Current Projects

Business Leaders Breakfast Series

RDA Central West CEO Sam Harma joins business, government and community leaders throughout the region to discuss local priorities, projects and policy issues that matter to the local business community.

2021

16 April 2021

Andrew Gee MP, Federal Member for Calare joins Sam this week. Andrew was born in Wagga Wagga and raised in Maitland, where his father was the local mayor. He studied Economics and Law at Sydney University.  Prior to entering politics, Andrew set up a business in Hong Kong before practicing as a barrister in Orange. Andrew’s foray in politics began in 2011 when he secured the NSW state seat of Orange for the Nationals.

 

Andrew resigned from the NSW Legislative Assembly in 2016 and was elected to the House of Representatives the same year, for the seat of Calare, NSW. He has since been re-elected in 2019. In January 2019, Andrew was appointed Assistant Minister to the Deputy Prime Minister and in February 2020, appointed Australia’s Minister for Decentralisation and Regional Education, and Minister Assisting the Trade and Investment Minister.

26 March 2021

Peter Bishop of Bishop Wagyu and Joint Managing Director of Quality Genetics International joins Sam for coffee this week.  Peter’s 26 years in agriculture has enabled him to develop sustainable management practices in order to produce the highest quality Wagyu and Angus beef.

 

Peter completed the Australian Institute of Companies Directors course in 2008 and he has been a Director of the Hunter Local Land Services for 2 years, Mudgee Merriwa Rural Lands Protective Board and Director/Treasurer of the Australian Wagyu Association for 7 years. More recently Peter was the Director of Farm Management for a large foreign Chinese company that operates several large properties in Queensland and NSW, responsible for 40 staff.  Now Peter and his family run a farm in Cowra where they continue their Wagyu passion.

19 March 2021

Meet Ruth Fagan, Chair of RDA Central West.  Ruth Fagan has extensive advisory board experience, in a State and regional capacity.

 

She has been involved in a range of industries, including tourism, agriculture, planning and retail. Ruth is presently, a Councillor on Cowra Council and has been since 2004, a Board Member of Local Government NSW and Chair of Regional Development Australia Central West.  Trained as a journalist and a resident of Cowra for 40 years, Ruth has worked as a journalist, Tourism Manager and operated a number of businesses in Cowra including a gift shop, a motel, a vineyard and a dress shop.

12 March 2021

Councillor Bill West joins Sam this week.  Cr West was first elected to Cowra Shire Council in 1999, was voted Deputy Mayor in 2004 – 2005, Mayor in September 2008 and has been re-elected Mayor each term since then.

 

Born and educated in Cowra, Cr West is a fifth generation farmer with a keen interest in public administration. He is passionate about conveying his community’s needs and views to Council. Cr West is a strong voice and advocate for Central NSW.

5 March 2021

Sam catches up with Wayne Sunderland, CEO of Central NSW Business HQ.  Wayne’s career started in the Royal Australian Navy and then moved to the ATO. He worked as a business advisor for eight years before becoming the CEO of Business HQ and he is privileged to work with a talented team of advisors who cover 24 Local Government areas.

 

Business HQ’s aim is to help small business start, grow and to reach their potential. Business HQ look at things from all angles to see things from many different perspectives to assist in developing a solution that fits all parties’ expectations and moves businesses forward in their endeavours.

26 February 2021

Join Sam and meet Ashley Bland, Managing Director of Constructive Energy.  Creating Constructive Energy was a natural progression for Ashley after 25 years working predominately in the environment sector.

 

Ashley’s philosophy is that the best decisions are usually made collaboratively and gave him courage to stand for something, in his case, making changes to the way we manage built and natural environments that our children will be grateful for.  He is passionate about the renewable energy transformation but in particular, for the social, environmental and economic opportunities it offers Regional Australia.

19 February 2021

This week Sam catches up with Amy van de Ven.  At 29 years-old, Amy has already ticked off a number of business achievements in her 11 years in the travel & accommodation industry.

