7-9 June 2021 | Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre

2021 Speakers

  • Adele Spurgin

    Peak Performance Coach & Profiler

  • Alice Zaslavsky

    Cookbook author and Broadcaster

  • Andrew Macnish

    Team Leader Supply Chain Innovation – Department of Agriculture and Fisheries

  • Ashleigh Carter

    Group Account Director - Atomic 212°

  • Astrid Poelman

    Team Leader Sensory and Consumer Science - CSIRO Agriculture and Food

  • Belinda Adams

    General Manager, Coastal Hydroponics

  • Ben Reilly

    Fresh Produce Business Manager, Steritech

  • Benji Blevin

    John Deere Precision Ag Product Manager

  • Brei Montgomery

    Head of International Trade, Hort Innovation

  • Cherie Gambley

    Project Leader - Queensland Department of Agriculture & Fisheries

  • Claire Gardner

    Research Manager, Flinders University Caring Futures Institute

  • Cori Hodge

    Director - Fiftyfive5

  • David Cox

    Principal Research Scientist - CSIRO Nutrition and Health

  • Dr. Ian Newton

    Senior Entomologist - Queensland Department of Agriculture & Fisheries

  • Dr. Siva Subramaniam

    Queensland Department of Agriculture & Fisheries

  • Evan Roberts

    Chief Creative Officer - TWBA\Australia

  • Gemma Burger

    Consultant - Rimfire Resources

  • Jack Milbank

    CEO + Agronomist + Beef Producer, AgPro Technology

  • Jim Pratley

    Professor of Agriculture, Charles Sturt University

  • John Duff

    Project Leader - Queensland Department of Agriculture & Fisheries

  • John Lopresti

    Horticulture Production Sciences, Agriculture Victoria

  • John Simonetta

    Chief Commercial Officer - Perfection Fresh Australia

  • Kerri-Ann Lamb

    Owner Directior & Production Manager - Wickham Farms

  • Lewis Muscat

    Manager, Fresh Analytics

  • Luciano Mesiti

    CEO - Primary Industries Education Foundation Australia (PIEFA)

  • Mark Mitchell

    Chairman - Australian Food Cold Chain Council

  • Mark Turner

    Mark Turner

    Professor in Food Microbiology, University of Queensland

  • Marsha Aralar

    Fair Farms National Program Manager

  • Matthew Dwyer

    Group Marketing Manager - Hort Innovation

  • Melanie Wishart

    Senior Account Manager – Retail Customer Engagement, GS1 Australia

  • Neil McSkimming

    Acting Manager for Export Development, Agriculture Victoria

  • Peter Hathaway

    General Manager, Macro Wholefoods Company

  • Rob Mustow

  • Rob Rebenbach

    Rob Redenbach

    Author & Leadership Coach

  • Rose Elphick-Darling

    Research Fellow, Centre for Supply Chain and Logistics Deakin University

  • Samantha Parker

    Group Marketing Manager - Hort Innovation

  • Shadia Djakovic

    APD, Senior Project Manager: Schools and Community, Healthy Kids Association

  • Shakira Johnson

    Communications & Extension for iMapPESTS

  • Tara Leong

    Qualified Nutritionist

  • Thomas King

    Founder and CEO of Food Frontier

  • Paul Levins

    Open Innovation Expert

Adele Spurgin

Peak Performance Coach & Profiler

Mental Fitness: for Peak Performance & Burnout Prevention in 2021 

Adele is a Peak Performance Coach & Profiler that specialises in Mind/Body Performance.

She has had the privilege of coaching Peak Performance to some amazing athletes – from pros, semi-pros, weekend warriors & sports teams in different codes, to millionaires, career professionals, business owners & international CEOs.

She firmly lives & breathes the philosophy of an integrated mind/body approach for higher performance and intimately knows the significant role that the parasympathetic nervous system plays in the peak performance of those in modern day society. Which is why she is so passionate about with the work of Mental Fitness.

She is a corporate workshop facilitator, has an online program called Mindset Fundamentals, has coached 1000’s of clients over a decade, is a Master Practitioner in Neuro-Linguistic Programming, Hypnotherapy, Advanced Pranic Healer, Edisc Trainer & Qigong instructor.

