2024 Speakers

Our lineup of 2024 keynote speakers will be announced soon. Please check back shortly!

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.

Nicole Nelson

Senior Tourism Experiences Development Manager at Tourism Western

Nicole has 30 years’ experience working in some level of tourism in Western Australia. Currently working for Tourism Western Australia as a Senior Tourism Experience Development Manager she was instrumental in securing the recently announced $8.1m funding for stage one Kalbarri Foreshore and Beaches Revitalisation initiative and stage one Sustainable Tourism Development at the Houtman Abrolhos Islands. Nicole has worked for state and local governments as a Project Manager on tourism projects including the Kalbarri Skywalk, Abrolhos Islands National Park development, upgrades to Shell Beach and Monkey Mia, town free Wi-Fi, upgrade of the Drive In and RV Friendly town for Dongara – Port Denison and managed the Mid West Coastal Nodes project. Nicole holds a Bachelor of Business Management with distinction, Diploma’s in Human Resource Management, Project Management and Business Management, holds a Certificate in Engagement IAP2 and a Cert IV in international travel sales. 

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Frances Pollock

Managing Director Wooleen Station, Owner and Founder Red Earth Marketing, Tourism Champion Gascoyne-Murchison region

Frances Pollock resides in the Murchison at Wooleen Station, an award winning eco-tourism and regenerative pastoral property which aims to offer an experience which is ecologically responsible and engages people with their natural environment. Frances is passionate about tourism opportunities in outback Australia. In particular, sustainable enterprises which promote a deeper understanding of our culture and place. Frances is fiercely committed to providing excellent customer service and genuine experiences. She sits on the board of TrailsWA, the Mid West Food Industries Alliance and the WA Station Stays committee. In 2022 Frances was honoured to be selected by Tourism Australia as a sustainability storyteller and to receive the Individual Excellence in Customer Service award at the WA Tourism awards.