Stacey Lowe is the part-owner and manager of the Royal Hotel in Gympie.
Stacey Lowe is the part-owner and manager of the Royal Hotel in Gympie. Max Van Heusden

12 faces missing from this year's POWER 30 list

MORE than one third of people on Gympie's Power 30 list this year were new faces.

So who did they replace from last year's Power 30?


Top players Stacey Lowe (number 16 last year), Anthony Lanskey (number 11 last year) and the Madill Family (number 9 last year) have disappeared from the list, with the biggest exit from Gympie Regional Council councillor Bob Fredman who fell the hardest from spot number five last year.

Below are 12 of last year's most powerful people in the region, who are no longer on the list.

Here's what put them on the list last year:

Ron Owen (2018 POWER 30 #28)


Ron Owen from Owen Guns in Gympie.
Ron Owen from Owen Guns in Gympie. Renee Albrecht

ONE man. One shop. One huge influence.

An endless campaigner for people's right to own firearms, Ron Owen continues to play a large role in region economically and politically.

His reach is not small, either.

He sends more than 10,000 emails out every week, and his magazine Lock, Stock and Barrel is a hugely popular read.

His passion even extends to the past; a love visible in the gun museum he opened last year which includes some firearms which date back to the 1870s.

In the past year his already tireless campaign to finally bring about a solution to the more-than- 25-year-old problem of a Gympie shooting ratcheted up another notch.

Along with making it a major piece for the Gympie region is last year's state election (it was an electoral promise put forth by One Nation and the LNP), he has pitched a cutting edge solution in an effort to get Gympie Regional Council's feet moving - an underground range like those operating around Europe.

And while movement is still to be made, he has not been hesitant in pressing all political levels over why a decision is taking so long.

Not that he is new to the realm of political controversy, though; his enthusiasm and dedication to protecting the rights of law-abiding firearm owners has led to several historic blow-ups with authorities.

None of which he has ever let stop him from trying to make a difference.

Ivan Naggs (2018 POWER 30 #27)


Ivan Naggs from Wolvi Power 30.
Ivan Naggs from Wolvi Power 30. Renee Albrecht

A DRIVING force in the Queensland agricultural industry, Gympie region grazier Ivan Naggs is one of the first ports of call for rural land holders in the state.

For more than a decade the Neusa Vale grazier, who runs a 142ha (350 acre) farm and breeds stud cattle, has been in an instrumental position in AgForce Queensland.

He is one of four south east Queensland elected executives for the organisation whose 5900 members' combined land makes up 60 per cent of private Queensland land.

Mr Naggs is the vessel these thousands of members use to dictate change in the rural industry, often fielding numerous phone calls each day from state members.

The list of policy areas covered by AgForce is extensive and encompasses local and state government - and as a member of the National Farmers' Federation, AgForce members also have a national voice and are often called in to advise on government policy.

Mr Naggs has been heavily involved in high-impact wins in the state's rural industry, including the relaxation of stamp duties on succession ownership of farms, co-ordinating the harmonisation of chemical labels and establishing cluster fencing in the wool industry.

He is currently lobbying for more funding to research the giant rat's tail grass problem.

Mr Naggs has also been prolific in his role in the Queensland Dog Offensive Group and is often the voice media approach for comment in the ongoing debate to control the wild dog problem.

Mr Naggs was previously the northern Australia regional manager for global agriculture leader Bayer.

Shane Handy (2018 POWER 30 #26)


Power 30 Shane Handy.
Power 30 Shane Handy. Renee Albrecht

SHANE Handy has been the driving force behind the Rainbow Beach Surf Lifesaving Club for more than a decade.

"If lifesaving wasn't there, Rainbow wouldn't be open," he says.

With that, Mr Handy has been trying to grow the numbers of the club which currently has about 85 active senior members and 70 nippers.

As an inaugural nipper in the 1980s, Mr Handy was club captain for about eight years and today is the president.

He almost single-handedly pushed for the recent upgrade to the club building which has put Rainbow Beach on par with clubs on the Sunshine Coast and helped boost membership.

Mr Handy's influence extends beyond Rainbow Beach, though.

