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Our Board


Hennie du Plooy

Current Position: Chief Executive Officer,  Port Waratah Coal Services
Qualifications: Bachelor of Extractive Metallurgical Engineering, University of Pretoria; Bachelor of Commerce, University of South Africa; GAICD
Experience & expertise: As Chief Executive Officer since 2011, Hennie has led Port Waratah Coal Services through periods of strong growth and expansion as well as a material downturn in the coal industry requiring
adaptability to costs pressures and customer demand for efficiencies. Hennie’s key interest is
advancing the mutually beneficial relationship between local business and the Hunter community.
Having a strong track record of positive community engagement, his contribution to the Chamber
would be a focus on how current strengths can be leveraged in the interest of sustainable economic
growth that improves all aspects of the wellbeing of the Region.

Tony Rhodes

  Senior Vice President
Current Position: Owner Mullanes Group
Experience & expertise: Growing up in Cardiff Tony left Glendale High in 1979 at 15 to begin a Plumbing apprenticeship at H.L. Mullane. Working through management and leadership roles he purchased the company from the Mullane family in 1999. The company now has 260 people on the team at Mullane, including 56 apprentices. Tony also have an interest in a small electrical business (Prophase -10 people) and a hydraulic design consultancy (WP&FD – 5 people).
He is a happily married father of 4 adults, Past President of both Newcastle Rotary Club and Newcastle Master Builders Association and have served on advisory boards for SIDS and RIDBC.
Tony strongly believe that co-operation, communication and healthy relationships are key to building strong organisations.       

Jane Moran

Title: Vice President
Current Position: Newcastle Office Manager, Aurecon
Qualifications: BEng (Civil), CPEng MIEAust, RPEQ, GAICD
Experience & expertise: Jane has lead Aurecon’s growth strategy in the Hunter region as Aurecon’s Newcastle leader since January 2018. Projects such as Newcastle Light Rail, Wickham Transport Interchange and the University’s NeW Space building are engineering highlights for her team.
Jane is a Member of Engineers Australia and a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, sits on the Water Polo Australia Board, is an Olympic bronze medallist and was also named one of six Young Executives of the Year in the 2018 Australian Financial Review BOSS awards.
JV-(5).jpg Jonathan Vandervoort

Title: Immediate Past President
Current Position: Executive General Manager Australian Rail Track Corporation
Qualifications: BCom, GAICD, FCPA, FAIMA
Experience &  expertise:Jonathan joined Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) in January 2015. He is currently the Group Executive Hunter Valley. Jonathan has been involved in the Australian coal mining industry for over thirty years.
For twelve years before joining ARTC Jonathan was instrumental in developing NSW's coal infrastructure network, including two years as Executive General Manager Infrastructure at Whitehaven Coal, five years as the founding Chief Executive Officer of Hunter Valley Coal Chain Coordinator and five years at Port Waratah Coal Services. Jonathan continues as a Director of the Hunter Valley Coal Chain Coordinator and is a past Director of the Newcastle Coal Infrastructure Group. He is a Fellow of Australian Institute of  Management and CPA Australia and a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. Jonathan has been a Director of the Chamber since 2010.
Special Responsibilities: Chair, Executive Committee
Narelle Redman

Title: Director
Current Position: Proprietor, Silveradoh Promotional Products
Experience & expertise: Narelle is a Director of Silveradoh Promotional Products based in Cardiff. Together with her husband Gary they have operated small businesses for over 25 years. Narelle is passionate about helping others succeed in business which has led her to becoming involved in local Chambers of Commerce. Over the past 12 years Narelle has held the positions of Secretary at Warners Bay Chamber, President of Business Charlestown Chamber and a Director of Lake Macquarie Business. She has been a committee member of HBC Business Development Forum for the past 7 years and has also been invited by LMCC onto several of their business and community committees. In 2014 Narelle was awarded the Lake Macquarie Business Person of the Year.
Special Responsibilities: Chair, Business Development Forum Committee
Jim Garis

