Speakers at Waste Strategy Summit 2019

Ali Abbas
Associate Professor
The University of Sydney

Associate Professor Ali Abbas is an academic at the University of Sydney in the School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. He is the Founder and Director of the Laboratory for Multiscale Systems and is Director of the Waste Transformation Research Hub, a national research centre aimed at addressing the waste industry’s research and technological challenges.

Professor Abbas received both his Bachelors and PhD in Chemical Engineering from University of Sydney, Australia. He has held previous academic appointments at NTU (Singapore) and UNSW Asia (Singapore) and visiting professor positions at several institutions including Harvard. His engineering research and expertise is in the area of Process Systems Engineering with application to circular economy and waste, Clean Energy, biotechnology and biomedical systems. He conducts fundamental and applied research, and has published more than 100 papers in international scientific and engineering journals.

Professor Abbas is the recipient of multiple awards including the Australia-Harvard Fellowship 2011 as well as the Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (ATSE) Fellowship 2012 (Australia-China Future Leader in Clean Coal Technologies). Recently he received the inaugural Sydney Research Accelerator (SOAR) fellowship for University’s most talented researchers in recognition of research leadership. In 2008 he was awarded the PSE Model-based innovation prize (London, UK).

Ali provides consultations to industry and Government and is currently acting as Founding Director of a new tech start-up – Automated Process Synthesis Co. Pty Ltd which is pioneering new artificial intelligence (AI) tools in engineering design.

John Baird
CEO and Chairman, Ultimo Digital Technologies
Cyber Security Advisory Council, NSW Department of Finance, Services and Innovation

John’s passion lies in the role that technology can play in driving forward an organisation. As a technologist at heart, his career has been built on his ability to marry ICT and its broadest and most innovative applications with the needs of a business.

As CEO of Ultimo Digital Technologies, John has been instrumental in developing their world first supply chain management ecosystem UCOT, which is built on the latest IoT and blockchain technologies and provides total traceability of the supply chain in real time. 

John is currently also Chairman of the Cyber Security Advisory Council of the NSW Department of Finance, Services and Innovation.

Previous roles include CTO at Deutsche Bank, VP at Credit Suisse, Technology Manager at Grant Thornton and Head of IT at Toshiba International Corporation.

Antony Castaldi
General Manager Supply Chain


Belinda Chellingworth
Resource Recovery
The GPT Group

Alison Covington
Founder & Managing Director

Alison Covington is an innovator, passionate about creating change that disrupts industries, empowers communities and creates a better world. It has often been said she sees opportunities where others see problems. As a Director of multi-million public transport business, Alison developed a record for innovation and raising standards, increasing profitability in loss-making companies and guiding them through the obstacles of major industry reform. Her business success has become a platform for her philanthropic ideas – today, she uses her corporate expertise to benefit others and make a positive social difference as the Founder and Managing Director of Good360 Australia.

“Good360 is a matchmaker, helping repurpose things of value by directing them to the Australians who need them most. We bring together the people working to lift up Australian communities, and the spare brand-new goods of businesses. We connect surplus with need. The goal is for nothing useful to lie unused – either in a retailer’s warehouse or in landfill. Whether its toys to a family violence shelter or note books for a school—if Australians have the need, our business partners have the goods. “

Alison’s goal is to connect $1bn of brand-new goods to Australians who need them most.

Alison is passionate about starting conversation with Australians to talk about matchmaking ‘spare with need’. She believes great conversations can be had at BB’Q’s, dinner parties and workplaces. Once you know about Good360, honestly you will wonder why you never thought about it yourself – it is a no brainer – right. When she isn’t trying to make the rest of the country get onboard with the concept, she is home with the loves of her life, her husband of 23 years, 2 sons and a crazy border collie.