He is the Sunshine Coast branch district supervisor, which incorporates Rainbow Beach, Noosa (which has 1817 members), Sunshine Beach (which has 564 members), Coolum Beach (which has 775 members) and Marcoola (which has 413 members).

As district supervisor, he ensures compliance at clubs and inspects the quality of service for all volunteer lifesaving patrols.

It was through his role as supervisor, seeing the facilities at the Sunshine Coast and Noosa lifesaving clubs, that he pushed for the upgrade at Rainbow.

It is not just in lifesaving that Mr Handy carries a leadership role; he has been Handy Hire's branch manager for about six years.

Despite sharing the same last name, Mr Handy does not own the business.

He leads the eight-person team of the Gympie branch of the business.

Handy Hire has a diversity of machines from lawn mowers to 30-tonne rollers which have been used on the 2016 stage of the Cooroy to Curra Bruce Highway Bypass.

It is through his various roles that Mr Handy earns his place on the list of the Gympie region's 30 most influential people.

Kerri Eaton (2018 POWER 30 #23)


Kerri Eaton is a former opera singer and now is a singer teacher and member of the Gympie Power 30.
Kerri Eaton is a former opera singer and now is a singer teacher and member of the Gympie Power 30. DONNA JONES

ROCKETING straight on to the Power 30 and into the number #23 position is singing and music teacher Kerri Eaton.

Kerri's influence in the arts is undeniable as a guest lecturer for the University of Queensland, secretary of the Australian Instititute of Country Music and artistic director for the Little Kids Day Out.

She will also have a hand in running the Gympie Rush Festival this year as well as mentoring her many students in all styles of singing.

This year, she has also been nominated for an ARIA award in regional teaching because of the influence she has among emerging and established artists such as The Dennis Sisters, Sista Lee, Ethan Roberts/Aspy Jones and folk singer Darren Hanlon, who is currently in America recording and touring.

Kerri's experience is impressive, having studied and performed opera in London and the UK, America and Scandinavia.

While she prefers time out of the spotlight these days, she said her life here in Gympie is no less busy than that of her life as an opera singer, nor less important.

"I knew I could be useful here, helping my kids realise their dreams. I've made a few contacts over the years and I like to make the most of what I've learnt and use it to help as many people as I can," she said.

Her ultimate aim is to raise the profile of the arts among the Gympie population.

"My drive is to bring to Gympie artists and musicians and get them to move here. It would see the whole town come to life," she said.

Cos Schuh (2018 POWER 30 #22)


Cos Schuh.
Cos Schuh. Jacob Carson

SCHUH Group has been part of Gympie's financial landscape for a long time.

And it was almost a decade ago that it added financial planning and wealth advice to its portfolio of services, also including business valuations and strategy.

The firm's principal, Cos Schuh, has a deep involvement with the community, and not only the business community.

Mr Schuh, #17 in our Power 30 list of Gympie region movers and shakers last year (the people who make things happen in our part of the world) is on the list again and comes in at #22.

In addition to the operation of a "One Stop" accounting, financial planning and finance broking model, the Schuh Group is involved in managing an extensive commercial property portfolio for properties spanning New South Wales, Queensland and the Northern Territory.

Mr Schuh also sits on the Sunshine Coast Health and Hospital Board which has responsibility for hospitals at Gympie, Nambour, Maleny, Caloundra and Kawana.

Having lived with his family in Gympie for more than 40 years, he says his firm has deep ties with the Gympie community and an affection for the people and way of life here.

Reflecting his commitment to local businesses in the community, Mr Schuh and the Schuh Group have been a major force for charity fundraising in the region.

This year the Group was the major sponsor for the Wishlist Jazz and Wine Festival, which saw a desperately-needed $31,000 raised to provide medical equipment for the Gympie Hospital and facilities for Gympie people.

"As a family we have been privileged to do business in Gympie for over 40 years. We are very fortunate to have enjoyed the support of our local community and value very highly the trust placed in us by local people."

Sharlene Makin (2018 POWER 30 #21)


Power 30 Sharlene Makin.
Power 30 Sharlene Makin. Renee Albrecht

SHARLENE Makin is passionate about driver education and knows first-hand that it can help save lives.

