What is the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge?
Having begun on 13 October and being due to end on 18 October, the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge is underway.
The event, which has seen teams preparing for almost two years, spans the width of Australia – running from Darwin in the north to Adelaide in the south. Racing along this distance, to the tune of 3,000km, are almost fifty solar-powered cars representing teams from around the globe.
Having begun in 1987, the event was inspired by a 1982 crossing from eastern to western Australia by pioneers Hans Tholstrup and Larry Perkins in a solar-powered vehicle, the ‘Quiet Achiever’.
In the 32 years since, the biennial event has been a beacon for the ingenuity of solar developers and a competitive testing ground for sustainable vehicle and transport solutions.
Limited to 6sqm of solar panelling per vehicle, entrants from top universities and technical institutes based around the globe must devise both the most efficient and speedy vehicles possible.
44 teams – themselves split between Challenger, Cruiser and Adventure classes – are participating in this the 15th iteration of the race. Each competitor ‘pits’ at a designated control spot along the route where their time and speed are recorded.
At the time of writing, the event’s third day has concluded with Solar Team Twente of the Netherlands leading the Challenger group (before any penalties are applied), beating compatriots Vattenfall Solar Team by 11 minutes and third placed Agoria Solar Team of Belgium by 20.
As an indicator of the global nature of the event, rounding out the top 10 are teams from Germany, Japan, the USA, Sweden and Chile.
With EVs on the rise around the world (and challenging questions about their viability still yet to be answered), the innovations of the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge are sure to spark the imagination and could well form the basis for the transport solutions of tomorrow.
Airswift Competentia merger spurs global digital recruitment
Airswift and recruiting and workforce management specialist Competentia have merged to form one of the world’s foremost workforce solutions providers serving the energy, process, infrastructure, mining and technology industries.
The combined entity, which retains the Airswift name, will offer clients enhanced global access, particularly in the Americas, Asia Pacific, Europe and Africa. Competentia recently opened an office in Texas, complementing Calgary, Anchorage and Houston in the region.
Airswift chief executive, Janette Marx, will be CEO of the merged entity and Competentia Group CEO, Jayden Wallis, will play a key role on the executive team as Chief Marketing Officer and SVP of ASPAC. Kyle McClure will become CFO of the combined company.
Marx said there had been a long been mutual admiration between both companies, which share a mutual ambition to become the workforce solutions provider of choice for clients, candidates and contractors in the energy and technology industries.
“In a rapidly digitizing, post-pandemic environment, companies across the world’s technical sectors must quickly respond to new ways of working to achieve sustainable, long-term growth," she said. "We believe that our combined size and experience, and our firm focus on the energy transition, perfectly positions us to help clients respond to the complex workforce challenges of the future. Through digital and people-based solutions, we will ultimately shape the technical sectors of tomorrow.”
As a result of the merger, mid-market and blue-chip companies alike gain access to an even broader range of truly integrated services. Talent acquisition, professional search, international contractor management, global employment outsourcing, consultancy and payroll management are just a few of the workforce solutions on offer.
Wallis added: “We see this as an opportunity to create the world’s most forward-thinking workforce solutions provider.
“We also believe we have a key, supporting role to play in enabling the energy transition, not only in the industries we serve, but through responsible business operations, business models, investment in technology and innovation, and collaboration with our peers. Our combined strength and shared ambition mean we’re even better placed to deliver on that.”
Ian Langley, Airswift’s Chairman, said: “It was obvious from our opening call that a potential merger had great merit. Not only did our combination make perfect commercial sense, but we found that our organizations had similar cultures and aspirations, and we quickly discovered a unique alignment.”
Airswift and Competentia’s private equity backers, Wellspring Capital and Reiten & Company respectively, are retaining their stakes in the merged entity and will continue to be actively involved with the business. Airswift has also issued a bond on the Norwegian bond market to ensure maximum flexibility and access to alternative funding in the future.
Matthew Harrison, Managing Partner at Wellspring Capital, said: “Airswift and Competentia share the same foundational values and are guided by both delivering excellence to their clients and creating a great employee experience. Together they can do this even better, and I look forward to seeing the new merged company do great things.”
Bård Ingerø, Managing Partner at Reiten & Co concludes: “These are two companies with such similar cultures and successful track records, which we believe will fit together seamlessly to offer the market the greatest possible breadth, depth and quality of services, wherever clients may operate.”
Patrick Tame, CEO of Beringer Tame, says only agile and digitally savvy businesses have survived the storm from the pandemic, and will continue to do.
“The battle to keep ahead in an environment of rapid technological, market and consumer behaviour changes has caused businesses to rush to hire digital talent that has enabled them to shift the way they operate," he writes.
"When there are skill shortages in a particular sector - such as the digital market - hiring the best, before the competition, can make a real difference when it comes down to overall business success. So the businesses that are privy to a team of consultants who boast priceless depth of industry knowledge and mastery are guaranteed to have a competitive edge."