Rockhampton’s 50 Most Influential people: Numbers 50 to 41
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 50: PETER FRASER
Peter Fraser has been manager of the Department of Transport and Main Roads during a very busy year in terms of the region's infrastructure. With works beginning soon on the $1B Rockhampton Ring Road project, and the promise of more roadworks funding to revitalise the region post-COVID, there is scarcely a corner of CQ's transport corridor which isn't undergoing a transformation.
But Mr Fraser was cautious about the Ring Road proposals before he began work with the Department; in 2018, he said "a number of individuals are going to be moving out of our city for no reason", and called for more economic modelling.
Mr Fraser began in the banking industry, and became manager of the Westpac bank in Rockhampton during 2009, followed by an executive position with MyState. He serves as the president of the Capricornia Chamber of Commerce.
Number 49: CLAUDE FINGLETON
With much anticipation Pastor Claude Fingleton opened the doors of the Cathedral of Praise for the first time in 1982. He had moved to Rockhampton in 1975 to take over a small church. Soon the church outgrew its premises so eight hectares were purchased on what was the 'outskirts' of Rockhampton at the time, for a new worship centre on Carlton St in Kawana.
After continued growth came the vision for a Christian school and Heights College was established in 1989, commencing with 29 students from families of church members. The College now has a rich learning culture, educating children from Kindergarten to Year 12.
The Church and College have become notable for their inclusive approach to people from all cultural backgrounds. For 45 years, with leadership and vision, Pastor Claude and his wife Elva have served our community, caring for people, and encouraging them to know God.
Number 48: EDDIE COWIE
In addition to his work on the ground, Mr Cowie has served on numerous committees, disaster management groups, taskforces and associations within Central Queensland, Queensland and Australia.
Mr Cowie has established strong advocacy links between volunteers within emergency services working with stakeholders and partners for continuous improvements in building the capability and capacity of SES functions across Queensland.
Mr Cowie is was influential in the establishment of the National SES Volunteers Association, of which he also volunteers as a director.
Mr Cowie was instrumental in forming the Queensland SES Volunteers Association to give SES volunteers a voice in moving the SES forward in uncertain times.
Mr Cowie was recently awarded one of the highest emergency services national honours in the Queen's Birthday 2020 announcements when he was awarded the Emergency Service Medal (ESM).
Number 47: ZAC GARVEN
Zac Garven grew up in Central Queensland, and chose to return here following a stint living in more metropolitan centres around Australia as well as overseas.
As such, he embodies the very target audience of the tourism sector within which he has carved out a successful niche.
Mr Garven worked in various roles - broadcasting, advertising and hotel promotions - before joining the Council's Advance Rockhampton team.
He has held positions within the Tourism Industry's Young Professionals Mentoring, the Fishing the Fitzroy and the Agricultural Show Committee.
Zac was a young tourist leader for the Qld Government from 2017-2019.
Mr Garven serves on the Art Gallery's philanthropy board and he is also a marriage celebrant.
Number 46: WASANTHA MUDANNAYAKE
Wasantha Mudannayake is the general manager of Australia's second-largest beef processing facility, Teys Australia Rockhampton.
Teys Rockhampton is situated on Lakes Creek Road and is the biggest privately owned employer in Rockhampton. Teys provides a large range of opportunities for the local community by offering young Australians and overseas adults' extensive resources to develop valuable skills and be a part of its various work programs.
With an annual turnover of $680 million and 85% of product exported overseas, Teys is a valuable business helping to stimulate the local economy and bringing the community together.
Mr Mudannayake stated. "Teys prides itself on investing in people from all walks of life, and we are proud to welcome anyone who adds to our cultural diversity and see themselves as future leaders in Rockhampton." Mr Mudannayake regularly spends time educating people on the beef manufacturing industry and the various employment opportunities available.
Number 45: PAULA PHELAN
After 20 years in the legal industry, Paula Phelan opened her own Rockhampton-based office, specialising in family law.
She said her motivation focused on helping families deal with their problems before they ended up in court.
Ms Phelan advises on all aspects of relationship breakdown, from co-parenting arrangements to who gets the pets.
Her boutique firm won a prestigious award from Law Australasia for the highest level of client experience and service throughout the group.
Ms Phelan, who is associated with the Central Queensland Law Association, also provides a role model to her staff, as well as school and University students through mentoring programs and debating competitions.
Number 44: SIMON WALTON
Simon Walton, Managing Director of Australian Reproductive Technologies, leads the way in vitro fertilisation research and services.
From a background in human IVF, he parlayed that technology into beef cattle production, which has seen his company grow active in the Asian and African markets.
ART and CQUniversity collaborated to create the nation's first clone calf, 'Mini', on a CQ property in 2007.
The ART centre at Mt Chalmers regularly plays host to delegates from the overseas beef industries.
Dr Walton advises clients worldwide on improving their herds' genetics.
Number 43: ROBERT ROONEY
As a partner at Swanwick Murray Roche, he leads the commercial law division which includes business, property, wills and estates services.
But it's Mr Rooney's list of volunteer positions which prove just how involved he is in the region.
He has volunteered and taken on leadership roles with the Catholic Diocese in Central Queensland, Radio 4YOU, CQU Regional Engagement, Central Queensland Law Association, Toastmasters and Rostrum Voice of Youth to name a few.
Robert grew up in the Blackall-Barcaldine area in Central Western Queensland having spent much of his early years on a cattle station on the Barcoo River and still frequently visits his family who live in the area.
Robert spent his high school years in Rockhampton at The Cathedral College.
Number 42: LYNNE SHEEHAN
Lynne Sheehan is Mater's Executive Director-Residential Care and has more than 20 years' experience in senior leadership roles in healthcare.
She was previously Chief Executive Officer at Mercy Health and Aged Care Central Queensland Limited (MH & ACCQL) and had worked at MH & ACCQL for more than 30 years in various senior roles including Executive Officer at Mater in Rockhampton and Director of Operations.
Ms Sheehan's professional experience and expertise in the private healthcare sector is extensive and she has a very good understanding of the challenges facing private health and aged care providers in regional areas.
She also has the knowledge, skills and capacity to develop and implement strategies that will address these challenges while identifying new opportunities for expansion.
Ms Sheehan understands the importance of building positive relationships with the many stakeholders in the health and aged care sector.
Having regular, open and respectful two-way communication is a cornerstone of Lynne's leadership and one of her highest priorities.
Number 41: BRIAN SMITH
Brian Smith is the regional Manager for the Rural Fire Service (Queensland Central Region) whose indefatigable efforts rescued hundreds of Central Queensland lives and properties from the threat of what we now call the Cobraball fires late last year.
He has urged residents to play their part in avoiding fires by putting in or strengthening fire breaks around sheds, homes, dams, crops and along fence lines, or simply trimming trees, cutting lawns and cleaning gutters.
"The fire breaks not only serve to protect property but also provide our crews with paths to get around on if they need to respond to incidents in the area during the season."
Mr Smith's call to action extended to parts of Central Queensland that were not traditionally considered bushfire hotspots.
"Bushfire activity has trended closer to the coast in recent years and this has resulted in destructive blazes," he said.
"These include areas such as Cobraball, Deepwater, Eungella, Gracemere and others. "It only takes one day of bad conditions for a bushfire to have a significant impact on a community, regardless of whether that area has a history of fires."
See Numbers 40 through 31 on the Morning Bulletin website tomorrow.