POWER 30: The full list

Carl Green from Green RV in Gympie has built his empire from a small car-yard to a multi-million dollar caravan and motorhome dynasty.
Carl Green from Green RV in Gympie has built his empire from a small car-yard to a multi-million dollar caravan and motorhome dynasty. Renee Albrecht

#30: CARL GREEN

WORTH more than $30m a year, Carl Green started from humble beginnings.

He was born in Gympie in 1965 and raised on farms in the Gympie area.

From the age of 18 he started selling cars for Gympie Carworld.

It was soon after this he met his wife Judy (also born in Gympie) and they had two children.

Soon after, the couple built a new child care centre at Jones Hill and then bought five acres on the northside of Gympie.

After building a number of commercial properties on the site, Mr Green started a motor vehicle retail yard in November of 1997.

He now has five Green RV Dealerships, worth more than $30m a year, which retail, repair and service caravans and motor homes.

In addition to Gympie he has dealerships in Brisbane, Sunshine Coast, Windsor and Melbourne.

In the near future Mr Green has plans to develop a 150-lot residential subdivision on Ranson Rd and is also in the process of getting approvals for a 20-acre industrial complex on Langton Rd.

In addition to all of his business dealings, Mr Green served as a Gympie Apexian for 15 years and was involved in running the Gympie Music Muster for several of those years.

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Andrew Corbet is head of a growing empire involved in interstate trucking, landscaping supplies, cranes, excavators and so much more.
Andrew Corbet is head of a growing empire involved in interstate trucking, landscaping supplies, cranes, excavators and so much more. Craig Warhurst

#29 ANDREW "AUSSIE" CORBET

ANDREW "Aussie" Corbet is the head of Corbet's Group, a family owned company which has been operating in the region for over 40 years.

Originally focused on innovation in the sawmilling industry the drive to create innovative solutions has seen Corbet's Group evolve into one of the largest and most experienced companies in Australia.

Corbet's Group now operates in many industries including heavy haulage and bulk commodity transport, land clearing and grinding, water and fluid processing, storage and transfer, heavy plant and equipment, wet and dry hire and wholesale landscape supplies.

With three generations, a team of highly skilled, dependable and knowledgeable staff and the latest model fleet of plant and equipment, Corbet's Group pride themselves in providing consistently good customer service to all their customers.

Corbet's Group have strategically placed main depots for plant storage and maintenance throughout Queensland with the main service depots located at Gympie, Dalby and Goondiwindi. These locations are backed by mobile service units and smaller service and storage locations throughout Australia.

 

Ruth Modin has played an intergral part in building the tiny town of Rainbow Beach into a thriving tourist destination.
Ruth Modin has played an intergral part in building the tiny town of Rainbow Beach into a thriving tourist destination. Rowan Schindler

#28 RUTH MODIN

NO COUNTDOWN of movers and shakers in the Gympie region would be complete without the unofficial major of Rainbow Beach, Ruth Modin.

Mrs Modin has been in business in Rainbow Beach since the 80s with late husband Milton, who both moved to the area from Alberta, Canada.

In addition to Mrs Modin's business savvy she is a self-made community activist whose fearless championing of all things Rainbow has helped make the town what it is today.

One her greatest achievements to date helped transform the town in the 1980s, when she came up with the idea for the Rainbow Beach Fishing Classic.

Tired of seeing fishermen calling through on their way to the then big Fraser Island fishing competition, she thought Rainbow Beach should have its own.

Interviewed during last year's classic, she recalled the inspiration.

"I thought, why can't we do one of these? Only I'm going to include women and children and make it a family thing,"

A lot of people met Rainbow Beach thanks to that one idea, in the 1980s.

In October of last year, a fire, which appeared to start in the cafe section of the building, burnt down both the cafe and Mrs Modin's store.

But Mrs Modin fought through the hardships and after six months the cafe and her store were rebuilt.

That means the seaside town once again has its newsagent, early morning convenience store and a cafe next door.

"So I'm still here and in businesses, after 35 years," she said.

 

Tony Goodman is a fierce advocator for shopping locally and member of the Mary Street Traders group.
Tony Goodman is a fierce advocator for shopping locally and member of the Mary Street Traders group. Patrick Woods

#27 TONY GOODMAN

TONY Goodman has a passion for promoting Gympie's Mary St.

The driving force behind the Mary St Trader's group, Mr Goodman has spent the last three years helping to make memorable events in main street and bring people back into the town's centre.

It started with an evening market just before Christmas with the local theatre association singing some carols, so street stalls, buskers and side-walk specials.

Roughly 2000 people attended that first evening and since then, there have been roughly three or four evenings every year.

"In the three years I've been organising the Mary St events, I've wanted to make Mary St a point of difference to the big shopping centres. I want to make it a destination were people come to relax and eat and say 'Let's go hang out in Mary St'," Mr Goodman said.

