Soil CRC has a board of nine directors, one of whom acts as Chair. There are five independent and four non-independent directors. There are four committees that govern Research, Risk, Nominations and Remuneration. The CEO reports to the Board on the management of the Soil CRC. The CEO has a team that reports to him to operate the Soil CRC.
The Honourable Penelope Wensley AC
The Honourable Penelope Wensley AC commenced as Patron of the Soil CRC in March 2021, following her appointment as the National Soils Advocate in August 2020. In addition to her knowledge of the environment and environmental policy, Ms Wensley has substantial expertise in public policy development, strategy development and implementation, communication and negotiation, and community and stakeholder engagement.
Ms Wensley was Governor of Queensland from 2008 to 2014. In this role she was active in promoting environmental knowledge and awareness and was a strong supporter of community groups and organisations involved with environmental management, conservation and protection, including as State Patron of Queensland Water and Land Carers.
She has worked to promote excellence in science, and the importance of scientific research and knowledge as a basis for good public policy, with a particular interest in agriculture and marine science. Alongside her role as Patron of the Soil CRC, she is Patron of Soil Science Australia; Chair of the Australian Institute of Marine Science Council; and Chair of the Reef Advisory Committee.
The Soil CRC is governed by a skills-based Board of Directors with an independent Chair and a majority of independent members. The Board provides oversight of the Soil CRC activities, performance and strategic direction.
Dr Paul Greenfield AO FTSE
Dr Paul Greenfield is a chemical engineer who worked at the University of Queensland holding senior roles including Vice-Chancellor (2008-2011), Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research), Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Provost.
Dr Greenfield has extensive experience as a Board Director on company and CRC boards. He has worked widely with industry on projects spanning the biotechnology, water and energy sectors.
Dr Greenfield is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering, and the Institution of Chemical Engineers, UK and an Honorary Fellow of the Institution of Engineers, Australia.
Dr Greenfield is Chair of the International Water Centre and is on the Board of the Great Barrier Reef Foundation.
Professor Andrea Bishop
Professor Andrea Bishop is the Pro Vice Chancellor Research at Griffith University. She holds a PhD in Physical Chemistry as well as postgraduate qualifications in education and business and has been awarded for her contributions in education practice, development and delivery. She is an accomplished researcher who has held a range of senior leadership positions, with significant experience in strategic planning and implementation, risk management, capacity building, research and education management and delivery.
Previous appointments have included deputy to the Dean of Science and Director of Research at Charles Sturt University, where she developed significant experience in supporting advancement of the research profile of the university and responsibility for all research higher degree candidatures.
Andrea is currently a Non-Executive Director of the CRC Association Board and Griffith Enterprise Advisory Board.
Malcolm Buckby is the Manager of the South Australian Grain Industry Trust (SAGIT), responsible for SAGIT’s investment in research and development projects to support the South Australian grain industry.
He is also the Manager for Rural Services for the Royal Agricultural and Horticultural Society of South Australia. His office provides financial and administration services to 28 state and national agricultural groups.
Malcolm was elected as a State Member of Parliament from 1993 to 2006 in the South Australian electorate of Light. He graduated from the University of Adelaide with a Bachelor of Agricultural Science. As a former research economist and farmer, Malcolm brings a strong knowledge of agricultural issues to the Board.
Ralph Hardy is a director and senior manager with extensive finance, commercial, and systems experience in the manufacturing and service industries. He currently leads multinational finance teams for the Ampcontrol Group, a role which provides the strategic direction, finance policies and governance framework to all companies in the Group.
He is responsible for provision of consolidated financial and management accounting support and reports, multinational shared service centres, treasury, finance funding, tax compliance, statutory compliance and mergers and acquisitions, together with financial management and advice.
Ralph has strong financial management experience in number of jurisdictions in Australia, Asia and Europe. Ralph is also a Director of CRC CARE.
Kate Lorimer-Ward has high level strategic planning and corporate governance skills and has been responsible for managing small and large programs, including RD&E units. She is a senior executive in the NSW public service, with the NSW Department of Primary Industries.
