From history-making winner to judge

James Murphy.

Carole Levy

James Murphy and his crew from Sea All Dolphin Swims were upstairs at Queenscliff Brewhouse as a party of eight when they heard they’d won the LBW Business + Wealth Advisors Business of the Year award at the 2020 Geelong Business Excellence Awards (GBEA) virtual event.

James – or Murph as he’s known – says he and his mob really let their hair down at that first gathering for a long time because of COVID-19.
“It was fantastic to win the Big One,” he says, with the business having taken out awards in other categories in the past two GBEAs. “And the virtual event was done incredibly well – big thumbs up for the Chamber of Commerce.”

The kudos didn’t stop there, however. Sea All Dolphin Swims also won the the Tourism Greater Geelong & Bellarine Tourism & Hospitality Award, James was crowned Deakin University Young Entrepreneur of the Year, and the business now occupies a place in the GBEA Hall of Fame. This was a history-making achievement.

Since then, Murph was invited to represent conservation in tourism by Tourism Australia, and named as a “sustainable storyteller”.
And James, a thoughtful and dynamic asset to the Geelong region, has accepted the invitation to be a judge at this year’s GBEA.

“After some thought, I accepted the invitation and feel very honoured,” he says. “I see it as a valuable chance to support the awards and stay involved, since we’re out of the running for the next couple of years. It also lets me interact with a whole range of businesses in the judging process, networking and providing information on other projects we’re working on.”

One of those projects is an exciting one involving plastics recycling, an endeavour that’s set to have a dynamic impact throughout the community. At this stage, it entails taking equipment and information into local schools, with kids bringing in recyclables from home that are turned on the spot into items such as pens, usbs, jewellery and plant pots and other kid-generated ideas that they take home to keep.

“I’m expecting this to take shape into a much, much bigger project, the details of which we’re working on with great anticipation. Watch this space…”

James saw the awards application process a beneficial one.

“It’s just a good thing to undertake. It brings our team together to take a close look at our practices, and how we present ourselves to the world. It’s why I kept entering – that, and we really wanted to win the big prize! Excitement all around when we did.

“Businesses in the region should definitely get on board with the awards. It’s a big win for them even if it’s not the Big Win.”