His hard work seems to be paying off with the most recent event, Winter Trees on Mary in July attracting more than 4000 people back to the main street.

When he isn't planning the next Mary event, he's owning and operating a successful homewares and gift store in Mary St called Bella Casa.

 

Dr Geoff Walden has been instrumental in helping the careers of many local country music performers.
Dr Geoff Walden has been instrumental in helping the careers of many local country music performers. Greg Miller

#26 GEOFF WALDEN

THE face of Gympie's music scene has been irreversibly changed due to the efforts of one man.

Dr "Rock" Geoff Walden has been teaching music for more than 50 years.

He started teaching at Gympie State High School in the late 1980s and one of the first things he did was to inspire his students interested in contemporary music, to check out country music.

Dr Walden recalls several of his contemporaries pooh-poohing the idea, saying that he'd never get kids interested in country music.

And so the Country Music School of Excellence was born.

Dr Walden was at the head of this community organisation, which, after his retirement in the early 2000s, continued on to become permanent tenants in the Australian Institute of Country Music, something which Dr Walden also played a large role in establishing.

"I had hoped to make the CMSOE a tertiary course, (post school) but it didn't happen," he said.

It hasn't stopped young and up-coming musicians seeking his tutelage at the AICM and some of the most famous graduates include Caitlyn Shadbolt, Graham Rodgers and Alice Benfer.

Along with other members of the AICM, Dr Walden has helped students focus their talents to go on and perform at places like the Gympie Music Muster and the Tamworth Country Music festival.

Currently the Dennis Sisters, recent contestants on reality show, The X Factor, are learning from Dr Walden who said his passion at the moment is teach the girls how to master the guitar.

Country music star and Queenslander Caitlyn Shadbolt in the News Corp studio ahead of CMC Rocks.
Country music star and Queenslander Caitlyn Shadbolt in the News Corp studio ahead of CMC Rocks. Tara Croser

#25 CAITLYN SHADBOLT

IT WAS inevitable Gympie's most recent export, Caitlyn Shadbolt, would make the cut, sliding into position number 25.

Long before she came fifth on reality TV show The X- Factor in 2014, she was fronting the Gympie High School Band, and making a name for herself locally with her powerful country music vocals and guitar.

Since her national exposure, her career has gone from strength to strength starting with an exclusive record deal with ABC/Universal Music Australia in July 2015.

Two of her singles 'Maps Out The Window' and 'Shoot Out The Lights' hit number one on the Country iTunes chart, Airplay chart and CMC Video Charts.

Soon after her self-titled EP was the highest selling CD at the Gympie Music Muster in 2015, taking it into the Top 10 on the Aria Country Albums Chart.

Since then she's been nominated for several Golden Guitars, has performed with country music greats both in Australia and overseas in Nashville, Tennessee, won the CMC New Oz Artist of the Year in 2016 and has performed at two CMC Rocks events with international artists such as the Dixie Chicks, Little Big Town and Kip Moore.

Throughout her career to date, she has been proud to call Gympie home, and extols the virtues of her small town upbringing at every opportunity.

 

Stacey Lowe makes the Power 30 because of strong sense of moral justice and her work to make the night time streets of Gympie's CBD safe for revelers.
Stacey Lowe makes the Power 30 because of strong sense of moral justice and her work to make the night time streets of Gympie's CBD safe for revelers. Renee Albrecht

#24 STACEY LOWE

HER no-nonsense stance on bullies, discrimination and alcohol fuelled violence have earned Stacey Lowe her position at number 24 on the Gympie Power 30 list.

Ms Lowe is part owner and manager of popular watering hole, The Royal Hotel.

In February of this year, she hit the headlines for calling out bullies at her establishment that were harassing some of her clients.

She expelled the perpetrators and then went on to post about the incident to warn other potential bullies to drink elsewhere.

After the post went viral, she defended her stance and stated:

"I was brought up to have a strong sense of social justice, and at the end of the day I don't want that here."

In April of last year the Liquor Industry Accord Group chairwoman helped to introduce a blanket ban system to stem drunken violence in the CBD.

An act, that along with the introduction of CCTV cameras, has been largely successful.

As chairwoman of LIAG she liaises with other publicans and establishment managers and the police to ensure the safety of not only her own clientele, but others wishing to have a fun but safe night out in Gympie.

 

Marlene Owen has been a selfless campaigner for Supporting Chemotherapy in Cooloola and was voted as Citizen of the Year in January at the Australia Day ceremony.
Marlene Owen has been a selfless campaigner for Supporting Chemotherapy in Cooloola and was voted as Citizen of the Year in January at the Australia Day ceremony. Renee Albrecht

#23 MARLENE OWEN

OUR Citizen of the Year, Marlene Owen, will be humbled by gaining a position in Gympie's Power 30, but it's one that is well deserved.

