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Jul 30, 2018

New Zealand's finest enter Business Hall of Fame

Nine outstanding and inspirational New Zealanders were recognised last Friday when they were inducted into the New Zealand Business Hall of Fame.

Bill Buckley

Forty years ago Bill Buckley could have never imagined having the success that he has.

Now the man behind Buckley Systems Limited — the world's leading supplier of precision electromagnets — sits in the Business Hall of Fame after being inducted last night.

"It was a surprise that it came," Buckley said of finding out he would be joining the Hall of Fame.

"It's recognition for all we've done. It puts us on the map a bit more."

Buckley joins fellow laureates fashion designer Dame Trelise Cooper, entrepreneur and inventor Alan Gibbs and bedding magnates Graeme and Craig Turner in the Business Hall of Fame.

Posthumous laureates inducted were businessman James Dilworth, the first woman to become a member of the New Zealand stock exchange, Elspeth Kennedy, innovator Tony Nightingale, who took the Resene company multinational, and roading contractor Sir Russell Matthews.

Buckley says when he first started just about everybody that had anything to do with him, including bank managers, past partners and his father, said he couldn't do it.

"When I started up everybody told me that it was a bad time to start and I could never do what I wanted to do," Buckley said.

"[They] said 'don't even tempt it', 'you can't do it', but I did.

"Here we are, we've done it. It's been a real success story. On the main they've all come round and said you've done it."

Buckley Systems was founded in 1978 and continues to provide end-to-end design, engineering and integration solutions for magnetic systems.

"I started in the back of a toolmakers' factory," Buckley said.

"I really put it on the line and I bought some big machinery."

Buckley says a big stepping stone in his career was when he built the IG6, a flat panel machine that captured the world market.

"First order I got from a Boston company was for 48 magnets which was worth about $2 million and that was virtually my turnover for a year," he said.

"That was a big stepping stone."

Buckley and his company are about to hit the go button on a breakthrough machine that treats cancer patients.

"At present we're just in the throes of building a BNCT (Boron Neutron Capture Therapy) machine which is a cancer treating machine and we're the first ones to really master it and get it out of a scientific idea into an operational machine that will treat patients," Buckley said.

"It's a really big breakthrough."

The machine is currently being installed in a hospital in Helsinki, Finland, and is what Buckley calls a "one stop shop" for radiation treatment.

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