Speakers

Hon Sue Ellery MLC

Leader in the Legislative Council Minister for Finance; Commerce; Women’s Interests Member for South Metropolitan Region

Sue Ellery is currently Leader in the Legislative Council in Western Australia’s State Parliament and is the Minister for Finance, Commerce and Women’s Interests. She is the first woman to lead the Government in the Legislative Council.

In the portfolio of Finance, Sue is responsible for delivery of State Government infrastructure projects.

In the Commerce portfolio, Sue is keen to drive improvements for Western Australian consumers, businesses and workers through fair and effective regulation, licensing and consumer protection laws.

As the Minister for Women’s Interests, Sue is focused on delivering positive outcomes for women in all areas.

Born in 1962 and raised primarily in Perth, Sue has been a member of the WA Parliament since 2001 representing the South Metropolitan region in the Legislative Council.

Jessica Shaw MLA

Parliamentary Secretary to the Premier and Minister for State and Industry Development, Jobs and Trade, Federal-State Relations and Public Sector Management

Jessica Shaw MLA is the Member for Swan Hills in the WA Legislative Assembly and Parliamentary Secretary to the Premier and Minister for State and Industry Development, Jobs and Trade, Federal-State Relations and Public Sector Management.

Prior to entering Parliament, Jessica was a senior commercial executive in the energy industry for over a decade. Her early career was in foreign affairs and trade, as Political and Economic Attaché to the British High Commission and for the Australian Senate’s Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee. 

Jessica has undergraduate honours degrees in law and politics, a Masters in Law from the University of Cambridge and has studied energy policy, climate science and economic development at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. 

Jessica is a Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and was honoured to be admitted as a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Energy in 2019.

Roanna Edwards

Partner at PwC’s Indigenous Consulting

Having spent almost all of her childhood living in the Mid West, and launching her professional career as a cadet journalist at the Geraldton Guardian, Roanna is delighted to be back in town for her second Mid West Economic Summit. Roanna is a Whadjuk and Ballardong Noongar and is now a Partner of PwC’s Indigenous Consulting, leading the firm’s WA and NT practices.

Since her early journalist and broadcasting days, Roanna has spent over a decade working in Aboriginal Affairs across Commonwealth statutory bodies and State-owned utilities to deliver positive outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Roanna is an innovative professional who uses her skills to shape organisational strategy,   manage high performing teams and influence those around her to implement best practice delivery. She has wide ranging expertise across stakeholder management and community engagement.

Roanna loves having the opportunity to jump back behind the microphone, particularly for events, activities and topics she’s passionate about. The future of the Mid West is certainly one of those!

Devika Shivadekar

Economist - RSM Australia

Devika Shivadekar is the Economist for RSM Australia based in their Sydney office. She has a wealth of experience in macro-economic and financial research, spanning both public and private sectors, and a deep understanding of the APAC region. She follows key macroeconomic indicators such as growth, inflation, central bank decisions and the labour market to assess the overall health of an economy. Prior professional experiences include stints at the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and Bank of America. She holds a MSc Finance (UK) and BA Economics (India).

Jerry Clune

Mayor Jerry Clune - City of Greater Geraldton

Jerry Clune is no stranger to Council having served as an elected member for the City of Greater Geraldton between 2011-15 and from 2017 to the present day. In 2021 Clune was elected as Deputy Mayor and went on to be voted in as Mayor in 2023. Known for being community driven, Mayor Clune has been a long-standing member of the Midwest community and continues to serve on a number of Council Committees. Mayor Clune prides himself on promoting a collaborative approach amongst his fellow Councillors in order to collectively
pursue positive outcomes for the people of Greater Geraldton. Mayor Clune has farmed in the Bringo district with his family for decades and if he isn’t with his wife Lynda, four adult children, or grandchildren, you’ll find
him barracking for is favourite team – the Fremantle Dockers!

Pete Spalding

Director - Regional Development - Mid West Development Commission

Pete Spalding has spent the last 28 years of his working career in the resources sector in a variety of commodities and roles in the Pilbara, Midwest and Northern Territory with international and junior mining companies. From exploration fieldy and portable toilet cleaner to iron ore mine manager and regional manager of a large greenfield port and rail project; Pete’s roles have encompassed exploration, stakeholder engagement, safety, environment, production and mine closure. The highlight of his working career to date was being trapped in an exploration caravan in the Pilbara during tropical cyclone Vance with a project geologist…A mortgage and three teenage children later…Pete recently left the resources sector to pursue his desire to be involved in regional development with the Mid West Development Commission.

