AGRI-INDUSTRY SUMMIT 2017 - SPEAKERS BIOS
Chair of the conference: Ross Verry
General Manager of Syndex Exchange
The majority of Ross Verry's career has been in the financial services sector working with family owned businesses and agricultural businesses. He’s currently General Manager at Syndex Limited, which provides investor services to proportionally owned farming businesses, commercial property syndicates and other proportionally owned assets.
Ross is currently a Director of THE Enterprises, a large scale dairy farming business, Gold Creek Farm Management and a Trustee of Agri Womens Development Trust. He has a Bachelor of Commerce and Administration from Victoria University (Wellington) and is a qualified Chartered Accountant. In his spare time, Ross is heavily involved in the future of New Zealand cricket as the Chairman of the NZ Cricket Players Association.
Ngāhiwi Tomoana (Ngāti Kahungunu), Chairman, Ngāti Kahungunu Iwi Incorporated
Chairman of Ngāti Kahungunu Iwi Incorporated since 1996, Ngāhiwi is passionate about the rights of Māori and other indigenous peoples’ to their estates and fisheries, and represents indigenous peoples’ views on the global stage. Ngāhiwi has been and continues to be passionately involved in whānau, hapū and iwi development across all spectrums and sectors of the community. Alongside his role with Ngāti Kahungunu Iwi Incorporated, Ngāhiwi holds a number of key strategic positions that include: Deputy Chair of the Hawke’s Bay District Health Board; Chair, Hawke’s Bay District Health Boars Māori Relationship Board (MRB), Executive Board Member for the New Zealand China Council; Board Member for the Pacific Cooperation Foundation, and Forum Member of the NZ Police Commissioner’s Māori Focus Forum, Waipatu Marae Representative – He Toa Takitini, Member, Iwi Leaders Working Group for Te Ohu Kaimoana. More importantly, Ngāhiwi is a loving husband to Mere Tomoana, a father of six tamariki, grandfather to nine moko, and it is with his whānau in mind, that through all of these positions, responsibilities and vast experiences, he demonstrates his local, regional, national and international knowledge, passion and commitment to all things Māori, for the betterment of Māori katoa.
Dr Steven Kelly, Acting Director of Sector Policy, Ministry for Primary Industries
Dr Steven Kelly is the Acting Director of Sector Policy within the Ministry for Primary Industries’ Policy and Trade Branch. Sector Policy brings together policy, competition and economic expertise to provide advice and economic analysis to support primary sector growth. Working across all primary production sectors the Directorate works with stakeholders and other Government agencies to develop and implement policy, including legislative and regulatory frameworks that support dynamic efficiency, growth and development in the primary sectors. It also monitors and assesses the performance of the primary sectors, providing an evidence base for policy proposals.
Kate Sargeant, Programme Facilitator, New Systems R&D Programme, DairyNZ
Kate Sargeant (B. AgSc, M. RurSysMgmt) is currently a Programme Facilitator of the New Systems R&D Programme at DairyNZ. Kate spent the first 12 years of her career in farm systems research, development and extension in the sheep and beef industries in Victoria, Australia. She moved to New Zealand to take up a role as a Senior Developer at DairyNZ, and during the past three years has led the development of the Dairy Farm Systems Certification Scheme and supporting training for farm consultants. Kate will discuss the certification process and results to date; referral to certified consultants; the wider application of the Whole Farm Assessment tool developed through this programme; and how other rural professionals such as accountants and bankers can get involved.
Steven Saunders, Agri Entrepreneur, Plus Group Horticulture
Steven Saunders has 30 years’ experience in the Horticultural sector and is the founder, owner and Managing Director of the Plus Group of companies, specialising in horticulture management consultancy, global pollen production, robotics development, soil consultancy, international ventures, applied technology, research and development / innovation and science.
Steven is the co-founder of Newnham Park Innovation Centre in Te Puna, Tauranga, which hosts eight local export award winning independent companies predominately in the food sector. Steven is also a major stakeholder in the kiwifruit postharvest sector, an active Angel investor (a number of the Angel investments are food based), a Seed Co Investment Fund (SCIF) Director and investor representative, a Director of a number of privately owned companies, an elected member of the executive board for Priority One (driving economic growth in the Bay of Plenty), Board member of Enterprise Angels Tauranga, Crown appointed Director Landcare Research, independent director Lincoln Hub, Agrigate, Rockit Global, Maori Economic Development Advisory Board and a member of the Stanford Primary sector Alumni.
Pollen Plus Ltd won the 2010 Bay of Plenty (BOP) Emerging Exporter of the Year award and Gro Plus won the 2007 Environment BOP Gallagher Innovation award and the 2007 Balance Nutrient Management award.
