Sector Director


Keith has held various leadership positions within the Department's flagship Business Advisory program(s) over the past 8 years. He helped establish the Australian Industry Productivity Centre program in Tasmania in 2008 and continued to manage the program as State Director through the evolution to Enterprise Connect and then the Entrepreneurs' Programme.

In addition to this State Director role, Keith also led the 'National Tourism Network', managed Tasmania and Victoria during the transition to the Entrepreneurs' Programme and went on to be co-Director of Food and Agribusiness for the Entrepreneurs' Programme nationally. His current role within the program is Director of Business Facilitation, which encompasses the 'Supply Chain Facilitation' services.

Keith's private enterprise experience has centered on regional economic development, Food and Agribusiness and the Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) sector. Career highlights include launching Australia’s first organic infant formula, and being part of establishing 2 nationally recognised food brands.

Keith holds a Bachelor of Science (Aquaculture) (Hons).

Queensland


Ross Contarino

Partner:
Ai Group
Location:
Townsville
Ross Contarino

Ross delivers specialised supply chain facilitation services across north Queensland. He has a long and distinguished career in economic development through several regional development organisations across northern Queensland.

Ross was an elected member in local government before entering an economic development role for a north Queensland shire council. He has since worked in economic development roles in all levels of government.

He worked as the AusIndustry north Queensland Regional Manager before taking on the role of Chief Executive Officer for Advance Cairns, and then General Manager Economic Development and Corporate Services for sister organisation Townsville Enterprise Limited.

Ross has a Master of Business Administration, is a member of Economic Development Australia and a Management Committee member.

Anthony Holzwart

Partner:
Austmine
Location:
Toowoomba
Anthony Holzwart

As a business facilitator for the Mining Equipment, Technology and Services sector, Anthony develops and manages projects nationally that bridge the gap between the needs and requirements of procurement teams in mining, oil and gas and the improved performance of their suppliers.

Anthony has a long track record of assisting SMEs to realise their full potential. His approach is straightforward and practical – do what matters most and, wherever possible, avoid the mistakes of others. Working in a range of private and public sector roles, Anthony has provided assistance to hundreds of businesses, predominantly in the mining, oil and gas, civil construction and manufacturing sectors. Each of these interactions has provided practical insights into what works, what doesn't and where potential can often be found.

As a Principal Economic Development Officer within the Queensland Government, Anthony has also spent a number of years working closely with a range of major proponents and upper tier suppliers to interpret their procurement needs at both construction and operation/maintenance stages. Equipped with this knowledge and understanding, and committed to achieving a win-win outcome, he has played a key role in developing and delivering a range of supplier improvement initiatives.

Graham Poon

Partner:
NSW Business Chamber
Location:
Cairns
Graham Poon

Graham has over 30 years commercial experience accumulated in Australia, south-east Asia, north Asia, Guam, Micronesia and the Pacific, as well as in the private sector and at local, state and federal government levels.

Graham's business background includes tourism management and operations in Australia and overseas, retail, management consulting and finance broking.

He provides strategic planning for various community organisations and has been a member of Cairns Regional Council's Sister Cities Advisory Committee and the Multicultural Advisory Committee.

Graham applies his knowledge to the Cairns business community from his previous role as Austrade Trade Commissioner where he helped Australian companies access projects funded by the Asian Development Bank and other development institutions such as AusAID and the World Bank.

He has held positions as CEO of TropLinks in the field of Tropical Expertise, CEO of the Chamber of Commerce Northern Territory (NT), Austrade Regional Trade Commissioner NT and General Manager of a major tourism operation in Guam. Graham was educated at the University of Queensland.

James Scotland

Partner:
Ai Group
Location:
Brisbane
James Scotland

With an extensive career as a senior manager in widely different industries, followed by several years as a business consultant, strategist, corporate trainer and small business owner, James is a highly experienced professional who can help Australian businesses improve, grow and succeed.

His clients appreciate his ability to draw on his personal management experience combined with his practical understanding and application of the 'theory' of business.

