A whopping 17 names out of this year's Power 40 are new to the list of the Gympie region's most influential people.
A whopping 17 names out of this year's Power 40 are new to the list of the Gympie region's most influential people.

Power 40 2020: Meet the 17 new faces on this year’s list

THIS year’s edition of the Power 40 list comprising the Gympie region’s “most influential” people has arrived.

But now it’s time to focus on the new faces of this year’s list, the movers and shakers, decision makers and shot callers who have impressed with their efforts to bring prosperity and progress to the region in the past 12 months.

POWER 40 FULL LIST: Gympie region’s most influential #1-40

Gympie’s most powerful man reveals his vision for the region

Say hello to the Power 40’s newest members:


Bruce Devereaux
Bruce Devereaux

BEING one of Gympie’s newest councillors is part of the reason Bruce Devereaux slips into the last spot on the Power 40, but it is not all of it.

Over the past decade Mr Devereaux has built himself a burgeoning social media empire thanks to his escapades detailed in his “daddy” blog Big Family, Little Income.

The father of seven has gathered a 47,000-strong following on Facebook; no mean feat in an era where digital voices can affect the biggest changes.


Scott Beckett at the Gympie Laminex plant.
Scott Beckett at the Gympie Laminex plant.

COMING in at No 39 on the 2020 list of the Gympie region’s most powerful and influential people is the man in charge of more than 300 employees and 30 full-time contractors at Laminex, formerly known as the Carter Holt Harvey timber processing facility.

The facility is expected to double its original size – and increase its workforce – once it rolls out a fourth shift early next year, despite the challenges of COVID slowing down the process.

Laminex Australia’s Manufacturing Operations Manager for Queensland, Scott Beckett, grew up on the east coast of Canada where he studied chemistry, a diploma of engineering and a pulp and paper degree at university.

He now lives in Gympie and has become an active member of the Chamber of Commerce and the Gympie Economic Recovery Subgroup.


Kilkivan Horse Ride Rosie Fitzgerald Secretary.
Kilkivan Horse Ride Rosie Fitzgerald Secretary.

DETERMINED Kilkivan businesswoman Rosie Fitzgerald is pulling no stops in her quest to bring aged care housing to one of the region’s largest rural districts.

As president of the newly-formed group Kilkivan & District Community Care Association, Ms Fitzgerald is Number 38 on The Gympie Times 2020 list of most influential people.

Ms Fitzgerald, driven by her own parents aged care needs in the region, is gaining serious backing in her plan to bring an aged care facility to the district.

At a March meeting in Kilkivan, the Association announced a $10,000 donation from local enterprise Wangella Farm to help “fast-track progress” of the project.


Shane, Kylie and John Templeton
Shane, Kylie and John Templeton

THE Templeton family has been growing ginger since the 1940s, and in 70 years and three generations, they have overcome war, drought and disease to become one of the world’s finest ginger producers.

Second generation farmer John Templeton, his son Shane and daughter Kylie are now the directors of Templeton Farming Enterprises, operating ginger farms in the Mary Valley, Eumundi and Maryborough, producing around 2500 tonnes.

For decades they have worked to grow the ginger farm, from their humble beginnings at a co-operative in Buderim to now being stocked in shelves across Australia and overseas.

The family have also diversified into cattle and cane farming.


Director of the Railway Hotel Steven Hooper
Director of the Railway Hotel Steven Hooper

AS PRESIDENT of the Mary Valley Chamber of Commerce, Mr Hooper is passionate about and promotes local small businesses in the region.

He and the chamber advocate for their 29 members at all levels of government, and have built an inclusive and “vibrant” network of Mary Valley businesses, helping the Valley recover from the devastation wrought by the failed Traveston dam which sent property values plunging.

Publishing a monthly newsletter, Mr Hooper and the chamber offer advertising for members, local business news updates and promote the Mary Valley as an ideal region to conduct business.