Julie Currey
Senior Manager Environmental Infrastructure
Sydney Olympic Park Authority

Over  30 years years experience in environmental assessment, regulation, compliance, waste, remediated lands, project delivery and environmental risk management. Provision of technical advice on odour, dust, waste, noise, contamination, remediation, waste, geotechnical reports, site audit statements and Impact Assessments, including over twenty years experience in Government including representing the NSW EPA as a technical advisor to Government on NSW Treasury Sale of Waste Assets.

Currently - Senior Manager Environmental Infrastructure, Sydney Olympic Park Authority responsible for specialist technical advice in relation to best practice operational management of Sydney Olympic Park’s remediated lands.  At the same time managing numerous strategic Project within Sydney Olympic Park including review of the Sydney Olympic Park Master Plan 2030 and coordinating the Authority’s input into key projects within Sydney Olympic Park including the Sydney Metro West and Parramatta Light Rail.

Prior to joining the Authority - NSW Environment Protection Authority for sixteen years in a wide variety of roles including six years as Manager Sydney Landfills working with contaminated sites specialists and the Department of Planning on major waste infrastructure projects.

Honors degree in Applied Science from the University of Technology Sydney and almost 25 years experience environmental science, regulation and environmental management.

Georgina Davis
Policy Advisor for Resources
QLD Farmers’ Federation

Georgina is a Doctor of Engineering and holds masters degrees in Environmental Engineering (MEng) and Education (MEd).  She is a Chartered Environmentalist (CEnv) and Chartered Waste Manager, with over 25 years international experience.  She has an Adjunct within the Australian Rivers Institute at Griffith University and holds numerous Committee and Board positions. 

Georgina provides policy advice to the State’s peak farming body, Queensland Farmers’ Federation (QFF) and its members.  The Queensland Farmers’ Federation (QFF) is the united voice of intensive agriculture in Queensland, representing the interests of peak state and national agriculture industry organisations, which in turn collectively represent more than 13,000 primary producers.  She also provides both policy advice and peer-review to governments and government departments across a range of initiatives.

Paul Donaghy
Resource Recovery Manager
Woolworths Food Group

Incorporating over twenty years experience in Sales, Marketing, Waste Management, Resource Recovery and Commercial Management positions, Paul has successfully delivered a broad range of programs and strategies to key personnel and executive management in a number of industries.

Paul has a Bachelor of Commerce majoring in HR and a post graduate diploma in Marketing.

His time as a professional sportsman allowed him to develop an appreciation of a challenge and clearly saw this opportunity at Woolworths.

Paul has been at Woolworths for 2 and half years and is “Living the Dream” every day!

Jenni Downes
Institute for Sustainable Futures
University of Technology Sydney

Jenni Downes is a Research Consultant at the UTS Institute for Sustainable Futures, with 10 years’ experience in applied social research. Her passion is evaluation and research to develop effective strategies for household-level, organisational and society-wide change towards sustainable futures, and she leads the Institute’s work in designing and evaluation change programs relating to resource use, waste and recovery.

Jenni’s expertise is the design and delivery of program evaluations, including development of program logic/theory to guide initial design, formative and summative evaluation, value for money and impact evaluation. She has extensive experience in literature reviews, stakeholder engagement, quantitative data collection and statistical analysis, and high-impact visual communication of results. Recent experience includes evaluating food waste avoidance education, kerbside food waste recycling services, education and infrastructure interventions to improve recycling in multi-unit dwellings, and energy efficiency behaviour change. Jenni has qualifications in Sociology and Statistics and is currently completing a Masters of Evaluation.

Jeff Elliott
Environmental Sustainability Change Lead

Jeff is the Environmental Sustainability Change Lead at ANZ, with over 10 years’ experience in the sustainable buildings sector (including in state and local government, and environmental consultancies)

Jeff is a subject matter expert in energy, waste and water as it relates to an organisation’s operational footprint. He has significant experience in developing operational strategies and plans in partnership with a diverse range of stakeholders.