 

In 2014, she was Quest’s Business Development Executive Employee of the year and in 2017 awarded The prestigious Quest Apartments Hotels Chairman’s Award.  In 2019, Amy opened her first business; a Quest franchise located in Orange, NSW. This effort saw Amy become the youngest franchisee ever in the history of Quest.  Amy is consistently implementing initiatives to boost the morale and efficiency of Quest Orange and support those around her and in late 2020 Quest Orange was awarded the HM Awards Best Serviced apartment property.

12 February 2021

Hamish Munro joins Sam this week.  A fifth generation farmer from Cumnock, Hamish has always been interested in technology and innovation.  Completing a Bachelor of Management here in Orange at the USYD campus, he then returned to the family property and spent 13 years managing the Cropping and Beef trading enterprises.

 

In 2018, Hamish was asked by NSW DPI to assist in the Farm Decision Technology project and went on to start a new business called Pairtree Intelligence.  Pairtree now has over 80 national integration partners that can supply data to the Pairtree platform and start to make the daily operations for farmers more streamlined and more productive.

5 February 2021

In the first episode of the Business Leaders Breakfast series for 2021 Sam chats with David Waddell, Chief Executive Officer of Orange City Council (OCC).

 

David is in his second year as the CEO of OCC, having previously held the position of Director of Development Services for a decade.

 

David and his family moved to Orange in 2009 when he was Manager of GHD’s consulting practice in Orange.

2020

11 December 2020

Sam chats with Roy Butler MP, Member for Barwon for our last Business Breakfast for 2020.

 

After leaving school Roy enlisted in the Australian Army where he was posted to Brisbane in the reconnaissance sniper platoon. Upon leaving the army, he went on to work in the NSW prison system as a drug and alcohol counsellor and group psychotherapist, lead multidisciplinary allied health teams in the NSW disability sector and was the regional manager of the Western Region of the NSW Police force.

 

Elected to the NSW Parliament in 2019, Roy now works tirelessly for the people of Barwon.

4 December 2020

Jordan Core, President of the Cowra Business Chamber and Leader of the Cowra Business Hub chats with RDA Central West CEO, Sam Harma.

 

Branch Manager of his local NAB, President of the Cowra Business Chamber and Leader of the Cowra Business Hub, Jordan is an experienced local business leader who is driven to achieve the best for his community

27 November 2020

This week local entrepreneur and gelato specialist, SPILT MILK Bar’s Andrew Hamilton chats with Sam Harma.

 

Having successfully established SPILT MILK Bar in Orange, Andrew and co-owner Sarah Quigley have recently expanded their business into Canberra – proof that their cow to cone approach to creating great gelato with unique, seasonal flavours has found its niche.

13 November 2020

Join Sam as he chats with Rabobank’s Toby Mendl in the latest Business Leaders Breakfast.

 

Toby is Rabobank’s Regional Manager for Central NSW and has been helping family businesses with their finance requirements for 18 years. His banking career has taken him from Goulburn in the Southern Tablelands to London and then Sydney, but his passion for agriculture brought him back to regional NSW and agribusiness banking.

6 November 2020

Heifer Station’s Michelle Stivens  joins RDA Central West CEO, Sam Harma this week.

 

The former Deputy Registrar at the Orange Court House is now the co-owner of a multi-award winning business, featuring a vineyard, cellar door and animal petting farm.

30 October 2020

This week Sam caught up with James Lloyd, entrepreneur, Startup guru and co-founder of advertising and media agency Ribbon Gang for a chat over coffee.

 

After living and working in Sydney, James moved back to the bush to co-found his own Media and Advertising Agency and has since gone on to set up a number of other initiatives, including data analytics software Hive Business Intelligence (BI) and Bathurst’s first co-working space for Startups, Upstairs Startup Hub.

23 October 2020

Business coach and strategist Steve “The Persuader” Semmens joins Sam Harma this week.

 

With over 35 years of experience specialising in sales, marketing, networking, business consulting, and leadership, Steve has built an outstanding reputation for his ability to influence and provide strategies that generate effective, win-win outcomes.

16 October 2020

Catch well-known workforce specialist, HR/IR expert and founder of Pulse HR, Tamara James as she chats over coffee with Sam this week.

 

Tamara  partners with businesses and organisations to remove the worry and stress surrounding the function of people management, allowing them to refocus on their core business activities.

