SPEAKERS and PANELLISTS

Jim Crane, Director, Industry and Government Affairs at the Australian Sugar Milling Council has a portfolio that reflects the broad range of issues which confront the sugar industry on a daily basis. From an industry perspective, Jim represents the industry on a range of government working groups related to environmental, transport and technical issues incorporating a broad resource management role. In his government relations role, Jim is regularly in direct contact with both Federal and State parliamentarians. Most importantly he is a primary contact point for the milling sector and the broader industry more generally for all levels of Government with both regulatory and policy involvement with the sugar industry. Jim has worked in the Australian sugar industry since 1975 with sugar milling companies and industry organisations. His extensive sugar industry experience prior to joining the Milling Council in 2006 included HR/IR, field operations, communications and productivity program management.

Cathy Kelly, Manager of Grower Services and External Relations, Queensland Sugar Limited (QSL), Australia’s largest sugar marketer, is responsible for stakeholder, government and media relations. Since joining QSL in 2012 she helped spearhead the not-for-profit’s grower relations activities and was heavily involved in the organisation’s transition to its new grower-focused contractual model following the introduction of Queensland’s sugar marketing choice arrangements in 2015. Previously, Cathy was a newspaper journalist for over a decade at publications in regional Queensland, where she gained a strong appreciation of the importance of the sugar industry to the state’s local communities and wider economy. She has significant experience in the corporate communications and engagement field, where she has held several roles in port and rail infrastructure, local government and corporate consulting in addition to teaching Public Relations and Media Industries at Central Queensland University’s Mackay campus. Cathy is based in the sugar-producing hub of Mackay in North Queensland.

Nicola Hinder PSM is Minister Counsellor (Agriculture) at the Australian Mission to the European Union and NATO in Brussels and is the current Chair of the International Sugar Council.  Ms Hinder is a Senior Executive Officer of the Australian Government Department of Agriculture and Water Resources and a passionate advocate for Australian and global agricultural industries and the agri-food trade.  In 2017 Ms Hinder was awarded an Australian Public Service Medal for outstanding contributions to Australian biosecurity.

José Orive is the Executive Director of the International Sugar Organization, a post he assumed in January 2014.  Previously Mr Orive was the Executive Director of the Central American Sugar Association (AICA) for 19 years, where he was responsible for negotiations for the private sugar industry, with emphasis on coordination of joint actions on priority issues, clearinghouse for information relevant to the sector, publications, participation in international forums. Since 2010 has been a partner in ARTLEX law firm in charge of large corporate clients, distribution contracts and environmental issues and arbitration.  He has also held senior posts in other law firms in Guatemala. Soon after graduating from Georgetown University Law Centre in Washington in 1985 Mr Orive took up the post of Minister Counselor for Economic & Commercial Affairs, Embassy of Guatemala, Washington, D.C. Mr Orive is married with two sons.

Steve Hatfield-Dodds is the Executive Director of the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Science (ABARES), the research bureau for the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources. He is one of Australia’s leading researchers on natural resource management, sustainability policy, and adaptive governance.  His previous career includes senior roles in Treasury, the Environment Department, and CSIRO, where he led the integrated modelling for the CSIRO Australian National Outlook 2015. He is an honorary professor of public policy at ANU, and has published in journals including Nature, Science, Agricultural Systems, Ecological Economics, and Ecology and Society.  

Frederik (Frikkie) Botha is the Executive Manager Strategic Initiatives at Sugar Research Australia and Honorary Professor at the University of Queensland, Australia.    He successfully managed large and complex industry-owned, government-owned and academic enterprises in South Africa and Australia. Frikkie has an extensive record of success in general and financial management, generating and managing research funds, creating intellectual property, solving complex problems, and managing large and small-scale change management and restructuring projects. He is recognised by peers as an authority on the regulation of carbon partitioning and carbohydrate metabolism in plants. His research focus on the genetic and molecular control of carbon partitioning in the culm and leaves of sugarcane.  The research aims to understand the control of carbon partitioning between the cell wall components, respiration and sucrose accumulation in the culm and the impact of this on sink strength. An early switch to sucrose accumulation reduces biomass accumulation and reduces sink strength.

