Launching into Australia
From Ian Hanou, CEO & Founder, Plan-It Geo
Since as early as I can remember, I’ve always loved staring at maps and the globe, curious what far-off places look like. At the age of just 23 while employed at Digital Globe, I had a dream job. I actually got to task their high-resolution satellite to acquire images in strategic locations. I reported to managers when cloud-free imagery was completed for a metro area, a national park, you name it. I was unaware at the outset, but it turned out this effort fed into the first version of Google Maps!
With a thirst for travel and exploring, I was also able to study in New Zealand in 2000 and visit Australia twice. A year later after college graduation, I spent 58 days in Europe, continuing to check off countries, see new lands, and scratch this itch. Little did I know that in September 2018, I would revisit Australia as founder and CEO of an urban forestry firm and to meet our new software channel partner, Homewood Consulting, and present our workshop: Tree Mapping Technologies for Urban Forest Management in Australia’s four largest cities including at TreeNet: 19th Annual Street Tree Symposium.
It turns out I had set up a partnership with a true grit Aussie… their founder Ben Kenyon grew up with Aborigines in remote northern Australia while his parents provided medical care for natives. After that, Ben’s father Phil Kenyon taught arboricultural for 30 years at University of Melbourne – Burnley campus. Phil literally educated an entire generation of arborists! The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree: all four sons (they also have four daughters) are practicing arborists. Not to mention their formidable stature, each at 6’5” or more. Their entire family was so hospitable, from staying with Ben’s wife and four children, to camping and fishing with the extended family, to the new shiny Australian brown boots they bought me. I sure know how to pick software partners! Ben and I presented to roughly 200 arborists and urban foresters at three half-day interactive workshops in Melbourne, Sydney, and Brisbane, while providing hands-on training of Tree Plotter software.
The warm welcome didn’t stop with Homewood, I have a few others to thank. Glenn Williams, Director of TreeNet, invited me to co-present an interactive technology session with Adrian Murone from the City of Whittlesea at TreeNet: 19th Street Tree Symposium in Adelaide. Presenting with Adrian allowed 150+ attendees (and me!) to see how they’re consolidating tree management tools, going mobile, and working efficiently with contractors.
Finally, the facilitation of a similar workshop in Brisbane by Paul Jave and Roger Rankine via the Queensland Arboricultural Association was another incredible opportunity to meet and learn from consulting arborists and staff at councils in that part of the country. Even better, I can genuinely say I got as much out of these workshops the attendees did.
Your timing to enter the Australia market was incredible.
Since the trip, an amazing thing has happened: we have several new clients “down under” implementing Tree Plotter. They include:
tree care firms,
and the City of Cairns
with several other councils expressing interest. We’ve compiled quality tree species lists, added a new labeling feature to meet specific user feedback, and have designed reporting outputs scheduled to be released soon.
A few arborists told me, “your timing to enter the Australia market was incredible.” If that holds to be true, Plan-It Geo has many people to be thankful for.
If you’re into exploring like me, watch this 1-hour webinar Ben and I co-presented,
You can connect with Ben Kenyon at Homewood Consulting – an official Tree Plotter partner – at email@example.com
Ian Hanou, CEO & Founder, Plan-It Geo