Former Managing Director and Chief Executive Bank of Queensland
George has a long history in banking and finance, having worked in the industry for the past 17 years. Most recently he was Managing Director and Chief Executive at Bank of Queensland and prior to that was Chief Executive of Westpac Group’s Consumer Bank. Previously, George was also Chief Executive Officer, St. George Banking Group and Chief Executive, Westpac New Zealand Limited. George has held senior executive roles at National Australia Bank, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, as well as Air New Zealand.
George started his career as an Engineering Officer in the Royal Australian Air Force with 77 Squadron, responsible for the maintenance of F/A-18 Hornet Fighter Jets.
Chief Executive Officer
Colin McDowell is the Chief Executive Officer of Allied Express Transport.
Allied Express Transport is one of Australia’s largest express transport organisations, distributing products across the country for some of the largest, most successful and most innovative companies in the marketplace, including Kmart, LG Electronics, 3M, Volkswagen, Repco and Dulux, to name a few. Colin founded the business over 44 years ago, and its current turnover is $220 million per annum.
Additionally, Colin has been highly active in the Harness Racing industry, as both a participant (Driver, Trainer, Owner and Breeder), sponsor, administrator and industry advocate. He has acted in both an advisory capacity, and officially on various committees.
Colin is a significant sponsor of a number of charitable associations, community groups and grass roots sporting organisations, with some of these associations spanning back over 25 years.
Director, Sustainment Operations
Boeing Defence Australia
Amy List is the director of Sustainment Operations for Boeing Defence Australia (BDA). She was appointed to this role in March 2021 and has responsibility for managing the company's through-life sustainment support and training solutions for military platforms in order to maximise operational readiness while reducing the cost of ownership.
Amy joined BDA in December 2018 as director of the Structures and Build capability. She then moved into the position of director of Wedgetail Programs, where she was responsible for all sustainment and training programs in support of the Royal Australian Air Force's fleet of six E-7A Wedgetail aircraft.
She started her professional career as an Aeronautical Engineering Officer in the RAAF. During her tenure, Amy served in a number of operational roles, before running both acquisition and sustainment programs for the Defence Materiel Organisation. Post-separation from the Australian Defence Force, Amy ran a consulting business, offering project and risk management services to clients across the defence and mining industries.
Amy is a graduate of the Australian Defence Force Academy and holds a Bachelor of Engineering (Aeronautical) and a Masters Degree in Project Management. She is also a Certified Practicing Project Manager and a member of Engineers Australia.
CanPLAY Pty Ltd
Natalie Colbert has eight years of corporate experience as the founder and sole Director/Chief Executive Officer of CanPLAY Pty Ltd, a company managing three separate early childhood business in Canberra and offering consulting services to other early childhood education providers.
Natalie is a veteran of the Royal Australian Air Force after serving for twenty-two years as a Logistics Officer, including a deployment to East Timor. During her career, Natalie was exposed to many unique aspects of the Defence industry, mainly within the logistics/engineering and financial environments. She has gained substantial experience in tactical, operational and strategic logistics management, the development of Defence capability requirements, and the Defence acquisition process.
Natalie is a graduate of the Australian Defence Force Academy and the University of New South Wales. She holds separate degrees in Arts, Business and Technology, and Project Management. Natalie is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.
Chair of the Australian Veterans Employers Coalition
Partner, McCullough Robertson Lawyers
Brett Sangster is a Partner of McCullough Robertson Lawyers leading the Defence & National Security Practice Group, drawing on 23 years’ experience across government and private enterprise.
Prior to his appointment to Partner, Brett was the Managing Director of Downer Defence Systems where he was responsible for managing and building a newly established business focused on Defence capability. During his time with the Downer Group, Brett also worked as General Manager of Commercial & Risk for the Engineering & Construction Division, and was the Deputy Project Director on a major industrial project for the Gladstone Liquefied Natural Gas project Oil & Gas program in central Queensland.
Brett is a veteran with 14 years’ experience in Army where he served with various units and on numerous overseas deployments. He was awarded a commendation in 2011 for legal services whilst on operations. Brett seeks to give back to the Defence community through his membership with the Australian Veteran Employment Coalition, where he was recently appointed to Chairperson from January 2020, and as Chairperson of Wandering Warriors, being a charitable organisation providing support to the Special Operations community and ADF members transitioning into civilian life.
