Our facilitators are all experienced members of the Department of Defence. They have a deep understanding of what is needed to participate in the defence industry. They will help you connect with the right areas of Defence and defence industry.

Our business advisers have extensive experience in both Defence and defence industry. Many are former officers of the Australian Defence Force (ADF) and/or have held senior positions within industry to bring sector-specific experience in business management, skills development, commercialisation, export activities and supply chain facilitation. They will mentor your business to improve performance and competitiveness.

Building long-term relationships

Judy Denison

Position: Manager of the Defence Facilitators

Location: Adelaide

Email: aic.cdic@defence.gov.au

Judy sitting in an office

With a long and distinguished career in the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) and ongoing service as a Defence civilian Judy Denison’s experience has provided her with unique insights to manage the CDIC’s team of Defence Industry Facilitators.

Ms Denison said having a Defence understanding of what’s required from industry makes it easier for her to empathise with some of industry’s challenges when working with Defence.

“Having a unique perspective from both industry and Defence is ideal for the CDIC,” says Ms Denison.

Ms Denison’s team of Defence Industry Facilitators help SMEs entering or working in the defence industry understand how to navigate the defence market, the entry points, procurement processes and how to connect with relevant Defence capability areas.

“As the manager of the Defence Facilitators I am also responsible for analysing defence trends, direction and capability requirements, designing workshop content and information packages to answer industry questions, and building a comprehensive understanding of industry’s future needs and barriers. After joining the RAAF in 1980 as a Signals Operator Judy made history as the first female to crew in a combat aircraft in the RAAF. As an Airborne Electronics Analyst (AEA), Judy specialised in Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance and Electronic Warfare (ISREW) and went on to train aircrew in this speciality capability.

“Working in an operational and highly technical environment has provided me with a unique understanding of what leading edge technology actually means to the war fighter."

“Most of my team have also been in uniform which means they understand what may be appealing to Defence and understand what is required from industry.”

A high point in Ms Denison’s career was being awarded the Conspicuous Service Medal (CSM) for her service in the RAAF.

“After 30 years in the RAAF, I briefly worked as a consultant to Defence before joining the Department of Defence where I worked closely with industry from a regional perspective and advised Defence on industry issues.”

Ms Denison was involved in the development of the CDIC which was established to group different defence industry initiatives and create one strategic program.

“The most important thing SMEs need to consider when working with Defence is how unapologetically demanding Defence is as a customer. Trust in our capability is critical.”

“Whether ADF personnel are flying at 35,000 feet, 100 feet below the surface of the Indian ocean or on foot patrol in an operational area, our equipment needs to work first time, every time. It is a difficult and demanding sector, but one of the most exciting and innovative sectors in which to be involved.”

Coaching for commercialisation

Dwayne Kirk

Position: Manager of the Defence Business Advisers

Location: Melbourne

Email: aic.cdic@defence.gov.au

“The opportunity to lead a dedicated team of business advisers who are motivated to improve our industry innovation and supply chains, is an extremely rewarding way to contribute to Defence,” according to Dwayne Kirk.

Dwayne joined the CDIC as a Defence Business Adviser when it launched in 2016 and has been managing the Business Advisory team since 2018. He had earlier career chapters in Defence, technology commercialisation, strategic projects and business management.

His previous roles included a range of R&D projects with academia and industry in Australia and overseas, and experience as a CEO and company Director specialising in start-up businesses in sectors including manufacturing, services, Defence and aerospace.

“Before joining CDIC, I had been inside the R&D world for almost 20 years either developing and commercialising it, or implementing the organisational processes and culture to manufacture and deliver it. I hope that my lessons learnt on the commercialisation journey and experience in creating productive and motivated workplaces will be useful to our defence-industry partners."

Based in Melbourne, with a family history of military service that includes WWI and WWII and his own period of service as a naval officer, Dwayne admits there is a particular service mentality that exists for him and his team of business advisers.

“Most days include keeping up to date with what’s happening with Defence projects and procurement, and assisting our advisers to help businesses improve their contribution to a defence supply chain or to bring their products forward to Defence,” Dwayne said.

“My experience is in product commercialisation and management design within companies to help accelerate their goals. The network of CDIC advisers all have different experience, accessible to match what a company may need. Businesses shouldn’t hesitate to contact an adviser. Jump in and come and talk to us!"

“I really enjoy the opportunity to bring strategy and capability to companies that have grown a great technical expertise, but are not sure how to make the most out of it. Depending on where the company is at, we can also help with Innovation Hub applications, connect with the right area in Defence to validate what they think they’re going to produce, or create synergies by bringing companies together."

“There’s definitely lots of opportunities. We’re on a deliberate and very long journey of growing Defence industry in Australia, which will multiply several times from what it is now. There is a very broad opportunity to be involved, if companies are serious about their quality and the innovation required to grow in the Defence space.”