Issara Twiltermsup, Executive Director of Khonburi Sugar Public Company Limited, has been in sugar business since 2001 after graduating from Carnegie Mellon University in Industrial Management and Economics. From 2011 Issara had positions as directors in the office of Cane and Sugar Fund and later other related boards. During this period, he also graduated at Thammasat University in Bachelor of Laws. Currently Issara is in the Domestic Sales Committee which has overlooked the Thai domestic sales and policy since before the change of the law, specifically the abolition of the quota system. As Khonburi Sugar is also in the region of high concentration of cassava fields, Issara also has a fair understanding of the competing crop situation. Khonburi Sugar, founded in 1962 has its headquarters in Bangkok, Thailand. The company manufactures and distributes sugar primarily in Thailand, Asia and Europe.

Tom McNeill is the Managing Director of Green Pool Commodity Specialists based in Brisbane Australia. Tom has worked in commodities, particularly sugar and biofuels, for much of his career. He was initially based in north Queensland with CSR Limited in grower relations, then moved into raw sugar export marketing in Sydney. He worked at QSL in Brisbane from 1989 to 2002 in marketing and logistics of bulk raw sugar, then in strategy and analysis. Tom was Head of Analysis for a European brokerage and analytical firm from 2003 to 2011, and a partner in that business. In early 2012, Tom then set up Green Pool Commodity Specialists, based in Brisbane Australia, which now has a significant international client list in sugar, ethanol and commodities. Tom is degree qualified in Agriculture and Economics (University of Queensland) and holds a M. Sc. (Agricultural Economics) (University of Illinois, USA).

Charlie McKillop, ABC Far North rural reporter is interested in people and places. Her passion for telling their stories has been the common denominator of her career as a journalist and broadcaster. After cutting her teeth at regional newspapers in Emerald and Cairns, her passion for local issues prompted a foray into the federal political arena before returning to her journalism roots. In the decade since Charlie joined the ABC, she’s been a familiar voice on the Rural Report and her stories have been a mainstay on the Queensland Country Hour covering the diverse industries and issues of the region. Her story ‘A Duty to be Kind in Halal Slaughter’ was recognised by the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists in 2015 as the best radio story in the world; along with Excellence in Rural Journalism Awards from Queensland Rural Press Club. Charlie proudly accepted the inaugural LGAQ’s ‘Bean Lockyer Ticehurst’ regional journalism award.

Eduardo Leão de Sousa has been the Executive-Director of UNICA (Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association) since September 2007. From 2003 to 2007, he was a Senior Economist at the World Bank in Washington, DC. Prior to that, he worked for the Brazilian Government as the Head of Agricultural and Agroindustrial policies at the Ministry of Economics. Eduardo is an agronomist and holds a PhD in Agricultural Economics from the University of Sao Paulo. He is a member of the Commodity Advisory Group at the New York Stock Exchange’s Euronext, the World Sugar Committee at ICE Futures U.S., Director of the Executive Board of the World Sugar Research Organization, and Member of the Board of Agribusiness from the Brazilian Industry Federation.

David Rynne, Director, Economics, Policy and Trade at Australian Sugar Milling Council (ASMC) manages the organisation’s economics, policy analysis and market access/trade functions His role includes development and implementation of raw sugar’s trade strategy, sugar market economic analysis, and policy development and engagement on a range of relevant issues including energy. David joined the ASMC in November 2017. Previously, he was the Chief Economist at the Department of Natural Resources and Mines. David has also held senior economic and policy positions at the Queensland Resources Council and the Minerals Council of Australia. He has a Bachelor of Business (majoring in Economics and Law) and a Masters of Industry Strategy and Economics from the Australian National University. David started his career as a commodity trader for a Queensland stockfeed company.

Greg Beashel, Managing Director and CEO, Queensland Sugar Limited (QSL) has significant experience in the Australian sugar industry, starting his career at sugar milling and refining company CSR, with roles in refinery operations, sugar marketing, hedging and trading.  Joining QSL, Australia’s largest and most experienced sugar marketer and bulk sugar terminal operator in 2000, Greg oversaw the company’s logistics division, including port and terminal management, capital and maintenance management, shipping operations, chartering and trade finance. Appointed to his current role in 2012, Greg is responsible for the strategic direction of the business. He was heavily involved in the recent implementation of Queensland’s new Marketing Choice arrangements for the State’s cane growers following the introduction of legislation in 2015.  Greg is a vocal advocate for international trade reform in his role as Chair of The Global Alliance for Sugar Trade Reform and Liberalization, and as a Director of the Australian Sugar Industry Alliance.