Title: Director
Current position: Business Development Manager
Qualifications: B Com, ACA
Experience & Expertise: Jim founded the Garis Group in cosmopolitan Hamilton some 27 years ago with a focus then on tax advice, diversifying over the years to focus on small business growth strategies, tax strategies, superannuation and wealth creation strategies.
Throughout the years The Garis Group has remained a professional family owned and operated financial services firm, leading a team of experts. Jim, Diane and their son John, are directors of The Garis Group.
The strong relationships with our clients, now located throughout Australia, are based on our personal and technical expertise. The Garis Group works to create a beautiful financial future for families and businesses alike.
Jim’s recent focus has been on sharing his expertise with the Hunter community via his role as treasurer of the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce, Deputy Chairman of The Newcastle Tourism Industry Group, committee member of The Newcastle Business Club, life member of Merewether Carlton Rugby Club and a strong supporter of Business for Good.
RT-(2).jpg Geoff Crowe

Title: Director
Qualifications: BCom, MAICD, FCPA
Experience & expertise: Geoff worked at Port of Newcastle as Chief Executive Officer from July 2015 to June 2018. He continues to support strongly the work he started in the Hunter region and the opportunity the port represents in the growth of all trades emphasised by a strong diversification strategy. He has extensive experience in the Hunter region's coal mining sector, having held senior leadership roles with Port Waratah Coal Services and a number of mining companies. Geoff played a key role in developing the Long Term Commercial Framework with industry whilst at Port Waratah and also served as a Director of the Hunter  Valley Coal Chain Coordinator. As a Novocastrian, Geoff has a special interest in supporting the region to realise its full potential through the city’s continued revitalisation with investment in key infrastructure investment, airport and port growth, growth in tourism, further developments in research and educational facilities like the University of Newcastle. 
RA-(2).jpg Lauren Eyles

Title: Director
Current Position: Head of Public Affairs, Hunter Water
Qualifications: BArts (Communication Studies). GAICD.
Experience & Expertise: Lauren is a Graduate  of the Australian   Institute   of Company  Directors  and has held leadership  roles within  the  utilities,   ports,  health  and medical  research  sectors,  contributing    to the strategic  direction and growth   of nationally   significant  assets. As Head of Public Affairs  for  Hunter  Water,  Lauren leads media  and government   relations.   Previous roles include  Executive  Manager  Communication  for the  Port of Newcastle,  Marketing and Grants Manager  for the £321 million  redevelopment of Great Ormond  Street  Children's  Hospital  in the United  Kingdom  and Communications  Manager  for the  Hunter  Medical  Research Institute..
1111-409-012-Enhance.jpg Peter Gesling

Title: Director
Current Position: Chairman, Newcastle Airport
Qualifications: M Bus, B Eng. (Civil), A Dip Town Planning, FAICD, FIE Aust., FAIM
Experience and expertise: Peter is  self-employed as a Director, facilitator, trainer and mentor. He is Chair of Newcastle Airport, Director of Hunter Region Botanic Gardens, and has accreditation in several career development products.
He has worked as a Senior Executive in Local Government with over 20 years at Port Stephens Council. During his career, Peter has gained extensive experience as a non- executive Director on ‘not-for-profit’, community, public and private boards in a range of industry sectors. These have included aviation, community arts, community services, economic development, education, engineering, environmental, government, heritage, humanitarian, investment, land development, legal, records management, tourism and waste sectors.
IP-(4).jpg Ian Penfold

Title: Director
Qualifications: FAICD
Experience  &  expertise:  Ian was appointed to the Board of Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry in 2007. He is a Past President of NSW Business Chamber and has been a councillor since 1997. An experienced Chairman and Chief Executive, Ian's particular skills and experience were acquired as the head of major corporations with licenses for
well-known international retail brands. Ian is a former Chairman and Managing Director of Speedo Australia, and Chairman and President of Pentland Australia, which in addition to Speedo, owned the license for other international brands including Lacoste and Ellesse. He is also a former Managing Director of Cork International, a leading consumer products business with international brands and of Charles Parsons & Company Pty Ltd, a major subsidiary of the Charles Parsons Group - a multi-faceted supplier and converter of textile products in Australia. He was also Chairman of Australian Business Lawyers & Advisors and Defence Reserves Support Council Sydney Metropolitan Regional Chairman and Committee Member. Ian is also a member of the Corrective Industries Consultative Committee. Ian has been a Director of Hunter Business Chamber since 2012.


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