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Our Board

JV-(5).jpg Jonathan Vandervoort

Title: President
Qualifications: BCom, GAICD, FCPA, FAIMA
Experience &  expertise:  Jonathan joined  Australian Rail  Track  Corporation (ARTC)  in January 2016 as Executive General Manager - Hunter Valley. Jonathan has been involved in the Australian coal mining industry for almost 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

GG-(3).jpg Gillian Geraghty

Title: Senior Vice President
Qualifications: B Engineering (Civil), Ad Dip Project Management, GAICD
Experience & expertise: Gillian is Director of Passion for Projects working primarily as Business Case Leader for NSW Health Infrastructure since July 2017. Prior to that Gillian was the Regional General Manager of the Northern NSW office for APP Corporation. Gillian is a Member of  Engineers Australia, the Australian Institute of  Project Management and the Australian Institute of Company Directors. Gillian has been a Director of Hunter Business Chamber since 2012.
Special Responsibilities: Chair, Regional Infrastructure Committee

SS-(2).jpg Sharon Smith

Title: Vice President
Qualifications: Bcom, ACA, GAICD, F Fin
Experience & Expertise: Sharon Smith is charged with leading the team at Hunter Valley Training Company (HVTC) through the  next phase of  its  growth and contributing to its ongoing success as Australia’s premier group training organisation. She has an outstanding record of achievement over 20 years as a dynamic and influential Senior Executive in the Utilities, Regional Development and private sectors. This includes Chief Financial Officer and General Manager in various roles leading large operational and shared services teams across Finance,   Human   Resources,   Information   Technology,   Procurement   and   Business Development areas. Sharon has significant experience working with Boards of Directors in developing  and  executing  strategy  including  Group  Training  Australia,  Hunter  Water Corporation, Hunter Water Australia, Regional Land Management Corporation and as Non- Executive Director of Hunter Development Corporation and Newcastle Grammar School.
Special Responsibilities: Chair, Audit & Governance Committee, Company Secretary

RT-(2).jpg Alan 'Ross' Taggart

Title: Immediate Past President
Qualifications: BCom, FCPA
Experience & expertise: Ross is the Managing Director of Taggart Business Advisors and is a highly respected business manager assisting his clients to reach sound and achievable goals. He specialises in assessing new business and preparing sustainable strategies for those businesses including succession planning and family business planning. Ross joined public practice in 1979 and was admitted as a Partner of Taggart Partners in July 1985. He was appointed Managing Director of the firm in 2000. Ross is a Registered Tax Agent and Self Managed Superannuation Fund Auditor. He is personally committed to the provision of teaching support for the CPA Australia’s continuing professional development activities. Ross is a Director of Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service and has been a Director of the Chamber since 2008.

RA-(2).jpg Richard Anicich

Title: Director and Past President
Qualifications: BCom, LLB, FAICD, FCPA
Experience & expertise: Richard is a partner of Sparke Helmore, a national law firm with its
origins in Newcastle. He has held various management roles with the Firm including periods on the national partnership board, managing partner of the Newcastle office and is currently a member of the Firm’s audit and risk committee. He has been a Director of Hunter Business Chamber since 2008 and was the President 2011- 2014. Richard is a Conjoint Professor of Practice in the School of Law, Faculty of Business and Law at the University of Newcastle, Chair of the Australian Institute of Company Director’s Hunter committee and a member of the Port of Newcastle Community Liaison Group.
Special Responsibilities: Chair, Nominations Committee

Geoff Crowe

Title: Director
Qualifications: BCom, MAICD, FCPA
Experience & expertise: Geoff joined Port of Newcastle (PON) as Chief Executive Officer in July 2015. 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.
At PON he leads an experienced, local team who deliver a range of services for the port, including vessel scheduling, dredging and survey services, trade, cruise and business development, maintenance of major port assets, wharf and berth services and the management of 792 hectares of port land. As the CEO and a Novocastrian, Geoff has a special interest in seeing the port diversify and grow along with Newcastle and the broader Hunter region.
Special Responsibilities: Chair, Hunter Business Chamber Membership Committee

1111-409-012-Enhance.jpg Peter Gesling

Title: Director
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.

JL-(2).jpg Jennie Lyons
Title: Director
Experience & expertise: Pride Dry Cleaning & Laundry is a family-owned business. Their objective is to continually grow, become more environmentally aware and energy efficient. Jennie  and  her family  enjoy  a  better  work/  life  balance  by  working  smarter  on  the business,  outsourcing some  tasks  and  taking  short  breaks  which  also  allows  key staff members to grow and obtain greater autonomy within their roles. Jennie has been a Director of the Chamber since 2016.
Special Responsibilities: Chamber Alliance Partner Program representative and Deputy Chair,  Business  Development  Forum  Committee.  

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. Ian is also Defence Reserves Support Council Sydney Metropolitan Regional Chairman and Committee Member, Corrective Industries Consultative Committee. Ian has been a Director of Hunter Business Chamber since 2012.

NR.jpg Narelle Redman

Title: Director
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


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