Retirement and innovation

Retirement and innovation
Carol Saffer

Greg Court was accused of talking the talk about innovation but not walking the walk.

“In a presentation I was giving, a young man in the front row said stop talking about it and do it,” Mr Court said.

“So, I did.”

An industrial chemist by profession, he is now chairman of Circa Group Pty Ltd.

Five years after retiring in 2000, he realised he wasn’t happy and wanted to do something environmental and sustainable.

“I’d sat on the beach for too long [and] that made me unemployable,” he said.

So, he and his mate Tony set up Circa, a biotech company producing unique and highly valuable biochemicals.

Using abundant and renewable biowaste such as sawdust, Circa makes a molecule Levoglucosenone (LGO).

It is a bio-based innovative, cost-effective alternative to current toxic fossil-based industrial chemicals used in various applications.

LGO can replace the chemicals widely used in pharmaceuticals, agrochemicals, flavours, fragrances, electronics, batteries, paints, and graphene.

Greg, his wife and Cooper, a West Highland terrier, live in what used to be the carpark of the Hotham Hotel.

He views East Melbourne as a fantastic suburb, mainly due to its gardens, parks, and proximity to the MCG.

He is a devotee of the architecture in the area.

“It is just a time capsule; with a mix of styles and eras, the locals preserve it,” he said.

The family divide their time between their East Melbourne apartment and their house in Anglesea.

It suits Cooper well as East Melbourne and Anglesea have high dog ownership, and he travels comfortably between both homes.

“When I walk to the local East Melbourne General Store for my coffee every morning, Cooper comes with me,” Mr Court said.

“If he is not with me, I get 64 questions about his whereabouts from the locals.”

“We met Paul Salmon (former Aussie Rules football player) in the park one day, and Cooper snuck up behind him.”

“Paul was wearing red sneakers, and Cooper peed on his trousers and his sneakers.”

Known for his gift of the gab, Greg’s colleagues at Circa and his friends call him “the storyteller”.

He is a fountain of knowledge on chemical engineering and the benefits LGO has for climate action and is very happy to share. •

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