December 2015

Gong recognises outstanding passion and commitment

Ron honoured for 35yr service to industry

Ron Cregan and wife Gloria with the award

Ron and wife Gloria with the award

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BIG4 chairman and former truckie Ron Cregan has been rewarded for his outstanding 35-year contribution to the caravan and camping industry.

He was described as an outstanding leader when he was honoured at the recent NSW Tourism Awards in Sydney.

Mr Cregan, a board member of the Caravan and Camping Industry Association of NSW (CCIA) and owner of Big4 Nelligen on the NSW South Coast, was awarded the Outstanding Industry Contributor award.

The gong recognised his passion, commitment and extraordinary work ethic that saw him build a number of highly successful businesses.

"Ron is a pioneer of holiday cabin manufacturing in NSW," CCIA president Theo Whitmont said.

"He established his first business in 1987 building cabins for holiday parks, and for the last 15 years has run his own park at Nelligen.

"Ronís 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 Mr Creganís achievements over many decades had 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."

Mr Whitmont said the CCIA congratulated Mr Cregan on the highly deserved award and thanked him for his "outstanding contribution" to the industry.

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BIG4 Nelligen
BIG4 Nelligen Holiday Park

How the former truck driver reached pinnacle of success

A MECHANICAL engineer by trade, Mr Cregan began his career as a truck driver working long hours and studying at night to get his qualifications.

After many years he took a position in the public service teaching automotive engineering at TAFE.

Having holidayed with family in NSW's Batemans Bay and on the South Coast all his life, he was inspired by the idea of manufacturing aluminium caravan annexes.

Mr Cregan set up his first business building them on the South Coast.

He 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.

Mr Cregan 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 Mr Cregan's association with park owners and operators, his knowledge of the tourism industry grew and in 2000 he and Gloria bought the Nelligen campground.

It was no more than a primitive camp site with very little infrastructure or services.

But Mr Cregan applied his same creativity and work ethic to Nelligen Park as he did to Alvannex and in a very short time created a family-friendly park with outstanding facilities that is now a premier camping and holiday resort.

In 2010, Mr Cregan, 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, since 1995.

This includes a period of directorship from 1995 to 2004 and then 2006 to the present.

He has also been a member of the BIG4 board and is its current chairman.