As ANZ’s Environmental Change Lead, Jeff’s role is to help ANZ on its journey of delivering significant positive change and impacts to the environment.  Jeff’s primary responsibility is to develop and implement environmental sustainability programs and support ANZ’s environmental change strategies through not just implementation but also through fostering and developing key partnerships with critical internal and external stakeholders.  ANZ’s aim is to reduce energy, waste and water consumption across ANZ’s global property portfolios and Jeff’s role is critical in delivering this.

Nick Florin
Research Director, Institute for Sustainable Futures
University of Technology Sydney

Nick has broad experience in university and industrial research in bio-energy/chemical synthesis, carbon capture for power and industry, synergies between renewable and fossil energy systems, and energy and climate policy appraisal.  He has successfully applied his research skills and leveraged his technical expertise to deliver a range of technical and policy projects for government agencies, industry and research institutes.

Sylvie Garner
Program Manager, Waste Policy and Legislation, Office of Resource Recovery
Department of Environment and Science (QLD)

Sylvie Garner is a Program Manager in the Office of Resource Recovery within the Queensland Government Department of Environment and Science. She has formal qualifications in organisational communications and change management, which is also her key passion. Her achievements in this area to date span across a range of industries including personalised transport, consumer energy, and mining exploration in Queensland.

Sylvie has extensive experience leading and delivering strategic projects including the recent Investigation into the Transport of Waste into Queensland and is currently developing a plastic matrix to inform Queensland’s new Plastic Pollution Reduction Plan.

Sylvie is recognised for her collaborative approach and is working extensively with industry and a wide range of stakeholders to ensure Queensland’s efforts in reducing plastic pollution are impactful and achievable. 

David Hodge
Managing Director
Plastic Forests

A self-confessed ‘eco-industrialist’, David is the Managing Director of Albury-based Plastic Forests, the first company globally to commercialise an innovative dry-cleaning process to recycle contaminated plastic films - without using water. The huge amount of ‘unrecyclable’ plastic film going to landfill due to its contamination, such as plastic bags from the food industry and agricultural silage wrap, motivated the dedicated team at Plastic Forests to develop their unique solution to this global problem. Plastic Forests seeks to rescue plastic waste from landfill and recycle it into sustainable products to create a circular economy.

Plastic Forests is winner of the NSW Green Globe Innovation Award 2018, Inside Waste’s Circular Economy Award and Outstanding Recycling Facility Award 2018, the Westpac Businesses of Tomorrow Award 2017 and the Endeavour Award for the Most Innovative Manufacturing Company 2015.

Anne Karin Kehlhofer
Manager Environmental Sustainability
Taronga Conservation Society Australia

Anne is the Manager, Environmental Sustainability at Taronga Conservation Society Australia. She is a trilingual Swiss-Australian citizen, who has a multi-disciplinary background in sustainability, environmental management, human geography, business and education.

She has worked across diverse sectors (including: public, private, not-for-profit and tertiary education), and has thereby acquired strong expertise in waste management, energy, sustainable procurement and green building.

In her current role at Taronga, she is responsible for integrating and managing environmental sustainability performance across the seven divisions at both Taronga Zoo and Taronga Western Plains Zoo.

A key focus of this role, is to mitigate the organisation’s carbon footprint, reduce waste going to landfill and increase resource diversions by identifying opportunities, collaborating closely with internal and external stakeholders, while focus on technical, operational and behavioural aspects simultaneously.