Steven is a founder of “WNT Ventures” tech incubator which was one of the 3 NZ Callaghan awarded tech incubators (a partnership between private sector investment and the government). Robotics Plus was awarded a 7.7 Million targeted research grant in a collaboration between Auckland University, Waikato University and Plant and Food Research. Robotics Plus features on the NZTE New Zealand Story.
The Plus Group (beneficially owned by the Saunders Family Trust) has a strong history of supporting New Zealand based research and development activities including Vision Mātauranga. This support extends well beyond co-funding several government assisted projects directly into self-funding research in the commercial and Maori environment. Steven was awarded the Tauranga Chamber of Commerce, Westpac “Business Leadership Award in 2014” and the Tauranga Boys College 2016 old boy award.
Mike Jenkins, Managing Director, Syndex
Mike Jenkins is a leader and operating executive, with over 25 years of experience in capital markets and software development. He has held senior leadership positions in New Zealand and South Africa, establishing and managing a range of contemporary retail wealth management entities.
As Managing Director at Syndex, Mike is responsible for the performance of the company and accountable for strategy, revenue, market share and customer satisfaction.
His primary goal is to build a successful business that not only creates value for buyers and sellers of proportionally-owned assets, but also stimulates growth and creates wealth for the wider New Zealand economy.
With a deep understanding of capital markets and a formative career as a software engineer with Oracle, Syndex is right in Mike’s sweet spot - giving him a strong, strategic vision of what needs to be created, and a real appreciation of how to deliver the exchange to common-interest communities via platform-as-a-service technology.
He is enthusiastic about the opportunity to grow Syndex into a global, scalable venture, both in terms of the offer to the market and the platform technology.
Prior to joining Syndex in August 2014, Mike consulted for various New Zealand-based asset management businesses, providing services related to all aspects of the investment product management lifecycle, including new offers, compliance and governance processes (audit, rollovers and amendments), restructures and wind-ups.
He was previously Manager Retail Wealth Management at AMP Services (NZ) Ltd from 2010 to 2012, where he built an attractive retail investment proposition based on a multi-manager suite of investment funds.
During 2008 to 2010, he worked at AMP as Manager for Advice and Technical Support, establishing a technical and professional information network to provide services to field-based advisers and staff. This service was the most highly-rated AMP service by advisers for two years post its establishment.
His previous positions included operations, business development and managing director roles at a range of investment and boutique fund managers in New Zealand and South Africa. He started his career as a software engineer, with a focus on financial services.
Mike holds a BCom (Hons) degree in Finance from the University of Cape Town.
When not at work, you can find Mike out and about with his family and friends, mountain biking, boating, diving, fishing and motor-biking.
Dianne and Richard Kidd, Whenuanui Farm
Dianne balanced her professional career in the NZ funds management industry with family and farm life until she retired in 2007. She now has several non executive directorships with a portfolio of companies that span the agricultural, banking, education, and health sectors. She actively supports her local rural community through her very long standing commitment to the Helensville District Health Trust.
Richard is an experienced and well respected New Zealand sheep and beef farmer. In 1984 he was placed third in the NZ Young Farmer of the Year contest. He has invested his expertise to develop and showcase Whenuanui Farm as the prime NZ sheep and beef farm it is today. Richard has coached and supported many aspiring young farm cadets into successful NZ farming careers and provides voluntary support to several local community organisations.
Ian Blackman, Director, Blackman Spargo Rural Law
Ian is a consultant to BlackmanSpargo Rural Law Limited, a law firm based in Rotorua. Ian’s diverse career includes employment with the Treasury, the Department of Inland Revenue and the Department of Labour.
In the early 1980s Ian was the Lending Manager of the Rural Bank in Rotorua. A significant aspect of Ian’s work involved legal structures, estate planning and succession planning for farming families throughout New Zealand. Using his years of experience, Ian wrote a book called “Keeping Farming in the Family - a guide to farm succession”. The book is designed to help farming families and their advisers understand and deal with the many issues associated with succession of farm businesses to the next generation.
Sally Peart, Partner, Marks and Worth
Sally Peart is a commercial lawyer with Marks & Worth Lawyers and IP Specialists based in Dunedin. Sally spent the first four years of her legal career with a national firm and then spent 10 years travelling and working in Europe, predominantly in investment banking in London. She began Marks & Worth Lawyers and IP Specialists in October 2011 after nine years as a commercial lawyer in private practice in Dunedin. Sally advises a wide range of small to medium size enterprises, institutional clients, corporates and private clients. Sally is passionate about the innovation sector and the benefits innovation can bring to New Zealand. She works alongside solicitors and accountants throughout New Zealand on intellectual property matters and believes in the collaborative model as an effective way to provide value to clients. Sally is a regular columnist for the Otago Daily times and writes on various aspects of business and intellectual property law. She is the editor of New Zealand E-Commerce Law.