Fiona and Nigel Worthington
Fiona and Nigel Worthington

RAINBOW Beach Commerce and Tourism Association president Nigel Worthington comes in at #35 of the 2020 list of the Gympie region’s 40 most influential people.

Mr Worthington has never been afraid to take action or speak out when he thought it was needed.

As a businessman, and president of the organisation representing almost all (about 50) Rainbow Beach businesses, he has helped the Cooloola Coast not only ride out the COVID-19 pandemic, but turn 2020 into a great success story.

The Association has had two big wins this year: knowing the challenge ahead, it commissioned advertising to promote the region the Queensland tourism market, and it turned an approach from the producers of television show Creek to Coast into a visitor bonanza.


Tino Faasuamaleaui gives a smile during a Melbourne Storm NRL training session at Sunshine Coast Stadium on October 21, 2020 in Sunshine Coast, Australia. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)
Tino Faasuamaleaui gives a smile during a Melbourne Storm NRL training session at Sunshine Coast Stadium on October 21, 2020 in Sunshine Coast, Australia. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

ONE of the youngest members among this year’s movers and shakers, the 197cm, 107kg hulk from Widgee has enjoyed a blockbuster 2020 season for Melbourne Storm, well and truly announcing himself on the NRL stage and fast becoming one of the most exciting prospects for the game’s next generation.

Since making his NRL debut late last year, the talented second rower has appeared in Craig Bellamy’s side in all but one game this season, scoring seven tries and taking his career games tally to 26.

The 20-year-old’s season of dreams culminated with an appearance in this weekend’s NRL Grand Final, with the Storm taking on the Penrith Panthers for premiership glory.


Power 40: # 31 Steven Elliott
Power 40: # 31 Steven Elliott

A CONTENDER for the most inspiring story to appear on this year’s list, trailblazing Gympie basketballer Steven Elliott is the perfect example of what can happen when you never give up on your dreams.

A natural athlete all his life with plenty of talent in rugby and running, Elliott has never let the diagnosis of a debilitating neurological condition at the age of 13 stop him on his path to sporting glory.

The talented point guard saw perhaps his greatest achievement yet come to fruition in July, when he was selected to the Australia Rollers squad for the 2021 Paralympic Games in Tokyo.

The 25-year-old previously represented his country at the 2018 world championships in Hamburg, where he and his fellow Australians picked up a bronze medal.


Warren Polley
Warren Polley

WARREN Polley makes his first appearance on Gympie’s list of the most influential, after he defeated deputy mayor Bob Leitch to win the Division 7 seat on Gympie Regional Council by 24 votes at this year’s council election.

Mr Polley’s straightforward “say it like it is” attitude garnered him support in the community, and he now represents the more than 5000 residents of Southside.

A true businessman, Mr Polley is forthright with his views on council spending, and is not afraid to ask the tough questions in council.


Mayoral Prayer Breakfast – Anthony Lanskey and Jackson Dodd. Picture: Shane Zahner
Mayoral Prayer Breakfast – Anthony Lanskey and Jackson Dodd. Picture: Shane Zahner

EDUCATORS play a crucial role in the development of children and teenagers, and Jackson Dodd has helped shape hundreds of young minds in the region.

Mr Dodd has had an extensive career in education spanning almost 30 years, and now he oversees more than 120 staff members and 1300 students as principal of James Nash State High School.

Assuming his position as principal in January 2018, from Darrin Edwards, Mr Dodd plays an important role in educating the Gympie region’s next generation, with students enrolled from throughout the region, Kilkivan, Amamoor, Gympie and Glenwood.


POWER 40: #26 Matthew Sample
POWER 40: #26 Matthew Sample

THIS prominent Mary Valley figure has turned his sporting passion into a business and created Australia’s only privately owned purpose-built endurance facility near Imbil.

Matthew Sample, an endurance riding champion, opened the gates of Stirling’s Crossing Equestrian Complex in 2016 with the Equestrian Australia Endurance Championships as its inaugural event.