Justin Koek
Director, China National Sword
NSW Environment Protection Authority

Yasmin Grigaliunas
World’s Biggest Garage Sale

Yasmin Grigaliunas, CEO and Co-founder of the World’s Biggest Garage Sale (WBGS), is on a mission to turn Australia’s circular economy aspirations into reality while at the same time providing social good. Winner of the 2018 Lord Mayor's Business Award for Sustainability, and the Cleanaway Waste Innovation Award at The Cleaner Suburbs Awards, also in 2018, Yas is a current Impact 25 Nominee, a SheEO Semi-finalist and a RiverPitch semi-finalist. In 2017 she ditched a traditional career and lucrative salary to commit full-time to her role as CEO and Co-founder of the World's Biggest Garage Sale (WBGS). WBGS design innovative solutions to commercialise the circular economy through the activation of dormant goods for good. WBGS maximises the value of products already in the economy, through the circular principles of recycle, repurpose, reuse, repair and re-commerce, which diverts landfill, and draws wealth from waste, while investing revenue back into local communities. Our business exists to solve problems for several consumer markets, as well as economic and environmental issues. We impact governments trying to keep products and materials from ending up in landfill, and enterprise and industry seeking brand alignment to sustainability and altruistic values. WBGS has donated generously to charities, diverted over 3.3-million kgs of potential waste from landfill and contributed over $1.7-million in social value to the global economy. Yas and her organisation are living proof that you can provide positive impact for people, planet and profit for purpose.

Kate Harris
Chief Executive Officer
Good Environmental Choice Australia

Kate Harris, CEO of GECA is passionate about leadership, capacity building and education aimed at finding sustainable solutions for the future.

Kate is also Vice Chair of the Living Future Institute of Australia (LIFA), Non Executive Director of ALCAS- Australian Life Cycle Assessment Society, an Executive member for ASBEC- the Australian Sustainable Built Environment Council and a Director of the Global Ecolabelling Network.

With a Masters in Social Ecology and graduate of the Asialink Leaders Program, Kate also draws on her diverse experience in the performing arts, executive coaching, cultural change and organisational development, helping individuals, organisations and communities to create systems change for a better future.

Suzanne Little
Principal, Resource Recovery
Encycle Consulting

A pioneer of the environment profession in Australia, Suzanne has been the Environment Manager of three major corporations.  She led the implementation of sustainable development during Sydney’s Olympic Games, when environmental innovation and sustainable procurement were introduced to Australia.

Her decades of operational experience in gas, electricity, telephone and water utilities adds to her knowledge of science, environmental management systems and legislation.  She has insight into opportunities for resource recovery of waste and how better procurement methods can reduce waste streams at the outset.

With the wisdom of having been a non-executive director of six environmental boards - including three certification schemes - Suzanne aims to get results for a business, get its projects finished and improve its credentials.

Miles Mason
Business Development Manager
New Energy Corporation

National & International Business Development Manager with over 20 years experience in the waste to energy, renewables and environment industry. Leadership roles in Industry and local ministry. Project Management and Operational roles in large and small Waste businesses. Skilled in broad range of senior roles in Waste industry including securing new business, Contracts, Operations, Management, Project Development, Capital raising, Financial Modelling, Public Speaking, Sustainable Development, Environmental Compliance, Wastewater Treatment, and Environmental Impact Assessment. Bachelor degree in Civil Engineering from University of New South Wales.

Valentina Petrone
Senior Environmental Consultant
Encycle Consulting
With over 10 years of experience in the construction industry, working across Europe and South- East Asia, Valentina has acquired excellent design, environmental sustainability and project management skills, delivering complex projects within time, budget and to quality.

Valentina has a sound understanding of the waste and recycling industry, operations, technologies and initiatives. She also maturated a strong expertise in delivering energy performance rating projects as well as developing and implementing corporate/community waste management initiatives while facilitating behaviour change.

Blaise Porter
Sustainability Manager ANZ
Fujitsu Australia

Blaise is the Sustainability Manager for the Oceania region at Fujitsu.  Her current role draws on a decade of IT experience to help businesses address their ICT sustainability challenges.

As Sustainability Manager she also operates Fujitsu's wide ranging EMS that includes office, warehouse and data centre operations; including the recycling of over 370t of eWaste and the consumption of nearly 2 million mWh of energy annually.

