Recognition of an Outstanding Industry Contributor
The 35 year contribution of an outstanding leader in the caravan and camping industry was recognised last night at the NSW Tourism Awards held in Sydney.
Caravan and Camping Industry Association of NSW (CCIA) Board member and owner/operator of Big4 Nelligen on the NSW South Coast, Ron Cregan has been awarded the Outstanding Industry Contributor award for his passion, commitment and extraordinary work ethic that has seen him build a number of highly successful businesses.
“Ron is a pioneer of holiday cabin manufacturing in NSW, establishing his first business in 1987 building cabins for holiday parks, and for 15 years now he has run his own park at Nelligen,” Caravan & Camping Industry Association NSW President, Theo Whitmont said.
“Ron’s story of ingenuity, determination and a good old ‘give it a go’ attitude has seen him travel from humble beginnings to achieve great things in our industry.”
Mr Whitmont said Ron’s achievements over many decades have helped to drive the growth in the caravan and camping sector to make it an important contributor to the NSW tourism economy.
NSW sees more than 2.2 million caravan and camping visitors each year who stay 10 million nights and inject $1.9 billion into the economy across the state, greatly benefiting regional NSW.
“In addition to his roles as a CCIA Board member, and Chairman of BIG4 holiday parks, Ron has also contributed to local tourism associations over many years.
“What is remarkable is that his dedication extends beyond his own personal success, to taking on a range of board positions across the industry where he makes a contribution to its overall success.
“The CCIA congratulates Ron on this highly deserved award and thanks him for his outstanding contribution to our industry,” Mr Whitmont said.
A Mechanical Engineer by trade, Ron began his career as a truck driver, working long, hours and studying at night to get his qualification. After many years Ron took a position in the Public Service teaching automotive engineering TAFE.
Having holidayed with family in Batemans Bay and on the South Coast all his life, he was inspired by the idea of manufacturing aluminium caravan annexes. He set up his first business building these cabins on the South Coast.
Ron developed his own system of aluminium and foam sandwich panels and built the frames and presses to do this in his backyard garage in Canberra. Ron worked every evening to build enough panels for an annex to be constructed each weekend. This was the birth of his first company ‘Alvannex’ (Aluminium Van Annexes).
Alvannex successfully bid to build 100 site sheds for the Australian Parliament House building project as well as accommodation for the Sydney Olympics. At the peak of the business it employed over 100 staff, and the company was the largest private employer in the region.
Through Ron’s association with park owners and operators his knowledge of the tourism industry grew and in 2000, Ron and Gloria purchased the Nelligen campground.
When they purchased the park was no more than a primitive camp site with very little infrastructure or services. Ron applied his same creativity and work ethic to Nelligen Park as he did to Alvannex and in a very short space of time created a family friendly park with outstanding facilities that is now a premier camping and holiday resort.
In 2010 Ron, Gloria and his daughter and son-in-law purchased the Nelligen pub and continue to own and operate this facility. His hard work and hands on approach has been instrumental in creating what you now see at Big4 Nelligen.
He has been a board member of the NSW peak industry body, the Caravan & Camping Industry Association (CCIA NSW) since 1995. This includes a period of directorship from 1995-2004 and then 2006 – present.
He has also been a member of the Big4 Board and is its current Chairman.