The IT industry has been through times of plenty and times of struggle. Rob van der End knows about these extremes. During the mid to late 1990s, the corporate world rushed to capitalise on the abundant possibilities of the internet. Rob anticipated the boom, rode it when it was at its height and suffered during the subsequent collapse. But unlike many others, he survived the experience and repositioned himself, looking to a bright future full of opportunities.
In 1995, after several years working in IT for a large multi-national company, Rob recognised an opportunity to develop a consulting and software development business. He started PowerServe and within a few months, he managed to move the company and its several employees out of his kitchen and into a small office in the city. After a few years, the company developed a software package to analyse phone bills which was well suited to the expanding telecommunications industry. He recognised the incredible potential of the emerging internet and assembled a team that could put PowerServe at the forefront of Australian internet development creating leading web presence for organisations such as Channel Seven, Transurban, Heinz-Watties, SBS, Telstra/Sportal and many others. Life was frenetic for Rob. PowerServe employed over 140 staff with offices in Melbourne and Sydney, and had significant international affiliations.
But during 2000 the “internet bubble” burst and things changed quickly. Business investment in IT dried up and many organisations who had staked their future on the internet fell by the wayside. Rob had to close the Sydney office, reduce his international commitments and layoff significant numbers of staff, friends included.
Fortunately, he was surrounded by some very supportive board members and advisers. With their combined talents, a new direction was plotted and Day3 (www.day3.com.au) was born. Whilst retaining some products, Day3 moved into new marketplaces with the motto "providing innovative solutions of lasting value". Rob recognised the potential of wireless technologies and a new venture, Clear Networks (www.clearnetworks.com.au), was established. Entire communities in regional and remote Australia can now be provided with high-grade broadband internet access, changing the way that they communicate with the rest of the world.
A new beginning would not be complete without a change of location and Day3 is now located in Blackburn. So instead of running around the country and the world nearly as often, Rob is within striking distance of home enabling him to spend a lot more time with his wife and four young children.
Saward Dawson has worked side-by-side with Rob for many years. Helping clients through the hard times is not always easy but it is a vital extension of a professional relationship. Business planning, corporate structure and tax planning are some of the ways in which Saward Dawson has been able to assist Day3.
Whilst Rob might seem to have enough to do with family and business, he also has a passion for improving the lives of others. Day3 is a keen backer of several charities such as Opportunity International and the Melbourne Prayer Breakfast. It is also an enthusiastic supporter of the Athletes as Role Models (ARM) Tour (www.armtour.org) that organises leading Australian sports identities to visit isolated indigenous communities in the Northern Territory. The Tour exhibits role models to underprivileged youth and assists in building self-esteem through skills clinics, initiative exercises and open discussion with the athletes.
Rob sums it all up, “There have been plenty of challenges and we’ve known both the peaks and the valleys. We’re looking forward to creating an exciting future.”