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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: Transport Client Leader, Aurecon
Qualifications: BEng (Civil), CPEng MIEAust, RPEQ, GAICD
Experience & expertise: Jane lead Aurecon’s growth strategy in the Hunter region as Aurecon’s Newcastle leader January 2018 – June 202. Projects such as Newcastle Light Rail, Wickham Transport Interchange and the University’s NuSpace building are engineering highlights for her team. Jane now leads the Transport clients portfolio of which includes significant projects in the Hunter.
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 a Young Executive 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: Communication and Leadership Consultant, Heartful Coaching
Qualifications: BArts (Communication Studies). GAICD.
Experience & Expertise: Lauren is passionate about the growth and success of the Hunter region and creating opportunities for the next generation. She has held leadership roles with and led communication for the Port of Newcastle, Hunter Water and the Hunter Medical Research Institute, and was previously the Marketing and Grants Manager for the £321 million  redevelopment of Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital in London. As a qualified coach, Lauren helps leaders, teams and job seekers navigate change and complexity and communicate effectively. She is currently completing an MBA at the University of Newcastle.
1111-409-012-Enhance.jpg Peter Gesling

Title: Director
Current Position: Board Ambassador, Newcastle Airport
Qualifications: M Bus, B. Eng (Civil), A.Dip Town & Country Planning, FAICD, FIE Aust., FIML
Experience & Expertise: Peter is self-employed as a Director, facilitator, trainer and mentor. He has accreditation in several career and organisational development products.
Former Chair of Newcastle Airport Board, Peter now serves as the Board Ambassador and Corporate Mentor. He has a personal consultancy trading as and has extensive experience as a non-executive Director on ‘not for profit’, community, public and private Boards across the aviation, legal, lifestyle, local government and tourism industries/sectors.
Peter has spent his career working and living in local and regional communities assisting them to find their potential, recover from adverse conditions and celebrate their successes. He is clear on the importance of businesses’ role in establishing, growing and maintaining a community, its economy, culture and history.
This has involved successful time in rural, remote/isolated, urban and city environments both in Australia and internationally including the Hunter, Norfolk Island, Sudan, Papua New Guinea, Kiribati and central and north-west NSW.
IP-(4).jpg Natalie Mitchell

Title: Director
Qualifications: Master  of Commerce
Experience  &  expertise: Natalie Mitchell was elected to Business NSW’s Council in 2015 and was elected to the Board in February 2020 and the HBC Board in March 2020.
Natalie’s 25 year career in business management began with accounting and finance roles with Arthur Andersen, AGL and Dairy Farmers. These roles led to involvement in business management and inventory control software, taking her overseas to lead sales and software design and implementation teams in Tokyo, Singapore and Chicago.
Upon returning to Australia 18 years ago, Natalie founded her own business, Capital Office Business Solutions. Capital Office Business Solutions provides business advisory services to businesses in the mid and north coast of New South Wales, including risk management, financial modelling, strategic planning, management accounting and systems implementation services.
Natalie is passionate about promoting and developing businesses in regional Australia and was, for the last two years, the Chair of Business NSW’s Regional Presidents’ Forum.
Natalie holds a Master of Commerce (Professional Accounting) from the University of New England and is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors

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