Damian Tully

CEO- Mid West Ports

Damian Tully is a maritime executive with over twenty years of experience leading teams at sea and in ports.

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

Damian leads the organisation as it embarks on a transformative journey from a single port entity focused on iron ore, to a multi-port organisation that will play a pivotal role in the energy transformation, and industry diversification, of the Mid West and Gascoyne regions.

He holds a Master of Business Administration in Maritime Logistics and Management and is a graduate of the Australian Defence Force Academy and the AICD Company Directors Course

Justin Nash

Business Development Director, Hydrogen, Western Australia

Justin Nash is a bp leader and the Business Development Director for Hydrogen in WA. Justin heads the Geraldton Export-Scale Renewable Investment (GERI) Project, H2Kwinana and is a director of bp’s Kwinana Refinery subsidiary.

These projects aim to play a major role in decarbonising Australia and the world’s energy system and are part of  bp’s ambition to reaching net zero by 2050 or sooner.

His career has involved roles in business development, joint venture management and technical subsurface leadership in the US, South America, Norway, and Australia. Most
recently, Justin was bp’s head of integrated solutions in WA, a division providing
integrated and decarbonised energy solutions to corporations, cities, regions and bp’s
own businesses in support of bp’s net zero commitments.
Justin holds a Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) in Environmental Engineering from RMIT University, is a registered Professional Petroleum Engineer and a graduate of the AICD Company Directors Course.

Luke Barber

Development Manager Vestas

Luke was appointed to Vestas in 2023 to lead the development of Vestas’ Mid West Wind Farm (MWWF) project near Geraldton. The MWWF is a large scale renewable energy project across multiple local government areas and has potential to supply renewable energy to both the grid and industry as well as providing community benefit through additional employment opportunities.

Prior to joining Vestas, Luke accumulated over 9 years experience in land development as a chartered civil engineer in Australia and Canada, working on projects from feasibility through to construction.

Vestas is the energy industry’s global partner on sustainable energy solutions. Vestas design, manufacture, install, and service onshore and offshore wind turbines across the globe, and with more than 177 GW of wind turbines in 88 countries, Vestas have installed the most wind power in the world. Together with its customers, Vestas’ more than 30,000 employees are bringing the world sustainable energy solutions to power a bright future.

Chief Executive Office - Australian Vanadium Limited

Mr Graham Arvidson has 18 years of experience in the minerals sector spanning feasibility, evaluation, successful development and operation of mineral assets globally and across a broad range of commodities including deep experience in vanadium, lithium, nickel, and other future focused battery metals.

Mr Arvidson has proven project development expertise, a deep Western Australian project development network specific to mining, commercial acumen borne of managing contracts from both the client and contractor side and extensive project management experience in tendering, negotiation, conforming and managing O&M, EPC, EPCM, EPC-O and BOO forms of project delivery.

Simon Harman

Head of Supply Chain at Mitsui E&P Australia Pty Ltd

Mr Simon Harman joined MEPAU in April 2022 and has more than 30 years’ experience in the oil and gas industry across a wide range of Supply Chain roles. He has broad leadership experience in tendering, negotiating and managing contracts of up to and over US$1 billion in Australia and internationally. Prior to joining Mitsui E&P Australia, Simon held roles in Woodside and BHP Petroleum.

John Welborn

Executive Chairman - Fenix Resources Limited

Mr John Welborn is the Executive Chairman of Fenix Resources Limited, a successful ASX listed integrated mining, logistics and port services company operating in WA’s Mid-West.

A former investment banker and international rugby player, John has an impressive track record of building great teams and growing business. A champion for responsible and sustainable mining development, Mr Welborn is a Chartered Accountant with a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Western Australia and is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia and holds memberships of the Australian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy, and the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

A born and bred West Australian, John is a former Commissioner of Tourism Western Australia, and is the President of Rugby WA and a Trustee of the JP Stratton Charitable Trust.