Mrs Owen even thought about refusing the nomination for Citizen of the Year because she feels the work she does is a team effort.

Working around the clock to provide assistance to families who are battling the horrors of cancer, Mrs Owen said the job she does is only possible through the assistance of her team at Supporting Chemotherapy in Cooloola.

"It's a community of us, not just one person, not just me," she said.

"In order for change to happen, it takes all of us to do something, this was never something I could do on my own."

Mrs Owen has been volunteering her time for decades, starting with the Red Cross at the age of 25.

During her speech at the Australia Day awards, Mrs Owen used her acceptance speech when she won the award for Citizen of the Year to thank the late mayor of Gympie, Ron Dyne.

"I was there constantly with Ron trying to get us a block of land to build units for cancer sufferers," she says.

"Ron and I had a very good relationship, he wasn't game to say no to me - I honour him for that, because he saw the need that I saw."

 

Darrin Edwards Principal of James Nash State High School has worked hard for the school for the past 12 years.
Darrin Edwards Principal of James Nash State High School has worked hard for the school for the past 12 years. Patrick Woods

#22 DARRIN EDWARDS

DARRIN Edwards will be the first to say he is proud to have been principal at James Nash State High School for the past 12 years.

James Nash became the largest school in the wider Gympie area while under his control with enrolments now capped at 1270 students.

Under his guidance, James Nash was recognised as a state leader with the school winning the 2016 Peter Doherty Awards for Excellence in science, technology, engineering and mathmatics and the North Coast Region's Showcasing Excellence in Education-Leadership Award.

Mr Edwards said at the time; "These acknowledgements, along with our status as an independent public school and our international school accreditation, certainly recognise that we are moving well towards our goal of being a hub of educational excellence for all learners."

Also under his guidance, the school has become one of the highest performing secondary schools in the region for Year 12 outcomes with all of the graduating seniors of 2016 awarded a QCE/OP or VET qualification.

 

Anthony Lanskey principal at Gympie High school. Photo Renee Albrecht/Gympie Times
Anthony Lanskey principal at Gympie High school. Photo Renee Albrecht/Gympie Times Renee Albrecht

#21 ANTHONY LANSKEY

ANTHONY Lanskey has been helping the region's youth as Gympie State High School's principal for more than two years.

But his influence in helping Gympie's future generations tackle their problems extends well beyond that.

Working his way down the Queensland coast throughout his life, from far north Queensland to Bundaberg and then to Gympie, Mr Lanskey has nurtured a passion for youth rugby league across the state.

He has held positions including chairman of the Wide Bay School Sports Board (which has helped grow the sport from Gympie to Kingaroy and Bundaberg) and president of Australian Secondary Schools Rugby League, (a position which he took one year ago), and Central Division Juniors Board Independent Director (from 2012-2014).

He has also played an important role as member of the the Queensland Rugby League Central Division Board.

Overall, it is a career involvement in regional rugby league of more

20 years.

Off the sporting field, Mr Lanskey has been equally passionate about helping students achieve their dreams through the education system.

Along with his regular role at GSHS, he has also become an active part of helping grow education through the Gympie State Schools Administration alliance, an organisation comprised of other principals from across the region.

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Sue Manton from Little Haven Palliative Care at the Melbourne Cup lunch.
Sue Manton from Little Haven Palliative Care at the Melbourne Cup lunch. Jacob Carson

#20 SUE MANTON

WHAT began as a nursing career for Sue Manton has turned into a highly influential role in a not-for-profit organisation that has an expanding and huge footprint in the Gympie region.

As the business manager of  Little Haven Palliative Care and Cancer support, Ms Manton has impacted the lives of many families.

Under her 14-year leadership, Little Haven team of  nurses and volunteers has grown from supporting 40 palliative care patients a year to more than 220, along with an equal number of bereaved.

An AIM Qld Rural and Regional Business Manager of the Year winner and OAM recipient for her contribution to palliative care and the Gympie community, Ms Manton joined the Palliative Care Qld State Council in 2014 with a desire to improve access to palliative care services in rural and regional Qld, presenting at the 2016 PCQ State Conference.

A strong advocate for Little Haven's model of community care Sue recently travelled to Melbourne to address the Productivity Commission Inquiry into Human Services and End of Life Care.

Devils coach Darren Burns in conjunction with the Brisbane Broncos has launched a domestic violence campaign. Photo Renee Albrecht/Gympie Times
Devils coach Darren Burns in conjunction with the Brisbane Broncos has launched a domestic violence campaign. Photo Renee Albrecht/Gympie Times Renee Albrecht

#19 DARREN BURNS

DARREN Burns is not only the face of Gympie rugby league, he is its driving force.

