RDA ACT Committee Members are committed volunteers who represent the broad ACT communities of interest. Members use their broad and diverse skills base and their networks to:
- build partnerships to ensure governments and stakeholders are responsive to local priorities and needs;
- be a conduit between government and the community – a provider of information and driver of change; and
- advocate on behalf of the region to ensure the long-term sustainability of the region.
The current Committee of Regional Development Australia (ACT) comprises the following members:
Andrew Blyth – Chair
MBus, MA (International Relations), BA, DipMgmt, GAICD, AIMM
2012 Fulbright Professional Australia-US Alliance Studies Scholar, University of Texas at Austin
Andrew’s successful career spans business, politics, policy, advocacy and communication having held a range of senior level roles ranging from chief-of-staff to chief executive, chairman and academic. Andrew has a proven track record of influencing government policy reform in the areas of business, energy, environment, resources, employment, communications and sport.
Between 2002 and 2006 Andrew was Chief of Staff and Senior Policy Adviser at a time of significant national policy reform including energy, employment and welfare reform. From 2006 to 2011 Andrew was the CEO of the Energy Networks Association requiring a pragmatic approach to the advancing of energy network issues in a public-privately owned market. Andrew then pursued a Master of Business at UNSW Canberra at ADFA and was awarded the 2012 Fulbright Professional Australia-US Alliance Studies Scholarship to attend the University of Texas at Austin. More recently, Andrew served as CEO of the ACT & Region Chamber of Commerce and Industry reinforcing his reputation as a leader capable of turning around an organisation through creative business solutions and strong financial management. As a result of a merger between the two Canberra business representative organisations, Andrew established Andrew Blyth & Associates and is committed to making a significant difference for his clients in the areas of business strategy, government relations, and communications.
Andrew is a father of twin daughters, aged 8 and is an active member of the Canberra community participating in fun runs, charity sporting events, including the MS 24 Hour Swim. In his spare time he is Chair, Australian Fulbright Alumni Association (ACT), serves on the Canberra Cavalry Advisory Board, and is a lecturer and tutor in business and management at Charles Sturt University and UNSW Canberra at the Australian Defence Force Academy respectively.
James Willson – Deputy Chair
Founder and Managing Director CRE8IVE
James Willson founded CRE8IVE in 2001 and thrives in his position as Managing Director. Starting the business in the arena of web and graphic design, CRE8IVE quickly evolved into a market leader in the field of branding, campaign creation and rollout as well as web development. Today the business employs around 25 people and has clients in Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne. Over the years James has worked on numerous campaigns on a national and a local level and is across all disciplines of the business.
James sits on numerous boards including Affirm – The Australian Foundation for Mental Health Research, The Canberra Hospital Foundation, The Commonwealth Club, The Salvation Army Red Shield Appeal and The Brumbies Commercial Advisory Board. As someone who has lived all his life in Canberra, James is excited about the opportunities ahead for the city, especially in developing its role as regional hub of the surrounding Capital Region with its regional catchment of some 800 people.
A known and active contributor to Canberra, James acknowledges that the city is a great platform to create oneself and at the same time contribute to the fabric of the city. James has been an EY Entrepreneur of the Year Finalist, appeared in the BRW Fast 100 list and received numerous business awards.
James loves working at the forefront of technology and combining this with the finest individuals, he believes that CRE8IVE will continue to grow and develop through successfully fulfilling clients’ objectives.
Jean’s interests include strategic planning to deliver organisational goals. She is an IT contractor with expertise in technical and change management writing. She was formerly a self-employed marketing consultant (Marketing Angels), Manager of Electrogroup Trade Training Centre, Managing Director of Sponsors Select, and a casual lecturer at the CIT in Managing Risk, Marketing, and Management.
Jean holds a Graduate Diploma in Marketing (2006) and a Bachelor of Creative Arts (Writing 1988). She has been a committee member of RDA ACT since 2011 and a board member of South East Region Business Enterprise centre since 2010. Jean has been a Board Member of the Exhibition Park Corporation, Tandem Respite Inc. and has been a volunteer with the Canberra Business Council Small Business Taskforce, Lifeline and Snowy Hydro Southcare, member of Business Tuggeranong and was formerly the President of the Chamber of Women in Business. She currently operates ‘Small Jobs Plastering’ with her husband Malcolm.
Jean received an Australia Day Award with the Department of Social Security and the Chamber of Women in Business Award for Outstanding Community Spirit. She is a keen lawn bowler.
Peter Elford is an Information and Communication Technology (ICT) professional with over 30 years of experience in the education and government sectors. He is passionate about the role ICT plays in improving the way we work, live, play and learn, and has a particular interest in the impact of the National Broadband Network on Canberra and the surrounding region.
Peter is currently the Director, Government Relations and eResearch for the Australian Academic and Research Network (AARNet), a position he has held since January, 2014. This is Peter’s second stint at AARNet – in 1989 he was employee #2 and was deeply engaged in the initial construction of AARNet and the established of the Internet in Australia.
In between, Peter spent nearly twenty years at Cisco in a variety of roles, including most recently as the Business Development Manager, Higher Education and Research. Peter’s formative years in the IT industry where at the Australian National University (ANU).
Peter was born, raised and educated in Canberra and hold a Bachelor of Science (Hons) from the Australian National University. He is currently a resident of Gungahlin, and the Vice President of the Gungahlin Community Council.
Adrian Best as Director of Synerge specialises in contract and project management roles across government and industry. He has a passion and commitment to building capacity and competitiveness in our rural and regional businesses through education, training and skills development.
He is a State and National Tourism Awards Judge, a business Ambassador for South Australia, member of the Australian Institute of Management, a Fellow of the International Specialised Skills Institute and holds a number of qualifications in business, tourism, hospitality, manufacturing and agribusiness.
He has extensive experience working with regional communities; growers and producers providing industry based strategic planning and commercialising new products and services for individual businesses.
Adrian has produced numerous reports for Rural Industries Research Development Corporation including studies on commercialising fibre, tropical fruits, dates and seaweed. He has also worked extensively on the Value Supply chain Management and Food Processing in Regional Australia programs for the Federal Government.