If it wasn't for the training she acquired through the Roadcraft Driver Education program she now runs, there is every chance she and then teenage daughter may have been seriously injured or killed, when a landcruiser she was driving fishtailed on a wet road several years ago.

Now CEO of Gympie's Roadcraft Driver Education, Mrs Makin said she's impressed with how far her team have come.

"Roadcraft was in a dire financial position when I was first appointed. After my initial analysis of the organisation and the education it provided, I knew it had to be saved," she said.

"The courses were outstanding, but the business model wasn't working. I knew we had to secure some major government or corporate work to keep the organisation viable and continue to offer our potentially life-saving courses."

Roadcraft has played a pivotal role in the Gympie region.

"I think many locals underestimate Roadcraft's significance. It is indeed the envy of other regions. The courses we run are potentially life-saving (I say "potentially" because we do not as yet have tangible evidence," she said.

"Locals are so fortunate that we have this type of education right here on our doorstep.

"Parents who do not have ready access to Roadcraft are either choosing to send their kids from many kilometres away and even interstate, or relying on luck alone when it comes to keeping their young drivers safe on the roads, which is an injustice I think."

Mrs Makin said Roadcraft is beneficial to the region because it creates significant injection into the local economy.

"The constant challenge is in seeking government recognition that the Roadcraft model really is best practice and really does create safer, more aware and more attentive drivers," she said.

"We do a lot of work in the political arena around road safety and just keep chipping away at this.

"I am lucky to have the support of an amazing team at Roadcraft who have fully embraced, and appreciate, the professional culture."

Mrs Makin is also the secretary and treasurer of the Gympie Chamber of Commerce.

She believes it's important to help businesses grow.

"I have had over 30 years' experience in small to medium business, and really embrace the concept of making small changes to create big improvements," she said.

"I am happy to help anyone succeed in business because good business is good for everyone, especially in regional areas."

Ben Riches (2018 POWER 30 #18)


Ben Riches headshot
Ben Riches headshot Arthur Gorrie

WORKING together is all part of the deal for online marketing expert and Gympie Chamber of Commerce president Ben Riches.

Mr Riches is also principal of his firm, Enriches Business and is coming into his third year as chamber president, working with other Gympie business people to help them optimise their online presence.

"There's a lot of aspects to it - the words you use are just part of it.

"I've been four years doing that, three of them in Gympie since I moved here."

How does he combine running a business with keeping a diverse organisation like the chamber functioning for the benefit of members, with regular functions and relevant speakers?

"It's not easy," he admits. It's a lot of hours."

One of those important events is Ignite Business, a project he is running for the first time this year.

"It's a one-day event with four nationally recognised speakers from all over Australia, imparting their knowledge at workshops.

"And the chamber puts on monthly events with engaging and relevant speakers.

"I got involved in the chamber firstly because the board came to me, hoping for a new website.

"I started volunteering my time after setting it up, helping run it.

"Then I thought , 'I'm already volunteering my time. I may as well volunteer a bit more.

"Also, when I can I have enjoyed mentoring students.

"I've helped do that at James Nash and Gympie high schools, including working for disengaged students.

"Basically I help them look at options, including not just getting a job, but potentially creating one by getting into business.

"For two years I've also been working on the idea of a co-working space, a hub where people in business can have an office where they share with others in an office environment, instead of having to rent the whole space themselves.

"On the Sunshine Coast there are about eight of them.

"One just opened at TAFE in Gympie, set up in co-operation with other business owners and Gympie Regional Council.

"We call it the Fish Tank, which is partly a take-off of the Shark Tank television show.

"I didn't set it up, but I'm grateful they used the name I suggested.

"I thought it was a really cool name for an environment where people get together and work.

"We're all in the boat, working together and looking out," he said.

Stacey Lowe (2018 POWER 30 #16)


Stacey Lowe and Emerson Finger at the Royal Hotel.
Stacey Lowe and Emerson Finger at the Royal Hotel. Jacob Carson

STACEY Lowe has moved up the Power 30 List this year from #24 to #16.

The former co-owner and manager of the Royal Hotel is passionate about not only her family but about the Gympie community as a whole and works hard to make weekends out in Gympie as safe as possible for young people.

