APAC CEO of the Year Awards 2023

Maritime CEO of the Year 2023 (Australia): Darren Schuback With teams in the United States, Australia, New Zealand, and Denmark, The Whiskey Project Group Ltd. (TWPG) is an Australian veteran-owned group of maritime design and manufacturing companies dedicated to the development of operator-focused watercrafts. Today, the group is led by Darren Schuback, co-founder and CEO of TWPG, who drives it towards its goal of designing and building a new generation of technology-enabled, safer, and higher performing tactical watercrafts. Founded in 2019, TWPG is a global leader in specialist military watercraft innovation. It is the product of collaboration between experienced military operators and world class maritime engineers, architects, and innovators who aim to provide a competitive advantage to those who still serve in the strategic maritime environment. To do this, the group harnesses the expertise, insights, and values of veterans from Australia and its time-tested allied nations to provide optimal performance and protection for those who risk their lives at sea. These individuals rely on watercraft to deliver in the most challenging conditions, where so many variables cannot be controlled. For this reason, TWPG focuses on what can be controlled, providing them with high performance watercraft for contemporary maritime missions made by expert professionals with decades of design and manufacturing experience. With a combined 90 years in the industry, TWPG consists of three organisations which together form a critical end-to-end sovereign capability for military and specialist watercrafts. These organisations include Naiad, a globally proven and trusted naval architecture and maritime design company, Yamba Welding and Engineering (YWE), a Australian specialist manufacturer of highperformance aluminium boats, and The Whiskey Project, an Australian owned business creating operator-focused tactical watercraft. All three of TWPG’s associated businesses are contracted suppliers across watercraft design, manufacturing, and innovation projects. It is crucial that the group operates based on six key values, which form the foundations of its culture and are integral to its success. These include ownership, respect, loyalty, dedication, teamwork, and the pursuit of excellence. Its team of uniquely skilled and dedicated maritime professionals work hard to deliver on these values every day. Since its establishment, TWPG has played a part in the design and build of over 200 watercraft for government agencies. The group supplies defence forces, border protection agencies, law enforcement, rescue and emergency services with design, engineering, manufacturing, maintenance, and sustainment services of high-performance watercraft. It maintains long-standing working relationships with many defence, border protection, and rescue organisations, enabling it to deliver vessels to suit a variety of operating environments. As a veteran-owned business, TWPG was founded by Darren Schuback and Ryan Carmichael, who are both former Navy Clearance Divers. This means they are highly familiar with the intense maritime environment faced by the operators of their watercraft. They strive to consider the dangers involved in the job as they design, engineer, and manufacture new watercraft, making them safer and more secure. Before founding TWPG, Darren Schuback gained extensive experience during his exemplary 24-year career as a Clearance Diving Sailor and Officer in the Royal Australian Navy. This involved the operational oversight of an operations command centre, a military training institution, naval warships, a navy diving team, a special operations counterterrorism team, and capability management of multiple disciplines within the Defence Force. During this time, Darren led many skilled teams who were faced with extremely complex and challenging mission sets. Drawing upon these experiences, he has grown into a people-focused leader, managing and motivating his team at TWPG to achieve and grow the business. Since the group’s inception in 2019, Darren has led his team through multiple capital raises and acquisitions. As a result, TWPG is now wellpositioned for international expansion in the USA and European markets. Darren strives for global market leadership by continuously utilising emerging technology, cutting-edge materials, and advanced naval architecture practices to expand the group’s offerings. Having served alongside the US and other coalition partners in multiple operational theatres, Darren is committed to creating an operational advantage for those working in the dangerous maritime environment. Currently, the defence and national security sector has a strong focus on rapid technology adoption to maintain military advantage. Defence forces are working to identify counterthreat technologies and new platforms that will enable them to gain the upper hand. Underpinned by effectcentric thinking, TWPG is dedicated to operator focused research and development, striving to stay ahead of the curve. The company operates based on a culture of constant innovation and the continual pursuit of excellence. It works with leading engineers, architects, innovators, academics, and both emerging and established Australian organisations to integrate new technologies into its watercrafts to develop new capabilities and advantages. By leveraging cutting-edge defence technologies, the group is developing a range of ‘whiskey’ watercraft, which are the world’s most advanced tactical watercrafts, offering massively improved performance, safety, and versatility in the contemporary operational maritime environment. As a result of his effective leadership and dedication to his industry, Darren Schuback has been awarded Maritime CEO of the Year in the APAC CEO of the Year Awards 2023. We congratulate him on his success in winning this award and look forward to seeing what the future holds for him and his team. Darren comments, “TWPG is currently pursuing a range of defence opportunities globally, while continuing to provide specialist watercraft to many Australian, New Zealand and United States defence, rescue, law enforcement, and maritime protection agencies.” Contact: Darren Schuback Company: The Whiskey Project Group LTD Web Address: thewhiskeyprojectgroup.com