Mike Hollet

Managing Director Yamatji Water

Mike is a co-founder of The Right Water Company and former Chairman of the Water Corporation in Western Australia having earlier led significant water reform initiatives over many years, in both the public and private sectors. As a Hydrographer, Mike has 40 years’ experience across the water and property sectors and continues his passionate drive for challenging the status quo and finding a better more sustainable way of delivering outcomes that matter.

Mike is an experienced Director, having been a former Chairman of the Pilbara Development Commission and Ocean Gardens Retirement Village, Mike now serves on private boards being Chairman of Yurra Pty Ltd a majority Yindjibarnd owned contracting company he co- founded in 2013 and has private interest in infrastructure and affordable housing for seniors in regional WA. Mike is a GAICD.

Fleur Coaker

A/Director Regional Services Dept of Water and Environmental Regulation

Since commencing with the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation 16 years ago, Fleur Coaker has gained extensive water management experience across the State. She is currently Regional Manager for the Mid West Gascoyne region and has recently been acting in executive roles responsible for Statewide water regulation and water measurement functions. Fleur holds a Masters qualification in Sustainability Science and was recognised for her water leadership in 2019 by becoming a Fellow of the nationally recognised Peter Cullen Water and Environmental Trust.

Fleur has first-hand experience in the mining industry in onsite environmental roles and in consultancy organisations securing environmental approvals for mining projects across the Mid West and Goldfields.

Fleur has been living and working in regional areas for the last 23 years and in Geraldton for the past 16 years. Fleur is a strong advocate for regional delivery and recognises the value and strength in local relationships to influence and create positive change. Fleur is passionate about ensuring the sustainability of our environment and water resources for the future and working collaboratively with all interest groups to achieve this.  

Stephen Carroll

R&D Tax Adviser, Innovation Facilitator & Educator

Stephen is a registered R&D Tax Agent with over 25 years of experience as a specialist in this field. He has been an R&D Tax Partner and Director in some of the largest Accounting firms in Australia and has worked with thousands of businesses across all industries and technologies and worked with companies from startups to international corporations.

Stephen has been a representative on the National and State R&D Tax Groups with the ATO and AusIndustry and represented the R&D Tax industry at the Federal Senate Economics Committee. He is an active presenter in many public and private forums.

Stephen also takes an active role in the local Innovation Ecosystem including roles such as Judge, Facilitator, Mentor for numerous Startup: pitches; event; programs; awards; and grants.

Stephen has founded his own Startup to educate people on the Innovation Journey and is the Founder of the WA Innovation Calendar: www.wainnovationcalendar.com.au

Glen Payne

Chief Executive Officer of DIAB Engineering

Glen Payne, Chief Executive Officer of DIAB Engineering, is a seasoned leader with almost 40 years of extensive experience in the mining and engineering industry.

Glen began his career at Iluka Resources completing a Fitting/First Class machining apprenticeship before joining DIAB Engineering in 1990, holding a number of leadership positions throughout Australia, PNG and Africa. Glen has held several senior roles, including Managing Director in 2007, which saw the company experience a period of healthy growth under his leadership. In 2016, DIAB was acquired by BGC Contracting, during which he was appointed Chief Executive Officer and was instrumental in the smooth transition. After once more being acquired by NRW Holdings in 2019, DIAB continues to expand with the support of businesses across the NRW Holdings Group.

With extensive experience in fixed plant maintenance, shutdowns and commissioning projects, Glen has led DIAB to become a preferred provider of high-quality, reliable integrated engineering services for projects of all sizes. Glen continues to lead the company with a focus on innovation, client relationships and maintaining its reputation for excellence.

Michael McConachy

Managing Director - Nexus Airlines

Michael has over 30 years management experience in a range of industries including agriculture, property development, construction, tourism, and aviation. As co-owner and founder of the HMC Group, Michael is committed to providing industry leading aviation and tourism services throughout Western Australia.

Michael has played an integral role in developing aviation in regional Western Australia since 2014. In 2023, Michael proudly launched Nexus Airlines to further strengthen his commitment to providing reliable, regular, and affordable air travel for all, including local communities, businesses, and visitors to the regions.  Michael is a Board member of the Regional Airlines Association of Australia, inaugural Chair of the East Kimberley Marketing Group, and former Chair of the Kimberley Development Commission.