After a career in the national rugby league that saw him play for the Broncos, South Sydney, Western Suburbs Magpies and the Roosters, Burns has provided a stable platform of motivation and inspiration to Gympie's aspiring rugby league players in a time where the game, at a regional level is struggling.

Burns has mandated the consistent presence of rugby league at a school level, which has seen a resurgence of young players enter the local junior ranks.

His mentoring goes beyond the playing field.

Burns has worked in conjunction with the Brisbane Broncos to provide education to students in everything from domestic violence to healthy eating.

He continues to provide front line leadership as president of the Gympie Devils Rugby League Football Club, stepping up to the plate after the resignation of Gympie rugby league stalwart Jim Bougoure.

It has been Burns' intricate knowledge of league administration that has helped keep the game alive in a town with a proud rugby league heritage.

It is through his dedication to local sport, that Burns earns a place in Gympie's Power 30.

 

Muster board member Craig Mathisen from Gympie.
Muster board member Craig Mathisen from Gympie. Renee Albrecht

#18 CRAIG MATHISEN

CRAIG Mathisen began his Muster career cooking chips at the Webb Brothers first Muster.

It was a far cry from where he would wind up in his 35 year commitment to Gympie's iconic music festival, as he now a Board Director for the Muster, holding the Marketing and Sponsorship Portfolio in 2017 and the position of deputy chair in 2016-17.

And his lifetime spent dedicated to country music does not stop there.

Describing himself as a "very novice and frustrated blues harmonica player", he was a founding member of the Australian Institute of Country Music, eventually moving on to become a board member and treasurer of the AICM and, most recently, the organisation's president.

The dedication to music is not the only tune of Mr Mathisen's career, though.

A land surveyor in Gympie in the early 80s, he has been influential growing the region's tourism economy through the Cooloola Regional Development Bureau, and working in the Queensland public sector since 1998 to help economic development grow in the Wide Bay Burnett and South East Queensland regions.

At present, he is the regional director South East (Wide Bay Burnett and South East Queensland) for the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (Queensland).

Cos Schuh.
Cos Schuh. Jacob Carson

#17 COS SCHUH

NOT content to simply rest on his laurels, successful businessman and business owner Cos Schuh is the definition of 'community-minded'.

The Schuh Group, provides several services for businesses across both the Gympie Region and South-East Queensland, including business valuations and strategy.

Currently boasting 32 clients under Schuh Groups' portfolio, it represents some $220 million in capital.

Having lived with his family in Gympie for over 40 years, there are clearly deep ties and an affection for the people and way of life here.

Reflecting his commitment to local businesses in the community, Cos and the Schuh Group have also been a major force for charity fund-raising in the region.

This year, he was a major sponsor for the recent Wishlist Jazz and Wine Festival, which saw a desperately-needed $33,000 piece of medical equipment procured for Gympie Hospital.

 

POWER 30: Number 16 Julie Williams
POWER 30: Number 16 Julie Williams Contributed

#16. JULIE WILLIAMS

FROM a family long-committed to the betterment of conditions for farmers across the region, AgSolutions CEO Julie Williams is a force for positive change in the agricultural sector.

More than just providing products and supplements for farmers, Ms Williams and AgSolutions are vocal advocates for a sustainable farming practice while reducing the industry's reliance on powerful chemicals.

As CEO, she remains proactive in her approach to business, always on the lookout for new and improved ways to provide better services for customers.

Ms Williams was also instrumental in ensuring Gympie Women in Business remained a viable operation in the region.

Since taking on the leadership role in late 2015, it's become an invaluable hub where like-minded businesspeople can learn from and support one another.

 

POWER 30: Number 15 Jason McPherson
POWER 30: Number 15 Jason McPherson Scott Kovacevic

#15. JASON McPHERSON

SOME will know Jason McPherson as the charismatic, energetic and enthusiastic boss of Gympie engineering heavyweights CPM Engineering.

In sporting circles, he is the man who almost single-handedly resurrected the Gympie Hammers Rugby Union Club from extinction a couple of years ago.

However, his sporting involvement stretches across two codes.

He is a staple on the Gympie Junior Rugby League coaching staff as well as head coach of the Hammers, who subsequently enjoyed their best on-field performance in years this season.

Professionally, CPM Engineering is an industry leader and one of the most respected firms around.

Like "Macca," CPM engineering's values are firmly aligned with growing opportunity within the Gympie region.

CPM's delivery of the ground-breaking water processing machine Ali-Jak, is testament to this.

The Ali-Jak distils waste water, transforming it into a product fit for consumption.

The machine has been utilised in mines all over Queensland and stands as one of Gympie's most innovative exports.

 

POWER 30: Number 14 Ron Owen
POWER 30: Number 14 Ron Owen Renee Albrecht

#14. RON OWEN

GYMPIE shooting enthusiast and gun dealer Ron Owen has two missions in life.