She has extensive knowledge of agriculture and agricultural communities from her roles in the NSW public sector over the past 25 years, has held positions on Boards and inter-jurisdictional committees, and is a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.
Kate has a Bachelor of Arts majoring in soils and social geography, an Executive Masters in Public Administration and a Post Graduate Certificate in Climate Change for Primary Industries.
Dr David Minkey
Dr David Minkey is the executive director of Western Australian no tillage farmers association (WANTFA), a role he has held for the past 13 years. He provides strong connection between researchers and growers, managing and leading many applied projects. He understands the importance of adoption for the success of farmer driven research.
David has over 30 years’ experience in agricultural research development and extension. He worked with the Department of Agriculture and Food (now DPIRD) for 20 years and the Australian Herbicide resistance Initiative (AHRI) for six years. David has a degree in Agricultural Science and PhD in weed seed ecology from University of Western Australia.
Robbie Sefton is the Managing Director of strategic communication company Seftons and a farmer of wool, meat and grains. Robbie’s strategic communication skills include issues management, corporate social responsibility, stakeholder analysis and engagement, media relations, community consultation, training, corporate image and brand identity, leadership, sponsorship and special interest/advisory group expertise.
In 2015, Robbie was named as a Westpac Australian Financial Review Woman of Influence and in 2002, she was RIRDC NSW Rural Woman of the Year.
Robbie is also Deputy Chair of the National Australia Day Council, and has sat on advisory panels for the Australian Taxation Office, the Reserve Bank of Australia and Woolworths.
Dr Simon Speirs
Dr Simon Speirs is a soil scientist and R&D professional with over 20 years of experience across Australian agriculture. He has extensive experience in Australian agricultural industries and strong business innovation capabilities, strategic planning and business execution.
Simon is part of the team at New Edge Microbials, a growth business serving global agriculture through proven biological products. He has experience in agtech, start-ups and R&D consulting. Simon previously led large investments in crop nutrition by the Australian grains industry.
Simon has a PhD in soil science from University of Sydney and an executive MBA from the Australian Graduate School of Management.
Professor Roger Swift FTSE
Professor Roger Swift is Emeritus Professor of Soil Science at the University of Queensland, where he was previously Executive Dean of the Faculty of Natural Resources, Agriculture and Veterinary Science. He has held a number of academic and research positions in soil science and agriculture at leading institutions in the UK, Australia and New Zealand and was Chief of the CSIRO Division of Soils and Chief Research Scientist (1993-2000).
Professor Swift is a world-renowned, extensively-published soil scientist whose major research interests lie in the area of soil chemistry. He is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering (FTSE) and the Royal Society of Chemistry (FRSC) and is a long-serving member of the International Union of Soil Science (1990-94 and 2006-18).
The management of the Soil CRC is led by a Chief Executive Officer, supported by a small operational and administrative team.
Dr Michael Crawford
Chief Executive Officer
Dr Michael Crawford has over 25 years’ experience in extension, research and science management in areas related to soil science, farming systems and natural resource management. Michael has an Honours Degree in agricultural science from the University of Melbourne, a PhD in soil science from the University of Adelaide, undertaken through the former CRC for Soil and Land Management, and an Executive Masters in Public Administration from the University of Melbourne and the Australia and New Zealand School of Government.
He has operated at senior levels of government and research management, he has worked with grower groups and farming communities, and he has strong relationships with relevant industry stakeholders, universities and government departments. He commenced as the inaugural CEO of the CRC for High Performance Soils in September 2017.
Executive Assistant to CEO
Kathy has extensive experience working with executives in the Hunter Region in the public, education and private sectors. Kathy is a wealth of knowledge having been involved with the Soil CRC from inception in both the bid and establishment phases. Kathy provides administrative support to the CEO.
Kathy is passionate about people, the environment and the world in which we live and is proud to be a part of the Soil CRC – an innovative, collaborative organisation that is making a difference.
Jodi is a qualified scientist, manager and teacher, with over 25 years’ experience in the coordination and management of various scientific programs within the Australian agricultural industry, holding positions across industry, government and higher education sectors.