A self-proclaimed Sporty Spice, as she’s an ex-National Softball player, keen golfer, tennis player and of course a huge Fed fan.

She loves to travel & snow ski: and has worked, lived & coached on 4 contents before immigrating to Australia over 16 years ago.

Her mission is to see people within the workplace perform (sustainably) and in the process stretch themselves to their full potential!

Alice Zaslavsky

Cookbook author and Broadcaster

Alice Zaslavsky is a cookbook author and broadcaster bringing good food to people of all ages. Her vegetable bible In Praise of Veg topped the Australian cookbook charts, proving that you can, in fact, make friends with salad. As a regular face and voice on ABC News Breakfast and ABC radio nationally, Alice brings audaciously accessible recipes and useful tidbits to viewers and listeners that helps drive the country’s conversations around food. Alice is also the creative force behind Nomcast and Phenomenom (with an M!), a Hort Innovation funded project, redefining what it means to teach kids about fresh produce and bringing food into every subject – both in the classroom and at home.

Andrew Macnish

Team Leader Supply Chain Innovation – Department of Agriculture and Fisheries

Dr Andrew Macnish is a postharvest horticulture and supply chain management specialist with the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries. He has 25 years of applied research, development and training experience in enhancing fresh produce quality through adoption of improved handling practice and technology. His primary interests and expertise are in supply chain monitoring, quantifying the handling and storage response of fruit and vegetables, and developing practical strategies for consistently delivering high quality fresh produce to consumers. Andrew currently leads the DAF Supply Chain Innovation team and the AM15002 Serviced Supply Chains project that is increasing the reputation and profitability of Australian horticulture exports.

Ashleigh Carter

Group Account Director - Atomic 212°

Ashleigh is one of the founding members of Atomic 212°’s media team and has been one of the core drivers of the agency’s success, delivering remarkable results for her clients. Ashleigh specialises in bringing the performance media principles of a digital agency into brand executions, and ensuring effectiveness is delivered across a number of media touch points.

Astrid Poelman

Team Leader Sensory and Consumer Science - CSIRO Agriculture and Food

Dr Astrid Poelman is Team Leader Sensory and Consumer Science at CSIRO Agriculture and Food, Sydney with 22 years of translational research experience. She holds a MSc and PhD from Wageningen University (the Netherlands) and has worked for the applied research institute Food and Biobased Research (part of the Wageningen University and Research Centre). Her research uses both a product and behavioural approach to understand and change sensory preferences for healthy foods, with specific expertise in increasing children’s acceptance and intake of vegetables. Over the past years she has worked on seven R&D projects for the Australian vegetable industry including the VegKIT project and Taste & Learn™, an evidence-based school education program to increase children’s vegetable enjoyment.

Belinda Adams

General Manager, Coastal Hydroponics

General Manager of Coastal Hydroponics, family owned and operated salad and herb producer based on the Gold Coast. Supplying Coles with packaged salad and herbs throughout Queensland. Current Chairperson of Growcom and Deputy Chair of Ausveg. Part of the Consumer Alignment Team for Hort Innovation and involved in the first pilot studies of Vegkit including in school trialling. Passionate grower, processor and marketer of all vegetables to children, after spending 10 years as a Primary School Teacher education is key, transforming and adapting children to become lifelong vegetable consumers for the benefits to their health, society and all vegetable growers.

Ben Reilly

Fresh Produce Business Manager, Steritech

Ben has worked with Steritech, Australia’s phytosanitary irradiation provider for the past five years. During this time Australian exports have gained numerous new irradiation protocols leading to trade growth. Ben’s previous experience in produce marketing provides him with a balanced understanding of commercial and regulatory needs. Join Ben to take a big picture look at developing effective, strategic market access for the future of Australia’s industry.

Benji Blevin

John Deere Precision Ag Product Manager

Benji grew up on a tobacco and rose farm in Zimbabwe. He immigrated to Queensland with his family in 2003, and after spending some time in the Australian Defence Force, went on to complete a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Queensland. In 2018, his passion for precision agriculture led him to complete a Graduate Certificate in Precision Agriculture from the University of New England.

