Committee Members


Peter Clinnick

Peter Clinnick

Committee Member

Peter, has a Degree in Agricultural Science with Honours. He is a soils specialist, as well an accredited commercial and industrial energy auditor with over 30 years’ experience in natural resource assessment and energy management. 

He has been engaged by CSIRO Forestry, industry and local government to work in extension, soils and forest research and land use planning throughout Australia.  Soils, carbon accounting and providing energy saving solutions for industry and commercial businesses have been major components of his work in the rural sector. 

Peter is Managing Director of the environmental consulting company Advanced Environmental Systems Pty Ltd based in Echuca.

Desmond Bilske

Desmond Bilske

Deputy Chair

Des has a degree in Business from University of South Australia, Graduate Certificates in Commercial Law and Accounting and Financial Management from Charles Sturt University in Wagga Wagga and is a qualified Graduate from the Australian Institute of Company Directors.  Des has extensive experience at an Executive Level in Local Government at Balranald, Gannawarra, Broken Hill and Deniliquin Councils.  He was the inaugural General Manager of the Northern & Yorke Natural Resource Management Board in South Australia for the first two years of establishment.  He has previous senior management experience across a range of industries including communications, information technology, logistics including supply, warehousing and distribution services and commercial laundries.   Des has worked within the States of South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria and New South Wales as well as periods within the Northern Territory.

Jennifer Weller

Jennifer Weller

Chair

Jennifer started her working life as a microbiologist at Tooth’s Brewery in Sydney before moving to SPC as technical manager. Jennifer joined Uncle Toby’s as research and development manager and performed other high level roles for Goodman Fielder before becoming general manager of Hadar Homes. Jennifer was a finalist in the 2007 Telstra Business Women’s Awards (Innovation) and was the Victorian winner of the 2007 Telstra Business Woman of the Year (Private and Corporate) and was awarded Business Woman of the Year 2004 by Business and Professional Women’s International (Albury Chapter). Currently Jennifer runs her own business Creativeworkz (Leadership and Organisational Development) and Exfuze (a multibotanical wellbeing drink). Jennifer also lectures for Charles Sturt University (CSU) and is Deputy Chair of Capri Waters Country Club. Jennifer lives in Corowa with her husband and has two grown boys

Nicola Melville BSc (Hons) PGCE, GAICD

Nicola Melville BSc (Hons) PGCE, GAICD

Treasurer

Nicola is the Deputy Chair of Albury Wodonga Health Service and a member of the Charles Sturt University Regional Consultative Committee. Nicola is the former Chief Executive Officer of the Bogong Regional GP Training Network and was previously the Chief Executive of the Upper Hume (Gateway) Community Health Service. Nicola was previously also Deputy Chair of the Hume Medicare Local and a Director of Wodonga Institute of TAFE. She has played a leadership role in the implementation of Primary Care and Preventative Health strategies at a National, State and local level and has extensive networks, particularly in public and community health, throughout the Riverina and Murray Valley.

Brian Millar, Director – Business, Arts & Service Industries

Brian Millar, Director – Business, Arts & Service Industries

Committee Member

Brian brings significant educational leadership experience in both the Vocational Education and Training and the Higher Education Sectors to our business line. He has held positions as Head of Department in the Victorian TAFE network, Lecturer and Senior Lecturer in Hotel Management, Deputy Head of the School of Tourism and Hospitality and as the Director of the Beechworth Campus with La Trobe University.

As the Director of the TAFE NSW Riverina Institute Business, Arts, and Service Industry Brian has a track record in the development and delivery of quality educational programs both within Riverina Institute and in his previous positions. 

Brian is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors course and holds a Masters of Hospitality Management from Griffith University, Bachelor of Education (Technical and Further Education), Diploma of Teaching from the University of Melbourne, Diploma of Business and Certificate programs from the Victorian TAFE network and a Certificate of Commercial Cookery from TAFE NSW. With 16 years background in the education sector this enables him to lead his team in a position of strength and growth for the future.

He is a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, a Fellow of the Tourism Hospitality and Catering Institute of Australia, a Regional Councillor for the Murray Riverina New South Wales Business Chamber and a member of the Indigo Economic Development and Tourism Advisory Committee

James Charteris-Hough, Managing Director – ABCA (AB Agri Ltd)

James Charteris-Hough, Managing Director – ABCA (AB Agri Ltd)

Committee Member

James was born into a family with a long line of involvement in farming and agriculture in the UK. Brought up on a mixed livestock farm he gained a practical understanding of farming from an early age.

His education was initially science based gaining a first degree in Animal Physiology and Nutrition at Leeds University. Later when more involved in the business world he gained an MBA at the OU in UK.

Work roles included a period as an Agricultural Adviser for the UK Ministry of Agriculture Fisheries and Food then further technical roles as National Nutritionist for two leading UK feed businesses before joining AB Agri.

During his time with the AB Agri business he has carried out a variety of roles in sales and product management then as Commercial Director for the Co-Products business and Business Development Manager for AB Agri global projects.

AB Agri is the agribusiness division for the London based plc Associated British Foods which is a leading FTSE organisation with food operations globally including famous brand such as Twinings, Mazola and Blue Dragon and wholly owns the George Weston Foods business in ANZ.

James resided in China for over seven years and was Managing Director of the China based ABCA (AB Co-Products and Additives) for over five of them, having set the business up initially and grown to be a significant revenue earner with over 50 people, mostly within China.

Now James is leading yet another spin-off, start-up operation in the Asia Pacific Region in the form of ABCA (Asia) doing what he enjoys most which is developing and driving new business opportunities through a dedicated and highly skilled team. Based now in Sydney from the Global Technology Group offices of another global ABF business AB Mauri – leaders in yeast technology.

Karen Gardner

Karen Gardner

Committee Member

Karen has 20 years’ experience in the arts and cultural industries. Karen has a BA Communications (Theatre/Media) and a MA Cultural Performance.   Karen’s career spans strategic and business planning, large scale event management, and the development and implementation of community based arts projects.

Karen has worked on some of Australia’s largest events including: the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, the Centenary of Federation Parade, the Millennium Celebrations on Sydney Harbour and the Sydney Royal Easter Show.  But  it is smaller, community based projects which make her most proud, such as a printmaking project with an Aboriginal Women’s Art Therapy Group, the dis/assemble dance project, and the Holbrook Yellow Submarine.

Karen has also worked in Local Government as a Senior Strategic Planner for Arts and Culture.

Karen has been the General Manager of Murray Arts – the Regional Arts Development Organisation based in Albury/Wodonga since 2008.  During this time, Karen has grown the organisation and led it through significant change.  This role includes strategic planning, financial planning, and staff management.  She is currently working in partnership with local Aboriginal Artists to establish Burraja Arts, an Aboriginal Artists Enterprise in the Albury Wodonga region.

Karen learnt to read music at age 7, fell in love with the theatre at 15, has been a Bollywood Dance Teacher, and dabbles in Printmaking.