The Speakers

Roanna Edwards (Summit MC)

ABC Radio presenter, journalist, Management Consultant, Speaker & Master of ceremonies Roanna Edwards has a warm and vibrant character, and her thoughtfulness as well as her eloquence make her a highly-regarded master of ceremonies and corporate speaker.

A Ballardong Noongar woman, Roanna has a unique way of sharing her lived experiences of growing up Aboriginal in Australia and brings Aboriginal perspectives to any discussion in an inclusive and thought-provoking way.

Kitty Prodonovich (Summit MC)

Kitty is the CEO of the Regional Chambers of Commerce and Industry of WA. Kitty has previously held the positions of Presidents of both the RCCIWA (2005 – 2010) and the Kalgoorlie-Boulder CCI (2003-2005) and has owned two small businesses in Kalgoorlie-Boulder, the first one at the age of 21.
Kitty’s involvement with a regional Chamber of Commerce began in 1991, and she is a strong and driven advocate for regional business communities. Until November 2018 Kitty was the Chair of the board of the Small Business Development Corporation and currently sits on the General Council of CCIWA and is a Non – Executive Director on the board of Keystart Home Loans.

Jessica Shaw MLA

Parliamentary Secretary

Jessica Shaw is the Member for Swan Hills in the WA Legislative Assembly.

Jessica was appointed Parliamentary Secretary to the Deputy Premier and Minister for State Development, Jobs and Trade, Tourism, Commerce and Science in August 2022. After serving as a Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister Templeman and McGurk since the 2021 Election.

Jessica moved to the electorate more than 13 years ago and is the first local resident to represent the Swan Hills community in many years.

Prior to entering politics, Jessica had a successful career in the private sector. She was a commercial executive in the energy industry before being elected at the 2017 State Election.

Jessica’s family own local small businesses in the building trades and she understands what it takes to get our local economy working.

Jessica is focused on delivering employment and commercial opportunities for local workers and small businesses in the construction trades, tourism industry, retail and services sectors.

Hon. Jackie Jarvis MLA

Minister for Agriculture and Food; Forestry; Small Business

The Hon Jackie Jarvis MLC is the Minister for Agriculture and Food, Forestry, and Small Business and has been Member for the South West Region in the Legislative Council since 2021.

Jarvis lives in Margaret River and has established her Electorate Office in the town.

Prior to entering politics, Jarvis started her career in the finance industry before moving to Margaret River in 1998 and establishing a commercial vineyard and winery with her husband Matt. They launched the Jarvis Estate wine brand in 2002.

Through her work as a farmer, regional businesswoman and in the public service, Jarvis has a long career advocating for communities in the bush.

She has proved herself as a strong leader, through her work as CEO of the WA Rural, Regional and Remote Women’s Network, during her time as Commissioner for the Forest Products Commission and on the boards of the South West Development Commission and Australian Landcare Council.

Jarvis’ work attracting resettled refugees to work in agriculture saw her named 2014 WA Rural Woman of the Year and national runner-up. She was also named the Rural Community Leader of the Year at the 2019 Australian Farmer of the Year awards.

Jarvis was appointed to the McGowan cabinet as Minister for Agriculture and Food; Forestry and Small Business in December 2022 and is passionate about continuing to provide a strong voice for regional communities in WA.

Izzi Messina

Vice President Growth & Development at Wood

Izzi is the APAC Vice President of Growth & Development at Wood. One of the world’s leading consulting and engineering companies and a global leader in project delivery, engineering, and technical services, providing efficient, integrated solutions across the asset life cycle in energy and the materials sector.

A highly self-motivated strategy, commercial and business development professional with over 18 years of experience in growing businesses and influencing change. He is passionate about new energy and decarbonisation and is dedicated to building strong relationships that enable the development of a cleaner world.

Throughout his career, Izzi has gained valuable experience in various areas, including strategy, development and stakeholder engagement all with a client centric focus on successful project delivery. His expertise in these fields has allowed him to be a crucial factor in the development of various projects including in regions oil and gas, hydrogen and energy sectors.

Izzi’s passion for creating a more sustainable world has driven him to become a prominent figure in the field of clean energy. He has spent countless hours working with industry leaders and policymakers to develop strategies for decarbonisation and new energy.