Jodi is responsible for the effective administration of the business, overseeing the project management, governance and operational functions of the Soil CRC.
From a seventh generation farming family in North-Western NSW, Jodi is passionate about Australian agriculture. She believes working towards improving sustainability and productivity will not only help her family, but other farming families to stay on their land.
As a Chartered Accountant who specialises in technology with start-ups and rapid-growth companies, Mark brings a wealth of commercial experience to the organisation. Most recently Mark was the Finance Director for Civica, a software company delivering local government solutions. Mark is responsible for the financial oversight of the Soil CRC.
Mark grew up on a farm, so is interested to see how scientists can help farmers increase productivity sustainably in this vast country of ours.
Katherine has over fifteen years’ experience working in Communications in both the not-for-profit and university sectors. She specialises in copywriting, editing and brand management. She is responsible for overseeing all the communications and marketing activities of the Soil CRC.
Katherine is passionate about growing her own food on her small-scale acreage garden, so she understands and values the importance of healthy soil.
Research Administration Officer
Julie is an experienced Executive Assistant and Project Officer, having worked in the legal, government and higher education sectors. Her strong administrative skills have seen her appointed to a number of high-level roles in areas of grants and awards, corporate communications, community engagement, project management and policy analysis.
Julie has a degree in Media and Communications from UNE and a Diploma in Town Planning. She has an interest in the environment and sustainability, and rural resource management. Julie is responsible for coordinating projects and programs for the Soil CRC as well as day to day management of Soil CRC business, project software system and partnerships.
Julie is a keen gardener, growing her own vegetables and native food trees on her small suburban plot.
Dr Cassandra Wardle
Cassandra has ten years of research experience in conservation and social sciences, over five years’ experience in higher degree research training and policy, and a life-long passion for science communication and information sharing.
Alongside her own PhD, which she completed in late 2019, Cassandra has worked to enhance the experience of HDR students including two years as the elected HDR student representative on her university’s Board of Graduate Research, and most recently as the Project Coordinator for a consortium of graduate research schools from eight Queensland universities.
Cassandra works closely with our PhD students and is responsible for the education and training activities of the Soil CRC PhD student cohort.
Childhood visits to her grandparents’ farms taught Cassandra just how tough the farming life can be, so she’s excited to be supporting our researchers in their efforts to improve soil management, health and productivity.
Communications and Marketing Intern
Daniel is currently in his fourth and final year studying a Bachelor of Business and Bachelor of Innovation and Entrepreneurship from the University of Newcastle with majors in Marketing and International Business. Daniel is responsible for assisting with the communication and marketing of the Soil CRC.
Daniel enjoys interning at Soil CRC as he is passionate about innovation, marketing practices and collaboration.
Dr Rhona Hammond
Intellectual Property Officer
Rhona is an Australian Registered Trade Mark Attorney. She worked for fourteen years as the in-house intellectual property administrator for the former BHP Wire business, more recently known as OneSteel or InfraBuild, where she managed a portfolio of 600 trademarks, 300 internet domains and 80 business names.
Rhona is passionate about the appropriate and effective use of intellectual property. She wants to help creators to be acknowledged and rewarded
Originally from Scotland, Rhona studied Classics and English at Oxford University (Somerville ‘91) and then joined P&O Containers as a graduate trainee. She wasn’t ready to abandon the academic life so she wrote her PhD on Caribbean poetry (2001) part-time through the Open University while working full-time. Rhona has lived in Belgium, Sweden and South Africa but has called Newcastle, NSW, home since 2007.
Research Administration Assistant
Lisa Mahoney is an Administrative Assistant with many years of experience working alongside executive teams, mainly in construction. Lisa has specialised in project management which has involved many disciplines such as contracts, variations, processing of progress claims and project management reports. Lisa has also worked as a bookkeeper and has used her strong business management skills to run a successful joinery manufacturing business.
Lisa is inspired every day by her family. She loves renovating her home, gardening and reading ancient history – especially anything on Egypt.