Hilton Collier, Managing Director, AgFirst
Hilton Collier grew up on his ancestral lands in the heartland of Ngati Porou. After graduating from Lincoln his career has seen followed a Farm Consultancy path that has led to him following his passion to leading his iwi Agribusiness Pakihiroa Farms.
His life mission now is to contribute to the rejuvenation of the Ngati Porou Agribusiness community balancing commercial development of the Ngati Porou resources within the boundaries of cultural expectations.
A key focus is “how do we get greater value from farming while improving our environmental footprint” and how the enabling ecosystem might be created.
Susan Kilsby, Senior Analyst, AgriHQ
Susan Kilsby is the chief analyst of the AgriHQ division of NZX (New Zealand Stock Exchange). AgriHQ provides agricultural market intelligence to businesses by way of regular reports, news and online tools, covering the dairy, meat & wool, grain and forestry sectors.
In 2006 Susan joined NZX as an analyst in the AgriHQ division where she has developed a range of dairy information products which are utilised by customers based in New Zealand and abroad. She was also involved in development of the NZX Dairy Derivatives market which offers futures and options for dairy commodities. Milk price futures and options were added to the mix in 2016 which allows New Zealand dairy farmers to manage their milk price risk.
Susan studied Agricultural Economics and Agricultural Science at Massey University. She held roles in agricultural finance (ANZ Bank) and dairy genetics (CRV Ambreed), and several international finance companies prior to joining NZX.
She has authored several reports on the dairy industry in China and regularly travels to this market and other international dairy markets.
Susan was raised on a dairy farm in Taranaki but now lives with her partner and two children on a small farm near Martinborough, in the Wairarapa, where they farm sheep and cattle.
Mike Chapman, Chief Executive, Horticulture New Zealand
Mike Chapman is the Chief Executive of Horticulture New Zealand, having taken up the role in January 2016. Horticulture New Zealand represents 5,500 commercial growers in a $5.4 billion industry that employs 60,000 people. Mike is committed to the organisation’s mission: creating an enduring environment where growers prosper. This includes protecting land and water rights, advocating for growers on critical regulation, policy and law changes, and representing the industry at all levels of government in Wellington.
Previously Mike was the Chief Executive of NZ Kiwifruit Growers Incorporated, Chief Executive of Kiwifruit New Zealand, and worked in law, including for the NZ Defence Force. He was an inaugural Director Kiwifruit Vine Health Incorporated, and is currently the Deputy Chair of Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology. Mike was admitted as a Barrister and Solicitor in 1982 and holds a current practicing certificate.
Con Williams, Agri Economist, ANZ
Con is ANZ’s dedicated rural economist for New Zealand. Con provides detailed analysis and commentary on New Zealand’s major primary sectors and soft commodity markets. This includes providing research and analysis on the major primary sectors, which is used to shape the Bank’s lending decisions.
The production of the Agri Focus, a bi-monthly publication which includes research on topical issues and views on soft commodity markets, production trends, rural property and financial markets. Con also presents to a wide range of stakeholder groups and investors on a range of topic’s related to the primary sectors.
Prior to this, he previously worked as a senior economist for Meat & Wool New Zealand’s Economic Service and as a lecturer at Massey University. He has a Bachelor of Applied Science (Hons).
Nathan Meo, Relationship Managers, ACC
Nathan Meo has been an ACC (Accident Compensation Corporation) Relationship Manager based in Hawkes Bay since 2009, responsible for the promotion and delivery of ACC products and services to employers and intermediaries
Leigh Austin, Relationship Managers, ACC
Leigh Austin is an ACC (Accident Compensation Corporation) Relationship Manager based in North Shore Auckland. Since 2008, she has been working with accountants and advisors, promoting and advising on ACC products and services throughout Northern Auckland and Northland .
Dr Jacqueline Rowarth CNZM, CRSNZ, FNZIAHS
Jacqueline holds the new position of Chief Scientist for the Environmental Protection Authority. Until the end of October she held the Foundation Chair in Agribusiness at the University of Waikato, a position she held from 2012, having spent the previous five years in the role of Director of Massey Agriculture and Foundation Chair of Pastoral Agriculture, at Massey University. She has also taught at University of Melbourne and Lincoln University, plus worked for DSIR Grasslands/Agresearch from 1988 to 1994.
