See the faces behind RDACC.
Appointed as Chair of RDACC in January 2021, Lawrie McKinna is a recognised and respected Central Coast figure, previously serving as Mayor of Gosford City, and credited with establishing the region’s first A-League sporting team, the Central Coast Mariners, who he coached to two grand finals, as well as winning a minor premiership and pre-season cup.
Boasting a celebrated sporting career, Lawrie has worked with numerous clubs both in Australia and overseas.
A passionate local resident, Lawrie is experienced in working across all levels of government and industry to achieve positive outcomes, and his campaign to #talkupthecoast is aimed at creating a collective regional identity that we can all be proud of.
An Accredited Specialist Business Lawyer with NSW Law Society and Accredited Company Director (GAICD), Anna Cruckshank has been practicing law for 28 years and is now the Managing Director at Aubrey Brown Lawyers.
In addition to being the Deputy Chair of RDA Central Coast, Anna is also the secretary of UDIA Central Coast and the Vice President of the Gosford/Erina Business Chamber. In these roles, she is responsible for advocating for the organisations she represents, as well as the wider community, across a range of issues. Her advocacy involves collaborating with various regional stakeholders, government and agency bodies including Central Coast Council, Greater Cities Commission, NSW Department of Planning, and Business NSW.
Born and raised on the Central Coast, Anna is passionate about the region and its residents. She is motivated to use her position and opportunities to improve infrastructure across the region and ensure ample funding opportunities are made available to the community to foster growth and improvement.
Anna is also passionate about addressing housing affordability on the Central Coast and actively supports implementation of the Regional Plan and Greater Cities Commission strategies to help address some of our most critical regional issues.
A Research Academic at the University of Newcastle, Dr Tamara Bucher has ten years of experience as a researcher and teacher in Food, Nutrition and Health. With an MSC in Biochemistry and Human Nutrition and a PhD in Consumer Behaviour from ETH Zurich, Switzerland, Tamara is currently leading a team of researchers to investigate how we can create healthier food and eating environments.
Alongside her role as Associate Professor and Head of Discipline Food Science and Human Nutrition, Tamara is also the Deputy Head of the University of Newcastle Wine Research Network and Convenor of the University of Newcastle Doctoral Training Centre in Food and Agribusiness.
Tamara has attracted investment for research and engagement by obtaining grants for projects including the new sensory laboratory at the University of Newcastle’s Ourimbah Campus. She has also been responsible for leading the organisation of several international conferences, and continually works with local and global food and beverage companies to create healthy and sustainable food services, products, and environments.
Additionally, Tamara successfully obtained funding from the NSW Office of the Chief Scientist – Conference Sponsorship Program 2021, to organise the Sustainable Food Future Conference 2022, as well as securing sponsorship and support from Food Innovation Australia Limited, Australian Institute of Food Science and Technology, and various food industries to facilitate the Sustainable Food Future Conference.
Throughout his notable career, Mike Dowling has held a number of senior leadership, management and director positions. His experience in the property development sector includes the management and growth of property portfolios spanning the retail, commercial, residential and industrial property private and public sectors in both Australia, South East Asia and the USA.
Comprising more than 20 years of senior management experience, Stephen’s career in local government demanded his ability to successfully lead complex cross-organisational and cross-government projects, as well as build solid relationship capabilities with internal and external clients.
In his role as General Manager with a number of NSW councils, Stephen also became adept at identifying and developing additional sources of revenue, appropriate methods of delivery, and strategies to enable the diversification of funding streams. He attributes the success of each outcome to effective stakeholder management.
Also a qualified Civil Engineer, Stephen’s involvement in delivering a range of major projects throughout his career has been supported by his skills in meeting deadlines and conforming to budget constraints, while achieving economic development outcomes.
His position on eight individual Boards, including the Hunter Region Business Hub, has allowed him to contribute to local and regional growth through mechanisms such as the Hunter Regional Plan, the Regional Economic Development Strategy, and local Economic Development Strategies.
Stephen has regularly represented councils and similar organisations, in liaison with local and state government, to address matters including the development and acceptance of regional plans.
Having lived and worked on the Central Coast for 35 years, his commitment to the region is unwavering and his active role in fostering its economic growth and prosperity is a testament to his dedication.
With over 25 years of experience in the health industry, Matt Kelly is the Head of Regional Operations – North at Healthe Care. In this role, he oversees several hospitals on the Central Coast, including Brisbane Waters Private, Gosford Private and Tuggerah Lakes Private Hospitals.
Matt was named the Central Coast Regional Business Leader of the Year and the NSW Business Leader of the Year by the NSW Business Chamber for his work in 2019.
Among his achievements, Matt has supported the creation of jobs in the construction and health industries on the Coast through his contributions to several developments in health services across the region.
He has been instrumental in facilitating over $120M worth of local health infrastructure, including a $38M Cancer Centre at Gosford Hospital, the $10M development of the Gosford Heart Centre, a $35M expansion of Gosford Private Hospital, and the $32M construction of the new Tuggerah Lakes Private Hospital in Kanwal.
Matt also played a key role in collaborating with the public sector to deliver surgical services to patients on the Central Coast, including research between sites for promotion internationally in the medical field.
Ron is regarded as a successful and highly respected franchisee of one of the world’s most iconic brands, McDonalds. Employing over 1300 locals of diverse backgrounds, he has been award-recognised for both youth and disability employment.
Ron has been an ardent supporter of Ronald McDonald house charities state-wide and was a driving force behind the construction and development of the Ronald McDonald House Family Room in Gosford Hospital. Being a local and a staunch advocate of small business, Ron displays a passion for the growth and prosperity of the Central Coast region and works to ensure residents have access to the same opportunities that exist in Australia's larger economic centres.
Chris Smith is the sitting Deputy Chair of the Urban Development Institute of Australia – Central Coast Chapter, Senior Town Planner and Project Development Manager.
Chris has worked directly with many of the Coast’s major land owners including our local Aboriginal Land Council to find innovative solutions to overcome substantial impediments to local land developments.
CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER / DIRECTOR OF REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT
John has formal qualifications in business administration and management and has over 20 years senior management experience including most recently, 10 years at Gosford City Council in the positions of Manager Customer Services & Communications, Manager Arts, Heritage & Culture and Council’s Executive Officer.
John has lived on the Central Coast for the past 18 years and has been actively involved with the local business, arts and sports communities.
Elizabeth joined RDACC at the inception in July 2009. Previously being with the State regional organisation, Business Central Coast.
She has over 20 years experience in administration and co-ordination roles with qualifications in management, administration and accounting.
Elizabeth has been a resident on the Central Coast for over 40 years.