Lucas Blackbourn

Communities Manager West at Fortescue Future Industries

Luke Blackbourn has over 15 years in community engagement, communications and external relations around the world. Prior to commencing as Communities Manager with Fortescue, Luke was Yara Pilbara’s Manager Government and External Relations, focused on Traditional Owner relationships and Yara’s green ammonia project, located at the existing Pilbara ammonia plant.

Previously, Luke worked with Chevron and Woodside for a number of years, including global advisory roles in the USA, Africa, the Middle East, and Eastern Europe. His early career was in the offices of State and Commonwealth Members of Parliament.

Luke’s home life revolves around a marathon-running partner, three kids from 10 to 19 years old and a spoodle called Lexi.

Nils Hay

CEO at Mid West Development Commission

Following over 8 years in senior local government executive roles in both the Mid West of WA and his native state of Queensland, Nils Hay commenced as CEO of the Mid West Development Commission in July 2022.

The Commission works with industry, community, and all tiers of government to drive investment and economic diversification, support sustainable growth, and enhance our region’s enviable quality of life.

As a key agency in the delivery of the Oakajee Strategic Industrial Area and Arrowsmith Development Hub, the Commission is focused on realising the Mid West’s potential as a global leader in low-carbon energy and critical minerals and elevating the State Government’s strategic focus on the region.

Mayor Shane Van Styn

Mayor of City of Greater Geraldton

Shane Van Styn has worked as an accountant for the last 24 years, and has been involved in a range of small and medium businesses in the hospitality, construction, property services and security industries.

He was first elected to Council in 2011 at 34 years of age and in October 2015 was elected the position of Mayor by the people of the City of Greater Geraldton.

Shane has served as the Chairperson of the Audit Committee of the City of Greater Geraldton since 2011 and in 2016 had the role of Chair of Regional Capitals Australia.

Shane is a Fellow of CPA Australia and holds a degree in Accounting and is a registered taxation agent and auditor.

Dave Rafferty

Head Of Business Development at Australian Gas Infrastructure Group

Dave Rafferty is the Head of Business Development at Australian Gas Infrastructure Group where he is focused on the development of new infrastructure projects in Western Australia that help to decarbonise the existing customers of the Dampier to Bunbury Natural Gas Pipeline.

This lower carbon pathway includes carbon capture and storage, hydrogen and ammonia transportation as well as low carbon desalination and magnetite slurry systems. Dave has been involved in the Australian energy and mining industry for 20 years in roles with BHP, Santos and APA Group and is pleased to be talking about AGIG’s energy infrastructure vision for the Mid-West.

Dr Vince Hughes

CEO at Crime Stoppers Western Australia

Dr Vince Hughes is the CEO of Crime Stoppers WA.  Prior to this he held senior public sector roles at the Public Sector Commission, WA Police, Corruption and Crime Commission and the former National Crime Authority. He was also a police officer in Ireland.

Vince has published papers in the area of knowledge management and intelligence.

He was appointed Chair of Crime Stoppers Australia in November 2021 and is an Australian representative on the Board of Crime Stoppers International.

Damian Tully

CEO at Mid West Ports Authority

Damian Tully joined Mid West Ports Authority in March 2020 and was appointed CEO in March 2022.  

Damian is an accomplished maritime executive with over 20 years of experience leading operations both at sea and in ports.  Responsible for the continued growth and sustainability of Mid West Ports, Damian is focused on ensuring the organisation continues to deliver quality infrastructure and services for the benefit of regional WA.  

He holds a Master of Business Administration in Maritime Logistics and Management, a Graduate Diploma in Defence Studies, and a Bachelor of Arts in Management.  Damian is a graduate of the Australian Defence Force Academy, the AICD Company Directors Course and is an Associate Fellow of the Nautical Institute.

Doug White

Manager at the Mid West Hydrogen Technology Cluster

Doug White is the Manager of the Mid-West Hydrogen Technology Cluster with extensive experience in public relations, corporate communications, government relations, stakeholder engagement and partnerships and event management.

His skills have been applied across all levels of government, the commercial and corporate sectors, professional services, and as a consultant. He has a passion for the decarbonisation of the industry and the economy and is leading the MWH2TC’s purpose of accelerating the delivery of renewable hydrogen to the world produced in a region with world-class natural assets ideally positioned to produce renewable ammonia and hydrogen for domestic and export markets. He has previously held senior roles with Western Australia’s oil and gas, hydrogen and energy sectors.

