Board Members


Mary Hoodless

Mary Hoodless

Chair

Mary is an organisational development consultant and director of a progressive Angus beef enterprise with a focus on enhanced production via embryo transfer. After almost 20 years in health and community services as an executive manager with active research and education portfolios, Mary established her own business working with not-for-profit, private and public sector organisations focusing on aligning organizations’ performance in their rapidly changing and complex environments through good governance and strategy, to facilitate positive change and increased capability within the organisation. Her qualifications include a Master of Applied Science (Research) and Bachelor of Nursing from La Trobe University and Diplomas of Management, Project Management and Population Health and a Graduate Certificate in Education (Tertiary) from Federation University. Mary is a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and Albury Northside Chamber of Commerce and the recently formed Regional Consultant Group.

Mary and her husband Peter run an intensive embryo transfer and commercial angus beef enterprise in the beautiful Upper Murray. The Hoodless family recently celebrated a centenary of continuous occupation on their property, “Karoo”. They are both active community members, volunteering and participating in local community activities.

Mary is committed to working with the changing rural socio-demographics and economic landscape to build capacity and resilience, seek social and economic opportunities, and most importantly, sustain a sense of community.

Geoff Lowe

Geoff Lowe

Deputy Chair

Geoff has extensive experience in the automotive industry, compliance, finance and accounting, marketing and business management. Geoff is a Board Member of the Motor Traders Association of NSW and has held the positions of President and Treasurer and is currently a Vice President.  Geoff’s previous roles included Member of Minister of Fair Trading’s Motor Vehicle Advisory Council.  Geoff is the owner and CEO of Proven Products Pty Ltd.  Proven Products supports a number of local charitable initiatives.

Qualifications:
  • MBA
  • Graduate Diploma of Management, AIB
  • Finance and Governance Training, AICD and Western Woodley Robertson
  • Equivalent of a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Management – certified by the Trustforte Corporation, New York
Alexandra Anthony

Alexandra Anthony

Alex is an experienced leader who works within the Partnerships and Engagement team at the Murray Darling Basin Authority based in Albury-Wodonga. In her previous roles Alex worked within a state wide team delivering customer-focused programs in the NSW state government agency of Local Land Service (LLS). LLS services include biosecurity, natural resource management, agricultural advisory services and emergency management.

She is an experienced communicator who demonstrates her extensive knowledge of natural resource management, farming systems and communities. She has considerable experience working with and between state and federal government agencies and has strong linkages to rural communities.  Alex has developed a solid understanding of the products and service delivered by RDAs and the ways in which they support and foster capacity within local communities. She is keen to participate in the Murray RDA as it develops and delivers programs and opportunities to support business growth, new jobs, innovation and new investment within the Murray region.

Alex has trained in agriculture, farm office management, rural leadership and company directorship.  She is pre-qualified for NSW Government Audit and Risk Committee membership.

Ben Foley

Ben Foley

Ben grew up in Albury-Wodonga and completed a Bachelor of Business (Enterprise Development) at Latrobe University before relocating to the U.K where he resided for two years before returning to Melbourne. 

During his working career, Ben has held senior roles with organisations such as Lloyds, Sonoco, the Victorian Chamber of Commerce & Industry, NSW Business Chamber (now Business Australia) and CBA. He returned to the border in 2005 and his current role is that of Head of Community Impact & Partnerships at Hume Bank. During his 12+ years with the NSW Business Chamber, Ben has built extensive networks with both public and private organisations/ representatives and developed an in-depth familiarity of opportunities and challenges confronting communities throughout the Murray and Riverina Regions of NSW.

Ben has extensive governance, stakeholder management, sales, marketing and strategic planning experience and has held numerous board and advisory council appointments with the likes of TAFE NSW, Riverina Regional Tourism and COMPACT Inc. He remains actively involved in several local associations.

Brian Millar

Brian Millar

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

Colin Elliott

Colin Elliott

Colin Elliott (MEng, BAppSci, CT, GAICD) is a Principal Consultant at Spiire and has over 38 years industry experience in the fields of Civil Engineering, Geology, Environmental Assessment and Auditing, Project Management, Personnel Management, Regional Policy Development and Governance.

He is currently Regional Manager for Spiire Australia Pty LTd in Albury; leading a team of professionals that specialise in Property and Infrastructure services including Urban Development.  He is also a Board Member at Alpine Valleys Community Leadership (inc).

Colin is a graduate of the Company Directors Course (Diploma). He has previously held the role of Regional Manager for GHD Albury/Wodonga and Board positions with Wodonga TAFE, DECA Ltd, Regional Development Australia (Hume), The Personnel Group Pty Ltd, NELLEN, and Wodonga Chamber of Commerce. He was previously the business Community representative on the Albury/Wodonga Land Disposal Advisory Committee and Chair of the Wodonga Hills Advisory Group

Colin moved to the Albury/Wodonga region in 2005. This was originally on the basis of a 2 year contract, but he and his family enjoyed living here so much, they decided to stay.  He is married with 2 teenagers (twins – one of each). His wife Dianne is a nurse working in a leadership role in a local medical practice, and his two children attend Wodonga Catholic College.

In his social time Colin is an active member of the Albury/Wodonga Car Club and participates at club level along with his children. He is also active in motorsport event organisation and has been Clerk of Course for the local round of the Victorian Rally Championships for a number of years.

Special areas of interest and expertise include Project Management, Civil Engineering, Governance, Policy Development, Due Diligence Auditing, Environmental Assessments and Event Management.