9 October 2020

Cr Bobby Bourke, Bathurst Regional Council Mayor chats over coffee with Sam Harma this week.

 

A councillor since 2004 and elected Mayor in 2019, Cr Bourke is passionate about the Bathurst community, and is a strong advocate for those in the community who are disadvantaged.

2 October 2020

This week Sam caught up with passionate rural mental health advocate Di Gill.

 

With over twenty years experience delivering mental health services in rural and remote communities, Di works tirelessly to raise the awareness of and reduce the stigma associated with the term ‘mental health’.

25 September 2020

Cr Scott Ferguson, Mayor of Blayney Shire Council joins Sam for a chat this week.

 

A plumber by trade, Scott has served on the Blayney Shire Council since 1999 and was elected Mayor in 2012, a role he continues to this day.

18 September 2020

PR specialist and brand builder Holly Manning chats over coffee with Sam Harma this week.

 

With a degree in Communications from Charles Sturt University, Holly has over twenty-five years experience helping local and international businesses build their brand and convey their message.

11 September 2020

Sam meets up with LiveBetter Community Services CEO, Natalie Forsyth-Stock this week.

 

With an extensive background in investment banking, Natalie made the move to the community sector in January 2019 when she took on the role of CEO at LiveBetter, a regional community services organisation which employs approximately 1600 people and whose head office is right here in the Central West.

4 September 2020

Innovative local businesswoman Pip Brett chats over coffee with Sam this week.

 

Pip is the owner of Orange homewares and clothing store JUMBLED. Located within The Sonic, JUMBLED operates as both a bricks and mortar and an e-commerce store and has a large online presence. Always an innovator, Pip has taken the traditional business model to the next level by introducing events and travel tours.

28 August 2020

This week Sam is joined by Hon. Paul Toole MP, Member for Bathurst and Minister for Regional Roads and Transport.

 

Paul Toole’s commitment to the community started at a local government level in 1995, and he has been a Councillor, Deputy Mayor and Mayor of Bathurst Regional Council. Elected as the Member for Bathurst at the 2011 State Election, Paul has continued to work tirelessly for his community, and is known for his integrity and determination to represent people from all walks of life.

21 August 2020

In our 20th episode Charles Sturt University’s Strategic Adviser – Regional Engagement and Government Relations, former Senator and Federal Government Minister, the Hon. Fiona Nash joins Sam for a chat over coffee.

 

Fiona grew up in Sydney, but chose to live, farm and raise her family in regional Australia. She spent twelve years in the Federal Parliament as a Senator for NSW, and continues to advocate for regional communities in her role as Strategic Adviser for Charles Sturt University.

7 August 2020

This week Sam catches up with Scott McLachlan, Chief Executive of the Western NSW Local Health District.

 

Scott heads up an organisation that manages hospitals and health services in an area as geographically large as the United Kingdom, and is passionately motivated to improve health outcomes for rural people.

31 July 2020

For our 18th Business Leaders Breakfast Sam chats with Orange Ex Services Club CEO, Daniel Perkiss.

 

Heading up one of the Central West’s largest hospitality operations, Daniel is in a unique position to reflect on the challenges of the past six months from both a local business and community perspective.

24 July 2020

Catch IT specialist, Innovation expert and Cloud Computing authority, Performance IT Director, Craig Murphy as he chats over coffee with Sam.

 

Relocating to Orange recently to help drive innovation in the Central West, the former IBM Global Entrepreneur Program lead’s enthusiasm for innovation and current technology has helped many in the startup and business community.

17 July 2020

Join Sam and Gerarda Mader from the Upstairs Startup Hub in Bathurst as they chat over coffee.

 

With 25 years of experience in sales and marketing, a passion for ideas and business and always with some sort of side startup hustle, Gerarda has a deep understanding of Entrepreneurship and what it takes to get an idea off the ground and to the market.

10 July 2020

Central West Media CEO, Editor in Chief and innovative entrepreneur, Rich Evans joins Sam this week.

 

Having started his first design agency business in 1999 – REDD, he was at the forefront of digital technology adoption in Australia. Rich has gone on to launch the Lithgow Village Voice, publish Bathurst City Life, found a software business and put his marketing and events experience to good use as the president of Lithgow’s signature event, Ironfest.