Jason Froud

General Manager of Strategy Acceleration at Synergy

As General Manager of Strategy Acceleration at Synergy, Jason is driving the execution of Synergy’s corporate strategy as it leads Western Australia’s transition to a sustainable energy future. He ensures there is continuous improvement across Synergy’s operations and projects and acceleration towards key project milestones and goals. He also is responsible for building and maintaining key stakeholder relationships.


Jason’s previous senior leadership roles at Synergy include the manager of Strategy, Corporate Affairs and Social Value. He has led the organisation’s involvement in Western Australian energy market reform, government relations, energy policy development, stakeholder engagement and advocacy. He was the project lead for Synergy’s Kwinana Battery Energy Storage System project from inception to final investment decision. He also acted in the position of Executive General Manager People, Strategy & Social Value between October 2022 and January 2023.

Graham Arvidson

CEO at Australian Vanadium Limited

Graham is an experienced resource industry executive and director with a background in operations, mineral economics, project management, and mineral processing excellence. He has held key leadership roles developing and operating mineral assets globally across a broad range of commodities with deep expertise in nickel, lithium, vanadium, and iron ore.  His 20 years in the resource industry spans due diligence, feasibility, development, operations, and turnaround.  Graham has successfully project managed large capital projects, built and led many successful operational teams, and honed hard won skills in turning around underperforming operations to achieve safety, production, quality, and financial targets.

Graham holds a bachelor of science in engineering, a master’s degree in mineral economics, and a master of business administration.   He is a certified project management professional (PMP) through the Project Management Institute, a Charted Engineer (MIEAust CPEng), a Chartered Metallurgist (AusIMM CPMet), and a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (GAICD

James Foley

Business Developer at BP

James Foley is the Business Developer for bp’s renewable energy hub GERI and is responsible for moving the project closer to commercialisation. This involves the development of wind and solar generation assets, transmission and pipeline infrastructure, industrial facilities, and export infrastructure. A critical part of the role involves working with internal project teams, external customers, and government agencies.

Having worked at bp since graduating, James started his career at the Kwinana Refinery working in a variety of engineering roles supporting plant operations. James transitioned then transitioned to project manager at Kwinana, managing cross functional engineering and operational teams to deliver projects. He moved to a commercial analyst role in the bp Hydrogen team at the start of 2021 and later that year, took on the role of managing the GERI project.

James holds a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering from Curtin University and completed a Master of Business Administration with Distinction at the University of Western Australia.

James is a proud Fremantle Dockers supporter and enjoys the outdoors and keeping fit. He is recently married and enjoys travelling and experiencing different cultures.

Dr Kate Brooks

AusIndustry Entrepreneurs’ Programme Facilitator at Australian Industry Group (Ai Group)

In her current role with Ai Group, Kate is leading a national project with AusIndustry to help businesses decarbonise on their journey towards net zero. She has built her career on scoping and delivering projects of strategic importance to business, government and research.

Her previous roles include State Director for the WA Life Sciences Innovation Hub (a collaboration between federal and state governments); Innovation Manager for Wesfarmers (WESCEF); and Deputy Head of Operations for CSIRO Astronomy and Space Science. Kate has PhD in astrophysics and spent the first part of her research career in Chile working for the European Southern Observatory, utilising big telescopes, big data and cutting-edge technologies before moving to Sydney and then Perth.  Kate was part of the CSIRO-led team that that bid for the SKA project to be built in Western Australia and later led the transition of the ASKAP construction project into operations.  She has also built relationships with many mid-west businsses as the lead for managing ASKAP’s Indigenous Land Use Agreement. Kate values building relationships and networks and has a knack for connecting interesting people to start conversations that generate new ideas. She is passionate about STEM and skilling up Australia’s workforce for a digital and sustainable world and has a keen eye for what’s on the horizon in terms of new opportunities and challenges. She is also a member of several Advisory Boards for universities and not-for-profit organisations and delivers lectures on entrepreneurship and innovation for the Murdoch University Business School.