Benji joined John Deere in 2016 and has spent the last 5 years supporting John Deere customers through various field-based, precision ag focused roles in Western Australia and Queensland. In Benji’s current role as Precision Ag Manager, he is responsible for monitoring and identifying precision ag trends Australia and New Zealand, as well as bringing new products to the market.

Benji will be drawing on his experience in Precision Ag to present some practical solutions that are currently available to growers to achieve positive economic and sustainability outcomes.

Brei Montgomery

Head of International Trade, Hort Innovation

Brei Montgomery is the Head of International Trade at Hort Innovation. She focuses on building the profile and positive reputation for Australian horticultural industries to advance global markets, including incorporating strategic agility into planning in an increasingly virtual world.

Brei has an extensive background in developing local markets to promote internationally and influencing global companies and stakeholders to invest in Australian agriculture. She has travelled extensively throughout Australia and Asia to build long term connections across industry and government.

Brei is passionate about helping primary producers achieve sustainable growth and build food supply chains through diversification, innovation and new markets.

Cherie Gambley

Project Leader - Queensland Department of Agriculture & Fisheries

Dr Cherie Gambley, project leader for VG16086 ‘Area wide management of vegetable diseases: viruses and bacteria’.

Cherie has over 25 years of experience in plant pathology and is a nationally and internationally recognised researcher in this discipline. She has worked across a range of horticulture commodities affected by insect-spread viruses and bacteria, with the focus over the last 10+ years in vegetables.

Claire Gardner

Research Manager, Flinders University Caring Futures Institute

Claire is a Dietitian with over 15 years’ experience in public health nutrition and more broadly health and wellbeing. She has worked for a diverse range of industries across government, education, planning, agriculture and not-for-profit on state and national initiatives aimed at translating research and evidence-based strategies into lifestyle and behaviour change. Claire has a strong interest in community and population level strategies to address inequalities in health and shift population health risk factors. She is co-author of the CSIRO Wellbeing Plan for Kids book.

Currently Claire is Research Manager at Flinders University Caring Futures Institute. She has been actively involved in the VegKIT project for the last 3 years and works across a range of research projects to advance child and family nutrition. The program’s mission is to inform evidence-based, engaging and scalable solutions for care givers, to improve the foods provided to children in a range of settings.

Cori Hodge

Director - Fiftyfive5

Cori is a brand and positioning strategy expert with a strong understanding of consumer trends and challenges. In his current role as Director of Fiftyfive5, one of Australia’s leading brand and research consultancies, he help brands and organisations unlock growth through customer-led strategy. Cori has worked on a range of categories with Hort Innovation, including mushrooms, summerfruit, blackberries, raspberries, pears, and onions.

David Cox

Principal Research Scientist - CSIRO Nutrition and Health

VegKIT: Can kids learning to love veggies drive future demand?

Dr David Cox is a Principal Research Scientist at CSIRO Nutrition and Health. Since obtaining a PhD in the Faculty of Medicine (Human Nutrition) at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, University of London, he has focused upon food choice and acceptance (Behavioural Nutrition) both in terms of product choice and dietary choice. He is the author of 77 highly cited publications and has an H-index of 28 (as measure of impact).  Over the past 12 years he has worked on eight R&D projects for the vegetable industry and currently leads VG16064 Tools and Intervention to increase children’s vegetable intake (VegKIT)

Dr. Ian Newton

Senior Entomologist - Queensland Department of Agriculture & Fisheries

Ian is a Senior Entomologist based in Mareeba, North Queensland. He has a PhD in entomology and over 20 years experience as an applied entomologist. He has worked for Universities, CSIRO, the QLD State Government and the private sector on a wide range of horticultural and field crops and pests. Dr Newton has extensive knowledge and experience in IPM research; most recently, he has worked on the Fall Armyworm response and has found a number of Australian endemic parasitoids and pathogens.

Dr. Siva Subramaniam

Queensland Department of Agriculture & Fisheries

Dr Siva Subramaniam has a PhD in Entomology and over 30 years’ experience in applied field entomology, and pest management in horticultural crops. He was closely involved in the detection, monitoring and management of FAW in North Qld. Subra is currently working with DAF’s FAW response team on developing management strategies for vegetable crops, and leading the FAW project (MT19015) funded by Hort Innovation.

