decades past.
“But there continues to be a very strong connection between the community in Wollongong and the university. And that has resulted in a lot of collaboration that has been to the benefit of the region and the benefit of the country.”
Mr Cornish said he loved his new role as chair of IMB Bank because it was such a wonderful long established community minded Illawarra institution with a proud history that started in 1880.
“It provides traineeships for young people and has a community foundation that is very active in supporting a whole host of community projects, he said.
“And it is still a member based mutual organisation owned by the members...and headquartered in the Illawarra.”
Mr Cornish said there were many things he still wanted learn and do for business, tertiary education and in the community.
But on January 26 Australia Day he is planning to relax and do something Aussie.
“I am going to a friend’s house in Shellharbour for an Australia Day barbecue with a whole host of people and we are going to play cricket in the back yard,” he said.
“It is the time of year just to appreciate what a wonderful country we live in and what a wonderful part of the world we live in in Wollongong. I don’t think a day goes by that I am not grateful for that. I do appreciate it every day.”
- by Greg Ellis