PUPPET MASTERS: Coast’s 77 most influential, part one
IT'S been a year like no other, and many businesses have been forced to adapt to survive and thrive in this post-pandemic world.
We've cast our minds over the region, and come up with a list of 77 of the Coast's most influential people, the figures pulling the strings, or wielding the most sway.
77. Karl Stefanovic:
He's a human headline who doesn't mind getting stuck into politicians or celebrities, and the polarising television personality is also a Coast property owner.
He and wife Jasmine splashed $3.6 million on a Sunshine Beach home earlier this year, meaning eagle-eyed locals might be seeing a lot more of Stefanovic.
He is deeply embedded with the rich and famous and the powerful. Only time will tell if he will pull his strings to have influence on the Coast.
76. Tony Sowden:
The boutique commercial lawyer has owned and operated firms in the region since 1992.
He's advised several major organisations in the region, and sat on many boards.
Mr Sowden is also a board member and secretary of the Sunshine Coast Business Council, an advocacy group representing about 4000 businesses through its membership.
75. Ken Down:
The prominent architect and brains behind structures including Australia Zoo's Crocoseum and the Sunshine Coast Turf Club is one half of what is now the largest regional-based architecture firm in the state.
His firm has joined forces with Toowoomba-based Aspect and remains active in the area, working behind the scenes on several major projects.
74. Clive Palmer:
The controversial mining magnate maintains his Palmer Coolum Resort holding on the Coast, a site which has been surrounded by rumours of redevelopment, or even sale, over the years.
He's been sighted in the region in recent weeks, fuelling speculation an announcement about the future of the former Hyatt Regency Coolum resort is imminent.
Mr Palmer remains an influential public figure, his $60 million campaign spending in the last federal election was reported to have helped the LNP romp home in Queensland, despite not winning his party a seat.
He's also registered his United Australia Party, signalling an intention to contest seats in the upcoming State Election in October.
73. Dr Roger Faint:
The Sunshine Coast Local Medical Association president is the face of a large portion of the region's medical fraternity.
He boasts more than 35 years' experience, and was a strong advocate for the region securing its own medical school.
72. Kevin Rudd:
The Nambour-born former PM is still extremely active politically, weighing in on many issues, often involving foreign policy.
The president of the Asia Society Policy Institute is a former foreign minister and is fluent in Mandarin.
He's also published several books, including a tell-all on the infamous leadership spill which cut short his leadership.
His wife Therese Rein was revealed as the mystery buyer who paid $17 million for a house that was built for world number one tennis player Pat Rafter on Sunshine Beach.
It is the second Sunshine Coast property for the couple, with a $3.1 million beach house at Castaways Beach also part of the pair's property portfolio.
71. Wayne Swan:
The former federal treasurer and long-time Labor MP has strong ties to the Coast.
The national president of the Labor Party and former deputy PM was acknowledged for his role in steering Australia through the GFC.
He's a regular on the Coast, and has thrown his significant political weight behind community causes.
Most notably, he backed the Don't Rock The Maroochy group in its fight against a proposed rock wall at Cotton Tree and, more recently, he has backed a community campaign against a proposed cycleway along the foreshore at Mooloolaba and Alexandra Headland.
70. Emma Greenhatch:
The Food and Agribusiness Network general manager is a key advocate for the growing sector.
With export opportunities tipped to open up with the expansion of the Sunshine Coast Airport, the industry, viewed as one of several high-value sectors to the region, will become more and more important to the region's overall domestic product.
69. Ross Hopper:
Maleny Dairies boss Ross Hopper is in charge of one of the Coast's largest independent dairies, and he's not afraid to wade into a political fight.
The producer has amassed a huge following on social media, which was mobilised in a high profile spat with the State Government over the awarding of a hospital supply tender in January.
68. Maria Woods:
Since July, 2012 Maria Woods has been in charge of one of the Coast's highest-performing private schools.
The Sunshine Coast Grammar School principal is tasked with shaping the learning experiences of students at the elite Forest Glen campus.
She's also on the Sunshine Coast Committee for the Australian Institute of Company Directors and sits on the University of the Sunshine Coast Educational Academic Advisory Committee.
67. Lyndon Davis:
The Gubbi Gubbi tribe member is involved in delivering cultural awareness to schools throughout the region and is one of the Coast's most respected Indigenous leaders.
An artist with the Beulah Community, Mr Davis runs the successful Gubbi Gubbi Dance troupe and is a key figure at major ceremonies in the region.
66. Mark Hobbs:
One of the founders of the Beefy's empire, the pastry pro showed he also holds some political sway when Prime Minister Scott Morrison dropped in for a bite on the election campaign.