Steve Lanyi

Assistant Director, Cyber and Infrastructure Security Centre (CISC) Outreach WA, Department of Home Affairs

Steve Lanyi is the WA Assistant Director of the Cyber and Critical Infrastructure Outreach team for the Department of Home Affairs’ with over 20 years’ experience working across the Home Affairs and Immigration portfolio, including a number of sworn officer roles with the Australian Border Force (ABF).  With a nation-wide presence, the CISC Outreach network acts as a conduit between Government and Industry, providing insight into the Security of Critical Infrastructure Act (SOCI) 2018 and assisting owners, business operators and supply chains to uplift their cybersecurity awareness through education forums, conferences and industry information sharing opportunities.

Nick Bentley

Managing Director at Ocean Marine Energy

Nick is a de-carbonization and sustainability focused energy professional who champions identifying and unlocking opportunities enabled by technological advances. A founding director of a successful energy transition consultancy, Nick is a strong advocate of using Australia’s geographic and expansive natural resource position to develop a sustainable shipping industry. Nick is leading Oceania’s commitment to deliver over a million tonnes of low carbon marine fuel by 2030.

Natalie Nelmes

Director at Geraldton Universities Centre

Natalie Nelmes became the Director of Geraldton Universities Centre (GUC) in 2015 after serving for five years as the Centre’s Special Projects Manager, working at the coal face of creating this innovative model for supported university education in the Mid West region of WA.  With a Masters in Management and an Arts degree, and working for 15 years in the marketing and PR industries prior to GUC, Natalie works with the firm belief that communication and collaboration can open doors to new ways of thinking and finding solutions to community issues.  It’s exactly the approach GUC took in establishing the first not for profit regional university centre in Australia.  Having drawn interest throughout Australia for this model, regional universities centres have now been funded by the Commonwealth throughout Australia. Natalie has extended assistance to many communities in their quest to create a Centre and is the inaugural Chair of the Regional University Centre Network Advisory Committee. Within her own community, Natalie is a board member of Progress Mid West and Champion Bay Senior High School.

Katherine Allen


Katherine first commenced with NACC NRM in 2007 after working for the Australian Government. In her 15 years in the natural resource management (NRM) industry she has held a number of different roles from contract management to operational management and took up the CEO role at NACC NRM in 2018.

Throughout her life, Katherine has been passionate about using her leadership skills to improve the health of the environment in partnership with community. Decarbonising our economy presents a great opportunity for regional communities to be economically and environmentally sustainable. It is important that throughout the transition, we work with community to develop and deliver strategic solutions to the challenges which will arise.

Katherine’s leadership in partnership with her team has seen NACC NRM achieve some significant milestones. In 2020, NACC NRM, in consultation with the community, revised the Northern Agricultural Region NRM plan. During 2022, NACC NRM made a bold decision to purchase a home-base for their operations. In addition, Katherine and her team were  recognised at the 2022 MWCCI Business Excellence Awards for Aboriginal Engagement; as Not for Profit of the Year and; Business of the Year.

David Alexander

Executive Director of Green Energy Major Projects at Department of Jobs, Tourism, Science and Innovation

David has more than 20 years of experience in the resources and government sectors, holding strategic project management and senior advisory roles in Australia and Europe. Recent key roles include as Principal Policy Adviser – State Development; Jobs and Trade with responsibilities including managing State Agreements at the ministerial level, providing advice to Ministers and government agencies on issues relating to economic development and representing the Deputy Premier on government taskforces including for the future battery and critical minerals industry, renewable hydrogen and climate action. Prior to this he was Principal Policy Adviser – Mines and Petroleum during which time he lead the development and implementation of Western Australia’s Future Battery and Critical Minerals Industry Strategy. David’s resources sector experience includes more than 10 years working for Rio Tinto in Australia and Europe.

Huia Adkins

Business Group Leader for Sustainability in WA and a Technical Director for Circular Economy

An experienced professional who co-creates sustainability strategy and action. Huia utilises her expertise and understanding of the principles, tools and strategies of sustainable practice to help deliver workable solutions that support global sustainability goals. Huia has more than 20 years of working across private, public and tertiary education sectors; facilitating the development and implementation of environmental policy, programs and plans, assessment and analysis of expected outcomes and advice to key stakeholders on pathways forward.