James has held senior roles in business development, strategic marketing and operations, and has worked extensively throughout metropolitan, regional and remote Australia. He is known for his highly developed interpersonal, communication, analytic and facilitation skills and his strong commitment to assisting clients to find and access hidden value in their businesses.

James has a Master of International Management, a Graduate Certificate in Human Resources and a Certificate IV in Training and Assessment. He is a graduate of Australian Institute of Company Directors, a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Management, and a member of the Australian Marketing Institute.

Victoria


Mark Amirtharajah

Partner:
Geelong Manufacturing Council
Location:
Ballarat
Mark Amirtharajah

As a business facilitator, Mark delivers detailed supply chain facilitation services across the Entrepreneurs' Programme's key growth sectors.

Mark works with both the buyers, customers and suppliers to optimise the operation of their supply chain while simultaneously helping to build the capability and capacity of those involved. Along with strong research and analytical skills, Mark has extensive strategic, economic, and managerial experience, and has a network of industry and government contacts along with a detailed understanding of drivers of business growth.

Mark has extensive skills in negotiation, engagement and communication, which have been further developed during his roles as CEO in local government, and roles in state government and the private sector.

He has successfully scoped and delivered a number of major infrastructure projects along with delivery of client-driven community based services.

Mark holds a Master of Economics, a Graduate Diploma of Agricultural Economics and a Bachelor of Agricultural Science.

Brett Henderson

Partner:
Geelong Manufacturing Council
Location:
Melbourne
Brett Henderson

With over 25 years of successful private, public and not-for-profit experience behind him, Brett has skills in delivering complex projects across multiple sectors and countries. This experience includes strategic planning, stakeholder engagement, business development, advisory and board member roles.

Brett brings a global perspective with a practical approach to business. He is a strong advocate for agile, inclusive and collaborative leadership to create focused results with positive impact. Brett is entrepreneurial as the founder of collaborative networks across Australia that connect, educate and inspire future business leaders to grow their businesses through exporting, innovation and commercialisation.

Brett's qualifications include a Master of International Business, Associate Diploma of Business, Diploma of Project Management and an Associate Diploma of Applied Science.

South Australia


Simon Williams

Partner:
Deloitte Private
Location:
Adelaide
Simon Williams

Simon has extensive national and international experience in all aspects of sourcing, evaluating, funding and developing business opportunities. He has been a company director, investor, small business owner and has worked in large corporations.

Simon's previous roles include CEO of Itek (UniSA's commercialisation company), State Manager of the Australian Institute for Commercialisation, and founded several small businesses. His directorships include 6 companies in the fields of clean technology, biotechnology and ICT.

Simon has a background in finance and brings know-how in managing equity, knowledge transfer, intellectual property and negotiating partner agreements across research organisations and industry sectors both nationally and internationally. He provides professional facilitation services specialising in value chains and accelerating commercialisation.

Simon's formal qualifications include a Master of Entrepreneurship, Master of Environmental Studies, Bachelor of Economics and a Bachelor of Ethics. He was awarded an Alumni Fellow title at the University of Adelaide.

Western Australia


Michael Beaton

Partner:
Deloitte Private
Location:
Perth
Michael Beaton

Michael has over 20 years' experience in various senior commercial and finance roles across a diverse range of industries, including agribusiness, FMCG, technology development (software and hardware), healthcare, consumer sporting and fashion goods, tourism, rail and ports.

Having worked regionally for the last 15 years, Michael is also passionate about regional development and working with businesses on their local, national and international growth and development. He is currently the principal of a management consultancy firm which provides strategic commercial and financial advice to start-ups, SMEs and NFPs across a diversity of sectors.

Michael has a Bachelor of Business (Major in Accounting), is a qualified CPA and a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. He is also a current NFP Director and Chair of the Finance Committee for a Regional Natural Resource Management (NRM) organisation.

