By JOHN HALL
WHEN Simon Morgan left Bridgewater High 28 years ago he could not have imagined one day working with a Brighton Council-owned software business, Microwise, with local government clients across Australia and in the Pacific.
Simon, a computer software developer, is working alongside Scott Smith who created the PropertyWise program, now sold to 19 local governments in Australia and the Suva City Council in Fiji.
PropertyWise is a valuable asset wholly owned by Brighton Council. It was developed by Scott, Council’s in-house IT manager, 21 years ago.
The two software experts can be identified by visitors to Brighton Council offices – they both turn up for work each day in shorts and casual shirts, even in winter!
“It’s a distinctive uniform,” general manager Ron Sanderson said with a smile.
Simon, 43, grew up in Killarney Road, Bridgewater, and attended Bridgewater High and later Claremont College for his final two years of secondary schooling. He entered the workforce doing a variety of jobs, including installing TV antennas.
He is self-taught in the intricacies of computer software programming, his formal education ending at Year 12. But his passion for computer technology wasn’t ignited until he was 26 when he was given a traineeship with the Catholic Education Office in Hobart which led to a job with a local IT support company.
Then followed some interesting assignments – eight years in Hobart with the Commission for Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources, five years in Canberra with the Commission for Conservation of Southern Bluefin Tuna, and more recently a three-month contract with Huon Aquaculture.
Simon joined Brighton Council in June 2015 to help Scott further grow the council-owned business, which now has 19 local government clients in Australia and Suva City Council in Fiji. Eleven councils in Tasmania, including Brighton of course, are clients of Microwise.
Microwise’s key product is PropertyWise, which is customised to individual councils’ needs. PopertyWise’s software packages facilitate key local government activities – including rates, building and subdivision applications, licensing and animal control.
PropertyWise’s creator Scott Smith is currently further enhancing and making changes to the original software while Simon is working on a newer platform which will be more compatible with local governments’ new computer systems.
“We are future-proofing Microwise and its PropertyWise software system,” Simon explained.
While he and his young family no longer live in the municipality, it’s a short drive across the Bowen Bridge and Simon, in regulation shorts and casual shirt, is at his workstation in Brighton’s municipal offices.
Together Scott and Simon are further developing Microwise as a valuable Brighton Council asset and thereby enhancing its potential for further growth in Australia and beyond.