Rockhampton’s 50 Most Influential people: Numbers 31-40
LIKE em, love 'em or "never heard of 'em", these are your locals who strive to make Rockhampton a better place to live, work and raise a family.
Some of them were born here and some of them moved here to make the most of the family-friendly facilities, opportunities for employment or to spend more time with their extended families.
Whether they're a community leader or someone working hard behind the scenes, we think you'll be surprised how humble and grateful our Fifty Most Influential are.
Number 40: ROB CARR
The property developer and popular landlord gave the Denham St landmark a complete overhaul after he took it over in 2016, expanding its garden bar and function areas, and introducing a coffee bar as well.
He reckons the key to success is location and a great steak.
"People of all ages keep coming back for the food," he said.
Mr Carr, who has an extensive real estate portfolio throughout the region, also recently took over as chairman of the Rockhampton Jockey Club.
Number 39: BIANCA ACIMOVIC
Director of Rockhampton's Art Gallery since 2016, Bianca Acimovic strives to break down stigmas to situate the Gallery at the heart of the community.
She has combined her formal training in contemporary art with postgraduate qualifications in museum studies and innovative, entrepreneurial practices.
Ms Acimovic believes the construction of a new cultural institution to house the nationally significant collection, activated through engagement and learning programs, will be an economic stimulus for the Rockhampton region.
In under four years Ms Acimovic has lead an increased overall visitor attendance by 118 per cent, increased online interaction through social media engagement by 233 per cent, increased program and event attendance by 286 per cent and increased education attendance by 250 per cent.
Number 38: DOMINIC DOBLO
It's been 12 years since Dominic Doblo's first bid for mayor - he pulled out of the 2020 race to focus on family - but he's still loud and proud when it comes to calling for what he thinks Rockhampton needs.
He said the closure of the Pauls milk factory was the "nail in the coffin" for Central Queensland's dairy industry, then stocked local milk on his own store shelves.
He and his children run the Farmers Markets on Lakes Creek Rd, continuing the heritage of Doblo's grandfather Les who sold fruit and veg from the back of a cart.
He continues to fight for conditions which make it easier for local businesses to thrive and for money to stay in our region.
He's also a landscaper who has been vocal about the need for more trees in our urban area, and for the need to secure water for agricultural projects.
Number 37: MICHELLE COMLEY
Michelle Comley manages the Budget Car and Truck Rentals business between Rockhampton, Gladstone, Bundaberg and Hervey Bay, a stretch of 400 km along the busy Bruce Highway.
It is a role which earned her the inaugural Regional Industry Award from the 2019 CQ Women in Business council.
When Ms Comley's not adding vehicles to the fleet, she's driving out into the bush in an altogether different vehicle as one of the Variety Club's "bashers".
She describes driving out around the Queensland backroads with like-minded mates as an "adventure" but it's an adventures which had raised thousands of dollars for the children's charity.
Michelle is passionate about promoting the Southern Great Barrier Reef and has served on the Capricorn Enterprise and Bundaberg Tourism boards to assist in promoting our area.
Number 36: ELIZE HATTIN
Elize Hattin combines her work as a business coach with her role as the SmartHub manager, to encourage innovation among Central Queensland start-up businesses.
An accomplished public speaker, she conducts programs for local students and entrepreneurs.
She was recently invited to the Asia-Pacific Leading Smart City award ceremony in China, where the Rockhampton Regional Council received an award.
Ms Hattin holds qualifications in psychology, information science, training and management, and she is the author of 'The Naked Truth About You, Your Path to an Extraordinary Future Revealed'.
Ms Hattin said she believes deeply in people and in everybody's ability to attain success and happiness.
"As a country we need to take a hard look at what the future looks like, how technology is changing everything and adjust the education system to focus on training and education for the future."
Number 35: COL HAMILTON
Col Hamilton OAM fell in love with hockey back in 1969 and, since then, the entire community has come to love the sporting patron right back.
He served as the president, now patron, of Rockhampton Hockey Association.
He coached Jamie Dwyer among other local stars of the sport.
"Most of the players for Australian teams in sport come from country towns and it just shows we have good coaches in these regions that have go that heart," he said.
His former players formed Team Hamilton to show their thanks, and to raise money for the community and the Beyond Blue charity.
Even in his 80s, Mr Hamilton makes the time to visit hospitals and nursing homes and to support other charities including the Red Cross.
He was presented with life membership of not only the Rovers hockey club but also the Primary School Association. Mr Hamilton was awarded an Order of Australia medal in 2012 for his charity and volunteer work.
Number 34: COLIN MAY
Central Region Chief Superintendent Colin May has served alongside the region's firefighters for more than 30 years.
The latter was for "significant" service during Cyclone Yasi, during which he was stuck in Rockhampton for a week due to floods, and flew home to Alton Downs, only to put on his uniform and head out a few days later.
After dealing with localised flooding, he organised crews to head out to Bundaberg and Charleville.
Mr May ensures the Queensland Fire and Emergency Service in kept up to date on the status of disaster management in this region.
Number 33: MEGHAN ROTHERY
As principal of Rockhampton's Maurice Blackburn office, Meghan Rothery is committed to achieving justice for all her clients.
A quick search through The Morning Bulletin archives shows that the firm has dealt with every matter of infringement from fictitious surveys to car crashes.
She has stepped forward to help victims understand how they can access money through their CTP insurance.
Ms Rothery marched in the 2018 Change the Rules protest for fairer wages, in solidarity with the number of unions her firm represents.
Her firm also put out a call for donations of formal attire, to support secondary students who didn't have the means to rock up to their formal in style.
As the mother of two young children, Ms Rothery is proud to work for a firm which embraces gender equality and flexible family-friendly arrangements.
Number 32: BENITO ZUSSINO and PETER HAWKINS
Owners of Headricks Lane and the Boathouse, Benito Zussino and Peter Hawkins of the Light Group are two Central Queensland lads transforming the landscape of our drinking and dining experiences.
They were inspired by Rockhampton's traditional architecture to establish a unique venue at Headricks which houses not only casual and formal dining but also a microbrewery.
"We are going to use this venue as a showcase brewery and will be inviting brewers from around Australia to showcase some of their brews to Central Queensland," Mr Hawkins said.
"It's great for us because we get all the theatre of brewing and the patrons get the interaction with the brewers themselves so they can talk about their beers and why they are special."
The duo also co-hosted Rockhampton's inaugural, world-class Pop-Up Polo match.
Number 31: PATRICE BROWN
At the age of sixteen, Patrice Brown determined she would counter sexism within the sugar industry by joining its leaders, and by 25 she had worked her way up to a supervisor's role, operating machinery in a physically demanding environment.
As the eldest of four children growing up on the land, she cites "the spirit of country optimism and learning from failures" were key to her business ethos, which saw her begin CQG Consulting in 2003.
The firm weathered a downturn in the market 10 years later, which Brown successfully tackled through diversifying CQG's services, investing in promotions and retraining the staff.
This led to her winning the Telstra Business Women's Queensland Entrepreneur award in 2016.
CQG has since gone into partnership with Darumbal people, providing employment and training opportunities for Indigenous people.
Yet for all her qualifications and business contacts, Ms Brown cites her kids - "kind, smart, adventurous, independent" - as her proudest achievement.
See our Numbers 30-21 picks online tomorrow.