Evan Roberts

Chief Creative Officer - TWBA\Australia

Evan joins TBWA Sydney from Clemenger BBDO Melbourne, where he was Executive Creative Director. In 2017, Evan jointly led the team that took home both Cannes Lions Global Agency of the year and D&AD Global Agency of the year.
In that year alone he was awarded 56 Lions including two Grand Prix for campaigns including TAC ‘Meet Graham’, Snickers ‘Hungerithm’ and Airbnb ‘Until We All Belong’. The ‘Meet Graham’ road safety campaign for Transport Accident Commission (TAC) was the most awarded creative campaign in the world that year, and also picked up the D&AD Black Pencil. Under Evan’s co-creative leadership, the agency also developed ‘Deadly Questions’ the controversial campaign that opened up a conversation between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Victorians, Myer’s ‘Naughty or Nice Bauble’ and the highly successful ‘The Beer from Up Here’ campaign for Great Northern Brewing Co. In 2019 the campaign was awarded the Australian Effectiveness Grand Effie and a Gold Effie for long term effects. Prior to Clemenger BBDO Melbourne, Evan enjoyed a six year tenure at GPY&R Melbourne which saw him rise to the role of Creative Director off the back of internationally awarded work for the Australian Defence Force.

Gemma Burger

Consultant - Rimfire Resources

With a BSc in Animal Science from the UK Gemma spent 15 years living internationally and across Australia working in a variety of Agriculturally focused Non- government and Government Organisations covering many parts of the supply chain in a variety of sectors. Completing a MSc in Agribusiness for Development before settling in Brisbane Gemma brought her broad agribusiness knowledge, strong research, and people engagement skills to join Rimfire in 2014. Taking on the GradLink and Graduate Engagement Program portfolios in 2019 Gemma continues to connect Agribusiness organisations with graduating students possessing the key traits, personal characteristics, and skills needed to succeed in Agribusiness. Her passion is finding the right person for the right role and helping graduates get their careers off to the best possible start!

Jack Milbank

CEO + Agronomist + Beef Producer, AgPro Technology

Jack Millbank was brought up on a mixed farming property in Zimbabwe. He completed a BAppSc at The University of QLD, Australia in 2001. Jack has worked in a diverse range of farming, ag-tech, geotechnical, analytical, food and beverage industries. He started at Crop Tech and T-Systems before moving onto AUSVEG as the North Australian IDO. He then began growing fruit in the Mary Valley, and in 2009 Jack became the CEO of Hortus Technical Services, Australia’s leading independent certified laboratory and agronomic services company.

In 2013 Jack founded a microbial biotechnology company – Biofilm Crop Protection Pty Ltd. A year later he founded the Bargara Brewing Company, producing Craft Beer, Cider & Seltzer, now part of Ballistic Beer Group. In November 2019 Hortus and Biofilm, merged to form Novum Lifesciences.

In 2020, Jack founded Lexi Tech (Singapore) as a Global Ag Tech Data Management company. AgPro is the cornerstone SaaS technology platform for sample handling, analysis, agronomics, animal management, product distribution and application. Data partners around the world use AgPro to service 400 crops grown by over 3000 farmers covering over one million ha in over 20 countries.

Jack and his family own property in Bundaberg and in 2020 established Hartwood Smart Farm as Australia’s only purebred Tuli cattle stud. The stud uses advanced genomics, FTAI, and a collection of genetics incorporating 13 bulls selected by CSIRO and imported from Zimbabwe in the 1990s. “Hartwood Tuli’s” form the nucleus herd of pure genetics to contribute to composite herds around the world. Six Hartwood Tuli bulls are currently having their full genome mapped as part of a Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation research project investigating bovine parasite resistance in Sub-Saharan dairy production.

As a 2006/7 Nuffield Scholar studying “Globally competitive horticultural production processing and marketing using renewable energy”, he spent time researching best practice agronomic management, product processing, clean energy and marketing in India, New Zealand, China, UAE, UK and the US.
Jack has had an active involvement in finding solutions to improve the efficiency and profitability of producers by facilitating the optimal use of crop production inputs through monitoring, testing, research, training and consulting services that represent global best practice.

