PULLING STRINGS: The top 77 movers and shakers of the region are being counted down.
PULLING STRINGS: The top 77 movers and shakers of the region are being counted down.

PUPPET MASTERS: Coast’s 77 most influential, part three

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.

 

NUMBER 25-1:

25. Tony Scanlon:

Tony Scanlon.
Tony Scanlon.

PUBLICAN, developer, and even a former major shareholder of the Brisbane Broncos. Tony Scanlon's CV is extensive.

The former Thoroughbreds member, who helped former Broncos transition to life after footy, has been a major player north of the Maroochy River.

His Surfair resort and tavern at Marcoola remain hugely popular, while he's also developed major shopping complexes at Peregian Beach and secured approvals for a new motel there too.

 

24. Jeanette Allom-Hill:

Jeanette Allom-Hill, former council group executive, won a national Telstra Business Womens Award, and is now off to work with the PM’s office.
Jeanette Allom-Hill, former council group executive, won a national Telstra Business Womens Award, and is now off to work with the PM’s office.

THE former Sunshine Coast Council group executive of business performance is off to bend the ear of the nation's leader, consulting to the Prime Minister with the Australian Public Sector Reform office.

She'll remain based in the region where she recently won the 2020 Telstra Queensland Business Women's Awards Public Sector and Academia Award.

 

23. Roy Henzell:

Henzells Plaza is getting ready for a major renovation. Roy Henzell overlooks the construction.
Henzells Plaza is getting ready for a major renovation. Roy Henzell overlooks the construction.

FEW have had more influence on the southern Sunshine Coast than Roy Henzell.

The family name is synonymous with the region and the mastermind behind the Pelican Waters development has been creating communities and facilities for decades around Caloundra.

 

22. Brett Graham:

Ray White auctioneer Brett Graham.
Ray White auctioneer Brett Graham.

ONCE considered to be the next mayor elect almost a decade ago, the Ray White boss remains one of the region's most influential business people.

His charity involvement is longstanding and his stable of Ray White offices in the region sell, on average, 70 properties a month and manage nearly 2000 investment properties worth almost $800 million.

 

21. Ken Guy:

Ken Guy, Principal of Ken Guy Real Estate. Photo: contributed
Ken Guy, Principal of Ken Guy Real Estate. Photo: contributed

THE long-time real estate identity has been doing deals for decades on the Coast.

A business partner of Mayor Mark Jamieson's, the duo teamed up in 2010 to create a franchising arm for Ken Guy Real Estate, in a bid to expand the respected agency.

He's also a partner in MKRD Projects Pty Ltd, directing the company alongside Mayor Mark Jamieson, which co-owns the Duporth Tavern in Maroochydore.

 

20. Jennifer Swaine:

Jennifer Swaine.
Jennifer Swaine.

AN EQUESTRIAN lover and marketing and communications business owner, Jennifer Swaine has established herself as a fixture in the region's business community.

She tells stories of local business owners, advocates for change and represents a number of high-profile clients.

She's also chair of the Sunshine Coast Business Awards.

 

19. Ray Shadforth:

Director of one of Queensland's largest privately owned civil contracting firms, Ray Shadforth.
Director of one of Queensland's largest privately owned civil contracting firms, Ray Shadforth.

THE current Shadforth boss oversees the region's largest civil contracting firm.

The Shadforth name is synonymous with the Coast, and the company is a major winner of works contracts all over the region, wielding significant influence to go with it.

 

18. Paul Skillen:

Paul Skillen.
Paul Skillen.

COUNCIL'S business development manager is the chief procurement officer, involved in negotiating some of the most important deals in the region.

He was even rumoured to be a potential CEO replacement in recent months, as attention turned to finding a permanent replacement for former council CEO Michael Whittaker.

The former detective Senior Sergeant was in the Armed Robbery Unit of State Crime Command during his time in the force.

 

17. Caroline Hutchinson:

92.7 Mix FM breakfast announcer Caroline Hutchinson.
92.7 Mix FM breakfast announcer Caroline Hutchinson.

ONE of the most well-loved and recognisable voices on the Coast, the popular radio announcer is renowned for her work with the Give Me Five For Kids charity.

A former independent candidate in the seat of Fisher, she's seen by many as a sensible, voice of reason in the region.

 

16. Ashley Robinson:

Ashley Robinson.
Ashley Robinson.

ONE of the most popular public figures in the region, the Sunshine Coast Falcons chairman and Alex Surf Club general manager has been a campaigner for plenty over the years.

His work for charities has been enormous, while he's also been unafraid to wade into political issues, with his direct approach.

