Entering from stage right

Region4's Timmi Hingston talks to ARN.

What was your first job?

Working part-time as a Safeway checkout chick while I was at school. After I finished school I wasn't sure what I wanted to do so I deferred university. I applied and got a job as an administration assistant in the tax department of one of the big accounting firms. During that time I started doing an accounting degree part-time. The idea was that I would complete it while working for them and they would promote me up through the ranks. That all went by the wayside, however, when I realised I didn't want to be an accountant.

How did you end up in the IT industry?

I've always loved computers; I was quite a geek, ever since I got my first 286 PC. Back in the days when I was working for the accounting firm, I used to go and play on the Wang word processors in the typing pool during my lunch break! After completing a marketing degree I worked in the travel industry for a while and spent some time with my two young children. I'm not the type to be happy being just being at home though and it was during that time I started dabbling in Web design. That experience led me to my first job in IT working for Verbatim Australia. I looked after marketing and the website.

How did you progress to where you are today?

Region4 and Verbatim had a business partnership. The Region4 team worked from within the Verbatim structure and looked after the product management and technical support for the hardware range it distributed. This included CD and later DVD production systems as well as a range of retail hardware products. After four years, I left in mid-2003 to pursue some offshore projects. During this time Callum (founder and managing director of Region4) and I got married. I guess you could say it was an office romance! In early 2004, Region4 and Verbatim ended the business partnership and Region4 became a totally separate distribution entity.

What do you like about your current job?

When you are running your own business there is a lot of variety in your day. I still look after the core sales and marketing but there are so many other things to take care of. It's never boring and I love a challenge.

What is the biggest achievement of your career?

Helping to transition Region4 into a completely independent company. There were so many elements to setting up on our own and we managed to pull it off during a period where we were growing rapidly. I was also pregnant during that first year - talk about taking on a lot!

What do you dislike most about the IT industry?

Sometimes it feels like our government doesn't want to help local business. We operate in a global market where anyone can go on the Internet and buy things from overseas. Government tariffs and charges penalise local businesses, forcing us to pass on costs. These lead to end users buying offshore. For example, tariffs on thermal ribbons and having to pay exorbitant hazardous chemical registration fees because we import ink cartridges.

What will be the 'next big thing' in the industry?

The new Blu-ray and HD-DVD optical formats. Being able to store huge amounts of data on optical discs via these technologies will open up the backup market.

What is the main focus for your company this year?

Educating the market about the broadening opportunities created by more affordable solutions and new formats.

What do you do when you are not at work?

I have two teenagers and a toddler so I like to spend as much time as possible with my family. My two year-old is growing up fast and I don't want to miss any of it. When I'm not hanging out with my family I love to spend time with friends. I also love to travel but it seems like most I do these days is for work. Dinner out and a great bottle of red always goes down well too.

Do you like gadgets?

Oh yes, but I would have to say Callum is a bigger gadget maniac than me. I think access to gadgets is one of things he likes most about what we do.

What did you want to be when you were younger?

I wanted to be an actress. Go to NIDA, the whole shebang. Of course, my parents thought that was a very bad idea and I think I knew deep down it was just a dream.

What is your biggest ambition?

To work hard to help grow Region4 into a bigger company while still maintaining good customer service, technical excellence and a great working environment. At the same time, I'm trying to maintain that elusive work/life balance.