Her involvement with the Liquor Industry Accord Group (LIAG) had this principle at its core.

"Times are tough for business everywhere but when alcohol is involved, and people drinking, they need to have boundaries drawn and know what's acceptable behaviour and what's not," she said.

She is also a passionate advocate for Mary St.

 Lowe is managing fiance Linc Phelps' music career or being a mum to her son Jack who has autism or running after four-year-old live wire daughter Lyric.

"We need to make it attractive for young people to stay and a vibrant place for young families. We need the kids to not turn 18 and want to leave," she said.

Stephen Donnelly (2018 POWER 30 #14)


Power 30 Inspector Stephen Donnelly.
Power 30 Inspector Stephen Donnelly. Renee Albrecht

GYMPIE'S top cop Inspector Stephen Donnelly has a huge weight to carry in the region.

He grew up in Hervey Bay and then went to Rockhampton as an Ambulance paramedic before joining the Queensland Police Service.

Insp Donnelly has been a senior officer in Gympie since 2015 and said it has been quite enjoyable.

"I am very fortunate to lead a group of dedicated officers who care about their community and do their utmost to keep it safe," he said.

"The working relationship between the police, other agencies and the community is positive and has purpose.

"The joint response effort to the recent Woolooga bushfire demonstrates we are a community that rises to a challenge and we rise together."

Ins Donnelly has been a police officer for the past 35 years where he worked in various roles around the State.

"I have been active in every community I have lived and worked in through playing, coaching and managing sport; helping charity groups like camp quality; or patrolling as a life saver and as a Coast Guard member."

Ins Donnelly is an influential member of the Gympie community, but to himself, he said making an impact on people's lives is what matters most.

"I measure my career and life achievements by the other lives I have shaped for the better," he said.

"No one should underestimate the influence they have on others. Your behaviour, rather than your words is what others follow."

Anthony Lanskey (2018 POWER 30 #11)


Gympie High principal Power 30 Anthony Lanskey.
Gympie High principal Power 30 Anthony Lanskey. Renee Albrecht

ONE of the biggest movers on the 2018 Power 30 list, Anthony Lanskey has cemented his spot as one of the most important figures for education in the Gympie region in his fourth year as principal at Gympie State High School.

Climbing 10 spots to sit on the precipice of the list's Top 10, Mr Lanskey's passion for nurturing the region's up-and-coming talent at GSHS helped them win the 2018 TAFE Queensland Educator of the Year at the Gympie Chamber of Commerce business awards earlier this month.

Prioritising the "achievements and success of our kids" above all else in his role, Mr Lanskey said his primary goal as principal was to make sure the school continues working cohesively toward getting Gympie's youth ready for life as valued contributors to the community.

He pointed to Gympie High's impressive results in Education Queensland's "Next Step" figures earlier this year as another positive indicator of the school's trajectory, with less than eight per cent of former students measured to be looking for employment six months on from finishing at the school.

He has also maintained his position within the Gympie State Schools Administration alliance, playing an active role alongside his peers in identifying and planning to combat issues on a local educational level.

A long held love for rugby league has seen Mr Lanskey uphold various roles within the sport outside school hours, including a presidential role with Australian Secondary Schools Rugby League.

Now in his second year as president of Australian Secondary Schools Rugby League, he will join the national squad when they head off to the UK for an international tour at the end of this year.

Formerly the treasurer with the Schoolboys, Mr Lanskey has spent at least 10 years in executive roles within the state and national rugby league setup.

Juggling those roles with additional responsibilities as Chairman of the Wide Bay School Sports Board and independent director of the Queensland Rugby League Central Division, Mr Lanskey's exhaustive efforts to create learning pathways and sporting opportunities for Gympie kids cannot be questioned.

He said Gympie High's recent consultation with the public to develop a four-year strategic plan for successful students, quality staff and an engaged community within the school headlined an exciting future for education around the region.

Madill Family (2018 POWER 30 #9)


John Scott Madill, Garth Madill, Adam Madill and John Madill.
John Scott Madill, Garth Madill, Adam Madill and John Madill. FILE

AN ICONIC Gympie family with as much passion for their community as their motoring business, the Madills land inside the top 10 of the 2018 Power 30 list for a second straight year.

