Date Published: 25-10-15

Chair of Regional Development Australia – Central Coast (RDA Central Coast), Phil Walker, formally announced today the much-anticipated appointments of the RDA Central Coast Board Members. All appointments immediately came into effect and have been confirmed until 30 June 2018.

Phil Walker said, “The recent success of RDA Central Coast has been underpinned by two key aspects:

  1. Significant (collaborative) joint project work across all levels of government (as well as with other partners), primarily promoted and driven by the RDA Central Coast office.
  2. The establishment of a strong strategic/policy background for lobbying, setting goals and promoting consistent direction between agencies, local Councils and the community.

I am confident that the new Board members will substantially build on this current position of strength and will further support our regional partners in developing innovative regional growth plans and strategies, which directly support economic development, the creation of new jobs, skills development and business investment.”

“RDA Central Coast’s Deputy Chair Bob Ward and I look forward to working collaboratively with the newly appointed Board members and we thank retiring members, Councillor Lynne Webster, Katie Smith and David Humphries for their significant contribution.” Phil Walker said.

RDA Central Coast CEO John Mouland added that he welcomed the well-respected industry and regional figures to the RDA Central Coast Board.

"The skill based appointment of the Board members has resulted in a wealth of economic development, property development, planning, health, education, retailing, business and government experience This practical knowledge is now available to the organization which will further strengthen the strategic direction of RDA Central Coast and will directly assist the Region in addressing significant challenges for the Central Coast,” Mr Mouland said.

"I have every confidence that each of the appointed Board members will make a significant contribution, based upon their impressive individual skill sets, hands on industry experience and collective business acumen."

A short biography of the RDA Central Coast board members follows.

Phil Walker – Chair

Phil Walker brings considerable skill and experience in business and development in the local area having been a Property Consultant for the past five years.

He is the current Chairman of Mingara Recreation Club and the former Deputy Chairman of Central Coast Tourism, both having served on both Boards for more than a decade.

Phil has been a resident of the Central Coast for 32 years and is passionate about making a difference and assisting in the Coast's growth for the benefit of the community.

Bob Ward – Deputy Chair

Bob Ward moved to the Central Coast in 1982 and his industry experience includes accounting, finance, real estate and training.

He was elected to Gosford City Council in 2012 and was Deputy Mayor for 2 years. Bob is Chairman of Council’s Employment and Economic Development Committee and is focused on the Region’s growth. 

Chris King – Board Secretary

Chris King has a long theatrical and television career spanning over 45 professional years and has starred and appeared in over 35 television series, numerous films, theatrical productions and events.

Chris has now been an established public figure in the Central Coast Arts & Culture community for over twenty five years, running a talent school for young performers and managing his successful Event Coordination, Writing, Producing, Directing businesses.

In 2011 Chris accepted a two year NSW State Government funded position as Tourism and Events Manager at Central Coast Tourism and chaired the Central Coast Event Alliance. In June 2013 Chris was appointed as Gosford City Councils Arts and Entertainment Manager.

John Davison – Board Treasurer

John Davison has over 30 years’ experience in manufacturing, with formal qualifications in metallurgy and business and financial management, together with a trade background in fitting and machining.

He has extensive involvement in quality assurance in the automotive industry and senior management in heavy engineering.

In more recent times, John successfully managed his own building materials distribution and internal lining business on the Central Coast and has recently retired a business adviser with the Federal Government’s Enterprise Connect program.

Linda Cooper – Board Member

Linda Cooper is the Associate Director, Campus Coordination at The University of Newcastle, Central Coast Campus and has a Bachelor of Business (Honours) and a Masters of Tertiary Education Management.

Prior to her role with the University, Linda had 20 years business experience as a Human Resource and Industrial Relations Specialist across a range of industries including in fast moving consumer goods, aged care and education.

Michael Dowling – Board Member

Michael Dowling is the Director of Property and Economic Development at Wyong Shire Council and is responsible for the leadership and management of Council’s Property Development, Property Management and Commercial Enterprises.

Prior to Council, Michael held senior leadership, management and property development positions which included the management and growth of property portfolios that spanned the retail, commercial, residential and industrial property sectors in both Australia and the USA.

Daniel Farmer – Board Member

Daniel Farmer is the Regional Manager of the Central Coast Business Chamber and an active member of many regional boards including Central Coast Manufacturing Connect, Central Coast Regional Advisory Council and Innov8Central.

Daniel has extensive senior management, industrial relations, human resources, workplace safety, real estate, and media, advertising and sales experience across a broad range of industries.

Matthew Hobden – Board Member

Matthew Hobden is the Oceanic General Manager of an industrial global organization and holds Australian and international Masters Qualifications in Engineering Management, International Management and Business Administration.

Matthew has extensive experience and a thorough understanding of the local Australian business environment, international business expertise and emerging technologies.

Graham McGuiness – Board Member

Graham McGuiness OAM is an active board member and Chair of a number of substantial organisations including Central Coast Community Care Association, Employment and Training Australia, Central Coast Medicare Local, Central Coast Local Health District, Hunter New England Central Coast Primary Health and the Central Coast Palliative Care Foundation.

Graham holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Health Administration and a Graduate Diploma in Management and Industrial relations. Graham has been involved in the health industry since 1962 and moved to the Central Coast in 1978. Positions held since then include; Management Consultant, Central Coast Area Health Service Deputy CEO, Central Coast Area Health Service CEO, Central Coast Area Health Service CEO, Brisbane Waters Private Hospital NSW Management, Nova Health Principal Health Consultant, Delgarah Pty Ltd.

Tim O’Brien – Board Member

Tim O'Brien is the founder of the WiC organization which owns and manages a group of niche recruitment brands, dedicated to facilitating business and jobs growth. Tim is also an experienced Non-Executive Director with specialist skills in strategic workforce planning, including the attraction and advancement of high-calibre talent.

Tim has international qualifications in business, financial planning, and human resources and has broad entrepreneurial, recruitment, management consulting, online business and ecommerce expertise.

Deborah Warwick – Board Member

Deborah Warwick is the Centre Manager of the Imperial Shopping Centre in Gosford and the Chair of the Gosford Business Improvement District (GBID) Parkside Gosford Ltd and Regional Youth Support Services.

Deborah has held Board positions with many Central Coast organisations and has extensive business experience in retail management, chamber of commerce, city centre management, event management, youth services, and marketing.

John Willey – Board Member

John Willey is the Business Development Manager for Property Development and Economic Development at Wyong Shire Council and is responsible for realising the potential for a range of significant landholdings and economic development. This includes strategic property sites that involve urban infill high density mixed use development (residential and retail- multiple sites), urban renewal (retail and public space), vertical retirement living, industrial estate master planning, master planning  for a new university and options for transport orientated developments near rail connections.

During John's professional career as a property executive and previously as an architect he was responsible for creating strategies to deliver the optimum economic and designed outcomes on a diverse range of projects. John holds Australian and International qualifications in Architecture.