The 25-year celebration for Australian Innovative Systems (AIS) was unlike anything previously seen in the swimming pool and spa industry.
Not only did CEO Elena Gosse get up and dance the tango as part of a professional routine; she also sang to the 150-strong audience. On top of that, an opera singer sang mesmerising arias, professional dancers performed a water-inspired ballet, a virtuoso violinist played tunes new and old, and there was even a guest appearance from a tiny break dancer – Elena’s four-year-old grandson.
While the gala evening was a celebration of the success of the business over the past 25 years, it was also a celebration of Elena Gosse and Kerry Gosse marriage, which has also lasted a quarter of a century. Kerry spoke of how he met Elena in 1992 – a performer, TV personality and entrepreneur – on the Russian island of Sakhalin, and how they fell in love and built a family and business together in Australia. The host for the evening was Elena’s daughter Valeria Ramirez who also came to Australia 25 years ago with her sister Julia Pearl.
Together, Elena and Kerry have grown AIS from humble beginnings to a highly successful, innovative domestic and export business with a multi-million-dollar turnover and 40 staff. The success has been on the back of the company’s commercial and residential chlorine generators for salt, fresh and mineral water pools.
When Kerry bought the business, there were only three employees. “There were things that needed to be changed and were addressed in the first year or two,” he said at the gala evening.
The first big change came with some bold thinking to build commercial chlorinators to fill a market gap initially noticed in Spain by a distributor. “Over the years we’ve polished those products a lot, and now they’re thoroughbreds,” he said.
He nominated a couple of other milestones such as the introduction of switch mode power supplies instead of transformers which were not only more efficient, but also better for the electrodes; and the development of the low salt Ecoline system which is now very popular for both residential and commercial use.
“Now AIS has two big factories across the road from each other,” he said. “And the future is good.”
AIS technology is used in family swimming pools across 55 countries, including high profile projects such as the two-hectare lagoon pools at the Sheraton Grand Mirage Port Douglas, Centenary Pool Brisbane, Cairns Esplanade Lagoon, Malaysia National Aquatic Centre, Grand Hyatt Resort Dubai and Waterbom Bali Waterpark.
Elena spoke of her former entertainment career in Russia and her transformation to an Australian CEO. Her success is all the more remarkable considering that when she arrived in Australia she spoke not one word of English (Kerry speaks fluent Russian). Despite that restriction she learned the language and gained a Diploma in Business and then a Degree in Business (Accounting) while working in the AIS business full time. She now runs AIS as its CEO.
Guests included clients and supporters from around Australia and the world, as well as current and former members of parliament and local government. Elena and Kerry thanked AIS staff and attending guests for their support.
“You are all a special part of our AIS Family. You have each played an important role in our journey of the past 25 years and believe in our product, and our people,” Elena said.
“You support Australian innovation and jobs. Through your feedback, loyalty and ongoing support every one of you will help to guide our future innovation and success during the next 25 years.”