Dan Galligan, CEO CANEGROWERS since 1 June 2015, has been involved in critical industry issues on sugar marketing, management of production costs, trade and market access and the industry’s environmental sustainability and connections to the Great Barrier Reef. Previously, Dan led the Queensland Farmers’ Federation after a decade-long stint driving policy and grower services with Cotton Australia. Working in advocacy roles in Queensland and NSW, along with holding grower services and management positions, he was involved in policy negotiations with government around issues of land and water management, land access frameworks, vegetation management, natural disaster response, industry management of reef water quality protection, electricity prices and policy. Dan worked on the cotton industry’s voluntary BMP program, now regarded as one of the leading agricultural BMP systems in Australia. His background is in applied science, rural systems management, and has worked in extension and research roles in the public sector.

David Pietsch, CEO, Australian Sugar Milling Council (ASMC), has spent 20 years in the agribusiness sector in communications, marketing and leadership roles, principally with AgForce Queensland and Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA). Raised on a family beef and sheep farm on the Darling Downs in Queensland, David is a passionate advocate for prosperous and sustainable Australian rural industries. Prior to joining ASMC in 2018, David led MLA’s North American team for four years, based in Washington D.C., delivering Australian beef and lamb marketing and market access programs in the USA, Canada and Mexico. Previously, David worked with MLA in Sydney in stakeholder engagement and communications roles, including three years as General Manager Communications.

Dr Jason Eglinton is the Executive Manager for Variety Development and Processing at Sugar Research Australia with responsibility for pre-breeding research, plant breeding, and milling technology. He has more than 20 years’ experience in applied R&D, variety development and commercialisation.  Previously, he was Professor of Plant Breeding at the University of Adelaide leading the development and marketing of malting and feed barley varieties. Dr Eglinton has held a range of leadership roles serving on Boards and committees ranging from academic to commercial and agribusiness settings.

Don Murday, Chairman, Australian Cane Farmers Association (ACFA) is a fourth generation cane farmer from Mossman. He has been an ACFA Northern Region Director since 2002 and was elected as the Board Chairman in 2010. Don is the Managing Director of Mango Park Canefarming Company – a diversified enterprise framing papaya and cocoa along with his main regime of sugarcane. Don served as a Director of the grower-owned Mossman Central Mill from 2001 until its sale to Mackay Sugar in 2013; and is currently a Director of Far Northern Milling. Don attended Brisbane Grammar School and Qld Agricultural College in Gatton. Don is married to Debbie and they have three children.

Jacob Robbins is the Founder and CEO of Emeterra, a Singapore-headquartered enterprise focussed on agribusiness projects based on disruptive technologies. Emeterra produces value-added food ingredients – including sugars and sweeteners – for regional and multinational customers. He is also a Senior Advisor to Olympus Capital Asia, an independent private equity firm that has been successfully investing across Asia for over 20 years. Previously, Jacob spent 20 years in multi-geographic and global executive positions with The Coca-Cola Company. In his last role there as Managing Director, covering the principal global agricultural commodity spend of the company and its bottlers, he led the world’s largest supply chain of sugar and starch sweeteners. Prior to that, as part of TAS within the Tata Group, he led Tata Steel’s international trading operations for soft commodities. Jacob has a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics as well as a degree in Management, which are complemented by programmes at Wharton and the Harvard Business School.

Katherine Teh, Managing Director, Futureye former finance journalist and public policy specialist, is the founder of Futureye, the world’s leading social licence consultancy. Over the past 17 years Futureye has developed innovative solutions for its clients such as the world’s first carbon neutral fisheries product, the world first climate position for a resources company and the world’s first solution to petrol sniffing. Each of the disruptions that Futureye has brought to market has delivered commercially, for the environment and for society.  Futureye advises companies and governments on understanding societal expectations, the gaps and the solutions including transformation of leadership, internal culture, risk systems, building capacity to handle the challenges of reputation in a fast-changing world where community expectations, rather than technical risks, play an ever more potent role in political and regulatory risk.

Matt Kealley, Senior Manager for Membership Engagement & Innovation at CANEGROWERS, has a role which often means he is in the middle of some rather challenging problems and complex issues. Matt’s key areas include industry engagement, sustainable sugar and innovation including blockchain technology and behavioural science. He has an Environmental Science background and a broad base of experience within the biotechnology, environmental, agricultural and communications sectors. His mantra is “It’s easy to find the problems – it takes hard work to find the answers and sheer determination to make them work!”