Deanne Armstrong

Deanne Armstrong

As the CEO for Committee for Echuca Moama, Deanne brings a depth of skills and knowledge across a range of industry sectors. Deanne grew up on a dairy, cropping and beef farms. Through some amazing career opportunities, she now has a breadth of backgrounds in Hospitality, Education & Training, Victoria Police, Goulburn Murray Water and Committee for Greater Shepparton. She has developed her networks and relationships with Government, Businesses, Industries and Community stakeholders to understand the needs and importance of our regional communities. 

She completed the Fairley Leadership Program, AICD course, which has helped lead her into a range of board and committee positions with Kyabram District Health Service, Echuca Moama & District Tourism Development Association Inc, Bridge Arts Project, Echuca Moama Manufacturing Group, Shepparton Careers Day Out and Shepparton Youth Foyer (Advisory Committee).

Deanne has a passion for regional communities and wants to see them thrive by advocating and supporting businesses to develop a sustainable future workforce, provide opportunities to incorporate innovation and technology into businesses, providing opportunities for economic development and business attraction and drive the future of our region through mentoring and supporting our future leaders.  

Gerard Van Emmerik

Gerard Van Emmerik

Gerard is the Manager of Manager of Community and Economic Development with Federation Council based in Corowa. He has a long history working in the public sector across local and state government in both NSW and Victoria. He currently has a strong workplace focus on economic development, tourism and organisational grant management.

Prior to his current role, Gerard spent nine years working as an Economic Development Coordinator with Regional Development Victoria (RDV) based in Wodonga, working across the twelve local council’s that make up the Hume Region. His key focus areas whilst working at RDV included the development of regional cities and support for the manufacturing and transport industry sectors across the region.

Gerard’s qualifications include a Masters in Public Sector Management, a Graduate Diploma in Education (VET), Graduate Certificate in Management and a Bachelor of Social Science. He has also completed studies in welfare and adolescent psychiatry.

Gerard is a Murray region local having spent the majority of his life living in the Albury area. He is keen to promote the benefits of living, working and investing in the region.

James Smith

James Smith

James is an experienced business leader, having owned, managed and led businesses and teams across the region. He is an experienced Recruitment Manager and Talent Attraction Specialist with over 12 years of experience partnering talented people with successful companies. James is currently a Regional Advisory Councillor for Business NSW. He has been a past Chair of the Albury Business Chamber and past Director on that Board for four years. He has also previously held the positions of; Regional Advisory Councillor for TAFE NSW and Board Member for the Border Trust.

James is currently employed as the Director of Business Services for Align Work Health, a health and wellbeing provider, based in Albury, servicing regional NSW and Victoria.

James is an advocate of regional youth employment, mental health, diversity & inclusion, and has raised much needed funds in the region to support these areas for improvement. He brings a broad knowledge of regional opportunities and challenges. James’ strength is in collaboration and partnering with key stakeholders to achieve a collective benefit for the region. James is also a husband of an inspiring wife and father of three wonderful children.     

Lynnette O'Reilly

Lynnette O'Reilly

Lynnette has a passion for the regions and has extensive experience in working collaboratively across communities, government and business. After many years in WA has returned to the region in which she grew up and is passionate about making a difference to the Murray region.

She brings significant experience in regional development, local government and vocational education and training. She has held positions of General Manager, CEO and Director roles in local and state government and vocational education and training across both regional and remote mining areas in WA.

Commitment to the regions included membership to the CY O’Connor College of TAFE Governing Council, appointed as Board Member to the Local Government Managers WA and appointment to the WA Regional Council Committee as a Local Government representative providing strategic input and oversight of the WA Royalties for Regions program.

Qualifications include Master of Business Leadership, Graduate Diploma Education – Sports Science, Bachelor of Education and Certificate IV Training and Assessment.

Currently working in a community service role, she is keen to strengthen local community connectedness and access to needed services and local opportunities that will help build capacity across the Murray region.

 

Murray Scholz

Murray Scholz

Murray Scholz is the owner and manager of a progressive and innovative agriculture business producing grain, oilseeds, beef, and lamb in the eastern Riverina.

Murray is an experienced Board Director with over 10 years of commercial and not for profit experience in strategic direction, financial management, corporate governance and communication strategy in commercial agricultural business, capacity building, and research. He has served as a director of Nuffield Australia, and Holbrook Landcare. He is currently a director of Queensland Crop Research and Riverine Plains farming systems group. He also sits on the Industry Advisory Panel of the Graham Centre (Charles Sturt University & NSW DPI) and GRDC southern NSW grower network.

Murray is a nationally recognised innovator, and his experience in agriculture has led him to present at conferences in Canada, India, and Japan. In Australia he has presented at government, industry and university conferences including ABARES National Outlook Conference, Australian Farm Institute conferences, and GRDC updates. Topics have included weed management, technology in agriculture, adapting farming systems in a changing environment, and strategic decision making. His business has been featured on ABC’s Landline and Bush Telegraph.

Murray is a Nuffield Scholar, a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and completed The Executive Program for Agricultural Producers (TEPAP Texas A&M).

Oliver McNulty

Oliver McNulty

Ollie is a professional engineer having graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Engineering from Trinity College Dublin in 1996. He worked as a consulting engineer for over 15 years including over 7 years as a partner in a multidisciplinary engineering consultancy practice. In 2012 he moved to Australia and commenced a career in Local Government having worked with Campaspe Shire Council, Swan Hill Rural City Council and Edward River Council. He is currently the General Manager with Balranald Shire Council. 

He has been recognised as a professional engineer by Engineers Australia, he has qualifications in project management and contract management, he has taken part in extensive leadership and governance training. He is a member of the Institute of Directors Australia.

He is passionate about the community and ensuring that the community have access to great services