Meet Our Board

The activities of Food & Fibre Gippsland are overseen by a voluntary board.

All board members are appointed for a one year term, bringing specific expertise and experience to benefit the strategic direction of Food & Fibre Gippsland.

Joanne Butterworth-Gray

Independent Chair

Ms Butterworth-Gray replaces Peter Schultz from Food Innovation Australia Limited (FIAL) who had been acting in an advisory capacity throughout the amalgamation of the East Gippsland Food Cluster (EGFC) and Agribusiness Gippsland to form Food & Fibre Gippsland.

Ms Butterworth-Gray has extensive experience in agribusiness across Gippsland, through primary and secondary production, value-adding and tourism.

Joanne brings a wealth of knowledge to the organisation, along with a deep understanding of agribusiness and regional communities, strong leadership and sound corporate governance experience.

Andrew Bulmer

Deputy Chair

Andrew is the Managing Director of Bulmer Farms, one of Australia’s largest producers of Fresh salads. The business is based in Lindenow, East Gippsland and farms ten different properties over around 500 hectares in the Mitchell river Valley. Andrew puts their success down to “hard work, resilience and a passion for quality”.

Awarded the 2017 ABC and Kondinin Groups Farmer of the Year, he is a passionate advocate for Horticulture who is committed to making a positive contribution to Industry and regional communities, with a strong interest in farm innovation and new technologies. Andrew is also a graduate of Course 24 of the Australian Rural Leadership Foundation.

Andrew was the previous chair of the East Gippsland Food Cluster and is heavily involved in school based traineeship programs and helps to provide pathways for young people in careers in Agriculture. Andrew understands the challenges that rural people face with running their enterprises and the isolation that can be experienced living in regional communities. Andrew seeks to improve these opportunities for the greater good of regional business and communities.

Damien Gannon

Board Member

Born in Tinamba, Damien worked on the family dairy farm after leaving school.

A natural in the hospitality industry, his first hospitality venture was a Café in Sale, established in the late 1980’s.

20 years later Damien opened Neilsons Restaurant in Traralgon, which he went on to sell in 2008. He then purchased Tinamba Hotel in 2009, and has gone on to open Mister Raymond 2012, both recognised as highly successful and iconic Gippsland food and wine destinations.

Damien is a passionate advocate for quality local produce, and for supporting Gippsland businesses to become better known in their own region and beyond.

He is also a board member of Destination Gippsland.

Nicola Pero

Board Member

Nicola brings several decades of international experience in stakeholder management, commercial outcomes, and development for driving regional economics. She has chaired a Business Curriculum Board for Polytechnic, been a Founding Board Member for commercial real estate development, and is a current sitting Board Member for Destination Gippsland Ltd.

Nicola has worked on agri-related business projects in Canada and the Middle East and as the CEO of Lardner Park in Gippsland, is applying her experience in facilities and event development, agricultural engagement, and stakeholder partnership development. Nicola has held executive roles with Government, private, not for profit, and in public companies, bringing both academic and practical experience to the Board.

Kate Wallis

Board Member

Kate is the Executive Manager Regional Agribusiness for Gippsland with Commonwealth Bank, this role covers agribusiness and commercial banking across Gippsland with a strong focus on supporting communities and building awareness and investment in agriculture. Kate hails from Berrys Creek in South Gippsland where she grew up in a family beef farm operation with farms in Gippsland and Rutherglen, alongside this Kate has continued her passion for Equestrian with her involvement in the sport across Gippsland and beyond including the Tonimbuk International Horse Trials.

Kate brings a wealth of experience to the Board with her background in investment banking, commercial and retail lending and distribution, international experience in the UK, USA and Asia in project management, people leadership, strategy, trading, technology systems and agribusiness.

Kate is passionate about the growth and sustainability of Gippsland, specifically in the areas of agriculture and services to agriculture.

Brian Davey

Board Member

Brian Davey has a background in the coal and power sector with more than 30 years experience in the operations, financial, marketing and technology sectors of the industry.

Brian commenced his career with the SECV in the Latrobe Valley and worked in a variety of roles and was promoted to General Manager level. On privatization Brian joined a newly created private power entity in a senior management role and took up management positions in HR, Operations and Marketing.

Outside of work Brian has been an experienced Board member with more than 11 years as member of the West Gippsland Healthcare Group and has served as Chair and vice Chair for 7of those years. In addition he has been a member of the Agribusiness Gippsland board for 4 years. Most recently he is a member of the interim Gippsland Food and Fibre Board.

In May 2017 Brian joined Brown Coal Innovation Australia as CEO. BCIA is committed to the long term sustainable use of brown coal on a low emissions basis for the good of the Victorian people.

Along with his wife he runs a small stud beef farm in West Gippsland.

Barry Rogers

Board Member

A governance specialist, Barry is a board member of newly formed Food & Fibre Gippsland Inc, (and its predecessor the East Gippsland Food Cluster Inc), Latrobe Youth Space Governance Board, Warragul Regional College Council, Gippsland Tech School Committee, Ba Baw CT Board and the Baw Baw Latrobe LLEN as well as sitting on the West Gippsland Catchment Management Authority’s Community Engagement Network.

