Meet the team: CE

A RFDS Road ambulance. A man smiles

Tell us about yourself

I was born and raised in the Barossa Valley (South Australia) and still live in Tanunda. My career began as an an apprentice fitter and machinist at Yalumba winery. 

In 1973 I joined St John (now SA Ambulance Service) as a cadet. In 1984 I became a volunteer Ambulance Officer and a Paramedic. I worked in metropolitan and country operations in various roles, including 10 years in Port Augusta, where I met my wife, Trudy. 

Before joining the RFDS I was the General Manager at MedSTAR Medical Retrieval Service (a business unit of SAAS) with a combined service of 32 years as a Paramedic and General Manager.

I joined the RFDS in 2014 as Chief Operating Officer and was appointed CEO in November 2018. 

What attracted you to the RFDS?

It's an organisation I've always admired and it's a perfect fit for my values. I treasure my experience working in country Australia with rural and remote communities. I also really enjoy working with volunteers, something I'm fortunate to continue to do. 

A man stands with a group of schoolchildren in an outback Australian scene. There is a large iron sign that reads RFDS.

The RFDS recently celebrated its milestone 90th year. What are you looking forward to in your first year as CEO? 

In late April we'll welcome the Pilatus PC24 jet to our fleet; the RFDS Medi-Jet 24. This is the world's first purpose-build aeromedical jet and South Australia's first permanently-configured aeromedical jet. Being part of this project has been a 'once in a lifetime' opportunity. 

The RFDS Medi-Jet 24 will halve the total mission time of long-haul critical patient evacuations, as well as provide the capacity to transfer three stretchered patients in an intensive care setting. Importantly, it will be an additional and complementary asset to the existing RFDS fleet of medically-equipped Pilatus PC-12 aircraft, which will boost our operational capacity and critical response times for long-haul and interstate evacuations.

Notably, the purchase of this new aircraft has been funded entirely by our fundraising, corporate sponsors and donations from the community, which is simply outstanding. 

What do you enjoy most about the role? 

The variety is enormous and I relish the opportunity to work with such a range of people;  all levels of Government, our staff, volunteers, corporate partners and supporters. 

It's definitely not a 'desk job' — I spend a lot of time out and about in the rural and regional communities that we serve.

I also work with CEO's from other RFDS Sections across Australia. I believe I'm the first CEO with a clinician background  I've spent much of my career working in the back of aircraft and road ambulances which gives me a deep understanding of the work we do. 

A man and woman in formal clothes smile at the camera. They appear to be at a gala event.

What do you enjoy doing outside of work? 

I love the great outdoors and take any opportunity I can to go camping, jet skiing and water skiing. I also enjoy building custom cars and hot rods — and even dabble in a spot of rock 'n' roll dancing with my wife. 

The year 2019 is set to be a major year for me both professionally and personally, as I recently welcomed my first grandchild.