She has worked extensively in sustainability, circular economy, waste and resource recovery as well as strategic planning, impact assessment and environmental regulation. She has extensive experience developing strategy and implementation pathways as well as undertaking stakeholder engagement and facilitation processes. Huia is a founding member of Circular Economy WA (CEWA), established to act as the circular economy hub for WA and has contributed to numerous other working groups and steering committees supporting the circular transition across Australia.

Donna Ronan

Chairperson at Mulga Mail Newspaper

Donna Ronan is a Geraldton born Wilunyu/Wajarri Woman a descendant from the Amangu Yamatji Mob.

Donna has worked in various roles in the Community.

At present, Donna is a Chairperson of the Mulga Mail Newspaper. Donna’s passion is Culture and Native foods which she hopes to serve the Community to bring good health to our people!

Donna’s favorite past time is spending time with Elders, being involved in Women’s Issues.

Donna loves camping from the Salty waters to the Red Dirt Country where her Ancestors Spirits still roam!

Suresh Sakar

Engineering & Technology Manager at Iluka Resources

Suresh Sakar is the Engineering & Technology Manager for Iluka Resources and has been involved in Iluka’s major projects and mine developments over the past 15 years.  This included the development of the Jacinth – Ambrosia mine in South Australia, Kulwin and WRP in the Murray Basin and expansions of existing operations in Sierra Leone.  He has driven the selection of the power supply to each of these developments including assessing self generation and connection to the grid.  More recently he has driven Iluka’s move into renewables with the first solar farm commissioned at the Jacinth-Ambrosia mine.

Rohan Warr

Managing Director at Dongara Marine

Rohan Warr is Managing Director and part owner of Dongara Marine, and a fully qualified shipwright.

In addition to the qualifications, skills and experience Rohan has gained through 25 years involvement in boatbuilding including over 10 years at Dongara Marine, he brings to the project commercial vessel operational experience from work in the fishing industry. This includes obtaining his Master V skippers ticket and Marine Engine Driver grade 2 qualifications.

Jai Thomas

Deputy Director General at Western Power

Jai Thomas is the Coordinator of Energy at Energy Policy WA, overseeing the energy transformation in Western Australia. Energy Policy WA manages the policy and regulatory framework for energy supply in Western Australia, and provides advice to assist the Western Australian Government in making well-informed decisions that contribute to the delivery of reliable, sustainable and affordable energy to Western Australian households and businesses.

Vi Garrood

Senior Manager Future Energy Systems at Horizon Power

Vi Garrood is a technical leader who is passionate about applying her extensive Power industry experience to support the decarbonisation of the WA energy sector and create sustainable pathways to achieve net zero.

In her current role as Senior Manager Future Energy Systems, she leads the energy transition for Horizon Power’s future energy systems adopting an integrated resource planning approach.  This encompasses working closely together with communities and balancing stakeholders to drive energy options and strategies for deploying cleaner, greener energy solutions to sustainably meet future energy requirements.

Tom Puddy

Managing Director at SeaStock

Tom has more than 27 years of corporate Australian Agricultural and Food Industry imports and export experience and has held senior positions at Harvest Road Group, Co-Operative Bulk Handling and Craig Mostyn Group.

As an Agriculture industry specialist his core area of experience includes investment concept feasibility, commercial contract negotiations, project delivery and strategic planning.

Tom was also responsible for creating the investment strategy and project delivery for Blue Lake Milling – Australia’s largest oat milling and food processing business which was acquired by CBH. This included the delivery of a modern oat milling plant in Western Australia from concept design to production ramp up and a renewable energy power plant feasibility to commercial contract award.

Tom has a strong track record in the delivery of growth strategies, international trade marketing and commercial negotiations and has an extensive Australian and International network to assist companies to fast track their commercial development and scale up.

Stephen Gauld

Managing Director & Founder of Infinite Green Energy (IGE)

Leah Hirst

Co-Founder & Director of JMH Group

Paul Ihanimo

CEO at Mulga Mail

Adam Gangemi

Managing Director of Super Smart Energy

Tom Goerke

Managing Director at Trestle Digital

Neil Purcell

Project & Strategy Manager at Wajarri Group

Bruce Maluish

Managing Director at VRX Silica

Jarrad Oakley Nicholls

Managing Director at Oaks Civil Construction

Rebecca Girdwood

CEO at Yamatji Southern Regional Corporation (YSRC)

Thomas Luke

Project Director at Strike Energy