High Achievers – images and bios

The second High Achievers event held in the Great Hall in August was an outstanding event. Speakers included the following old boys:

Old Boys entrepreneur Allen Liao and Actor and Producer Simon Burke at the High Achievers evening

Simon Burke (Class of 1978) is one of Australia’s most accomplished and respected performers. He has starred in countless film, television, stage and cabaret productions both in Australia and the UK. He won the Australian Film Institute Award for Best Actor at the age of 13 for his role in Fred Schepisis’s The Devil’s Playground. He is the executive producer and star of the sequel to that film, a six-part television mini-series Devil’s Playground and appeared as the presenter for Play School for 23 years. He received an AO in the recent Queen’s Birthday honours list for distinguished service to the performing arts as an actor, singer and producer, and through senior advocacy roles for performers’ rights and access to professional development and education programs.

Udara Peiris (Class of 2000) is an academic economist and a tenured Associate Professor of Finance at the National Research University Higher School of Economics in Moscow and a Visiting Lecturer in Economics at the University of Warwick in the UK. His research is on macroeconomics, monetary policy and financial stability. One of his research proposals was included in the new Basel regulations and has presented his research at institutions such as the IMF and Bank of England.

He completed his MSc with distinction and PhD in Financial Economics at the Said Business School and University College at the University of Oxford as a Clarendon Scholar and also received a Chellgren Scholarship from University College. He completed his Bachelor of Commerce with Honours in Finance at the University of NSW.
At High he played cricket, soccer and debating. In Oxford he was captain of the Said Business School cricket team and played rugby for University College. Udara co-founded the Oxford Youth Business Development competition which allowed young people from all over the world to get their business ideas mentored by current Oxford MBA students and eventually compete for seed money. The competition served as the catalyst for several promising entrepreneurial careers. In Sydney, Udara was actively involved with the Sri Lankan community and served as president of the Lankarama Buddhist temple youth group.
Dr Louis Wang BSc(Med) MBBS MM FRACP is an early career cardiologist and a 2015 Churchill Fellow. After graduating from Sydney Boys’ High School in 2000, Louis attended medical school at the University of New South Wales, and received clinical training in internal medicine at the University of Oxford as part of its international undergraduate medical student elective program. He graduated in 2006 with the University Medal in Medicine and First Class Honours. He recently completed cardiology specialist training at St Vincent’s Hospital, the cardiopulmonary

Drs Gavin Angus-Leppan,  Damitha Fonseka and Louis Wang
Drs Gavin Angus-Leppan, Damitha Fonseka and Louis Wang

transplant centre in New South Wales.

Today, Louis is the Chief Resident Medical Officer at St Vincent’s Hospital and is undertaking doctoral research at the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute, a world-class cardiac research and research training facility. He also recently attended the 65th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting as an Australian young scientist delegate.

During his time at Sydney Boys’ High School, Louis was a member of the 1999 1st Grade Cross Country Team and other lower grade GPS sports, the Senior Concert Band, and was a Prefect and Torrington House Vice Captain. Louis is married and has two young children. Despite a very busy work schedule, he endeavours to maintain a healthy work-life balance using the same time management and prioritisation skills the school first taught him through the many extracurricular activities it makes available to students.

David Scribner is the CEO of Virgin Mobile Australia. During his tenure, Virgin Mobile has secured the position of market leader in customer satisfaction and become a leading challenger in the Australian Mobile market. David is also a board member of the AANA, the Advertising Standards Bureau and  a committee member of the Virgin Global Brand Council. David has worked for over 25 years in the Australian marketing industry, with time at Nestle, Telstra and AGL.

David graduated from Sydney High in 1983 and then completed a Bachelor of Commerce degree at UNSW. He has worked in the USA and Switzerland and was named marketer of the year at the 2013 CEO Awards.