Jim Pratley

Professor of Agriculture, Charles Sturt University

Jim is Research Professor of Agriculture at Charles Sturt University and Secretary of the Australian Council of Deans of Agriculture. He graduated with BSc and PhD degrees from the University of NSW and took up an academic position at Wagga Wagga. He was Foundation Dean of Science and Agriculture at Charles Sturt University from 1990 until 2006. Jim has taught courses in agronomy and related areas and has published widely in conservation farming, weed management, herbicide resistance, allelopathy and agricultural education. He is a former President of the Australian Society of Agronomy and former Vice President of the International Allelopathy Society. He has served on the Boards of the Cooperative Research Centres of Viticulture, Sustainable Rice Production, Weed Management Systems and Plant Based Management of Dryland Salinity. He is a member of the Research Advisory Committee of the Australian Farm Institute and formerly served on the NSW Primary Industries Ministerial Advisory Council and the National Council for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food of the Australian Academy of Science. He completed a Ministerial Review into Agricultural Education and Training in NSW in 2013 and was awarded an AM in 2019 for services to agricultural education.

John Duff

Project Leader - Queensland Department of Agriculture & Fisheries

John Duff is the project leader for MT20005 Management strategy for serpentine leafminer, Liriomyza huidobrensis.

John has over 24 years’ experience in integrated pest and disease management in vegetable production and has led and contributed to projects, involving green beans, lettuce, brassicas, sweetcorn and nursery production. John is based at the Gatton Research Facility.

John Lopresti

Horticulture Production Sciences, Agriculture Victoria

John Lopresti has over 27 years’ experience in horticultural supply chain research and extension. He began his career optimising fruit and vegetable handling to reduce bruising, conducting research and extension in pesticide application for viticulture, as well as optimising controlled atmosphere storage of pome fruit, and developing novel technologies for measuring fruit quality and maturity. Since 2010, John has mainly focused on stone fruit and table grape research and innovation including the effects of harvest maturity on cool chain performance, postharvest treatments and technologies to reduce storage disorders and disease, and predicting quality and shelf life of fruit in domestic and export markets. John has published over twenty journal and conference papers, and industry articles, and has presented at numerous conferences and industry forums. He is currently leading the Decision Aid Tools program for stone fruit and table grapes within the Hort Innovation Frontiers project, “Serviced Supply Chains: Monitoring and modelling to improve the quality of Australian fresh produce into Asian markets”.

John Simonetta

Chief Commercial Officer - Perfection Fresh Australia

John has extensive experience in the industry, having grown up in a family business which has evolved into Perfection Fresh – a $700m national and international fruit and vegetable business.

He joined Perfection Fresh as Chief Financial Officer in 1997 before moving in 2005 he moved into the role of Chief Operations Officer.

John took up his current role as Chief Commercial Officer (CCO) in 2015 and heads up the Commercial side of the business, including Sales, Marketing, Supply, Order Fulfilment and Planning. He is also responsible for the Perfection Fresh trading floors across 4 central markets in Australia. The customer reach of Perfection Fresh spans Chain store retailers, Independent operators, Foodservice, QSR & On line channels.

As CCO, he has restructured the sales and supply teams from a segregated departmentalised-focused approach to streamlined product-focused category teams, allowing each part of the supply chain to work towards the same goals.

He has overseen a complete re-brand of Perfection Fresh, launched more than 50 new products, and introduced product marketing for proprietary products such as Qukes and Calypso.

He has held positions on industry committees and currently sits on the Australian Blueberry Growers’ Association Committee.

Before joining Perfection Fresh, John graduated from Law and spent five years working at a Sydney law firm.

Kerri-Ann Lamb

Owner Directior & Production Manager - Wickham Farms

Kerri-Ann is the Owner Director & Production Manager- Value Add at Wickham Farms Killarney, overseeing daily operations, process flow, product sales, marketing, research and development, administration, and quality management systems.

Wickham Farms Killarney, is a family operated business, farming in Queensland since the 1960’s which now spans over four generations. We pride ourselves on growing in four regions across Queensland including, Atherton, Gatton, Warwick and Killarney, packing and value-adding hard vegetables; delivering the freshest produce to supermarkets, food service, wholesalers and food manufactures in Queensland.