Barry is a Leadership developer, trainer and coach – working to support directors, senior managers and community members grow and hone their leadership skills. He’s been a part of the Gippsland Community Leadership Program for 25 years; a board member/chair, executive director, program manager and participant: espousing the theme “Growing Gippsland’s Leaders”.

Barry is an accredited 5 Behaviours of Cohesive Teams; Small Business Victoria and NLP (Neuro Linguistics Program facilitator.

He is currently providing leadership coaching and support to agrifood (and other) businesses in Gippsland.

He is delivering support and coaching around Governance, everythingDISC and ViA (Values in Action) to the Youth Governance Committee of Latrobe Youth Space.

Barry is a lifelong Gippslandian – who is lucky enough to have spent some of his early years in other parts of Victoria before coming home in his early twenties!

Sallie Jones

Board Member

Sallie Jones is Co-Founder and Managing Director of Gippsland Jersey, an independent, farmer-owned premium milk brand based in country Victoria. No stranger to the dairy industry, Sallie grew up on the family dairy farm in East Gippsland where her parents were pioneers in value-adding to all of the milk they produced by turning it into ice cream.

Established in September 2016, Gippsland Jersey is passionate about looking after dairy farmers, ensuring they are paid a fair price for their milk and Sallie has leveraged her Gippsland Jersey identity and profile to help break down the stigma associated with mental health issues in the industry and the agribusiness sector in general.

Co-Founder of a Gippsland creative agency lovingly called Honey-Pot Creative Solutions, she also established a women’s networking group called Women in Gippsland and holds a Bachelor’s degree in Public Relations.In 2017 Sallie completed the Gippsland Community Leadership Program and was a participant in the “Rocket Seeder” - an agriculture accelerator program designed to support entrepreneurs across the food and fibre value chain.

Her love for regional Victoria and her local community knows no bounds, and she thrives on bringing ideas, events and activities to life that she knows will deliver benefit, joy and wherever possible, that good dose of kindness to any tribe they touch.

Mikaela Power

Board Member

Councillor Mikaela Power was re-elected to the Baw Baw Shire Council in 2016 and was elected Mayor in November 2018.

Mikaela holds qualifications in arts, education, business and company directorship and is a Gippsland Community Leadership Program alumnus.

She has worked in the public and private sectors in Gippsland, Melbourne and overseas.

Mikaela chaired the West Gippsland Library Board for four years, is a director of the West Gippsland Catchment Management Authority and was an inaugural member of the AFL Gippsland Commission. She is the 2019 Chair of the Gippsland Local Government Network (GLGN) and was appointed to the Advisory Panel to the Minister for Local Government in 2019. Her community involvement includes Landcare, education, sport and the arts.

Dr Joseph Lawrence

Board Member

Dr Joseph Lawrence was appointed as the new Pro Vice-Chancellor (Enterprise) at Federation University on 1 July 2019.

Dr Lawrence holds a PhD in Engineering Management (‘university-industry-government collaboration business models’), a Master of Engineering in Management (technical MBA), and a Bachelor of Electrical and Electronic Engineering from the University of Canterbury, New Zealand, and is also a PMP® certified project management professional from the Project Management Institute, USA.

Dr Lawrence’s previous appointments include Deakin University, as Pro Vice-Chancellor (Strategic Partnerships), Monash University as Director of Industry Partnerships, where he developed and managed strategic partnerships and activities across the University, and as the Director of Business Development for Science at Monash University, to drive research development, industry engagement and intellectual property commercialisation.

Throughout his career, Dr Lawrence has led and implemented numerous large-scale, high-value, strategic initiatives that brings together sector-wide industry partners (SMEs to large multinationals), academia, and government, in industries such as advanced manufacturing, food and agriculture, med-tech, and energy.

Karen Cain

Board Member

A Latrobe Valley resident for 25 years, Ms Cain has significant experience working across government, leading strategic innovation, and developing and implementing policy in Gippsland.

Her experience in developing and delivering on issues that reflect what matters to community and government leave her well prepared for this important role.

Ms Cain also has worked with families and the community as a principal in government schools in the Latrobe Valley for 11 years, including Woolum Bellum Koorie School in Morwell, Traralgon College Junior Campus, and Lowanna Secondary College in Newborough.

For the past 23years, she has owned and operated a commercial beef farm with her husband at Boolarra South.

Graham Scott

Board Member

With a career interest in regional economic and community development, Graham has a strong understanding of the connection each of these elements plays in providing regions with both employment opportunities and work life balance choices.

Over the past three years, Graham’s strong industry and intergovernmental networks have enabled him to work closely with industry to secure over $100 million of private new investment in Gippsland.

Graham’s abilities in identifying and facilitating the development of major strategic projects has led to increased economic benefits across the region that have included the creation of over 200 new jobs and increased Gippsland’s export capacity by more than $85 million.

Graham’s industry experience is broad and includes working at the enterprise level with businesses in the Food & Fibre, Manufacturing, Agri-business, Construction, Tourism, Transport, Education and Service sectors in Gippsland.

Graham also possesses extensive workforce development knowledge that enabled him to develop and pilot the Victorian State Government’s first regional Workforce Development Strategy.