PUPPET MASTERS: Coast’s 77 most influential, part two
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.
50. Bill Haddrill:
COUNCIL’s chief strategy officer, Mr Haddrill leads the development of strategic policy frameworks, and provides tactical advice to advance the organisation’s objectives.
He played a key role in the development of council’s Blue Heart program.
49. Shane O’Brien:
THE well-connected Vantage Homes boss has overseen the growth of his company into one of the region’s largest home builders.
He’s also heavily involved in The Sports Hub development at Lake Kawana, and one of the main backers of the Sunshine Coast Falcons.
48. Ted O’Brien:
THE Fairfax MP is current Chair of Standing Committee on the Environment and Energy and is also leading the Olympic charge for southeast Queensland.
The second-term MP was appointed Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s representative on the SEQ Olympic campaign.
He’s also playing a key role in driving a faster rail connection from the Sunshine Coast to Brisbane.
47. Jim Costello:
THE Big Pineapple Renewal project director has managed to secure swathes of support from the State Government for the revitalisation of the iconic Coast venue.
A massive masterplanning process is underway to revitalise the attraction, and Mr Costello is leading the charge, having secured almost $7 million worth of State Government funding already.
46. David Ryan:
THE Visit Sunshine Coast chair has taken over as the figurehead of the organisation following Simon Latchford’s sudden departure recently.
Mr Ryan had previously operated with less of a profile than Mr Latchford, but had been a CEO in the investment banking sector and served on Virgin Group’s Global Advisory Board.
45. Bill Darby:
THE former Rumba Beach Resort GM may have shifted his business interests, but he still has plenty of sway on the Coast.
He was influential in Brady Sullivan’s ultimately unsuccessful bid to become Division 2 Councillor, and has been involved in politics on the Coast.
He was an Adviser to then-Premier Campbell Newman’s business forum, and established himself as one of the more respected business and tourism figures in the region.
44. Dennis Chant:
THE Sunshine Coast Airport chairman was appointed by Palisade Investment Partners to help transition the region’s airport into private ownership, following the deal struck between Palisade and Sunshine Coast Council.
Mr Chant is the former CEO of Queensland Airports Limited, and had previously grown Gold Coast and Townsville airports.
He’s steering the growth of the Sunshine Coast Airport alongside CEO Andrew Brodie.
43. Mark Pico:
FEW have done as much as Mark Pico in putting the region on the map with a global audience.
His efforts as organiser of the Big Pineapple Music Festival have delivered headline acts and awards aplenty, and given a real legitimacy to the region’s major entertainment and event industry.
42. Elizabeth Cannon:
THE chief financial officer of the University of the Sunshine Coast, Ms Cannon plays a critical role in the operation of the region’s premier tertiary education facility.
USC is in the process of significant expansion, including with its new Petrie campus, and caters to about 13,500 students in total.
41. Craig Hawkins:
SUNSHINE Coast’s new police Superintendent has made the move from the Wide Bay-Burnett district to one of the most coveted jobs in the service.
Supt Hawkins has had plenty on his plate, helping the region navigate the COVID-19 pandemic.
He’ll play a key role in the region’s future, in charge of our law enforcers.
Supt Hawkins was heavily involved in the police response to outlaw motorcycle gangs in the early-mid 2000s, and was involved in the establishment of a number of key taskforces, including Taskforce Maxima.
40. Matthew Byrne:
STOCKLAND’S senior economic development manager plays a lead role in the delivery of masterplanned communities at Aura (Caloundra South) and Oceanside Kawana.
He’s also a lecturer at the University of the Sunshine Coast, passing on his knowledge to business leaders of the future.
39. Leisa Toomey:
REGARDED as one of the state’s leading family law practitioners and an authority in the field.
The Toomey Family Law boss and co-owner of Cellar Door in Mooloolaba spent a few years working for high-profile developer Walter Iezzi’s company.
She’s spent more than two decades in her field, and her new boutique firm also partners with SunnyKids and Wishlist.