Brothers Tom and Alex Madill founded the company in 1935, before Tom's sons Garth and John began building on their father's legacy in 1966 when Garth joined the Madill Motor Group as a trainee, before John came on board in 1975.

Three generations of the family have worked with passion and tireless dedication to create one of Gympie's biggest business empires, with John's son Adam and Garth's son John Scott now playing significant roles in the continued success of the Madill brand.

What began as two dealerships in '75 grew to become seven today, with Holden, HSV, Toyota, Isuzu Trucks, Mazda, Honda and Suzuki all brands sold under the Madill name.

Their Isuzu Trucks brand at Forest Glen supplies vehicles to the entire Sunshine Coast.

Last year the family became owners and operators of RACQ Roadside Assistance services through Caloundra to Noosa and insurance officers from Maroochydore to Noosa.

Maintaining around 60 employees in the Gold City and a further 60 at Madill dealerships in Noosa and Forest Glen, the Motor Group family uphold teamwork above all other factors in their formula for sustained success.

They also own the Gold Nugget Service Station at the entrance to town, and credit their loyal employees and managers across all of their business ventures for playing a role in their longevity.

An ever-present name in various Gympie- based causes, annual events and organisations, the Madills have kept their strong belief in giving back to the community they have worked so hard in.

The Madill Motor Group continue to serves as prominent sponsor of Gympie Turf Club, with tickets available for a winner's choice giveaway car available at every race day on the calendar.

The lucky winner has the choice of a Suzuki Swift, a Mazda 2, a Toyota Yaris or a Holden Barina.

Earlier this year, Madill Mazda sponsored the People's Choice category at the 2018 Gympie Chamber of Commerce Business Awards, which was won by Victory College.

John Madill Toyota continues to sponsor Roadcraft, an initiative the family have been involved with since Tom served in an executive role during the Driver Education program's formative days.

Garth is heavily invested in the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia committee, and the PCFA is a major beneficiary of the Madill Motor Group.

John and Garth are both recipients of the Paul Harris fellowship in the Rotary Club of Gympie and Cooloola, and John is the president of the Salvation Army Noosa Region Red Shield Appeal fundraiser.

Adam serves as chair of the Gympie Salvation Army Red Shield Appeal, and represents the Madill Motor Group as a member of the Chamber of Commerce.

The Gympie Vets Golf group, Little Haven Palliative Care, the Tin Can Bay Coast Guard and the Rattler Railway Company feature as just some of the regional community groups the Madills remain affiliated with.

Bob Fredman (2018 POWER 30 #5)


Bob Fredman Gympie Power 30.
Bob Fredman Gympie Power 30. Renee Albrecht

IN THE same way you can't take the country out of the boy, it seems you can't take the council and community service out of Bob Fredman.

Described as the "last of his kind" by Gympie historian DrElaine Brown, the Gympie councillor's connection with councils reaches right back to work experience at Widgee in 1974.

He was employed there in 1977 and from that he worked his way all the way up to head of engineering before retiring after 40 years.

In among this, he juggled a love for heritage and history through his role with the National Trust, which included a run as chairman of the group.

Some would be content to call that a career, but Cr Fredman took it as an opportunity to continue making a difference in the region and stood for the seat of Division 8 when it was vacated by James Cochrane early this year.

In doing so, he proved he had not worn out his welcome and took the seat in a landslide - proof that rampant publicity is not always needed to be influential.

In the four months since he took the seat, he has queried a number of council decisions and the impact they'll have on the region's ratepayers, including the proposed $3million upper Mary St upgrade, this year's rate rise, and the decision to bring in new rules that lock out councillors from some developer meetings.

His arrival on the council has also reignited the passion of those in the region who question the path the current council is walking.

His passion for the region does not stop politically, either.

Until recently he was a key player among the region's heritage protection and historical societies, driven by a passion for Gympie's past.

While Tom Grady and Jody Allen did not make the list as individuals, they have become a joint force with their spouse.

Together Jody and Brendan Allen took out spot number 15 on this year's Power 30, while Tom Grady and wife Lyn are number 13 on the list.

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