He believes our society is a safer and better place when law abiding people are allowed access to firearms for sport or business.

He says licensed gun owners have been demonised and it is time authorities recognised that they are all law abiding citizens, or they would not be licensed.

His seemingly endless campaign for the state government and regional council to keep their promises on providing regional shooting range facilities is also a mission, one that has been going on for more than 25 years.

A lifetime enthusiasm for things that go bang has led him to some massive, even historic blow-ups with the authorities.

But he is still here and still making a difference.

 

POWER 30: Number 13 Reg Lawler
POWER 30: Number 13 Reg Lawler Craig Warhurst

#13. REG LAWLER

"I DON'T talk to The Gympie Times, " Reg Lawler said when asked about his part in our Power 30 series.

We hope they are not the last words we report from the former high school teacher and long-time campaigner noted for David and Goliath wins on issues like saving Inskip Point camping from harassment by over-regulation, including in one case a compulsory evacuation, in the face of a cyclone which was nowhere near the area.

Mr Lawler's determination and repeated wins preserved an important tradition.

His Planning and Environment Court win against Rainbow Shores Stage 2 means Rainbow Beach still has a wilderness-based tourism magnet on its northern side, instead of a rival town.

Mr Lawler says The Gympie Times portrayed him unfairly in a recent court case over a pig farm near the Mary River.

He claims he won important concessions. The proponent says they were already on offer.

But there is no dispute over Mr Lawler's contribution to the region.

 

#12. JELLINA WHITE

CAREER banker Jellina White is the owner and Manager of Bank of Queensland Gympie.

It was in 1987 that Ms White commenced her banking career at the BOQ Gympie (where she was born and raised). In a male dominated industry she worked hard to climb the corporate ladder, working in numerous branches throughout the state until she became the only female Regional Manager in Australia, travelling throughout, NSW, Victoria and the ACT, working closely with new BOQ franchisees.

During her time with Corporate BOQ , Ms White was awarded the Managing Directors Award, Branch of the Year and Branch Manager of the Year.

With a young family and many years of Australia-wide franchise coaching under her belt she took the opportunity to return to her home town of Gympie in 2009, and convert the local BOQ branch from a Corporate branch to a franchise.

A massive believer of giving back to the community that supports her and her business, the chance to provide significant support to local clubs is considered a career highlight similar to the many executive awards given during her corporate career.

Ms White has also been awarded Gympie Women in Business awards of Top Gun Woman of Excellence, Employer of the Year and Business of The Year.

As the major sponsor for the Gympie Junior Rugby League and Junior Development Program for the past seven years she has seen many improvements as a direct result of the monies she has contributed, and has helped support and raise funds for Little Haven Palliative Care, Valleys Cricket Club, Gympie Hockey, Bush to Beach Lions Project and Gympie Aero Club.

She also gives her time freely to talk to local primary and high school students regarding budgeting and banking.

 

POWER 30: Number 11 Andrew Saunders
POWER 30: Number 11 Andrew Saunders Tanya Easterby

#11. ANDREW SAUNDERS

IN HIS current role, Andrew Saunders manages all operations of Destination Gympie Region in south-east Queensland, the official tourism organisation for the region.

Born in Melbourne, Mr Saunders represented Australia in athletics and is still an active athlete in his spare time.

He moved to the Sunshine Coast in 2003, and before his role in Gympie, he had amassed over over a decade in the tourism industry.

Armed with a master in management and marketing, he has worked with a number of state tourism and major event bodies as well as large companies Australia-wide.

Mr Saunders has held notable positions, including Senior Manager of World Championship events including World Road Cycling Championships and World Triathlon Championships and was also a business development manager of Noosa Springs.

Mr Saunders is currently the Chair of Legacy Group of Sunshine Coast Steering Committee for Embracing 2018 Commonwealth Games and sat on the board on the The Gympie Music Muster.

As a result of his position, Gympie's performance in the growing domestic and international tourism economy is driven by Mr Saunders, and he knows a thing or two about selling Gympie to the rest of the world.

The proof is in the pudding with the Gympie Region was named the fastest growing tourism destination in Queensland for both domestic and international visitor nights for the period of 2015/16.

During his time at the helm, Rainbow Beach has spiked as a popular coastal holiday destination and the Gympie region has promoted the paddock to plate philosophy to take advantage of the wonderful food and produce on offer.

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POWER 30: Number 10 Shelley Strachan
POWER 30: Number 10 Shelley Strachan Craig Warhurst

#10. SHELLEY STRACHAN

THE first female editor of The Gympie Times, Shelley Strachan took the reins of the region's only daily newspaper and leading source of local news just under two years ago.