Louis Wang, Simon Ho, John Croll, James Solomons and Ian King at High Achievers
Louis Wang, Simon Ho, John Croll, James Solomons and Ian King at High Achievers

Since graduating in 1981, John Croll has been an active part of the media industry in Australia. John gained more than two decades of experience at Croll Communications, and Media Monitors before becoming Chief Executive Officer of iSentia (formerly Media Monitors) in 1999. John is a former Executive Vice President of the International Federation of Press Clipping Bureaus (FIBEP), and the current Director and Asia-Pacific Chair of the International Association for the Measurement and Evaluation of Communications (AMEC). He is also a member of the Public Relations Institute of Australia and the Institute of Company Directors.

Apart from industry positions, John has been a board member of the Australian Paralympic Committee since 2008,  and was appointed Vice President in 2013. In 2013, John was the Deputy Chairman  for the Rowing World Cup and Australian Rowing Nationals in Sydney. He is a former member of the Salvation Army Media Advisory Board and Director of the Australian Science Media Centre.

Allen Liao has been busy since he graduated class of 2011. In 2014, during his Bachelor of Electrical Engineering and Bachelor of Commerce degree, he co-founded a Tzukuri, which aims to make the eyewear industry more sustainable. The first product designed by Tzukuri are the world’s first ‘unloseable sunglasses’ which required the development of the world’s smallest Bluetooth device, as well as new plastics manufacturing processes.

Tzukuri has seen a keen amount of national and international interest, covered in articles by Time Magazine, Huffington Post and Gizmodo. Tzukuri has been named one of Anthill’s Top 100 most innovative products, Tech23 People Choice Award, St George Kick Start Award. Tzukuri to date has raised over $1 million dollars in capital, and has extraordinary team of investors/advisors including Ron Johnson (Former SVP Apple Retail), Bertrand Serlet (Apple SVP Software) and Jon Rubinstein (SVP Hardware) who all reported to Steve Jobs.

Greg Warren is the General Manager of Orica. He graduated from Sydney Boys High School in 1981 as School Captain and gained degrees in Chemical Engineering at the University of New South Wales and a Masters of Business Administration at the University of Sydney. Orica is a multinational corporation that provides commercial explosives and blasting systems to the mining, quarry, and infrastructure markets.

James Solomons graduated in 1998 and went on to complete a Bachelor of Commerce in Accounting at Macquarie University.

James began his long and impressive career as a accountant at EFS Strategic, progressing from junior accountant to director, before co-founding Aptus Accounting and Advisory, one of Australia’s newest innovative and connected accounting businesses. In the same year, James was appointed Head of Accounting for Xero Australia, the emerging international leader in online accounting software. He also is a director on a number of boards of not for profit organisations.

James is a Chartered Accountant, Chartered Tax Advisor, Financial Planner and a Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. He describes himself as an ‘Accloudant’, embracing the technological revolutions in accounting and striving to be at the forefront of industry innovation and change.

Graduating in 2000, Matthew Baker pursued an ambitious line of education. He was awarded a National Undergraduate Scholarship to completed a Bachelor of Science (Honours) at the Australian National University, a year of which was undertaken at the University of California, Berkeley. Matt was the 2005 recipient of the John Monash Scholarship, and went on to study at the University of Oxford, England, completing a DPhil in Physics in 2010. During his studies, Matt worked as tutor at Oxford.

Upon finishing, Matt stayed on at Oxford as a postdoctoral researcher, working jointly in the Chemistry Research Laboratory and the Department of Biochemistry. He published several papers from this work. In 2013, he returned to Australia to join the not-for-profit Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute, researching molecular motors using structural biology and single molecule techniques. Matt’s research career has focused on studying the tiny molecular motor that makes nearly all bacteria swim.

Matt is an internationally acclaimed fencer, representing Australia in International World Cup competitions from 2005-2014 and was a member of the Australian Team at the Commonwealth Fencing Championships in Scotland in 2014. He is currently ranked 4th in Australia and 263rd in the world. He is an active science communicator, sometimes using performance poetry, becoming a finalist in the UK Hammer and Tongue National Poetry Slam in 2012 and performing at the Green Man Festival for four years running. In 2015 he was awarded the Top 5 Under 40 prize to find Australia’s ‘new generation of science thinkers’, where he was embedded at the ABC as a Scientist in Residence, producing packages for Radio National and ABC Online and doing multiple Q&A sessions on triplej alongside Dr Karl Kruszelnicki.

