FRESH off the plane from Necker Island where she holidayed at the invitation of island owner Richard Branson, Renegade Collective magazine editor Lisa Messenger was back in Newcastle to inspire its entrepreneurs.
Ms Messenger was one of four "entrepreneurial disrupters" to speak at the inaugural Hunter Collective event.
Newcastle business collaborators Heidi Alexandra Pollard from UQ Power and Christina Gerakiteys from Ideation at Work selected speakers who had all successfully disrupted their respective industries by thinking outside the square.
For example, launching a magazine into a collapsing print-media market - which Ms Messenger did last year.
Listen to what the speakers, including Pandora Internet Radio managing director Jane Huxley, author and lactation consultant Pinky McKay and founder of BrandHook Pip Stocks, had to say when the talks are aired at huntercollective.com.au from Tuesday.
LEGENDARY auctioneer Sam Dawe is retiring.
Mr Dawe steps down from his role as manager and senior auctioneer at the Valley Auction Group next week.
In a career that spans 49 years, he's sold everything from goats to million-dollar houses to machinery, paintings and vehicles.
"I was once told you have to pick their pocket with your tongue - that's virtually what it is all about," Mr Dawes says.
It was a yearning to go bush that set Mr Dawes on the auctioneer career path. A job selling sheep and cattle for Elders took him to Narrabri where he still remembers his first nerve-racking auction in 1966. There were no microphones or PA systems back then, he says.
"They taught us to project our voices right from the bootlaces and throw it right out," he says. "I've been blessed with a strong powerful voice . . . I developed a passion for what I did."
After 15 years in the livestock trade he returned to Newcastle where he has built up a name as a motor and property auctioneer.
He says it's always a thrill, but his most memorable auctions have raised money for charities.
"I know that I'm raising money for people that I'll probably never meet or never see, but I'll put a lot of smiles on a lot of faces," he says.
THE number of Hunter companies employing more than 90 people has fallen to 107, according to Map Marketing's 2014 Top Hunter Employers List.
In 2012, 128 enterprises with more than 90 staff employed about 82,692 people, while in 2014 companies with more than 90 staff employed 70,772 people.
Map Marketing managing director Maria Charlton, who has done the survey for four years, said the greatest change had been the globalisation of enterprises.
Hunter New England Health outranked all contenders by more than 10,000 people with a staff of 15,500, according to the survey.
The health giant is followed by Glencore Coal, RAAF, University of Newcastle, the Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle, Coal and Allied Operations, Mt Arthur Coal, Arrium Ltd, Ausgrid and Downer Group.
The report is available for purchase at newcastlebusiness.com.au.
A BERESFIELD company has been named outstanding supplier of the year at the NSW 2014 Industry and Supplier Awards.
Quarry Mining managing director Kari Armitage said she felt like she was still dreaming the day after receiving the gong.
"It's the most prestigious award you could win in NSW mining," she said.
Ms Armitage said the award recognised the work her team had put in to help the company's mining clients save money during the downturn.
Glencore Australian coal operations chief operating officer Ian Cribb won the outstanding contribution to mining award. Mr Cribb has almost 40 years' experience in the coalmining industry and joined Glencore in 1999. Glencore's Bulga underground mine was named mining operation of the year.
THE mediation services of former federal attorney-general Robert McClelland are now available in Newcastle.
Carroll & O'Dea Lawyers have launched an alternative dispute resolution service and secured the services of the former Labor politician and mediation expert.
McClelland joined Carroll & O'Dea Lawyers this year as a partner in the firm.