Meet The Team

Food & Fibre Gippsland has a small but dynamic operational team.

Dr. Nicola Watts

Acting Chief Executive Officer

The Board has appointed Dr Nicola Watts to the role of Acting CEO.

Dr Watts led the former East Gippsland Food Cluster (EGFC) since its inception in 2011 and was the Interim CEO throughout the amalgamation of the EGFC and Agribusiness Gippsland to form Food & Fibre Gippsland in February this year.

A passionate Gippslander, Dr Watts has extensive international and national experience as a senior manager, project manager, consultant, and board member in the sectors of Agrifood, Telecommunications, Natural Resource Management and Education.

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Julie Tuhi

Gippsland Regional Agrifood Employment Program Manager

Julie has extensive experience in business, finance, management and HR in the private sector, hospitality and education, having worked in Australia and Asia. Julie has strong family ties in East Gippsland and returned to live in the region 4 years ago, working in the employment services sector. She is very community minded and enjoys applying her skills and experience to support regional businesses, as well as deliver positive social outcomes.

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Shayne Hyman

Industry Development Officer – Vegetable industry

Shayne is engaged in capacity building for the region’s vegetable industry. Born in East Gippsland, Shayne returned to the region in 2011 and has been applying her considerable skills, knowledge and experience to develop ideas, people, business and organisations.

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Bonnie Dawson

Extension Support Officer - VegNET

Bonnie joined Food & Fibre Gippsland in early October, 2019 as the Extension Support Officer working alongside Industry Development Officer, Shayne Hyman in capacity building for the region’s vegetable industry.

A current post graduate student of Agricultural Science and a graduate with Bachelors of Health Sciences and International Development, Bonnie has significant experience in stakeholder engagement and project management, with an interest and developing knowledge of the agricultural sector.

Bonnie is excited working in the vegetable industry and to be drawing on all of her career experience to date - in community engagement, local food systems, agriculture and business.

She really enjoys engaging with producers and being able to support their vital and dynamic contributions to our local community and economy.

Jody O’Brien

Communications and Engagement Manager

A newcomer to Gippsland, Jody brings a wealth of communications and engagement expertise, with many years’ experience across a diverse range of industries, programs, brands and businesses.

A passionate story teller, and a self-confessed “foodie”, Jody brings a fresh set of eyes and ears, combined with a strategic big picture outlook and she’s collaborating with stakeholders all over the region to tell the world about the delights of Gippsland.

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Julian Hill

Workforce Training Innovation Project Manager

As part of a range of strategies to support innovation and sustainable growth, Food & Fibre Gippsland recognises the need to develop workforce capabilities for now and into the future and to build stronger partnerships across industry, training providers and TAFEs.

To support this, Julian has joined us to implement an innovative and collaborative project over a 2-year period, designed to drive real transformational change. The pilot project will engage a small cohort of early adopters to deliver a tangible solution and sustainable exemplar for further industry adoption in Gippsland, and potentially beyond.

Julian has an extensive background in management of research development and extension in agriculture and horticulture, and has many years experience in strategic and operational leadership at both a board and executive level. Solution focussed, Julian has a keen eye for detail and excellent knowledge of regulatory operations, organizational learning and knowledge transfer to industry.

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David Grimmond

Gippsland Connect - SME Export Support Programme Manager

David heads up out SME Export Project where he will be supporting a range of up to 20 Gippsland Agrifood SME's improve their capabilities, increase exports and support business / industry growth.

With extensive experience in export, David is providing specialist guidance to the participating businesses to ensure maximum impact and success.

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Dr Amy Cosby

GIPPYAg Project Manager

As well as managing the GIPPYAg Project, Dr Amy Cosby is a CQUni agri-tech researcher.

Dr Cosby's research aims to demonstrate that exposing young people to agri-tech from an early age will increase the adoption of technology across the agricultural supply chain. When inspired young people enter the workforce, they will be confident and skilled in the use of agri-tech.

She works with educators, researchers and industry professionals to develop innovative programs to increase the skills and knowledge of teachers and students in the latest agri-tech tools and systems.

Dr Cosby has developed and implemented a range of curriculum-aligned agri-tech learning modules for university, VET and high school students. These modules aim to showcase the scientific and digital skills required in the agricultural industry to attract and build the capacity of the next generation workforce.

She has adapted these modules to provide specific content for Gippsland schools and teachers via the GIPPYAg project.