Every now and again – someone special comes along like Walter, socially aware, passionate about community and super smart …….
A father of 5, a grandfather of 4 (5 soon) and husband of 1, Walter has been a resident of Hoppers Crossing since 1988. At 63, Walter’s passion has been and is in both community and business. He considers himself a full-time volunteer and a serial social entrepreneur. He is writing his life story in a book which he hopes his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren will find inspiring enough to be encouraged to become more active citizens of their local community. Walter is sharing some highlights…
Walter came from a middle class family in the Philippines. His dad died in a plane crash in 1969, while working as a lawyer in the campaign team for his country’s presidential contender. Walter, the second in a family of 8 children sought ways to help reduce his mother’s financial burden including applying to become a cadet at the Philippine Military Academy where more than 12,000 young men compete yearly to be government scholars, earn a bachelors degree and become a member of the country’s elite military corps and future leaders. While not an outstanding student, he was among the 120 successful applicants and after 4 years was commissioned as a Navy officer. He specialised in computers and established the IT departments of and led teams to write in-house the software applications for the military’s insurance and its savings and loan companies. While still in active military service, Walter was an information systems consultant to several government departments and private companies. Together with his wife Liza, his classmate at computer school, Walter owned and operated 2 computer schools, a computer consulting company and a couple of small businesses. He was a partner in a computer company in the US and was also actively involved as a partner in an agribusiness company in the Philippines.
The Philippines’ People Power revolution in 1986 and the instability that followed led Walter to resign his navy commission; and with his wife and three children joined Walter’s family in South Australia. They moved to Melbourne shortly after where Walter worked as a senior systems analyst for an insurance company, after a year moved to an IT supporting role in a major hospital and later did contracting work as well as established a money remittance and freight forwarding businesses. He established a call centre and advocated for Wyndham to become a call centre hub for Victoria. He also continued his connection with his some of his businesses in the Philippines and travelled back and forth to his former country. He was the Honourary Investment and Trade Representative of the Philippines in Victoria for 4 years.
He was active in the Filipino community in Wyndham and the umbrella organisation in Victoria. He became an IT consultant at the Migrant Resource Centre in Footscray and a Committee member at the MRC in Altona. He also got involved in many community forums, study groups, committees and councils in Wyndham and the western suburbs of Melbourne representing the migrant community. He was one of the organisers of the Association of Skilled Migrants in Australia and the Australian Council for Multicultural Entrepreneurs. He was a member of the Western Metropolitan Melbourne Regional Advisory Committee of the Victorian Multicultural Commission and represented the migrant community in the City West Water Community Liaison Committee and currently with the Victorian Electoral Commission CALD Advisory Group.
He is a Fellow of the School for Social Entrepreneurs and established The Migrant HUB in 2009 to encourage and support migrants to integrate better into Australian society and become more active citizens of their local community. They operated a community café and an accommodation facility for asylum seekers. In 2015 he was named a Paul Harris Fellow of Rotary Foundation through the Rotary Club of Hoppers Crossing. The Migrant HUB received the City of Wyndham’s Community Group of the Year Award. Walter received the Community Engagement Award and was named Citizen of the Year. He established through The Migrant HUB in partnership with BlockHouse Inc, the WynCUBATOR in Werribee to help create a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship in Wyndham by creating a co-working space and mentoring support for community organisations and start-up businesses. He is currently involved in several projects dealing with alternative technologies, agribusiness, environmental and waste minimisation and is working in partnership with others to establish an information and referral service in Wyndham.
Walter is a member of the Cultural Diversity Committee and the Wyndham Central District Advisory Committee. He is an alumni of Wyndham Council’s Building Blocks Program. He is a mentor at the Multicultural Entrepreneurs Project and the Enterprising Tarneit Project.
Walter is a director of a company involved in property investment and in a consulting role in a property development company and an agri-technology company. He is a founding member of BizBuddyHub where he enjoys collaborating with many other local residents and business owners who like him are driven by a desire to make a positive impact in the Wyndham community while creating opportunities .
Why is Walter doing what he is doing? We may have to wait for that book to be written…….