Whether he decided to take a shot at entering politics full-time remains to be seen, but plenty have pondered the prospect of Mr Robinson as a representative.

 

15. Travis Schultz:

Local identity Travis Schultz is known for his food and wine knowledge on the Coast.
Local identity Travis Schultz is known for his food and wine knowledge on the Coast.

HE'S one of the state's highest-rated compensation lawyers and serves on several boards ranging from charities to major private schools in the region.

His boutique law firm is currently under expansion, while Mr Schultz also doubles as the region's resident wine guru.

His wine symposium draws together the region's heavy-hitters of the business world, and Mr Schultz has become a vocal legal voice on a range of issues, including digital privacy.

 

14. Dirk Long:

Evans Long director Dirk Long.
Evans Long director Dirk Long.

THE Evans Long director was one of the main men responsible for the revival of the Mooloolaba Wharf.

The company has become a major developer of commercial property, and has taken the lead, delivering the first commercial building in the new Maroochydore CBD.

An offshoot, Evans Built, won the tender to build the $18 million Brisbane Road Carpark in Mooloolaba.

 

13. Heidi Walker:

Heidi Walker managing director, owner, of Walker Seafoods. Photo Patrick Woods / Sunshine Coast Daily.
Heidi Walker managing director, owner, of Walker Seafoods. Photo Patrick Woods / Sunshine Coast Daily.

ONE half of the Walker Seafoods Australia empire, Ms Walker has established herself as a powerful figure in the food and agribusiness sector, seafood industry and more broadly, as a business head in the region.

The Mooloolaba-based tuna and swordfish company produces high-grade tuna for export and has become a leader in the market.

The success of the business has led to Ms Walker being elevated onto Sunshine Coast Council's Economic Resurgence Taskforce, created to help steer the region's recovery after the coronavirus pandemic.

 

12. Clayton Williams:

Duporth Tavern owner Clayton Williams pouring the first beer to celebrate the venue's recent $2.5 million revamp.
Duporth Tavern owner Clayton Williams pouring the first beer to celebrate the venue's recent $2.5 million revamp.

A PROMINENT publican and business partner of Mayor Mark Jamieson, Clayton Williams is one of the more influential hospitality industry figures in the region.

He's branched out as well, as a major investor in the new The Sports Hub Sunshine Coast facility at Lake Kawana.

Mr Williams has also helped build the Brothers Rugby Club out of Bokarina, having spent almost a decade establishing the organisation.

 

11. Rod Forrester:

Former FKP co-founder Rod Forrester.
Former FKP co-founder Rod Forrester.

AN INVESTOR in the ARIA group, which is developing a $250 million project set to transform Mooloolaba, Mr Forrester has had a long involvement with the region.

He founded FKP Property Group before forming FKP, which was publicly listed on the ASX.

The prominent property developer remains active in the market with his brother, Des.

The pair developed Essence at Cotton Tree.

Mr Forrester was a founding chairman of Matthew Flinders Anglican College, among other appointments.

He and his family remain extremely well-connected and influential in the region.

 

10. Naomi Dwyer:

Chief Executive Sunshine Coast Health Service, Adjunct Professor Naomi Dwyer at the Sunshine Coast Univerity Hospital.
Chief Executive Sunshine Coast Health Service, Adjunct Professor Naomi Dwyer at the Sunshine Coast Univerity Hospital.

SUNSHINE Coast Hospital and Health Service chief executive Adjunct Professor Naomi Dwyer has steered the region through what loomed as an unprecedented health disaster, when COVID-19 broke out.

She took charge from long-serving former CEO Kevin Hegarty and so far in her tenure has managed the upscaling of the hospital services, as the new $1.8 billion facility proceeds to full capacity, while juggling the health pandemic.

Prof Dwyer has managed to steer the organisation through a health crisis which was expected to deliver waves of infections in the region, but ultimately was able to be controlled, with only one death to-date recorded in the region, a remarkable outcome.

 

9. Evan Aldridge:

Sekisui House’s Yaroomba Beach project director Evan Aldridge.
Sekisui House’s Yaroomba Beach project director Evan Aldridge.

SEKISUI House's Yaroomba Beach project director has shown he can overcome adversity, steering the controversial project to approval, and through a Planning and Environment Court appeal.

A five-year battle ended in success for the Japanese development firm, and a construction start date on the $900 million project was set to be confirmed by the end of this year.