38. Ralph Devlin:
A FORMIDABLE QC, the barrister was heavily involved in the groundbreaking Fitzgerald Inquiry.
He’s a hugely influential figure in the Maroochydore Surf Life Saving Club and broader surf life saving movement.
37. Kevin Covey:
THE Covey Associates boss established his private consulting engineering company on the Coast in 1990.
Its become one of the go-to businesses when it comes to all things planning and development, from small to large-scale projects.
Business expansions led to the group establishing offices in North Lakes and Papua New Guinea.
36. Walter Iezzi:
WHEN the mayor launches one of your developments before it’s even been approved you know you’ve got a bit of pulling power.
Mr Iezzi has established himself as one of the most high profile property developers on the Coast, with his Walter Iezzi Property Group responsible for a number of high-end projects.
35. Peter Boyce:
ANOTHER legal eagle, the Butler McDermott Solicitors boss is arguably the region’s highest-profile lawyer, thanks in large to his work for the Morcombe family in their fight for justice.
Mr Boyce, OAM, has also played key roles in the Sunshine Coast Falcons (formerly Sea Eagles), and the club’s survival, and is the current chair of the Reimagine Nambour project.
34. Denis Moore:
THE business furniture giant grew a $70 million empire from a shed in the backyard.
The BFX Furniture founder and chairman has made significant investment, both in people and infrastructure on the Coast, particularly in recent years.
It was enough to draw Mayor Mark Jamieson to the launch of their new manufacturing facility in August, 2017.
33. Don Moffatt:
MR MOFFATT, AM, developed large swathes of Maroochydore, and is a prominent figure in the property sector and was named a life member of the tourism board, Sunshine Coast Turf Club and LifeFlight.
He was also named Sunshine Coast senior citizen of the year in 2018.
32. Cameron Hall:
HALL Contracting CEO Cameron Hall has overseen a major expansion of the Coast-based dredging, civil and marine construction company.
The firm began in 1946, as a sand and gravel supply company, and now employed 300 staff.
Hall Contracting was another regular winner of major works contracts in the region.
31. Paula Williamson:
ANZ’s senior private banker on the Sunshine Coast, the Adviser connects her group of high net worth clients with specialists, to help grow their wealth.
She’s also the network development chair of the Sunshine Coast Business Women’s Network.
30. Bruce and Denise Morcombe:
THE Daniel Morcombe Foundation is showing no signs of slowing down in its relentless pursuit of child safety.
Driven by the inspirational parents of slain schoolboy Daniel Morcombe, the foundation has established Daniel House, with backing from the State Government, which is now the foundation’s national office.
It also doubles as a counselling centre for young victims of crime.
29. Will Shrapnel:
MANAGING director of growing aerospace business HeliMods, Will Shrapnel is one of the region’s brightest stars at the moment.
His helicopter modification firm has received international recognition for its work, and he’s started to pick up some serious government contracts, including a recent brief from Victoria Police to fit-out three of their new state-of-the-art helicopters.
He’s also on the council’s UNESCO Biosphere community reference group to help with the bid.
28. Graeme Juniper:
THE man who built most of Mooloolaba is a highly active figure in the tourist town.
He’s the current president of the Mooloolaba Chamber of Commerce, and has his finger on the pulse of deals being made, and some still only being thought of, in Mooloolaba.
27. Mal Pratt:
FEW have been as influential in shaping the Coast as Mal Pratt.
The long-time property developer and head of Pratt Property has played a significant part in the direction of the region.
He’s also helped several lifesavers through his youth development program, is a stalwart of Maroochydore Surf Life Saving Club, and is an OAM recipient.
He also played a key role in the community’s fight against a 200m rock wall to be built at the mouth of the Maroochy River, throwing his weight behind the grassroots campaign.
26. Harry Reed:
ANOTHER prolific property developer, Harry Reed’s family business, built from the ground up, has delivered some of the most recognisable buildings in the region, including M1 at Maroochydore.
The Reed Charity Foundation also delivered major improvements for a range of Coast charities, and his family’s businesses remain significant contributors to property development activities in the region.