Lewis Muscat

Manager, Fresh Analytics

One of NielsenIQ Australia’s most experienced Fresh Analytics consumer panel insights provider’s, Lewis has delved into a wide range of Fresh categories while working with some of Australia’s leading retailers, industry bodies and fresh suppliers alike.

Having grown up on a family run farm, he is thrilled to have the opportunity to help continue to drive growth for the Fresh industry through promoting a greater understanding of the Australian consumer.

Luciano Mesiti

CEO - Primary Industries Education Foundation Australia (PIEFA)

Luciano is the CEO of Primary Industries Education Foundation Australia (PIEFA), whose aim is to promote food and fibre education in schools nationally. Hort Innovation currently partners with PIEFA on school education development. Luciano grew up on a vegetable and cut flower farm and has a lifelong interested in horticulture. Prior to his appointment as CEO, he was a high school teacher, teaching agriculture and technology subjects. As well, he was president of the NSW Agriculture Teachers Association and a Lighthouse teacher of excellence in the NSW Dept of Education. Luciano has extensive experience in curriculum development in agriculture and horticulture and STEM and is a very passionate advocate of students knowing about where their food comes from and about mentoring teachers to assist them meet this aim. PIEFA’s main education resource website is: www.primezone.edu.au.

Mark Mitchell

Chairman - Australian Food Cold Chain Council

The Australian Food Cold Chain – New Training and  Code for Fresh Produce

Australian Food Cold Chain Council Chairman Mark Mitchell will present new training developed by PMA and its industry partners to support the new Australian ColdFoodCode. Mark will explain The Cold Chain Practitioner Professional Development series training is now available on the PMA-ANZ website which provides essential tools and training for cold chain practitioners at all levels of experience.

Mark Turner

Mark Turner

Professor in Food Microbiology, University of Queensland

Professor Turner is Deputy Head of the School of Agriculture and Food Sciences at the University of Queensland, Australia.  He leads a research team in the area of food quality and safety with current funding from the Australian Research Council. His current research focus is in lactic acid bacteria genetics, cheese cultures, anti-fungal and anti-pathogen (Salmonella and Listeria) biocontrol applications in dairy and horticulture and Salmonella genomics. He teaches food microbiology, food safety and food biotechnology at UQ and is a Fellow of the ASM and AIFST as well as a member of the editorial boards of mBio and Journal of Food Protection. He was the recipient of the 2017 AIFST Keith Farrer Award of Merit.

Marsha Aralar

Fair Farms National Program Manager

Marsha Aralar is the national program manager for Fair Farms who enjoys delivering engaging, thought-provoking presentations. With a background in public health, regulation and food safety, her career spans several industries and jurisdictions both in Australia and the Middle East. Marsha is passionate about creating a harmonious and thriving food supply system, starting with the grower and their activities on-farm, through to the market floor and consumers. She works with all levels of stakeholders from parliament to pantry, soil-health to shelf-life. Fair Farms is a flagship program of Growcom Australia, a member-based organisation with a 90 year heritage of supporting and advocating for horticultural farmers.

Matthew Dwyer

Group Marketing Manager - Hort Innovation

Matthew Dwyer is the Group Marketing Manager at Hort Innovation. With over 14 years’ experience across a range of marketing roles in multiple industries, Matthew leads the strategic marketing direction and team across the temperate and tropical fruit portfolio at Hort Innovation in both the domestic and export markets.

Melanie Wishart

Senior Account Manager – Retail Customer Engagement, GS1 Australia

Melanie is passionate and committed to providing expert advice to best address client and industry challenges.  She has an in-depth knowledge of the GS1 system of standards and services to improve business efficiencies, food safety and visibility through the supply chain.

As part of the Customer Engagement team she heads up the Food Safety, Compliance and Traceability pillar and helps to deliver strategic projects and implementation.

For over 20 years Melanie has contributed to improvements in supply chain management in Australian business and Industry. She commenced her career at EAN Australia in 1999 (Now GS1) in the Quality Systems team.

Over the years Melanie has been responsible for key account management and leading the development and growth of the Fresh Produce sector at GS1 Australia.

Melanie is responsible for driving the adoption of the GS1 standards into the Fresh Foods and Grocery sectors. Projects range from implementing DataBar on loose fresh produce, the Supply Chain Improvement Project, recent pilots for 2D barcodes at Point-Of-Sale and the new Australian Guide for Implementing Food Traceability project.