 

8. Steve Padgett:

Alliance Airline chairman Steve Padgett. Photo: John McCutcheon / Sunshine Coast Daily
Alliance Airline chairman Steve Padgett. Photo: John McCutcheon / Sunshine Coast Daily

THE Alliance Airlines chairman is doing something of a support act for the state, stepping into the void left by Virgin Australia, opening up new domestic intrastate routes.

Among them, a long-awaited Sunshine Coast to Cairns flight which could prove critical to the region during the pandemic, and Brisbane to Whitsundays.

It was also reported earlier this month the airline was preparing to buy 20 new aircraft to further pick up where Virgin left off.

He's secured State Government support to open the new routes up, and is positioning the company as the alternative to Qantas, given the demise of Virgin.

 

7. Andrew Stevens:

Andrew Stevens of Project Urban.
Andrew Stevens of Project Urban.

IF YOU'RE trying to get a development approved on the Coast, chances are you've heard of, or are even engaging Project Urban, based on the firm's prevalence on council's Developmenti website.

Mr Stevens, former president of the Urban Development Institute of Australia's Sunshine Coast branch, is managing director of Project Urban.

The planning and development consultants offer services covering everything from surveying to liquor licensing, forming in 2016 after KHA Development Managers and DFS Group merged.

 

6. Clare Stewart:

Noosa Mayor Clare Stewart.
Noosa Mayor Clare Stewart.

THE new Noosa Mayor toppled Tony Wellington in March this year, to set in stone a period of transition for the world famous holiday destination.

A former barrister-at-law and small business owner, Ms Stewart's start to her tenure has been tumultuous, thanks to the effects of COVID-19 on what is traditionally one of the nation's most popular holiday destinations.

 

5. Paul Nogueira:

Paul Nogueira.
Paul Nogueira.

THE Worrells Solvency and Forensic Accountants partner and liquidator is a common name seen appointed when businesses hit hard times in the region.

His expertise and advice in assessing financial positions of businesses is renowned, and his firm is regularly appointed as administrators and liquidators, including high profile appointments like the Ri-Con Contractors.

Mr Nogueira and his team are regularly tasked with trawling through the wreckage of a company to try and recover funds for creditors.

 

4. Roz White:

Roz White.
Roz White.

THE Coast's very own supermarket queen, Ms White has built an empire of independent IGA stores and is also developing a new town centre in Bli Bli with husband Michael.

The Sunshine Coast Business Women's Network president is also a political player, having sought preselection for the federal seat of Fisher from the LNP in 2016, but was pipped by Andrew Wallace.

 

3. Craig Matheson:

Sunshine Coast Mayor Mark Jamieson and his chief of staff, Craig Matheson, right, at the Caloundra Chamber of Commerce Better Business Breakfast, The Digital Invasion, in the Events Centre.
Sunshine Coast Mayor Mark Jamieson and his chief of staff, Craig Matheson, right, at the Caloundra Chamber of Commerce Better Business Breakfast, The Digital Invasion, in the Events Centre.

MAYOR Mark Jamieson's right hand man, Mr Matheson is the current chief of staff in the Sunshine Coast Council's Office of the Mayor.

The former chief strategy officer is also a State Government whistleblower.

He served 20 years with the State Government, in roles as high as deputy director-general of a number of departments.

He returned to council to take up the chief of staff position, and is never too far from Mayor Jamieson's side as a trusted, strategic advisor.

 

2. Mark Jamieson:

Mayor Mark Jamieson. Photo: Ashley Carter
Mayor Mark Jamieson. Photo: Ashley Carter

THE third-term Sunshine Coast mayor has entrenched himself in positions of power.

The former media boss and prominent businessman is also president of the Local Government Association of Queensland, juggling those responsibilities with his mayoral duties.

His business background is extensive, as is his investment portfolio, which includes commercial holdings in Maroochydore and Mooloolaba.

Cr Jamieson has never been afraid of pursuing his agenda, and has been critical of both major parties previously, as he pursues his economic growth ambitions.

 

1. Terri Irwin:

Australia Zoo’s Terri Irwin.
Australia Zoo’s Terri Irwin.

THE tourism icon has shown the political sway she wields in recent weeks, helping secure significant funds from both federal and state governments, to assist with the survival of Australia Zoo through the COVID-19 pandemic.

The matriarch of the region's most recognisable family, she's also amassed a significant property portfolio.

She's guided the zoo through the devastating pandemic, which had left her staring down the barrel of not being able to feed the animals with the loss of income, until a portion of a $95 million zoo rescue package was secured from the Federal Government.

She's also secured State Government funding as part of a $50 million recovery package, and another $8 million investment to develop Camp Croc Hunter, a glamping and camping experience tipped to lure 39,000 visitors a year to the destination.