Tapping Into Sussex


Sussex Taps is a 2nd generation family run business, passionate about true Australian manufacturing, as the most vertically integrated tap manufacturer of its kind. Vanessa and husband George Katsanevakis took the reins 8 years ago from Vanessa's ailing father, Nick van Putten. Where George's strengths are in operations, Vanessa is at the forefront of the brand, with a focus on conveying the quality and care that goes into every Sussex piece.

This quality and care was recognised recently at the Manufacturing night of nights held at the Crown Palladium. Business Victoria Hall of Fame recognises young outstanding individuals in the manufacturing sector each year, where Sussex Taps' Director Vanessa Katsanevakis was awarded with Young Manufacturer of the Year.

"It's an exciting time in manufacturing and I'm super proud to be in an industry of people who are strong willed, passionate about their cause, and believe in their products and businesses".

This year, the spotlight was on women in manufacturing, with the inaugural Woman Manufacturer of the Year award. When asked "would you recommend a career in manufacturing to other young women?"

Vanessa's response was "I would recommend a career in manufacturing to anyone! The doors are wide open to men and women alike and more than ever are women making their mark. I feel that as a female leader I can add a different angle to a manufacturing business, and I work beside an amazing male management team who each bring their own strengths."

While the couple are leading the company through a period of strong growth, this is mostly led by an informed consumer.

"The manufacturing market has changed. People care how their product was made and where it comes from. End customers are now savvy, so a locally made bespoke item has an appreciated value. Through social media, our customers want to see what happens in our workshops, and the individual making their product. A lot of my time goes into representing the brand, and as an advocate for the manufacturing industry. The people within the industry are an exceptional type, who have seen and been through a lot, and I've found that they are often committed to their business and the industry for life".

Assisting through this period of strong growth is a sounding board of like-minded peers.

"With both George and I being members of The CEO Institute, it's a regular opportunity to catch up with an experienced group and from many industries. The suggestions and insights from the group are very valuable. Even a small shift in our direction from peer advice, adds up to a better outcome overall. Our groups are like trusted friends that are usually going through similar journeys".

Sustainability is a core value of the business, with renewed importance to the Sussex Taps brand.

"Our responsibility to our sustainability practices is one of our top core values. We've had great support through government grants, and work closely with Sustainability Victoria on our projects and advice. Each day is a new opportunity to do more, and improve however we can. It is an integral part of our manufacturing process to recycle our brass by-product, at our own metal foundry."

"I think as we grow and continue to evolve the business, we will encounter new challenges and opportunities to keep reviewing our sustainability practices. It's part of an ongoing journey and our commitment to manufacturing the best product we can without compromise".

The CEO Institute, established over 25 years ago, helps business leaders like you connect with your peers to share skills, insight, and experience. The CEO Institute's leadership programs are available globally. Click here to read more member success stories.