Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Sans Souci in the southern suburbs of Sydney, and then moved to Cronulla. I now live at Woronora Heights, I’ve basically been in The Shire for most of my life and I do support The Sharks, like a true Shireman.

What did you want to be when you were a kid?
I’ve always been around the water either on it or under it. When I was young I was in North Bondi Surf Club, I started as a nipper at five-years-old and then continued into the senior club. I was surfing at Cronulla every spare moment, so my ideal job when I was a kid would have been either a life guard or professional surfer. But, then I grew up and realised to be a professional surfer I needed to be far better than I was.

How did you develop a career in the maritime sector?
I started in the maritime industry more than 20 years ago, firstly with Contship Container lines which was owned by CP Ships. My baptism into the maritime sector was at the same time as the 1998 Australian Waterfront Dispute. I spent a number of years in the liner operation and then joined P&O Ports which at the time was one of the largest stevedoring companies in the world. P&O was acquired by DP World in 2006.

I then went into the rail business with Pacific National in the coal division at a time when coal ships were queuing off Newcastle primarily due to vessels arriving quicker than coal could be moved from the mine to the port. With saltwater in my veins I then joined Sydney Port Corporation at a time when Port Botany was being expanded and the Landside Improvement Strategy was introduced.

In 2013, the NSW government privatised Port Botany and Port Kembla and I then joined NSW Ports, a new business majority owned by Australian superannuation funds. At the start of 2019, I went back to the Port Authority of NSW.

What do you find most rewarding about your job?
The people would be first and foremost the most rewarding part of my job, I interact with shipping lines, stevedores, ports, landside operators, industry associations, government agencies, importers and exporters and most organisations associated with the supply chain. It’s a relatively small industry and people tend to stay within it so you do get to know people quite well from both a business and personal perspective. I have always found the people I deal with as committed, professional and genuine, which I think is a credit to this industry. 

Why is Sydney a great place to live?
Sydney has so much to offer, our iconic harbour which I’m able to get out on regularly, the waterways around Port Hacking and Botany Bay, the beaches and National Parks. I think it’s a great place to live and work. 

What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
I enjoy being on the water, and being around it, so boating is what I enjoy the most, to me a day on the water is like a two-week break. I also do a fair bit of scuba diving, in Sydney we have a lot of very good shore dives from Sydney Harbour down to the Illawarra.

What’s your favourite Sydney restaurant?
I have two favourite restaurants, Wilsons Lebanese in Redfern, my parents first took me there when I was a kid. My wife and I have continued going there with our children. I have been going there for over 35-years so it has history and the restaurant has remained in the same family all this time. The other restaurant is Sea-level at Cronulla, the location is right on North Cronulla Beach and the food is always good. And, it’s on the site of the old Joes Milk bar which was an iconic landmark in Cronulla before it was demolished in the 1990s.

Where will you be in 10 years?
Difficult question, 10 years is a long time, I certainly enjoy what I do now both professionally and personally so if I can do more of the same I will be happy.

What’s your favourite music?
Alternative rock with a little grunge, Foo Fighters, Nirvana and Powderfinger are some of my favourite bands

Is there an Australian (living or historic) who you find inspiring?
I think Dick Honan the chairman of Manildra Group is inspiring. The Manildra Group has been investing in regional Australia for over 60 years and they continually evolve and develop. Dick’s passion for his business and how he will always question how things are done is a measure of the success the group has had. He always seems to be thinking of ways to do things more efficiently. I see Dick as enthusiastic, decisive, compassionate, competent and loyal. A true leader.

If you or someone you know would like to be a future subject of The Grill, please email editorial@thedcn.com.au

This article appeared in the September 2019 edition of DCN Magazine

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