What is your job and what does it entail?
I’m currently managing director of Aquatic Biosecurity Pty Ltd. I’m a scientist, biofouling inspector, marine surveyor, vessel master and a commercial diver. My job is doing anything in the aquatic arena that I can get out of the office to do, although I seem to end up writing lots of reports in the office describing what I was doing.
How did you get into your line of work?
I was surfing, fishing, sailing dinghies, snorkelling, reef combing and going out in boats so I started at Flinders University as a young man thinking about how to get paid to go to the beach.
After university I took a dream job as a government research scientist working in fisheries, aquaculture and water quality in the South Australian government.
Later I took another government job as manager of Marine Biosecurity for South Australia. I was voted in as the national chair of the Marine Pest Sectoral Committee which helped me to understand the joint biosecurity and maritime issues facing industry, the environment and the community.
Then I left government and started my business. Twenty-five years, five degrees and a bunch of certifications later I find myself here running my business and representing stakeholders on a range of volunteer fisheries and maritime NGO boards.
What makes your work rewarding?
I never quite know what I’m going to be doing or where in the world I will be each month which is exciting and rewarding. Project work is like solving a puzzle every time with an innovative solution.
I also do a lot of volunteer work on boards which I find very rewarding. It puts you in contact with good people, interesting projects and it is good to give back to the community.
What did you want to be when you were growing up?
I wanted to be an industrial designer or engineer but I didn’t get the marks I needed at school. Then I had an epiphany moment at university and I changed my course to Marine Biology with Chemistry. It all made sense to me and then I started getting very good grades. Almost everyone told me I was wasting my time but I went for it anyway and it has proven to be a great decision.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in the leafy Adelaide Foothills of Belair in South Australia, but we also spent a lot of time at my grandparent’s holiday house at Victor Harbour SA.
Where do you live now? What makes it a special place to live?
I’m living back in Belair in South Australia, but not at my parent’s house although they’re still there in that same house.
What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
I have been mountain biking since the sport started in the 1980s and still get out there for the occasional race. I have a 700cc adventure motorbike and a research dive boat. I still like going surfing, diving, snorkelling and sailing outside work. I coach tennis once a week and go rock-climbing sometimes.
Do you play a musical instrument?
I have a guitar signed by Mike from the Beach Boys in my campervan so I’m looking forward to getting better at it as I’m not very good.
What music do you enjoy?
Spiderbait, Disclosure, The Presets, Calvin Harris, Beastie Boys, Nirvana, The Happy Mondays, Billy Idol, Brian Ferry, Bowie etc.
Have you got a favourite restaurant? Where is it and what makes it special?
Hentley Farm in Seppeltsfield Barossa Valley because it is more of an adventure than a menu and their wines are nice too.
Is there one Australian (past or present) who you particularly admire?
Former Australian Prime Minister, the late Bob Hawke. He genuinely cared about all the things that made Australia a great place to live. His position on stopping the Franklin Dam development and other natural heritage destruction projects was admirable. A great role model.
To where would you like to retire?
I would like to retire travelling the world wherever it is safe to go, with just short stays back in Adelaide to catch up with friends. There’s so much to see out there and while I know Australia very well I know there’s lots I want to see and do.
If you or someone you know would like to be a future subject of The Grill, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
This article appeared in the October 2019 edition of DCN Magazine