Ms Strachan is a passionate advocate for the region and a respected daily editor in the News Corp stable, which includes 16 regional daily newspapers, and multiple other metropolitan and online news sources throughout Australia and the world.

Earlier this year she selected to travel to Canberra and represent regional Queensland as part of the national push for media law reform, and this week she is in Sydney at the 2017 PANPA Newspaper of the Year awards, where The Gympie Times is a finalist for the fourth year running.

The Gympie Times is read by more than 32,000 people each week in print, and has an average weekly page view online of more than 171,000, shared by an average 67,000 unique visitors.

John Cochrane unhappy with the milk situation in Australia.
John Cochrane unhappy with the milk situation in Australia. Renee Albrecht

#9 JOHN COCHRANE

HE IS one of the more recognisable faces in the Gympie region.

If you don't see an image of John Cochrane on one of the several massive Gympie Regional Realty billboards in town, you would see it on a multitude of for sale signs.

Some would argue John Cochrane is the face of Gympie, and as a result he has landed himself inside the top 10 in Gympie's Power 30.

Ever since he can remember, Mr Cochrane wanted to milk cows.

John and his wife Marg, have come from humble beginnings to build a<QL> dairy and real estate<QL> empire that employs over 100 staff between the two ventures.

Their recent acquisition of the Kenilworth cheese factory is one of their latest expansion moves, sealing their heavy-hitting status in the local dairy industry.

Mr Cochrane has served on numerous dairy industry boards and is a staunch advocate of local dairy production.

He pulled through the Traveston dam saga in spite of overwhelming financial challenges to become one of the most successful dairy farmers in the valley.

It is through his farming advocacy, business success and commitment to the Gympie region that John Cochrane has made number nine in Gympie's Power 30.  

 

John Madill.
John Madill. Patrick Woods

#8 JOHN MADILL

John Madill is one of Gympie's most community minded business owners.

A Gympie State High School graduate, Mr Madill and his brother Garth built on the legacy started by his father Tom, and becoming an integral part in a family business which has become an icon in Gympie.

He joined the family business as a trainee in 1975 and grew into a board position.

Under strong and passionate leadership, the Madill Motor Group grew from two dealerships in 1975 to seven dealerships today with a monthly wage bill of nearly one million dollars.

Mr Madill has stated he likes to reinvest in our people and our community and our business and has been heavily involved in community organisations.

He became a life member of APEX Club of Gympie in 1992, then moved to the Gympie Cooloola Rotary, and is a Paul Harris Fellowship recipient.

Mr Madill has done considerable work with Roadcraft's Driver Education organisation and has been a major sponsor for over a decade.

He is current President of the Salvation Army Noosa Region Red Shield Appeal fundraiser, a member of the Gympie Chamber of Commerce and the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

John Madill Toyota supports local charities and sports groups, including Gympie Vets Golf group, as John is an avid golfer himself.

John and his wife's son Adam now works alongside him.

 

Maxine Baldwin
Maxine Baldwin

#7 MAXINE BALDWIN

MAGISTRATE Maxine Baldwin's influence is not only integral to the wheels of justice turning in the Gympie region but goes far beyond.

Mrs Baldwin has continuously been recognised in her evolving career that began as a high school teacher before moving into law where she was a highly-respected family lawyer and one of only two dual family law/mediation-accredited specialists in Queensland.

As the first female accredited family law specialist outside Brisbane, Mrs Baldwin mentored young female lawyers and was awarded Queensland Female Lawyer of the Year in 2005.

As an Honorary Solicitor she worked tirelessly in community groups who were reliant on her support and assistance in issues surrounding women, aged care and migrants.

In 2007 Mrs Baldwin was appointed to the Queensland judiciary as Magistrate where she has committed to providing justice and rehabilitation options including the safe choices program for perpetrators of domestic violence and court ordered driver programs.

Mrs Baldwin made up one of 'Australia's 1000 brightest and best' during the 2020 Summit held in Canberra in 2008 and in 2015 was awarded Life Membership of the Queensland Law Society for her contributions to law.

Mrs Baldwin has touched innumerable lives, and made a significant, long-lasting contribution to her community.

 

Back from left.  Pat Nolan, Tony Nolan, Michael Nolan, Terry Nolan. front Marie Nolan.
Back from left. Pat Nolan, Tony Nolan, Michael Nolan, Terry Nolan. front Marie Nolan. Tom Daunt

#6 NOLAN FAMILY

IN 1945, Pat Nolan entered the meat trade as an apprentice in the Apollanian Vale butcher shop in Gympie.

Through hard work and dedication, he eventually opened his own butcher shop in 1958 and the rest, as they say, is history.

Aside from gold, the Nolan Meats brand is perhaps Gympie's most famous export.

From those early days at "the Vale," Pat with his wife Marie, and sons Tony, Terry and Michael have grown the family owned meat works business into a global empire.

