Easy Agile co-founders Nick Muldoon and Dave Elkan find themselves in the unusual position this week of both being named finalists for Outstanding Business Person of the Year at the 2021 IMB Bank Illawarra Business Awards.
Mr Muldoon and Mr Elkan were told the news on Wednesday by Business Illawarra which also named Chris Lacey, of Multicultural Communities Council of Illawarra, Michele Adair of Housing Trust, Dr Olga Lavalle, of Dr Olga Lavalle & Associates, and Steve Rogers, of Cleary Bros, as finalists.
Their response was to wish each other the best but they were most excited for their team and the fact the business is a finalist in four award categories.
They admit to being a little competitive as the final judging process begins. They think that is a good thing. But their greatest wish is for the business to compete well, especially in the import/export category.
They chose Wollongong as the ideal location to start Easy Agile in 2016 because of its affordability and lifestyle
Mr Muldoon and Mr Elkan previously worked for Australian software company Atlassian when it relocated to Silicon Valley. But after a few years in the United States decided to return to Australia. It was just the two of them at first at the software business that helps clients around the world be more agile.
"Now 135 of the Forbes Global 2000 are our customers and we have a goal over the next three years to have 224 by 2024," Mr Muldoon said.
They Easy Agile team have mostly been working from home since COVID-19 arrived in March 2020 but the business is still thriving. It has employed 14 more people during lockdown and is about to hire another nine.
Mr Elkan said the fact he has been named a finalist in the Outstanding Business Leader category was only just starting to sink in.
"On Wednesday I was just happy we were a finalist in the other three categories. The team has done really well and I was just celebrating that," he said.
Mr Muldoon said Easy Agile has changed a lot in the last five years and it was a real honour to co-lead a team made up mostly of Wollongong graduates who are achieving so much. He said the fact the awards are going ahead is tremendous for the region at this time. He said celebrating success helps build up the community.
"Any good news story at the moment is powerful."
Easy Agile's first involvement in the business awards was in 2019 when they took the whole team to celebrate together. They hope it is possible to do that again. But if not will still find a way for the whole team to celebrate win, lose or draw. Last year because of restrictions the team watched the live stream of the event.
Every five weeks staff at Easy Agile find a way to get together and celebrate their latest achievements. Usually that involves going out for dinner or lunch but during lockdown Mr Elkan and Mr Muldoon arrange for them to receive a delivery from a restaurant of their choice which they catch up via Zoom. Which still supports the local eateries while celebrating as a team.
Mr Elkan said Easy Agile was very much about creating opportunities in Wollongong.
"We are kicking off a graduate program that is specifically going to target people from UOW," he said.
"We are brining on four or five graduates this year. We are continually investing in the local community."
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