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Campus News : July 2011
10 Campus News July 2011 University of Wollongong www.uow.edu.au Alumni graduates of our university... BEN CLEARY Bachelor of Commerce (Management and Human Resource Management) 2003 UOW Commerce graduate Ben Cleary has turned his love of Italian food and entrepreneurship into a successful business venture to complement his career with global accounting firm PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PwC). Ben combines his "day job" as a PwC Management Consultant specialising in change management with running Benfatti, a company he established to import authentic Italian food into Australia. Ben, whose mother was born in Italy, spent six months in Bologna after his first year of university, studying Italian language, culture and cuisine. That experience planted a seed that was fertilized in 2009, when he returned to Italy for a holiday and began exploring ways to bring authentic Italian "artisan" foods to Australia. Earlier this year he established Benfatti, an on-line Italian delicatessen that delivers Italian delicacies including hand-made pasta, sauces, tapenades, oils, truffles, sweets and biscuits to customers around Australia. "It was my time in Bologna which gave me such a profound appreciation for authentic Italian food - not the stuff which I previously thought was Italian food, but the real stuff, genuine artisan-made food of exceptional quality," Ben said. "At Benfatti we offer something which is completely genuine. Our food is usually made by hand and most often by producers who until now have never sold their products outside of their local towns. I feel very proud that I am now able to offer Australian based 'foodies' the same authentic Italian food which I fell in love with so many years ago during my time in Italy." Ben grew up in the Illawarra, attending Edmund Rice and Holy Spirit Colleges before enrolling at UOW, where he learned to juggle study with part-time work. "When I was not in class my days were spent either working at the Careers Service Office or in the food court serving cheap plates of pizza and pasta to hungry students. At nights I was either working behind the legendary Uni Bar or working as a waiter at UOW functions. I believe I was making more money during my undergraduate studies than I did in my first job after graduating." After graduating in 2003 Ben moved to Brisbane to take a graduate position in the export department of a major building firm. While there he completed a Master of Business degree at the University of Queensland, and moved on to PwC, where he has worked for the past six years. "I find Change Management extremely rewarding as it never fails to push me outside my comfort zone and forces me to learn and apply various management techniques, some of which I learnt back in my UOW days," he said. "I am fortunate that the Partners at PwC encourage entrepreneurial behaviour and have supported my every move in setting up Benfatti while still encouraging me to develop my career with the firm." Ben said he was also inspired by two of his lecturers at UOW, Dr Peter McLean and Dr Peter Massingham. "Both lecturers were extremely genuine and authentic individuals who were passionate about teaching. It was the stories these two lecturers told me about their days as consultants and managing multinational businesses which really got me interested in pursuing my career in management consulting and entrepreneurship." NH TONY DE LISEO Bachelor of Science (Physics) 1987 When Information and Communication Technology Illawarra (ICTI) president Tony de Liseo was a high school work experience student in UOW's Department of Physics in 1982, he "earned his keep" by solving a mechanical problem the department was having with some calibrating equipment. That experience not only sparked Tony's passion for physics, but landed him a part-time job as a technical aid in the department when he enrolled in a Bachelor of Science degree after his Higher School Certificate. Tony says the Physics Department was an exciting place for a young science student, with inspiring academics like Dave Martin, Ken Osborne, Peter Fisher, Jagdish Mathur and Lindsay Smith, while some astronomy observations of Supernova 87a he did with Glen Moore were published by the Smithsonian Institute in the US. Tony says his general science degree was an excellent grounding for his first career in process control and automation. He then started specialising in IT, spending a number of years in consulting and IT training before establishing an Australian office for a UK-based Bond International Software 14 years ago. Tony is Asia-Pacific Manager for Bond, which specialises in developing software and providing support services for human resources departments of large national and international corporations and staff recruitment consultancies. The 20-strong multicultural team at the Wollongong office services clients across Australia and Asia-Pacific, as far away as Japan, China, Hong Kong and South Commerce graduate Ben Cleary established Benfatti (www.benfatti.com.au) -- an on-line delicatessen specialising in authentic Italian foods. Tony de Liseo Ben's recipe for success Tony's bond with UOW