What is your job and what does it entail?
I am the general manager corporate services for Ports North. We manage nine ports in Far North Queensland, with the main port and hub for our office and operations based in Cairns.

My role includes the functions of company secretary, corporate governance, legal compliance, property management, land use planning, insurance, risk management, marine pilotage, safety, human resources, media/communications and community. I also get to be acting CEO from time to time which is another opportunity to wear a different hat.

How long have you been in this role?
I started with Cairns Ports Authority in 2001, and became GM Corporate Services for Ports North in 2009 following the sale of the Cairns Airport and Queensland Port Network Structure Review.

What do you like most about it?
Well it’s certainly never dull. It’s a big portfolio so there is a real diversity with the work. No two days are the same with new challenges continually rolling in the door to test, stimulate and make you think. I also work with a great team – some of whom have been here since I started at the organisation.

Where did you grow up and what are some early memories?
I actually grew up in Cairns when it was a very small town of 30,000 people. You knew everyone and life was very simple and carefree. After leaving Cairns and spending 20-years in Melbourne I moved back to a very different Cairns in 2001. A thriving international tourist city of 150,000 people with so much development and improved public infrastructure. It is still an easy place to live and a great place to bring up a family I hasten to add.

Is it true you are a Collingwood supporter?
I’m afraid it’s true! I love nothing better than a game at the Melbourne Cricket Ground when we win by a few points and the crowd goes absolutely nuts. As for players, I did have a soft spot for ‘Daisy Thomas’ who was great to watch when he was on fire, especially in our flag year of 2010. I was sad when he left to play for the arch enemy, Carlton, even though his best years were definitely with the ‘pies.

The Premiership year was such a special one, so many great contributions from so many players. Travis Cloke kicking a goal to level the scores late in the first Grand Final. Then Heath Shaw’s amazing smother on Nick Riewoldt during the Grand Final replay. It is fair to say that I am a real Collingwood tragic and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

What makes Cairns a great place to live?
I live in town on the waterfront near restaurants, bars, shops and beautiful parklands. The city precinct is always a buzz with people enjoying the outdoors and the many social activities and events that are happening. Everything is 10 minutes away, even the airport.

What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
I am a little partial to good food and wine so I do spend a lot of time with friends eating and drinking bubbles. Walking my little dog Indy is another favourite activity in between riding my bike and visiting the many walking tracks we have in and around the city.

Is there one Australian who you see as inspirational?
There are a few, but if I was to pick one it would have to be tennis champion Pat Rafter. His tennis career was exciting and ground-breaking – the grand slams, back-to-back US Open titles and the world number-one spot. But it was the way he carried himself throughout his career – he played with such grace and modesty. He was respected by everyone – he won the ATP Sportsmanship Award four times. He was a breath of fresh air in a sport which was becoming pretty heated. Off court he is a great humanitarian. I remember when he donated half of his US Open earnings to the Starlight Foundation. A beautiful boy.

Where is the best place to eat out in Cairns?
This is a tough one as there are quite a few. Salt House at the Marina is a great location for a long lunch, Rocco’s at Riley for cocktails and tasting plates and Blackbird coffee in Oceania walk is a must.

What riles you?
Indiscriminate littering really upsets me. Why is it so hard to pick up after oneself? We see it on land, in public places, and on the water. There are so many issues about how we look after the planet, but a basic, fundamental and simple step to begin with is to simply put your rubbish in the right place. It’s just so lazy to do otherwise in my humble opinion.

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 February 2020 edition of DCN Magazine

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