Drawing upon his unique experiences and expertise, Brett develops innovative and effective solutions in support of broader strategic objectives. With a passion for building sovereign Defence capability, he brings a balanced approach when managing the operational imperatives of Defence verses the commercial imperatives of industry. He holds a Bachelor of Laws with Honours from the University of Queensland, post graduate studies in international laws, qualifications in project management and security analysis, and is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.
Mark Jansen is a Partner in PwC and leads elements of the Defence and National Security Businesses. He supports clients in Strategy, Aerospace, Command, Control, Intelligence and Information Technology. Mark has over 15 years of consulting experience and was a Partner in Booz & Company before the company was acquired by PwC in 2015.
Prior to working as a consultant, Mark was in the Royal Australian Air Force for 15 years, serving primarily as an Intelligence Officer. Mark gained operational experience in East Timor. He was awarded the Chief of Air Force Prize for professional excellence on No 53 Command and Staff Course and was the academic dux of No 25 Fighter Combat Instructor/Fighter Intelligence Instructor course.
Michael Ward AM, CSC
Michael Ward is Managing Director of Raytheon Australia responsible for the executive management of Raytheon operations in Australia and New Zealand.
As a leading provider of whole-of-life capabilities to the Australian Defence Force, Raytheon Australia provides integrated mission solutions, weapon systems and mission support services across a broad range of key naval, land and aerospace capabilities and training solutions.
Raytheon Australia is a full subsidiary of Raytheon Technologies Corporation (NYSE: RTX). With 2019 net sales of $74 billion and a global team of 195,000 employees, Raytheon Technologies is an aerospace and defence company that provides advanced systems and services for commercial, military and government customers worldwide.
Prior to assuming his current position, Michael served as Raytheon Australia’s General Manager, Strategy and Business Development, where he was responsible for business growth and operational efficiency. He has also previously served as the Company’s Chief Operating Officer and General Manager, Technical Services.
Before joining Raytheon, Michael was employed as a Defence Adviser to the Parliament of Australia. Michael’s service to the Parliament of Australia came at the end of a 20-year career with the Australian Military.
Born in Australia, Michael is a graduate of the University of New South Wales and a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Management. He studied for a bachelor’s degree in information technology before completing a master’s degree in business administration. Michael has also undertaken graduate training in aeronautical engineering, defence studies and training.
Andy Keough CSC
Saab Australia Pty Ltd
Andy served for 22 years in the Royal Australian Navy. His career included command of two Collins Class submarines and a three-year exchange posting with the US Navy’s Submarine Force in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. He was awarded the Conspicuous Service Cross (CSC) for his leadership whilst in command of HMAS SHEEAN in 2006.
Andy retired from the Navy in 2007 and joined ASC where he was responsible for establishing the business improvement capability and managing ASC’s operations in WA, which included maintenance and training for the Collins Class fleet.
After a two-year stint as Chief Executive of Defence SA, Andy commenced as the Managing Director of Saab Australia in November 2017. Andy is Chair of the Australian Industry Group (AiG) Defence Council, Member of the South Australian Skills Commission, Member of the QLD Minister’s Advisory Council on Defence Industry and Jobs and Member of the SA Certificate of Education (SACE) Board.
Rear Admiral Clint Thomas AM, CSC, RANR
Managing Director, Defence
Serco Asia Pacific
Clint Thomas was appointed as Serco Asia Pacific’s Managing Director, Defence in July 2017 following a distinguished 40-year career in Defence and the Royal Australian Navy as a Maritime Logistics Officer, during which he was made a Member of the Order of Australia in 2008, awarded the Conspicuous Service Cross in the 2003 Australia Day Honours and was awarded a Chief of Defence Commendation for the Defence Integrated Distribution System contract remediation.
As Rear Admiral for the Navy, Clint was previously Commander, Joint Logistics which included specific responsibilities as the Senior Defence Logistician and Strategic Logistics advisor to the Chief of the Defence Force and the Secretary for the Department of Defence, Head of Defence Fuel Services, Head of Defence Explosives Services, Capability Manager for all Defence Logistics ICT, Head of Defence Inventory Compliance and Assurance, and Manager of all Defence Supply Chain services both within Australia and in direct support of all deployed Operations.
He has previously held senior appointments within Defence/Navy as Director General Strategic logistics, Director General Supply Chain, Director General Logistics – Navy, and is a former Commanding Officer HMAS CERBERUS, Navy’s Largest Training Base and the FFG (Frigate) Capability Element Manager.
