Lifetime Achievement winner Frank Seeley proves to be more than hot air

FRANK Seeley AM founded Seeley International in 1972 when he began manufacturing portable evaporative coolers, and has now grown to include Breezair, Braemar, Coolair, Convair and Climate Wizard.

Under Frank's guidance, Seeley International has grown to become Australia's largest air conditioning manufacturer.

Known for its technical innovation and product leadership, Seeley International is Australia's largest air conditioning manufacturer and offers complete climate control solutions including ducted gas heating, evaporative cooling, indirect evaporative cooling and integrated heating and cooling. 

Frank, one of Australia's manufacturing industry's true characters, was clearly thrilled to have won the Endeavour's Lifetime Achievement Award, which is sponsored by IFM Efector.

"We are delighted to be recognised in such a wonderful and special way. I'm on top of the world."

Somewhat tongue in cheek, Frank praised the judging panel for choosing him as winner. "I'd especially like to thank the judges, because they've done such a wonderful job," Frank joked.

In his acceptance speech, Frank reminisced about starting out life in Adelaide as an idealistic school teacher.

"I taught grade five at Port Adelaide Primary School and endeavored with all of my power to help those little kids crawl their way up the lower slopes of the knowledge curve and I have to say I was very unsuccessful at it."
He went on to express his relief at finding a career path he excelled in.

"Fortunately before there were any major catastrophes, I got out of teaching and I have to say that this has been a fabulous journey and I'm still enjoying it and I hope to go on enjoying it for a long, long, long time to come. I'm only 70 years of age, I've got another good 20 years in me yet!"

Frank continues to be the driving force in all aspects of the business from the design and engineering of world leading product developments such as Climate Wizard through to the commercialisation of new technology. 

Frank has aggressively pursued a policy of vertical integration, manufacturing almost all products in-house.  
He has also had a strong focus on supply chain management ensuring flexibility and responsiveness to meet fluctuations in market demand.  

Seeley International's vertical integration has enabled it to develop high level skills in tool manufacturing and maintenance, metal fabrication, die casting, plastic injection moulding, paper handling, vacuum forming, rotational moulding, electric motor manufacturing, product assembly and electronics. 

This philosophy has been the driving force behind world first innovations like Breezair Icon motor technology and the development of Climate Wizard, indirect evaporative cooling.

Frank is passionate about his product and took every opportunity to share this at the Awards.

"The problem with our Climate Wizard is it's so good with some people thinking it is snake oil. But it's starting to take traction now and is going to be a godsend for the whole of the world," he said.

Frank shows that the business is a family affair as he spoke about the recent involvement of his second son in promoting Seeley International overseas.

"I have my second son now director of the company and he's actually come on board full time to promote Climate Wizard, and has just signed up a very enthusiastic distributor in California. It's fantastic," he said.

Frank's ongoing commitment to energy efficiency is evidenced in the fact that the products manufactured by Seeley International are world leaders in energy efficiency. 

  • The Breezair Icon cooler is the most energy efficient whole-of-home evaporative cooling system available in the world – capable of cooling a whole home from as little as running a light bulb. 
  • The Braemar Ecostar range of ducted gas heating is Australia's most efficient range of ducted gas heating. It regularly offers the highest star ratings in Australia in the three, four, five and six star heating categories. 
  • The Braemar space heater has the highest star rating of any comparable space heater available in Australia  
  • Climate Wizard, is forging a completely new high efficiency cooling category that is attracting keen interest from around the world, and; 
  • Seeley's latest innovation, the world's first six star ducted gas heater from Braemar is the most energy-efficient ducted gas heater on the market .

Seeley International has two manufacturing plants in Australia; one in Lonsdale in South Australia, the otherr in Albury in NSW. The company employs more than 300 staff.

Over the years, Frank has won numerous awards. 

In 2001, Frank was made a Member of the Order of Australia and in 2005, was named South Australian Entrepreneur of the Year. In 2010, he was state winner of the Jason Lea Award at the South Australian Family Business of the Year Awards. The Jason Lea Award recognises an ideas person who has demonstrated outstanding entrepreneurship.

Seeley International was also named national winner of the First Generation Family Business of the Year Award in 2010. 

Frank continues to win awards year after year, taking out the Advantage SA South Australian of the Year Award for 2011.

Image: Dave Delany (left), MD of IFM Efector presenting the Award to Frank Seeley.