Alex Hutton – Chairman
Alex Hutton is currently the CEO of St.John Ambulance (Queensland). Alex has 30 years of senior management positions across a range of industry sectors including; Senior Vice President of Comvita USA, General Manager of Comvita Australia, Chief Operating Officer, The Thompson Group, General Manager Amcor Fibre Packaging Qld/NT and General Manager Northern Australia and National Sales Manager of Pivot Limited. Alex has been a non-executive Director of a number of businesses including Combined Rural Traders, Olive Products Australia and Comvita Australia. He has also served on NFP Boards as a Director and Chair. His core competencies include; Company set-ups in new markets; organisational restructures; Brand development and Marketing; Strategic planning and the development and implementation of profit improvement plans. His qualifications include an MBA, and Bachelor of Economics (UNE) and a Diploma of Business Property Economics (UQ).
Quote: ‘I have been impressed with the commitment to rural and regional Australia and contribution that has been made by the dedicated team at Rural Aid in such a short time. I believe that Rural Aid has a fantastic vision and mission and I am very keen to do whatever I can as a Director to assist the organisation to build on its capability to provide support to rural communities and businesses, that are in need, whatever the circumstances’.
Barrie Adams – Deputy Chair
Barrie is a former Commissioner of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC). Previous positions include; Director of Corporate Development and Operations – Office of the Commissioner for Corporate Affairs and South Pacific Audit Manager – Shell Group of Companies. Barrie has been an active member of CPA Australia and was a Director on the Board of CPA Australia for 3 years. Since leaving ASIC, he has held board positions on listed and unlisted public companies and not for profit companies operating in Australia and overseas. He continues to hold Board positions. Barrie is the Chairman of four Compliance Committees and has delivered presentations on Corporate Governance and Ethics and Risk Management, Directors’ Duties and Corporate Social Responsibility. He was a regular presenter for CPA Australia and Institute of Practising Accountants on these topics.
Quote: ‘My decision to support Australian farmers through Rural Aid was that our farmers needed to know that we (the silent majority) supported them in their endeavours and times of need. Our support must assist in ensuring that Australia has a vibrant and thriving agricultural industry. Rural Aid’s programs for farming families must be real, timely and make a difference to their everyday lives’.
Trent is a co-leader of McCullough Robertson lawyers Food and Agribusiness group. He is recognised as a committed and passionate legal specialist for the agricultural sector. Trent has over 14 years’ experience acting for food and agribusiness clients in a wide range of commercial matters, including complex commercial disputes, corporate & regulatory matters, negotiations, alternative dispute resolution and major pastoral property transactions.His skills in alternative dispute resolution, and as an advocate, are widely acknowledged. He has conducted international arbitrations, lengthy trials in Queensland and acted for major agribusiness entities, large property developers, multinational resource companies, major Government Owned Corporations and large corporate entities.Trent’s experience also includes seeking urgent interlocutory injunctions, defending and prosecuting class actions and resolving licensing and regulatory disputes.Trent has provided advice to clients across a range of industries.
Quote: ‘Rural Australia is such a critical part of the Australian social fabric, and it rarely receives the support it deserves and requires. I will always lend a hand to advance the interests of people in the rural sector. Through many important initiatives, Rural Aid has been supporting people in the bush for years, and I wanted to be part of a charitable organisation that will continue to make a difference’.
Andrew is currently the Executive General Manager Corporate Affairs at the Commonwealth Bank of Australia responsible for all external affairs, internal communications, government relations and corporate social responsibility. Previous positions held include; Director Corporate and Public Affairs Woolworths; Federal Director National Party of Australia and Media Adviser to the Hon Warren Truss. (Former Deputy Prime Minister of Australia). His expertise and standing in the corporate affairs profession has been recognised with admission to the Arthur W. Page Society, recognition in the International Top 50 Corporate Affairs Professionals (Salt & Shein 2014) and in the inaugural award of Top 50 Outstanding LGBTI Leaders in Australia (Deloitte 2016) for his work in leadership roles, diversity and equality campaigns. He has extensive experience in governance, both in the corporate and not for profit sectors. He currently serves on the boards of The Avner Pancreatic Cancer Foundation and Equality Australia. He started his professional career as a journalist at the Grafton Daily Examiner in 1994, where his passion for understanding and pursuing the needs of rural and regional Australia was ignited.
Quote: ‘I’ve been inspired by the spirit behind establishing Rural Aid – that sense of determined selflessness to help others when things are tough. I believe these reflect those enduring values of resilience and community which regional Australia is known and admired for. I hope I can help Rural aid achieve its purpose, and through that contribute to a stronger and secure future for rural and regional Australia’.
Sarah has twice been a NSW Finalist in the Telstra Business Women’s Awards (Corporate & Private – 2016 and 2017). She is a Director, Company Secretary and Chair of the Membership Committee of Ag Institute Australia, committed to promoting the advancement of Australian agriculture and natural resource management. Sarah is a specialist in the animal health, agriculture and veterinary industries and the former Commercial Director and Director of Commercial Excellence (SANZA Region) at Virbac. Her core competencies include organisational transformation; leadership through volatility and change; commercial acumen; risk mitigation and the execution of commercial strategy. She is also a volunteer mentor in The University of Sydney Women’s Mentoring Program and the Institute of Managers and Leaders Member Exchange.
Quote: ‘I am particularly drawn to Rural Aid’s focus on proactivity in risk mitigation, and on projects which improve the viability of farms. This is where I’d like to bring my experience in leadership and strategic thinking to find innovative, people-centred solutions’.
John Cotter AM
John is a former Chairman of the Queensland Gasfields Commission and former President of AgForce (Queensland’s peak farming organisation). He has over 40 years of providing leadership and high-level negotiation skills across all levels of government, public institutions and within the private sector, facilitating equitable solutions for many diverse issues. John is a business owner and beef producer in the South Burnett Region of South East Queensland, supplying product for both export and domestic markets. He has filled numerous positions on state and national boards, advisory councils and groups, with a particular focus on economic growth and sustainability for rural and regional areas. John has been on the Board of the Queensland Fire and Rescue Authority and on the Emergency Services Ministerial Advisory Council. He has been recognised for his professional, public and community achievements with the; Member of Order of Australia AM; Diligent and Ethical Service Medal (DESM); National Medal; Centenary Medal; Telstra Advance Australia Award and the Australia Day Citizen of the Year Award.
Quote:‘I have spent my life working in rural Australia and representing farmers and regional communities. I am impressed with Rural Aid’s focus in bringing the plight of farmers through natural disasters to people in the city. The charity plays an important role in not only helping those in the bush but also provides an important connection between city and country. As a Board member, I hope to use my experience to help advise and guide the charity’s future direction in order that it continue its marvellous work for many years to come’.
Ben is presently the Regional Vice President Asia Pacific for Valmont Industries, Inc (VMI), a corporation publicly traded on the NYSE that produces infrastructure products to support and enrich growing economies around the world. Valmont leads the world in water management for irrigation that helps agricultural producers produce more from their land. Previously, Ben was Sales and Marketing Manager AUS/NZ/PNG/Pacific Islands – Husqvarna Group. Ben is a Sales and marketing specialist with proven results in growing a business and building structure and process. He is renowned as a dynamic, entrepreneurial leader with a high level of commercial acumen, technical expertise and uncanny ability to develop successful marketing and branding strategies which consistently deliver transformational changes in business.
Quote: ‘Our farmers are some of, if not the hardest working Australians. Supporting Rural Aid to not only bring awareness to the greater Australian population around the importance of sustainable rural communities but also to provide support to our farmers in time of need is a truly special opportunity’.