National


Christie Davidson

Partner:
NSW Business Chamber
Location:
Sydney
photo of Christie Davidson

Christie is an experienced strategist specialising in digital transformations and has a demonstrated history commercialising small to medium sized enterprises. She has 13 years-experience operating in complex corporate environments with 6+ years in international trade and supply chain. After being based out of London, UK for 3 of those years, Christie relocated to Hong Kong where she established and built a regional headquarters. During this time, Christie successfully worked closely with emerging Fintech organisations and developed long-lasting relationships with large corporations and government bodies in over 25 different countries around the world.

After recently returning to Australia, Christie completed her Masters of International Business & Graduate Certificate in Commerce from The University of Sydney Business School. She graduated with several top of the class accolades. Christie launched her first digital fitness start-up app and also consulted to an Australian renewable energy firm developing its operations and commercialisation strategies. More recently, Christie successfully engaged in an MIT course specialising in the ‘Internet-of-Things’ and the implications on leadership and strategy.

Christie can be described as a forward thinker who brings a breath of fresh air to those she works with. She is skilled in cross-cultural relationship building, identifying market opportunities, operations architecture, and business development. In this role, she brings expertise in digital strategies, project management, supply chain, stakeholder management and managing operational processes to achieve strategic goals.

Mike Goodman

Partner:
NSW Business Council
Location:
Newcastle
Mike Goodman

Mike Goodman is an experienced executive and a positive catalyst for change. Over the past 8 years, he has assisted hundreds of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) across multiple industry sectors to become better businesses. In his current business facilitation role for the Australian Government's Entrepreneurs' Programme, Mike delivers supplier development projects that aim to improve SME performance and capability to better meet the needs of key customers. These projects assist businesses to adopt digital technology, to enhance operational systems and processes, improve product quality and delivery performance, and to explore strategic initiatives such as innovation and buyer/supplier relationships.

Mike has more than 30 years industry experience across a variety of business-to-business and business-to-consumer environments, including 16 years in global marketing positions where he helped Australian IT and digital technology companies establish their presence in the US, Europe and Asia. He has qualifications in marketing, sustainable business and management and recently attended the Leadership21 executive education program with Mt Eliza Business School. Mike is also an active regional stakeholder and has positions on the Central Coast Industry Connect Advisory Committee and the Central Coast Council's Employment and Economic Development Advisory Committee.

Grant Peden

Partner:
Ai Group
Location:
National
Grant Peden

Grant delivers supplier improvement and business growth services to help Australian SMEs grow and become globally competitive. Previously, Grant was the Global Supply Chain Program Manager at global technology company Thales, where he worked with Australian companies to help them enter global supply chains.

Grant has extensive expertise and experience in market intelligence, business strategy, leadership and organisational change. He uses his strong industry networks to facilitate the formation of strategic relationships and partnerships between businesses.

Grant previously worked in management consulting as a trusted advisor to blue-chip clients. During this time, he honed his strong analytical, client relationship management and stakeholder engagement skills delivering business strategy, corporate strategy and marketing strategy projects.

Earlier in his career he worked in venture capital, where he worked with high-potential early-stage companies to help them commercialise IP and accelerate growth.

Grant's formal qualifications include a Master of Business Administration and Master of Marketing and a Master's degree.

Thorsten Wacker

Partner:
Ai Group
Location:
National
profile photo of Thorsten Wacker

Thorsten is an accomplished, proactive and passionate digital business specialist with more than 20 years’ experience in driving operational performance through the strategic implementation of digital solutions for logistic and supply chain companies in Europe, the United States of America and Australia.

His experience ranges from software development via implementation and integration to business intelligence and data analytics across varies industries including automotive, FMCG, retail and oil and gas.

Thorsten is currently a Digital Supply Chain Facilitator, a role that involves working with eligible SME suppliers to understand the gap between supplier capability and the buyer requirement with respect to digital technologies and advise on solutions to improve supplier ability to perform in global supply chains.

His formal qualifications include a Bachelor of Business (Logistics and Supply Chain Management)‎, a Diploma in International Freight Forwarding and formal training qualifications. Thorsten is also a NMAS accredited Mediator.