3 July 2020

Mark Coulton MP, Federal Member for Parkes, Minister for Regional Health, Regional Communications and Local Government is our Business Breakfast guest this week.

 

First elected to the House of Representatives for the seat of Parkes in 2007, the former Mayor of Gwydir Shire Council is a strong advocate for the regions, and when Parliament is not sitting, Mark and his wife Robyn travel huge distances (his electorate covers 49% of NSW) travelling from community to community to meet with their constituents.

26 June 2020

This week Sam chats with Chartered Accountant and Principal at Orange based accounting and business advisory firm pmwPlus.

 

Weston is an Orange local who lost his way in Sydney for a few decades before heading home in late 2016. Weston brings with him a wealth of experience learnt as a partner in City accounting firms while working with the Education Division of Chartered Accountants Australian and New Zealand and as a Board member at a large Not For Profit Organisation.

19 June 2020

For our 12th Business Leaders Breakfast Sam meets up with acclaimed and successful IT professional, Philip Dodds.

 

Philip runs the global intelligence and data analytics software business Phocas, a fast-growing firm with it’s head office located in Orange. Phocas exports software, completely developed in Orange, NSW to customers world-wide.

12 June 2020

Sam Harma chats with Sam Farraway MLC this morning.  Sam has been a member of the NSW Upper House since October 2019.

 

Born and bred in the Central West and with a strong background in small business, Sam understands how hard regional businesses work to ensure that our local economies are sustainable, even in the toughest of times.

5 June 2020

This week Sam is joined by Ash Brown, local businessman and Orange Chamber of Commerce President.

 

Ash has business in his blood. The former bookshop owner and current Director of ONE Agency loves what he does. He is passionate about the Orange community, having served as a Councillor and holding various positions on the Orange Chamber of Commerce board for over 10 years, including the last two as President.

29 May 2020

Join Sam as he chats with Lifeline Central West CEO, Stephanie Robinson.

 

With over 40 years in community service and social justice (yes, she started at age 7 with roadside fundraisers!) Stephanie has a passion to invoke change and build community capacity to form connected thriving communities that look out for one another.

22 May 2020

In part eight of the series Sam is joined by Aaron Brannigan, Acting General Manager of Cadia Valley Australia Operations.

 

Aaron is a qualified Mining Engineer and, with almost 30 years’ experience in mining operations here and overseas, provides great insight on mining in the Central West.

15 May 2020

This week Sam chats with Fiona Hall of BiteRiot.  Fiona is a local orchardist and astute businesswoman.

8 May 2020

In part six of the Business Breakfast series, Sam Harma chats with Steph Cooke MP, Parliamentary Secretary to the Deputy Premier and Member for Cootamundra.

 

Steph is committed to fighting for her regional community and ensuring country communities get the services they deserve.

1 May 2020

 

Sam chats with Orange City Council Mayor and ABC Central West gardening guru, Reg Kidd.  A Councillor for over 20 years, Reg is passionate about sustainable farming practices and the Central West region.

24 April 2020

 

This week Sam chats with Caddie Marshall, General Manager of Orange360.  Caddie has close to thirty years marketing experience and a unique approach to promoting tourism in our region.

17 April 2020

 

In part three of our Business Leaders Breakfast series Sam chats with the Federal Member for Calare, Andrew Gee MP, Minister for Regional Education and Assistant Minister for Trade.

 

Elected  Federal member for Calare in 2016, the former barrister and Member for Orange believes in the future of regional Australia. “It’s the reason that I stood for Parliament, and I want to see it grow and prosper so that it continues to provide an unbeatable quality of life for generations to come.”

9 April 2020

 

Sam Harma chats with Central NSW Business HQ CEO, Wayne Sunderland about the challenges of operating a small business in regional areas, particularly now, and what services are available to help.

3 April 2020

 

Join RDA Central West CEO Sam Harma as he chats with the Member for Orange, Phil Donato MP about local priorities – particularly the current pandemic and its impact on our business community.

 

Elected as Member for Orange in 2016, the former police prosecutor is now an advocate for the broader Orange region in NSW Parliament.