Hywel Cook, General Manager, Business Development at MSF Sugar has 32 years’ experience in the sugar industry with roles in production (mill and refinery), product development, export marketing and financial risk. During the past nine years, he led merger and acquisition activities including the merger of two sugar mills in the MSF Sugar group. Hywel has driven growth capital expenditure initiatives and planning and held key roles in the project management of growth initiatives. Hywel played a significant role in research, funding and establishment of the $75 million green energy plant on the Atherton Tableland and the initiative for production of agave as an ethanol alternative. Previously, Hywel was Executive Manager Sugar Marketing, QSL, where he was responsible for raw sugar sales into Indonesia, Japan, Canada, USA, New Zealand and Australia. Hywel holds a BE (Chem), Grad Dip AFI. In his spare time, he competes nationally and internationally in cycling.

Andrew Dougall, Strategy Lead, Sustainability Victoria, is an experienced agricultural professional with an extensive background in the cotton, grains and sugar industries.  Andrew is currently the Organics Strategy Lead with Sustainability Victoria in Melbourne, where he leads the development and implementation of strategy that aims to divert organic wastes from landfill for beneficial use in sustainable agricultural production systems.  Prior to this role, Andrew was Group Agronomist with MSF Sugar, where he led the MSF Sugar agronomy program and managed sustainable sugarcane farming projects in Queensland and Thailand.  During his career, Andrew has worked throughout the agricultural research, extension, and commercial sectors.  Andrew is from a family farming background and has a passion for helping farmers become more profitable and resilient by improving soil function.  When not driving sustainable agriculture outcomes, Andrew enjoys time with his family, exploring bicycle trails around Victoria.

Pedro Arruda is an Economist for the International Sugar Organization and is responsible for economic and policy analysis of the world sugar, fuel ethanol and bioplastics markets. Pedro holds an MSc in Emerging Economies and Inclusive Development from King’s College London. Previously he worked as an economist for the Sustainable Development Department of the Secretariat of Strategic Affairs of the Brazilian Presidency.

Peter de Klerk joined the International Sugar Organisation as Senior Economist in January 2018. He arrived from Itochu Europe PLC where he was responsible for sugar market operations, ranging from analysis, logistics, futures market operations and commercial transactions. Prior to his four years at Itochu, Peter worked in the analysis teams at Armajaro, Czarnikow and ED&F Man, covering a 12-year period. During a separate tenure between 1993 and 1998, he also worked for ED&F Man in Nigeria and Tanzania as a director and JV manager, trading a range of commodities including sugar, ethanol. cocoa and cashew nuts. Peter holds a BSc in econometrics from the London School of Economics and an MSc in Economics from the University of York and is a part-qualified accountant.

Sergey Gudoshnikov, Senior Economist, International Sugar Organization (London). Sergey was born in Russia, graduated in Moscow in international trade economics. More than 30 years of his professional carrier have been dedicated to the world sugar market.  From 1978 to 1988 he worked as a sugar trader, deputy director of the Sugar Department of V/O Prodintorg, Moscow, at that time the sole importer of sugar in the Soviet Union.  He joined the Secretariat of the International Sugar Organization in London in 1988.  He is responsible for economic and policy analysis of the world sugar market and has published numerous articles on different aspects of the world sugar economy as well as has addressed many international conferences around the globe on different issues related to the world sugar market.  He co-authored the book “The World Sugar Market” published by Woodhead Publishing Ltd. in the UK and the USA in 2004.

Paul Schembri is Chairman of CANEGROWERS Queensland, a role he has held since 2013. He is a member of the CANEGROWERS Policy Council and a Director of CANEGROWERS Mackay. He has held representative roles within the organisation for 35 years.  Paul is a cane farmer with more than 40 years practical experience. In partnership with his brother Joe, he owns and operates farms supplying Farleigh Mill, harvesting around 10,000 tonnes of cane annually. The business is accredited in the Smartcane BMP program.  He is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and Vice President of the World Association of Beet and Cane Growers. Paul has served as a director of Queensland Sugar Limited and as Chairman of the Australian Sugar Industry Alliance. Paul has travelled extensively in the interests of the Australian sugar industry, attending events and participating in delegations to Thailand, UK, China, Indonesia, Netherlands and Brazil.