She is a Past President of the New Zealand Grassland Association and the New Zealand Institute of Agricultural and Horticultural Science, a past trustee of AGMARDT, and a past Director of Crop and Food Research.
Jacqueline obtained a PhD in soil science from Massey University, having completed a B.Ag.Sci with honours in Environmental Agriculture. She received the Zonta Award for excellence in science in 1994, was made Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to agricultural science in 2008, and in 2009 she was given the inaugural ‘Agricultural Personality of the Year Award’ by the Federated Farmers of New Zealand. In 2010 she was awarded the Landcorp Communicator of the Year Award by the New Zealand Guild of Agricultural Communicators and Journalists. In 2013 she was listed in the top 50 most influential women in New Zealand in the Westpac/Fairfax Awards.
Nicole Rosie, Chief Executive, WorkSafe NZ
Nicole is a highly experienced executive who brings a unique and valuable mix of talents to our work. She joined WorkSafe on 12 December 2016 from Fonterra where she was leading a major shareholder value project. She has led health and safety; she has led major change programmes; she has worked in ACC and injury management, forestry, transport infrastructure and energy; and has managed relationships with industry in her roles in transport, energy and at Fonterra where she was also acting General Manager for Risk.
Prior to Fonterra, Nicole managed strategic relationships at Vector; was General Manager for Policy and Safety at KiwiRail, General Manager Risk and Strategy at Toll NZ, and General Manager Health, Safety and Environment at Tranz Rail. She also has experience with WorkCover Queensland and ACC, and was Health and Injury Prevention manager at Fletcher Challenge Forests.
Chris Alderson, Director Health & Safety, PwC
Chris heads PwC’s Health Safety and Wellness practice in New Zealand.
He has over 25 years experience within global organisations such as Fonterra, Air New Zealand and British Airways.
He works with organisations in New Zealand and around the world to improve their Health and Safety performance through practical methods that target priority areas of each business.
Recent engagements under the new Health and Safety act include:
- A major New Zealand bank
- Review of Zoo operations
- Tertiary institutions
- Large scale manufacturing
- Electrical industry in New Zealand and Victoria
- Fleet safety
Helen Down, Advisory Boards NZ
Helen Down, Managing Director and Founder of Advisory Boards New Zealand is an entrepreneur at heart and enjoys nothing more than helping business owners develop themselves and their companies. Helen is deeply passionate about NZ small and medium sized businesses and has worked with more than 1000 business owners to date through her companies Advisory Boards New Zealand and Synthesis Marketing. Helen’s expertise in governance, advisory boards, management, strategy, marketing, sales and business leadership has been instrumental in seeing businesses grow, becoming more profitable, commercialising innovative products, delivering new services and employing more people. Helen has also run Advisory Board Webinars with CCH Learning since 2014, which have been very popular.
Helen is regarded as New Zealand’s thought leader in Advisory Boards and works with business owners every day helping them realise the true value of Advisory Boards. Helen has served on several Advisory Boards and has currently stepped down after her sixth term as President of the Hutt Valley Chamber of Commerce.
Prior to starting her first business in 2001 Helen enjoyed a corporate career across various senior management, international account management, export market development and marketing roles in several of the world’s largest telecommunications and technology companies.
Helen is passionate about growing our country's most innovative small and medium sized businesses.
Simon Limmer, Chief Operating Officer, Zespri
Simon joined Zespri in April 2008 and was responsible for the development of global fruit production and sourcing, research and development, and grower services. As well as managing the Grower Services and Government Relations teams, in 2013 Simon was appointed as General Manager China. In late August 2014 Simon was appointed Chief Operating Officer, providing strategic leadership and integration on the supply side of the business.
Prior to this he had 14 years international general management and business development experience with Veolia Environment, the €30 billion global leader in environmental services. His most recent role was as the Deputy Vice President/Commercial Director – Global Industrial Markets Division. Simon graduated from the University of Waikato with a Bachelor of Management Studies (Commerce/Marketing) before joining Ford Motor Company.
Chair - Matthew Pickering, Rural Coach & Facilitator, Coach Approach Rural Ltd
Bought up in the Waikato, Matthew has had 31 years of experiences and learning from working in and with the rural sector - from a rural degree at Lincoln University, to working on dairy, sheep & beef and cropping farms to leading 110 staff for National Bank rural banking.
Along the way Matthew has worked through four life threatening incidents that have strengthened his can do and grateful approach to life.
Matthew lives for family, so it was a natural pathway (since 2009) to focus his expertise into helping farming families discover, develop and implement their succession plans. Today, Coach Approach Rural has a nationwide specialist team focusing on;
* Succession planning for rural families and
* Developing the leadership and team cultures that support the transition to achieve this.