Business Development Manager
Chris has worked in senior executive roles in agricultural and associated industries over the past 25 years. These roles have been in the areas of R&D management, regional services, business development and rural retailing. He now operates a consultancy practice specialising in supporting Australian and New Zealand agribusinesses, research consortiums and industry organisations.
Chris is working with companies and other organisations to build relationships, seek investment and grow support for the Soil CRC and its activities.
Felicity has over 20 years’ experience in extension, research and education across several agriculture industries, working with grower groups, industry, government, and vocational and higher education sectors. Felicity is responsible for delivering the Soil CRC’s Smart Farm funded Building Technical Capacity in Soil Management project across Australia. She also manages a sustainable agriculture project for the North Central Catchment Management Authority funded by the National Landcare Program. Felicity’s focus is supporting landholders and advisors to improve their soil knowledge and increase their technical capacity to manage soils sustainably to ensure productivity and profitability into the future.
Our four Program Leaders set and implement the research direction of the Soil CRC.
Professor Catherine Allan
Charles Sturt University
Catherine Allan is Associate Professor in Environmental Sociology and Planning at the Albury campus of Charles Sturt University (CSU). She held a variety of agency rural land management extension roles in Victoria and South Australia before becoming an academic in 2001. Catherine’s research explores regional scale adaptive management of ‘natural resources’. As an experienced community facilitator, Catherine has particular interests in social learning and systems thinking to support sustainable relationships among human and biophysical elements. As well as research and supervision, Catherine has been the Presiding Officer of the CSU Human Research Ethics Committee since 2014, and was Associate Director of the Institute for Land Water and Society from 2014 to 2017.
Associate Professor Richard Doyle
University of Tasmania
Associate Professor Richard Doyle’s career includes over 23 years’ experience in tertiary education with undergraduate teaching, PhD, Masters and Honours project supervision. He has worked in many areas of soil and earth sciences, natural resource assessment and management, industry innovation and more recently, global food security. Alongside this, he has also worked in forestry, construction and mining for both government and industry organisations. Associate Professor Doyle has undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in Geology and Physical Geography from Victoria University of Wellington and a PhD in Soil Science from the University of Tasmania.
Associate Professor Doyle has held multiple leadership roles including Head of the School of Agricultural Science and President of Soil Science Australia. He has operated as a project leader for major research projects relating to soil science. He has supervised over 18 research higher degrees (PhD/Masters) and more than 30 honours research projects. Associate Professor Doyle has won multiple teaching, academic and community service awards.
Professor Megh Mallavarapu
University of Newcastle
Megh is Professor of Environmental Biotechnology at the Global Centre for Environmental Remediation at the University of Newcastle, a position he has held since 2015. With over 25 years of research experience, he is an innovative researcher with an in-depth knowledge of pollutant-microbe interactions in soil and bioremediation as reflected by his numerous publications.
Megh is one of the few scientists working in the important area soil algae research. He demonstrated the role of soil algae and cyanobacteria in the degradation and detoxification of several contaminants.
Megh’s current research interests include the development of bioremediation and ecological risk assessment of both organic and inorganic contaminants with special reference to mix contamination, determination of fate and behaviour of both organic and inorganic pollutants including their bioavailability and toxicity in the environment.
Dr Lukas Van Zwieten
NSW Department of Primary Industries
Dr Lukas Van Zwieten completed his PhD in Agricultural Chemistry and Soil Science at the University of Sydney in 1995. He is a Senior Principal Research Scientist with the NSW Department of Primary Industries and an Adjunct Professor at Southern Cross University. His postgraduate supervision and research interests include carbon and nutrient cycling, soil function, ecotoxicology and impacts of agricultural chemicals, management practices and climate change on soil resilience. Lukas was awarded the 2016 NSW Premiers Award for Public Sector Science and Engineering, is a Churchill Fellow and a Member of Soil Science Australia. His research has been popularised through Landline (1999), ABC’s Catalyst program (2007), a CNN “special report” in 2008, ABC’s Landline (2009) and Discovery Channel’s “Ecopolis” mini-series in 2009/10. He has published more than 100 book chapters and journal papers and has several highly cited works.