A Bulli-based business has won national recognition for its work improving communications on one of Australia's most iconic structures, the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
Fibre Optics Design and Construct (FODC), founded more than a decade ago by Wollongong resident Michael McKeogh, has received the National Electrical and Communications Association's National Excellence Award for small contracting businesses.
It was recognition for the work Mr McKeogh and his growing Wollongong team did on upgrading the communications network on the bridge.
And it was the second year running FODC was nationally recognised by NECA.
In 2012 it took out the voice-data category for applying its fibre optic technology expertise at a major mine near Singleton in the Hunter Valley.
"It is a big acknowledgment for the Illawarra that we have got the skills and ability to compete nationally," Mr McKeogh said.
FODC was recently named Illawarra Business of the Year at the 2013 Momentum Energy Illawarra Business Awards, where it also took out awards in the Excellence in Information Communication and Technology, Excellence in Workplace Health and Safety and Excellence in Innovation categories.
The work on Sydney Harbour Bridge involved Mr McKeogh personally connecting fibre optics at the top of the bridge's arch for Sydney's spectacular 2012 New Year's Eve fireworks.
He said winning such work and gaining such recognition showed that, whatever their size, Illawarra small businesses could take on some of the biggest projects in Australia.
Mr McKeogh said the judging process for the company's latest award was very thorough and involved two judges doing a site inspection, as well as looking through the written submission.
The judges were particularly impressed with the level of detail and drawings FODC had prepared, detailing how the network was installed on the bridge.
"We put it all in one document and no-one had ever seen that before," he said.
"The judges also noticed the trust customers have for us."
Mr McKeogh said he was still passionate about expanding the business and the size of its workforce.
He said FODC had just won a new contract to connect the NBN network to homes in Kiama.
Much of FODC's early success was built on its improving fibre optic installations on Sydney's road network.