Kate Ringvall
Country Manager Sustainability Retail

Dr Kate Ringvall is the Country Manager for Sustainability at IKEA Australia. With more than 20 years’ experience working, studying and exploring the many facets that make up Sustainability as we know it today. Her first job as graduate was in a recycling processing factory in Fremantle and Kate remains an avid recycler! Kate has a Masters in Public Policy and a PhD in Planning and her areas of expertise are in Sustainable Transport Planning, Sustainable Cities, and Transit Orientated Development, and Energy Efficiency in the Built and Environment. At IKEA Australia Kate’s work encompasses the full depth and breadth of integrating sustainability actions and implementing the People and Planet Positive Strategy across all 10 IKEA stores.

Mike Ritchie
Managing Director
MRA Consulting Group

With 25 years experience in environmental policy and business development, Mike is currently:
• Chair of the Carbon Division and AWT Working Group
• Director of Environment Business Australia

He has previously been:
• General Manager with several major waste companies
• National Vice President and NSW President of WMAA
• Sessional Commissioner of the Land and Environment Court NSW

Veena Sahajwalla
ARC Laureate Fellow & Director Scientia Professor
University of New South Wales

Australian Research Council (ARC) Laureate Professor Veena Sahajwalla is revolutionising recycling science to unlock the wealth of resources embedded in the many complex wastes currently destined for landfill. As a materials scientist and engineer and founding Director of the Centre for Sustainable Materials Research and Technology (SMaRT) at the University of New South Wales, Sydney and the ARC Industrial Transformation Research Hub for green manufacturing, she is producing a new generation of green materials and  products made entirely, or primarily, from waste. Her internationally commercialised EAF ‘green’ steelmaking process, for example, is transforming millions of waste tyres as a partial replacement for coke. She has also pioneered a cost-effective microfactory technology to transform waste, such as e-waste, glass and plastics. By collaborating actively with industry, Professor Sahajwalla ensures research success is translated into real world environmental and economic benefits.

Prof Veena Sahajwalla became one of Australia’s best-known scientists and inventors through her regular appearances as a judge on the long-running ABC TV series ‘The New Inventors’ and recent guest on the ‘War on Waste’. She continues her community engagement through regular public talks, her mentoring program for girls in science (Science 50:50) and regular media commentary.  In 2018 Professor Sahajwalla was elected as Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science. In 2017, she received the 2017 PLuS Alliance Prize for Research Innovation and the prestigious Jubilee Professorship by the Indian Academy of Sciences. In 2016, she was named one of Australia’s most innovative engineers. In 2015 she was listed as one of Australia’s Top 100 Most Influential Engineers and selected as an Honorary Fellow by Engineers Australia. In 2014, Professor Sahajwalla was awarded an ARC Australian Laureate Fellowship. In 2013, Veena received the ‘Howe Memorial Lecture Award’, Pittsburgh, USA. In 2012, she won the Australian Innovation Challenge (Overall Winner) for her innovation for her “ Green Steel”.

Natalie Vecchione
Environmental Manager
Carnival Cruise Line

In her current role, Natalie oversees cruise ships based in North America and the Caribbean as well as the Carnival Spirit and Legend based in Australia. As Environmental Manager for Carnival Cruise Line, she works directly with the ships to reduce, recycle and process the waste generated onboard.  In addition to waste management, Natalie supports the vessels to maintain compliance with local and international regulations pertaining to air emissions, waste water discharges and biofouling management. 
After earning her Bachelor’s degree in Science in 2015, Natalie started as an Environmental Officer with Carnival Cruise Line, where she  was responsible for monitoring the ships environmental compliance activities and waste operations onboard.

Speaking opportunities are still available for Waste Strategy Summit 2019

Introduce your company, showcase your leadership and demonstrate how you can help by speaking to this senior gathering of waste management executives from across industry.

Use this unique forum to voice your opinions on the most important issues facing waste strategy management today. Speakers will assert themselves as advocates for the future success of the sector.

For sponsorship opportunities at Waste Strategy Summit 2019, please contact, Katherine Kaczmarek on +61 (0)2 8188 7537 or email katherinek@questevents.com.au

Download a sponsorship prospectus here!

Waste Strategy Summit 2019