Ian King (Class of 1981) has in excess of 20 years’ experience in corporate finance and investment banking. Prior to founding BBB Capital, Ian was in the investment banking division of ING Bank N.V and its predecessor organisations in Australia and the UK (including Baring Brothers & Co.).  He has been involved in an extensive range of corporate finance transactions and advisory assignments spanning most sectors and industries in the Australian market, including financial services, resources, food & beverages, consumer goods, healthcare, technology and private equity. Ian holds the degrees of Bachelor of Commerce (Honours) – specialising in finance – and Bachelor of Laws from the University of New South Wales.

Ian has acted for a broad range of private, corporate, institutional, government and international clients.

Alan Morrison graduated in 1983. He was instilled with a strong sense of community service from his father and mother whose work has been recognised with Order Of Australia medals. Alan is currently the Director Education for New South Wales Ambulance. In this role he is responsible for the foundation education and ongoing credentialing of frontline roles including paramedics.

He is also involved in the development and maintenance of clinical governance systems. He works with university partners in the development of undergraduate and post graduate paramedicine programs and is involved in the accreditation of paramedic university programs nationally.

Old Boy (1998), Simon Ho, graduated with a B.Sc. (Honours) and M.Sc. from the University of Sydney, and completed a higher research degree (Ph.D) at the University of Oxford.

He then worked at the University of Oxford and the Australian National University before taking up a permanent position at the University of Sydney in 2010.

He is now an Associate Professor in the School of Biological Sciences and spends most of his time on research. His interests lie in evolution, with much of his work involving computer analyses of genome data. He works with other researchers across the country and throughout the world.

Simon was awarded nearly $1 million in funding from the Australian Research Council and has won a number of prizes for his research. Last year he won the Australian Museum Eureka Prize for Outstanding Early Career Researcher, and was named the NSW Tall Poppy of the Year. These are two of the most significant prizes for scientists under the age of 35 in Australia.

Ramesh Mario Nithiyendran (Class of 2006) was born in Colombo, Sri Lanka in 1988. He has a BA (UNSW), BFA (Hons. Class 1) and a Master of Fine Arts (research) from UNSW Art & Design. In 2012 he was the recipient of the Freedman Foundation Travelling Art Scholarship and has since acquired various grants including Artstart, the City of Sydney’s William Street Creative Tenancy, a travel grant from The Ian Potter Cultural Trust and an Australian Postgraduate Award.

He has exhibited at various spaces including Firstdraft, UTS Gallery, Alaska Projects, The Perth Institute of Contemporary Art, Gallery 9, Galleries UNSW, Artspace and Canberra Contemporary Art Space. He has been a finalist in the Blake Prize (2013) and the John Fries Award (2014) and in 2014, was awarded the prestigious 2014 NSW Visual Arts Fellowship (emerging) administered through Arts NSW.

Jason Phu (Class of 2007) is the winner of this year’s Sulman Prize and a finalist in this year’s Archibald Prize. He graduated from the College of Fine Arts UNSW in 2011 with a BFA Honours. He has also studied in Nova Scotia College of Art & Design & Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing.

Jason Phu’s artwork deals with the mixed cultural identities of Australians. Drawing upon his own cultural heritage as a Chinese Australian he makes light of the dislocation and disassociation that he and others around him have experienced.

John Roby (Class of 1979) is an entrepreneur who runs two successful businesses – Abode and Style Patisserie. He was in SBHS First Grade Basketball for 1978 & 1979 and GPS Firsts Basketball in 1979. He graduated from UNSW with a combined degree in Commerce/Law and worked for a number of law practices before opening Abode in Bondi and jointly starting Style Patisserie in 2008, a cosmetics import and distribution business.