Natalie Nelmes

Director - 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 spawning the Commonwealth’s Regional Universities Study Hub program in 2018. Natalie has extended assistance to many communities in their quest to create a university entre and was the inaugural Chair of the Regional University Centre Network Advisory Committee. Her passion for regional education extends as an Executive Member of SPERA (Society for the Provision of Education in Rural Australia) and within her own community, as a board member of Champion Bay Senior High School.

Chandra Sundareswaran

Director, Centre for Learning Enterprise and Partnerships Office of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Academic - Curtin University

Chandra is a post-graduate engineer and entrepreneur with experience in diverse sectors across higher education, renewable energy and manufacturing in India and Australia. His partnerships with government, industry and higher education over the past decade give him a deep understanding of the challenges and the opportunities in driving innovation in large organisations and jurisdictions.  Chandra has previously led a not-for-profit social enterprise startup, which delivered cost-effective community sustainability services to over 20 local governments in VIC and NSW – helping local governments reduce emissions and empowering households and businesses to manage rising energy costs. He has led innovative approaches to economic development in the regional Western Australia by supporting the development and capacity building of innovation hubs in the Pilbara, Peel and the Southwest. He is passionate about social impact investment and innovation in education and health, and  supports Impact Seed, IDEA Academy, Hola Health and All Saints College in Board and Advisory capacities.

Ryan Hall

Director Development Services - City of Greater Geraldton

Ryan Hall is an experienced executive leader skilled in urban & regional planning and economic development with a demonstrated history of delivering change and improvement in government organisations.

Ryan has been the Director Development Services at the City of Greater Geraldton since 2023. He has also held senior leadership roles at the Cities of Townsville, Karratha, Vincent, Wanneroo and Gosnells as well as the Department of Planning Lands & Heritage.

Ryan has a Degree in Social Science and a Masters Degree in Urban & Regional Planning from Curtin University, as well as a MBA from Murdoch University.

Ryan has been a long term active contributor in the planning and development industry being elected to various committees, advisory committees and working groups. In 2019 Ryan was recognised by his peers by being awarded a life membership to the Local Government Planners Association.

Todd West

President Mid West Chamber of Commerce & Industry

Todd West is the CEO of Glass Co WA, a leading glass and aluminium business within the West Australian building industry. A qualified glazier for 30 years, business owner and operator for the past 25 years. Born in Geraldton with a family connection that dates back 3 generations in the region. A father of 3, married to Angie and an avid sportsperson both on water and land.

In the last decade Todd has played a role within the regional development community. Firstly, on the Mid West CCI board (2010–2014) as Vice President then followed by a 6-year stint with the Mid West Development Commission, 3 years as Chairman (2017 – 2020). Vice President of Pollinators Inc, and current President of the Mid West Chamber of Commerce and Industry Inc.

Todd also holds roles within his community as a very active committee member of the Drummond Cove Progress Association. The association is a leading voice enabling a healthy connected community.

As a dedicated business owner in the Mid West he is passionate about pursuing the regions strengths and expanding the Midwest through smart specialization.

Paul Pollard

Helping the Midwest and Gascoyne with their business and domestic finance needs

As a seasoned senior executive, I bring a wealth of experience in corporate and agribusiness banking. My commitment to customer engagement and service excellence has been a driving force throughout my career. I have successfully managed relationships across diverse agribusiness sectors, building strong connections with key stakeholders and industry specialists. Additionally, I’ve actively contributed to the community by serving as President of the Mid-West Chamber of Commerce. My strategic leadership extends to roles such as State Sales Manager and Executive Officer, where I played a pivotal role in developing and maintaining a CRM for a start-up energy business. With a deep understanding of regional dynamics, I’ve lived in various areas, gaining local insights into horticulture, fishing, pastoral, and commercial sectors. My passion for networking, relationship development, and service excellence continues to drive my success in the industry.

 

Ray Loh

Executive Director – ICN Western Australia

Ray has extensive experience in the supply chain industry, having supplied goods and services to clients in the industry during his time as a General Manager at an electrical business as well as working with major projects at ICNWA (Industry Capability Network Western Australia). Joining ICN in 2012, he currently manages ICNWA which is involved in numerous major projects across various industries including energy, resources, renewables, infrastructure and defence among others.