She is an active member of a number of local and Global working groups in the Retail and Fresh Produce sectors, including the International Fresh Produce Standards (IFPS), the Fresh Produce Safety Centre and the PMA A-NZ Science & Technology task force.  She is also involved in several Global GS1 working groups, including standards development for the Future of On Pack Coding.

Melanie holds a Graduate Certificate in Logistics from Wollongong University and is based in Sydney.

Neil McSkimming

Acting Manager for Export Development, Agriculture Victoria

Neil is the Acting Manager for Export Development at Agriculture Victoria in the Victorian Government Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions.

Neil provides advice and strategic recommendations to the Department’s Ministers, executives and leadership groups on market access and export issues facing Victoria’s agricultural industries. He also designs and implements programs supporting export growth.

Neil’s career includes a balance of government and private industry experience with a strong knowledge of Australian and International supply chains.

He has been with the Victorian Government for over six years, having previously worked for Coles Supermarkets, for eight years, developing the businesses policies, standards and guidelines supporting the Coles Brand products. Neil also worked as Responsible Sourcing Manager for Coles where he lead the way delivering projects on animal welfare, responsibly sourced seafood and sustainable food production.

Peter Hathaway

General Manager, Macro Wholefoods Company

Peter leads the Macro Wholefoods Market business within Woolworths Food Company and is passionate about helping customers make little differences through products that provide simple, honest goodness.

For the best part of 20 years Peter has led teams responsible for producing, ranging and marketing food & beverages. In 2011 Peter joined the Woolworths Group predominantly focussing on Woolworths food & drinks brand ranges during a period of great growth and success for the respective own and exclusive brand businesses. During his tenure, his roles have included; General Manager (GM) – Marketing Woolworths FoodCo, GM Marketing –  Woolworths International, GM Marketing – Woolworths Metro, GM Pinnacle Drinks, and Head of Communications & Brand Strategy Cellarmasters.

Rob Mustow

Rob commenced his retail career at Coles Supermarkets before transferring to the supplier side where he enjoyed successful stints at Lion Dairy & Beverages as State Sales Manager and Tip Top Bakeries as National Sales Director. In 2012 Rob transitioned into client services at Incremental, a leading below the line sales and marketing agency.

At Incremental Rob specialised in Food Service, managing clients across four continents, creating Strategic Business Growth Programs, Go-to-Market Initiatives, Channel Activations, Marketing Communications & Major Event Production and Management.

In May 2021, Rob joined the Woolworths Food Company as Supplier Relations Manager where he plans to combine his experience in sales, marketing, communications and events and manage supplier engagement for the Woolworths Food Company.

Rob Rebenbach

Rob Redenbach

Author & Leadership Coach

What I Didn’t Learn at Harvard

 After leaving school at 15 to dig ditches on building sites in Tasmania, Rob Redenbach would go on to be listed by Business Review Weekly as one of Australia’s top ten professional speakers. Along the way he would work with Nelson Mandela’s bodyguard team in South Africa, survive a road-side ambush in Baghdad, Iraq and complete Executive Education in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Rob’s signature presentation What I Didn’t Learn at Harvard captures key lessons from his journey and in the process demonstrates how to be a better leader – in business and in life. 

Rose Elphick-Darling

Research Fellow, Centre for Supply Chain and Logistics Deakin University

Rose Elphick-Darling is a Research Fellow of the Centre for Supply Chain and Logistics at Deakin University. Rose has a background in executive management, project management and public policy in the areas of transport infrastructure, strategic planning, freight and logistics. She has led numerous programs and projects to deliver supply chain improvements, strategic investment in freight networks and to develop capacity in industry sectors and individual firms. Rose has been an industry advisor to governments and has extensive experience in bridging industry-government relations on key supply chain issues.

Rose currently leads the Deakin Food Traceability Research Laboratory, part of Deakin University’s Future Food capability.

