More than 100 people gathered to farewell Wintec chief executive Mark Flowers as he retired at the end of a 16-year spell which featured international student growth and an ambitious campus modernisation programme.
Many Wintec staff were in attendance, along with members of the business community, at the farewell at the Gallagher headquarters in Hamilton, which featured both Mark and his wife Lynnette Flowers being presented with taonga by Wintec kaumatua Tame Pokaia and Hera White, director Māori.
Sir William Gallagher paid tribute to Flowers, saying he was retiring knowing it was “a job well done”.
“Tonight’s gathering is an indication of the standing you enjoy and have earned through your dedication, passion, commitment and leadership.”
He said Flowers had done a “remarkable” job in turning around an institute that had been on government watch, transforming it into a leading tertiary institute.
“When you and then chair Gordon Chesterman approached Gallaghers back in 2007 to partner in your innovative student hub, we were pleased to come to the party with a $2 million contribution.”
He said Flowers was highly respected for his achievements, particularly in growing Wintec’s international student market to revenues of $23 million.
“The cost of travel and building those international relationships was not a cost but an investment in Education New Zealand.
“Another example of your strong leadership was the modernisation of the Wintec campus in the city and at Rotokauri, an investment of some $100 million.
“Yet the debt on Wintec’s books is just $30 million, and assets of some $196 million – figures that any corporate would be proud to enjoy.”
Sir Willliam also paid tribute to Lynnette for her commitment to Wintec and to the community.
“Tonight’s farewell to you and Lynnette is a way of endorsing what you have achieved with Wintec and the community organisations you have touched,” he said.