Three short years later the facility was attracting riding royalty when it hosted Australia’s most prestigious endurance event, the 54th Tom Quilty Gold Cup last year.


Justin Lippiatt
Justin Lippiatt

COMING in at #23 of Gympie’s 40 most powerful and influential people of 2020 is businessman, father and husband Justin Lippiatt.

Mr Lippiatt has 25 years’ experience in retail, financial, NFP, education and more recently the manufacturing and transport sectors.

He is an active church goer and board member of the Gympie Chamber of Commerce, and CEO of Polleys Buses and Pinetech Manufacturing Pty Ltd, where he has created an empowered team culture resulting in a business turnaround including the COVID-19 period.


Renita Henry-May
Renita Henry-May

GYMPIE blogger, teacher and mother-of-two Renita Henry-May has made her debut on Gympie’s Power 40 list this year at Number 20.

The creative and passionate businesswoman is the brains behind Foodie Mumma Ren –

a blogging brand based on recipes and a love of food with an associated website and strong Facebook following of 15,000 people from all over the world.

Foodie Mumma Ren was a finalist for the national 2020 AusMumpreneur Awards in the Author and People’s Choice Leadership categories.


Kim Boyter is one of the Gympie region's 2020 Senior Citizens of the Year
Kim Boyter is one of the Gympie region's 2020 Senior Citizens of the Year

IN THE words of Gympie Regional Mayor Glen Hartwig, you wouldn’t find a more passionate person than Kim Boyter in the Goomeri community.

A deserving new arrival among this year’s rankings of the region’s most influential people, the tireless volunteer and vocal community advocate is the driving force behind the iconic Goomeri Pumpkin Festival.

Perhaps her crowning achievement this year was earning one of two Gympie Senior Citizen of the Year awards in August, recognising her outstanding dedication towards progress for Goomeri fuelled by a love of its “wide open spaces” and “family-based values”.


Century 21 Gympie principal Billy Mitchell.
Century 21 Gympie principal Billy Mitchell.

HE’S the new owner of one of Gympie’s most lucrative pieces of CBD real estate and his plans for it show how he’s managed to skyrocket into such an enviable position.

As the principal of Century 21 Platinum Agents in Gympie and the Cooloola Coast, Billy Mitchell is the new owner of the former Commercial Hotel building – most recently known as The Decks.


Sharon O'Brien.
Sharon O'Brien.

AS the saying goes, power to the people.

But for Sharon O’Brien power is the people; or more specifically it is her passion for their welfare that has pushed her into her first appearance in Gympie’s most powerful list at Number 10.

The lifelong Gympie resident has been a key force through Little Haven Palliative Care and the region’s Salvation Army, two organisations on a big roll over the past few years.


New Gympie council CEO Shane Gray
New Gympie council CEO Shane Gray

IF you can overhaul a region’s public service, how much power do you have?

The answer is plenty, and the reason why Gympie’s new CEO Shane Gray makes his Power 40 debut at number 8.

Shane has been given control of – and responsibility for – a council which routinely rolls out annual budgets of more than $100 million.

This list is a subjective talking point, not a scientific guide. We welcome feedback from the public. It is about the 40 most powerful and/or influential people in the Gympie region. How strong and broad is their influence? A special committee of community leaders from various walks of life have voted on who should be on this list and in what order.

Is there someone you think should be on the list? Email your contenders to shelley.strachan@news.com.au or comment below and tell us why.

Gympie Times

21 units to be added to Gympie golf course development

Premium Content 21 units to be added to Gympie golf course development

Developers of the Corella Rd project opposite the Gympie cemetery got the green...

Local news and rewards: $1 a week for first 12 weeks

Premium Content Local news and rewards: $1 a week for first 12 weeks

Deal gives you access to local, regional and metro News sites

Mayor wants full inquiry into Fraser Island fire response

Premium Content Mayor wants full inquiry into Fraser Island fire response

It comes as the fire threatens Valley of The Giants