Samantha Parker

Group Marketing Manager - Hort Innovation

Samantha Parker is setting the category marketing agenda for fresh produce as the Group Marketing Manager at Hort Innovation. Leading the strategic delivery of $5.6M+ marketing programs designed to drive demand for a portfolio of 12 Australian vegetable, fruit & greenlife brands. Over the past 16 years, Samantha’s career has spanned across Australia and the UK, working for household names such as Oporto, Wagamama, Jamie Oliver’s Food Foundation, Google and Compass Group, specialising in food marketing, behavioural science activations and data driven campaigns.

Shadia Djakovic

APD, Senior Project Manager: Schools and Community, Healthy Kids Association

As the Senior Project Manager at Healthy Kids Association, Shadia Djakovic manages key nutrition projects supporting the NSW Healthy School Canteen Strategy. At present, she is working alongside the CSIRO in developing solutions for bypassing barriers to increase vegetable implementation within school canteens. As an Accredited Practicing Dietitian, Shadia also offers extensive experience as a nutritionist working both in the Food Industry and lecturing at a formal tertiary level. Highly passionate about public health nutrition and health promotion; she likes seeking new ways to make vegetables fun and pursues innovative solutions to societal health optimisation. Away from work, Shadia can be found adventuring with her boisterous two-year-old son.

Shakira Johnson

Communications & Extension for iMapPESTS

Plant pest surveillance takes to the sky with iMapPESTS

Shakira joined AUSVEG in July 2018 to investigate the application of a draft area freedom framework policy in relation to the Tomato Potato Psyllid. Shakira’s current role involves communicating and translating research outcomes to industry stakeholders for the national plant pest surveillance program, iMapPESTS. An active member of the research and extension community, she sits on the stakeholder engagement committee of the Australasia-Pacific Extension Network, and is close to completing her Ph.D. thesis on pear scab disease, supported by La Trobe University and the Plant Biosecurity Cooperative Research Centre.

Shakira will present a demonstration of one of the mobile plant pest surveillance units developed for the iMapPESTS program. The demonstration will outline the cutting edge technology used to develop the unit, the downstream identification of high-priority pests and diseases and how industry can use this information to support their on-farm pest management decisions.

Tara Leong

Qualified Nutritionist

An Associate Registered Nutritionist, teacher, speaker, author and podcaster, Tara is renowned for her no-nonsense approach to nutrition and health. With a passion for busting nutrition myths, Tara helps take the confusion out of what has become a crazy nutrition world.

Thomas King

Founder and CEO of Food Frontier

Thomas is the founder and CEO of Food Frontier, Australia and New Zealand’s independent think tank and expert advisor on alternative proteins. For the last decade, Thomas has driven food systems, environmental and poverty alleviation initiatives across five continents, and is both a former Young Australian of the Year VIC and Myer Innovation Fellow.

Realising the limitations of current protein production systems to safely and sustainably feed our global population into coming decades, Thomas founded Food Frontier to help businesses, innovators and policymakers understand and pursue opportunities in the emerging plant-based meat and cellular agriculture industries.

Food Frontier’s reports and events – undertaken in partnership with the likes of Deloitte, Colmar Brunton and the National Farmers Federation – have delivered world-first data and insights on alternative proteins and reached tens-of-millions of people via national and international media.

Thomas is also a seasoned public speaker, having presented at over 100 conferences, schools and summits since 2014 – from Milan to Jakarta to New York City – including on-stage conversations with former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, Dame Jane Goodall and HRH Prince Khaled bin Alwaleed.

Paul Levins

Open Innovation Expert

Paul Levins co-founded Xinova, a 12,000 member global innovation network based in Seattle with diverse customers including PepsiCo, Honda, Hyundai, Meat and Livestock Australia and Hort Innovation. Since returning to Australia, Paul is now a Principal at Beanstalk, Australia’s premier agtech innovation agency. Paul focusses on how open innovation can transform the food & agriculture industry. He believes it’s critical to look outside of industry verticals to find and apply new solutions as well as working with existing R&D efforts. Paul’s diverse career also includes: EVP of ICANN, the global coordinator of the Internet’s security and stability; the Head APAC for the Invention Development Fund; an executive at Bilfinger Berger Australia and Telstra and Chief of Staff in a range of portfolios including natural resources, higher education, water and infrastructure and planning. He is a Global Ambassador for Business Events Sydney and a past board member of ANZAC medical research institute and Australia’s domain name authority, auDA.

Latest news

Loading...