A recent multimillion dollar revamp of their Gympie processing plant is designed to increase their productivity with a potential expansion into the lucrative Chinese market on the cards.

Nolan Meats products can already be sampled in America, Japan, Malaysia and Indonesia yet 70% of their commodities are still bought domestically.

They are one of the region's biggest privately owned companies who employ locals, with over 400 hundred staff on the books.

If their recent expansion is anything to go by, the Nolan Meats brand will be a local mainstay for decades to come.

 

Bernard Smith returns from the Ironman World Championship, Kona, Hawii.Photo Patrick Woods / Gympie Times
Bernard Smith returns from the Ironman World Championship, Kona, Hawii.Photo Patrick Woods / Gympie Times Patrick Woods

#5 BERNARD SMITH

BERNARD Smith oversees the day-to-day business operations as the chief executive officer of the Gympie Regional Council.

In the role, Mr Smith has a handle on the Gympie Regional Council's $96.5million budget and, as a result, an indirect influence on the lives of about 50,292 people who live within the region.

Mr Smith has a strong background in regional local government across a range of positions in three states.

After obtaining a degree in civil engineering, he undertook a range of roles at the City of Berwick in Melbourne's outer east before going to the City of Sandringham in Melbourne in a director level position.

Following amalgamations in Victoria, Mr Smith was then appointed as director of environmental services at the newly created City of Greater Bendigo.

In 2000 he was appointed general manager of Port Macquarie Hastings Council, a position he held until 2008.

Mr Smith joined Gympie Regional Council in 2011 as chief executive officer and considers himself fortunate to have experienced local government in both the regional and metropolitan context.

Mr Smith recently said he enjoyed playing a role in continuing to develop an organisation that provided high-quality services to the community and to assist the council in its most important responsibility of planning and delivering for the Gympie region's future.

Stay At Home Mum Jody Allen.
Stay At Home Mum Jody Allen.

#4 JODY ALLEN

FROM an expectant mother who started a parenting blog in the spare room of her house after being made redundant to the star of an upcoming national television series; Jody Allen's climb to fame is dizzying.

The bright and bubbly Gympie woman began sharing money saving tips and had quickly built a platform for other mums to talk to each other 24 hours a day.

Half a million followers later, the mother of two now has a readership of up to 1,000,000 mums per month on her website, has one of the most popular parenting websites in the country and is about to publish her fourth book with Penguin Publishing.

Making waves across the nation, Mrs Allen is Agforce Queensland Ambassador for the Every Family Needs a Farmer 2017 Campaign and has highlighted the importance of farmers in our community, appearing on an episode of ABC's Landline.

Alongside the state's most innovative, Mrs Allen also made the Advance Queensland Community Digital Champion list and to top it off her Stay at Home Mum TV Show starts on Channel 7 in October.

 

Mayor Mick Curran.
Mayor Mick Curran. Renee Albrecht

#3 MICK CURRAN

MICK Curran has a law enforcement background, having been a member of the Queensland Police Service for more than 30 years with a career in uniform, investigative and managerial roles. From this work he received the Bravery Medal from Governor-General Peter Cosgrove in 2016.

Mayor Curran began with Gympie Regional Council when he was elected to Local Government in 2012. He was subsequently elected as Mayor in 2015 as a result of a by-election due to the sad passing of the region's previous mayor Ron Dyne and was re-elected in the position last year.

Dissatisfied with Gympie's reputation in other areas, he has worked reverse it and make Gympie a place to be in Queensland.

Since taking over the role of Mayor, he has been instrumental in the award-winning Aquatic Recreational Centre's construction, the Smithfield St revamp, his efforts to get the heritage Mary Valley Rattler back on track and make the Mary River a key part of the region's economy, and overseeing the region's G150 celebrations, which will attract the eyes of the state in October.

 

Tony Perrett.
Tony Perrett. Frances Klein

#2 TONY PERRETT

A FIRM believer in the importance of community engagement, Tony Perrett is a born politician.

With a political life consistently focused on regional Queensland, and as the member for Gympie in state parliament, he has continued to be a strong advocate for local issues.

The son of Trevor Perrett, the member for Barambah from 1988 to 1998, Tony first became involved with the Kingaroy Young Nationals in 1988 at 19 years old.

Mr Perrett would later enter politics proper in 2003 when he was elected to the Kilkivan Shire Council.

Steadily rising through the ranks, he was appointed deputy mayor before once again taking the role with the formation of the Gympie Regional Council in 2008.

In 2015, Mr Perrett rose to state politics, which has done little to dull his commitment to the region, often looking to promote issues falling outside the south-east corner of Queensland.

However, he has also taken on a variety of roles in and outside of opposition, including time spent as a member on legal affairs, finance and agriculture committees.

