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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 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

GG-(3).jpg Gillian Geraghty

Title: Senior Vice President
Qualifications: B Engineering (Civil), Ad Dip Project Management, GAICD
Experience & expertise: Gillian is a Senior Project Director for NSW Health Infrastructure since July 2017 currently delivering the New Maitland Hospital. 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 employing over 700 Apprentices and Trainees across NSW.
She has a record of achievement over 20 years as a dynamic and influential Senior Executive in the Utilities, Regional Development and private sectors. Sharon has significant experience working with Boards of Directors in developing and executing strategy including with the National Apprentice Employment  Network (NAEN),Hunter Water Corporation, Hunter Water Australia, Regional Land Management Corporation and as Non-Executive Director of Hunter Development Corporation.
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 a Director of Hamilton Taggart Business Advisors and is a highly respected business manager assisting client’s of the practice 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 practice in 2000 until July 2018 when Melanie Hamilton was appointed Managing Director of the practice. 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 AM

Title: Director and Past President
Qualifications: AM, BCom, LLB, FAICD, FCPA
Experience & expertise: Richard is a consultant with 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 and the Chair of the Australian Institute of Company Director’s Hunter committee. He is a member of the Advisory Boards for both the Faculty of Business and Law and for the School of Law at Newcastle University. He is a non-executive Director and Deputy Chair of Hunter Primary Care Ltd and a non-executive Director of Rural and Remote Medical Services.
In 2018 Richard was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for "significant service to the community of the Hunter, to business development and medical research, and to the law".
Special Responsibilities: Chair, Nominations Committee

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.

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.

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.


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

SS-(2).jpg Gillian Maxlow

Title: Director
Experience & Expertise:Gillian Maxlow is a Director of the digital marketing agency Maxedout Solutions, established to assist Hunter Region business owners develop strategies to maximise their online visibility, and automate their sales and business work flows.  Using Facebook Advertising Campaigns, digital marketing and social media platforms to place online content, products and services, right where potential customers are hanging out online. Gillian is also the Lake Macquarie Business Communications Director, and Hunter Business Chamber Board LCC Representative.
 Due to her husband’s occupation, she’s had many years living overseas and experiencing an expat lifestyle, eventually settling in Lake Macquarie following a five year SE Asia sailing adventure.  When she's not sailing, you'll probably find Gillian listening to music or supporting local ukelele musicians.

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