The award-winning bakery boasted almost 200 staff in 2017, and the business has continued to grow, starting from humble beginnings at Aussie World.
65. Noel Woodall:
A criminal defence lawyer and avid soccer fan, Mr Woodall is the man behind the Sunshine Coast Fire.
The Fire outfit was one of the heavyweights of the state's top tier of football in its heyday.
Mr Woodall maintains strong connections to Football Queensland, and has been a fixture of the region's legal scene since the 1970s.
64. Ian Macfarlane:
Former federal resources and energy minister and current Queensland Resources Council chief executive Ian Macfarlane is a man well-connected in the mining industry.
The Mooloolaba unit owner is also the chair of the Mooloolaba and Spit Association.
63. Wagner family:
The Toowoomba business and property magnates are rumoured to be setting their sights on the Coast.
Denis Wagner helped launch Mayor Mark Jamieson's campaign back in 2016, while KPAT Asset Management, directed by Denis' son, Kenneth, recently got the nod to purchase and develop the remaining half of the Brisbane Road carpark site.
62. Daren Edwards:
The Coast's senior detective is back nabbing crooks, after a bid to become a Sunshine Coast councillor ended in a thrilling race to the finish.
Detective Senior-Sergeant Edwards shot to fame for a crash tackle on a rogue outside court, but has worked tirelessly for years putting criminals behind bars on the Coast.
61. Brad Williams:
The RPS Sunshine Coast general manager is the chair of the Property Council of Australia's Sunshine Coast Committee.
The surveying, town planning and urban design firm is involved in many major developments across the region.
60. Gerry Price:
Head of Secondary at prestigious Matthew Flinders Anglican College, Mr Price has been shaping young minds in the region for many years.
The Flinders alumni is a lofty group, with plenty of the region's success stories in business and other sectors passing through the College.
59. Dan Purdie:
The former child protection detective became Ninderry's first MP, winning the new seat for the LNP.
In his short tenure he has already been elevated to the role of Shadow Police Minister, and insiders have identified him as having future leadership material.
He is also connected in high places, having served as a police officer alongside Federal Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton.
58. Andrew Wallace:
The former builder and construction law barrister is in his second term as the Federal Member for Fisher.
Mr Wallace spent nearly 30 years as a builder, and in his role as barrister, was engaged to review the Building Act 1975, publishing the Wallace Report which delivered a range of recommendations to improve processes in the building and construction industry.
He is also an advocate for mental health and eating disorder support, playing a key role in the establishment of endED's Butterfly House, set to be the nation's first residential eating disorder support facility.
57. Sandy Zubrinich:
The former private and public sector executive and chairwoman of the Sunshine Coast Business Council has the ears of elected representatives across all three tiers of government.
She's advocated for more than 4000 Coast businesses since she took on the role in 2012, and the organisation has started a regional "cabinet" to assist with coronavirus recovery efforts.
56. Mark Stockwell:
The managing director of Stockwell development firm and former Olympic swimmer is also a major commercial property mogul in the region, having bought the Noosa Civic shopping complex for about $250 million last year.
Mr Stockwell and his family's fortune was estimated to be more than $100 million back in 2014.
55. Tony Kelly:
Few hold as much sway in the hospitality industry as Tony Kelly.
The renowned chef and restaurateur has established himself as a central figure to the success of a precinct, first in Ocean St, Maroochydore, and now at The Wharf in Mooloolaba.
54. Andrew Brodie:
The Sunshine Coast Airport chief executive has the task of guiding the organisation through coronavirus as well as a major masterplanning and redevelopment process.
The former Brisbane Airport Corporation senior executive took over from Peter Pallot, who retired on December 31, 2018.
53. Linda Delamotte:
The chair of the Sunshine Coast Chamber Alliance represents business interests across the region in key planning discussions.
The Alliance was formed in 2009 and its website launched in 2017.
52. Jason Cronan:
Few have a better understanding of the state of business in the region than Jason Cronan.
The bankruptcy and insolvency expert is part of the SV Partners team, whose quarterly report has long been a strong indicator of the state of the region's economy, and health of its small businesses.
51. Brent Mickelberg:
The Buderim MP is part of a family which pulls plenty of strings within the LNP on the Coast.
The ex-soldier turned banker's father, Graeme, took over as the LNP's Sunshine Coast regional chair from long-time powerbroker Greg Newton.
Mr Mickelberg Snr had also run previously for preselection in the federal seat of Fisher.
Brent stood for the party after Steve Dickson's defection, and quickly restored the seat to the LNP's stable.