From bust to boom, Centor spirit wins award

News /
2 August 2010
From bust to boom, Centor spirit wins award

Centor Architectural managing director Nigel Spork was last night named Ernst & Young’s 2010 northern region Entrepreneur of the Year in the product category.

From financial distress in 1997 to a booming global leader in window and door systems, Nigel Spork’s entrepreneurial spirit has helped steer Centor toward success after success.

Centor invented the technology that allowed bifolding doors to be used externally for the first time, revolutionising the Queensland lifestyle by opening up homes and bringing the outside in.

“Before we invented bifolds for external use in 1998, building technology limited how people could enjoy our beautiful climate.

“Our invention has changed the way people live and design their homes.

“Since the 1998 breakthrough, we have worked really hard to make sure our systems are always innovative and the best on the market,” he said.

“I believe we have achieved that, and this award is a reflection of those efforts.”

Mr Spork said that after the success of their bifolding innovation, they branched into the United States, Europe and Asia, and launched dozens of new products.

Centor were also faced with another challenge: after talking to thousands of people, about one in three said they would like a grand opening door, but only if at certain times of the day or year they could screen against insects.

“We searched the world but couldn’t find a solution, so invested 40,000 hours of research and development to work out how to screen the beautiful large openings our bifolds allowed for.

“We came up with the world’s first horizontal retractable screen for large openings,” Mr Spork said.

Centor’s commitment to product innovation meant they increased their research and development staff from 11 to 19 during the global financial crisis, Mr Spork said.

“We released two flagship products during the financial crisis including a combination blind and screen system and a next generation bifolding system.”

“I feel our investment in R&D and our product innovations really improve people’s lifestyles, and I’m proud to be a part of that.”

Centor is now a national candidate in the product category and is in the running for Australian Entrepreneur of the Year, to be announced on 24 November.

Centor has previously won the 2008 National AMP Innovation Award, 2008 Telstra Queensland Business of the Year and the United States Crystal Achievement Award in 2006 and 2008.

About Centor Architectural
Centor Architectural is an award-winning designer and manufacturer of innovative folding, sliding, locking and screening systems for windows and doors. Founded in 1951 in Brisbane, Centor has offices across Australia and in Europe, North America and China. Centor employees 140 people worldwide and is 100 per cent Australian owned.

About the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year awards Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year® is the world’s most prestigious business award for entrepreneurs. The unique award makes a difference through the way it encourages entrepreneurial activity among those with potential, and recognises the contribution of people who inspire others with their vision, leadership and achievement. As the first and only truly global award of its kind, Entrepreneur Of The Year celebrates those who are building and leading successful, growing and dynamic businesses, recognising them through regional, national and global awards programs in more than 135 cities in 50 countries.

Centor

Centor is an award-winning designer and manufacturer of systems for folding and sliding windows and doors, screens blinds and locks. Founded in 1951, Centor creates innovative systems that are easy to install and a delight to use.

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