Currently, he is a member of the Infrastructure Planning and Natural Resources Committee as well as the Deputy Opposition Whip.

In his maiden speech to parliament, he listed both the rich history of the Gympie region as well as the many economic benefits it provides to Queensland as a whole.

He is also vocal about issues affecting the region, being a strong advocate on improving safety across local roads, as well as the slipping access to both employment and education across the region.

"A good education is a very precious opportunity that we can give our children," he said.

"Having choice in that education is an even greater opportunity."

A firm believer in actions speaking louder than words, Mr Perrett is an almost-permanent fixture at community and charity events across the Gympie region.

Llew O'Brien Federal Member for Wide Bay.
Llew O'Brien Federal Member for Wide Bay. Renee Albrecht

#1 LLEW O'BRIEN

THE threat of nuclear annihilation, the predicted decline of Christianity and a forecast climate apocalypse - the big issues of the world combine in our region with domestic concerns from same-sex marriage and aged care to underemployment, drought and high rates of domestic violence.

The daily struggle for home and family may often obscure the international sensitivity of our trade-dependent Wide Bay economy, largely founded on export agriculture, tourism, manufacturing and the emerging pillars of health care and education.

Gympie region and Wide Bay electorate are places where domestic prosperity reflects international markets.

An example of our region working well, according to federal MP Llew O'Brien, is the export access Nolan Meats provides to local beef producers, as well as employment for others.

Economic and cultural diversity has meant strength for Wide Bay, but also challenges.

For Mr O'Brien it may sometimes seem to be almost impossible to please everyone.

As part of the Turnbull government he sees his job is keeping us somewhere near the driver's seat. And odd as it may seem, he says some of the insecurity experienced by that government is making us more influential in Canberra.

"Whereas my predecessor (Warren Truss) was deputy prime minister and at the centre of power, my influence is coming from the outside.

"A government with a majority of one is much more inclined to listen to individual MPs and I may have made myself a little unpopular at times pushing concerns like aged care, palliative care, road safety and domestic violence," he says.

"But it's not Llew O'Brien being important, it's the people of Wide Bay that matter and it's my job to make sure we get our fair share of funding and influence."

Mr O'Brien's potentially pivotal role in representing our concerns on the national and international stage puts him in the often uncomfortable lead as Number One in our Power 30 list of the region's most influential people.

Fortunately or unfortunately for him, Mr O'Brien has a personal commitment on some of these important issues.

Some of that comes from the often stressful experiences of his earlier life as a police officer.

That is where, he tells us, he got his serious commitment on issues like road safety and domestic violence.

He has seen too much of them and their consequences.

The Bruce Hwy is not the only road he wants improved, but his experience dates back to its days as a death trap, a highway with a body count comparable to a war zone.

Now he says, the danger has moved north.

It was only a couple of months ago that he led a delegation of Wide Bay mayors to meet federal Transport Minister Darren Chester on that issue.

He told parliament of the 13,800 vehicles using the Bruce Hwy through Gympie each day.

And the 64,000 people expected to live here by 2036.

And the 173 casualty crashes and 25 deaths on the highway between 2003 and 2007.

And as flood- free national infrastructure, he says it will pay for itself in terms of productivity just by giving Gympie a completely flood-free link to its southern markets for produce and employment, particularly the Sunshine Coast and Brisbane.

The RACQ estimates traffic congestion costs the economy $16.5 billion a year, with this expected to reach $53 billion by 2031.

In 2014, the Bruce Hwy was listed as one of the world's 25 most dangerous roads.

As a former crash investigator he says few things frustrate him more than the ability of politicians thousands of kilometres away to ignore such issues.

Domestic violence was a major theme of his maiden speech to federal parliament last year.

He also spoke of his own experience of mental illness, in the form of post traumatic stress disorder, much of it a result of his experiences as a crash investigator, seeing the damage up close and first hand.

Confronting "absolute tragedy and trauma" took its toll.

"I went through a very intense phase which saw me struck down by depression and anxiety.

And he spoke of the saving work of the strong women in his life.

He credits a "supportive employer" and "my amazing wife" Sharon, for helping him through the year it took him to get back to work.

Wide Bay had more than its share of mental illness, he told parliamentary colleagues.

And suicide rates were highest in his home town of Gympie.

He recalled lessons of honesty and courage learned from his mother, whose death from motor neurone disease came when he was 17.

A year later he met "the love of my life, Sharon".

"I worked on farms, in factories and anywhere else I could earn a wage," he said.

They jointly reached the decision for him to join the police service.

"As a bloke whose life has been enriched and guided by the powerful women in it, responding to incidents of violence, particularly violence against women and their children, made my blood boil. We as a society must do more to prevent all domestic and family violence," he said.

It has been a long road to Canberra, but he says Wide Bay people are in charge of what he does there.

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