Clint also has extensive experience in Defence Contract Management, Supply Chain Management, is highly respected by the senior leaders of the Australian Defence Force and has a deep understanding of our customers’ operational requirements.
Co - Chief Executive Officer
Veteran Community Business Chamber
Peter Liston is a veteran of the Australian Army serving for 12 years as Logistics Officer, including deployments to Afghanistan and East Timor.
Along with his Duntroon classmate Matthew Moseley, they have created multiple businesses together and co-founded the Veteran Community Business Chamber. Their first business after transitioning from the Army, Secure Windows, was the inaugural winner of the Prime Minister's Veteran Employment Award for Veteran employer of the year (small to medium business). Their second business venture, Trust the Process, supports small businesses by applying a military mindset through automation, delegation and communication.
Peter and Matthew co-founded the Veteran Community Business Chamber (VCBC) to support three key groups of people. Existing veteran community business owners, serving members looking to transition to self-employment and partners of serving members and veterans. The Chamber is committed to building a pathway to self-employment from the military as well as create a complete entrepreneurial ecosystem for our community. Education, Identification, Community and Digital transformation are the four pillars of the VCBC.
The VCBC believes in the potential of the veteran business community and is here to represent them. A key driver of veteran employment is to support the creation of new businesses whilst strengthening existing veteran community owned businesses. Veterans hire Veterans.
Chief Information Security Officer
Richard’s Army Reserve experience has given him a strong appreciation of the benefits veterans bring to employers. He has been an avid supporter of veteran employment in Westpac and is a member of the Westpac Veterans Employee Action Group. Richard’s knowledge and experience in technology and information security strategy, are areas that are attracting many veterans for employment.
Richard has 20 years’ experience at the Westpac Group. Prior to his appointment as Group Chief Information Security Officer, Richard was the Head of Technical Security Services for the Group. In these roles, he has led the Group’s information security strategy, delivery and governance. Prior to joining the Westpac Group, Richard held roles as Head of Technology Audit at Woolworths Limited, Technology Audit Manager at BT Financial Group, and in Computer Risk Management at Arthur Andersen.
Co-founder and CEO
Jim is the Co-founder and CEO of Bluerydge, an award winning and growing cyber security and technology firm supporting Government, Defence and Industry. Since being founded in 2019, Bluerydge has gone from strength to strength by focusing on the consistent delivery of high quality and tangible outcomes for its customers and always putting its people first. Bluerydge won the 2022 Prime Minister's Veteran Employment Awards for Veteran Employer of the Year – Medium category and was also the overall winner in recognition of its work in the veteran community and strong employment of veterans.
Jim is a veteran and served for over 15 years in the Army Royal Australian Corps of Signals where he worked in a variety of positions across Australia. Jim is passionate about veterans employment and remains active in the community, drawing on his over 20 years of Defence and industry experience.
Prior to co-founding Bluerydge, Jim worked in a number of cyber security management and technical positions including Cyber Security Lead for Lockheed Martin Australia.
Garth Chester spent 13 years serving in the ADF as an aircraft technician in both the Army and Navy. Following his separation, he actively sought to solidify his service knowledge into usable civilian certifications before taking a role in the mining industry.
Through his time in the mining industry, Garth found many areas for improvement and optimisation. Unable to action these ideas in his role, Garth took the risk to start his own company, Valenhold.
Using his ADF mindset of precision and getting things right the first time – for both small details and large systems – Valenhold has grown its revenue and expanded exponentially, now operating in 14 countries.
From his own experiences in the ADF, Garth recognises the strengths that veterans can bring to the table in terms of work ethic, transferable skill sets, and teamwork. His work has benefited from the mission focus ethos he experienced in the ADF, along with experience working in high pressure scenarios.
As Valenhold expands, Garth has reinvested in his people, implementing a company-wide Mental Health Recharge Period, providing an onsite gym, access to study support and flexible working arrangements.
Director of Workforce, Skills & Training
Australian Chamber of Commerce & Industry
Natalie Heazlewood is the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s Director of Workforce, Skills & Training.
Natalie is skilled in both government relations and public policy with close to a decade's experience working in both federal and state political offices and industry associations. At the Chamber, Natalie oversees a wide portfolio focusing on skills and VET, apprenticeships, higher education, migration and employment as well as providing Secretariat services to the Employment & Skills Committee.
Natalie holds a Bachelor of International Studies from the University of New England with a major in politics and a Master of Public Policy from the University of Sydney.