MEET THE TEAM
MEET THE SUNCOAST GOLD TEAM
Suncoast Gold has always been a significant employer in the Gympie Region and although we now use a range of advanced technology in our production system, we are still a major employer of locals in the region. We are proud to have a number of long standing employees including many who have been with us for over 20 years.
Our team is committed to quality, safety and customer service all the way from the farm to deliveries, cracking, processing, warehouse and our customers.
Ben Adams was appointed as General Manager in October 2018 having held several international agribusiness management roles. After growing up on a mixed farm in northern NSW Ben gained a Degree in Applied Science, majoring in Rural Management, from the University of Queensland followed by a Diploma from the Australian Institute of Company Directors. Prior to this role Ben was heading up a global seed business in the US and Mexico covering all aspects from administration, research and development of new products, production and processing and the related sales and marketing activities. Ben has a keen interest in agriculture production and processing and is working to build on the heritage of Suncoast Gold while taking advantage of new technologies to maximise efficiencies in factory performance. Ben’s wish is that Suncoast Golds reputation of a premium supplier of kernel is continued so that grower shareholders and suppliers are rewarded at the highest levels.
CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER
David joined SGM as CFO in June 2017, moving to the region from Northern NSW. He is a Chartered Accountant with over 22 years’ experience in both the private and commercial sectors, including CFO’s positions in the Construction and Manufacturing industries. Prior to this, David held senior Corporate Finance roles with Big 4 and mid-tier Chartered firms in SEQ, working on M&A’s, IPO’s, IER’s, due diligence and various specialised forms of valuations.
Clinton joined the SGM team in 2006 as a packer and has worked across multiple areas of the business in an impressive career spanning over 15 years. Clinton rose the ranks in the Suncoast Gold Warehouse from Storeman to Warehouse Manager where he gained a valuable insight into inventory control and domestic sales. Taking on the challenge of Production Manager in 2018, and then to Operations Manager in 2021, Clinton has amassed an amazing knowledge of macadamia processing which is of great value to the business and is a respected team leader.
QUALITY ASSURANCE MANAGER
Royce has over 20 years’ experience in the food manufacturing industries as a specialist food safety and quality expert. Royce has been with SGM since 2009 and over the years has been involved in a number of key projects to gain a better understanding of Macadamia drying, processing, quality and shelf life. As Quality Assurance Manager Royce is responsible for all aspects of quality at the factory from NIS and kernel testing, domestic and international food safety and quality auditing and compliance. Qualifications – BSA Food Science Technology & Engineering, Diploma of Food Processing.
CUSTOMER CONTRACT MANAGER
Michelle is a Gympie local, born and bred. Her entire work history has been in the Export Industry, from International Freight Forwarding including Import/Export and Sales to Export Co-ordinator for Laminex Industries in Gympie for many years. Michelle has been with SGM since 2017 and works closely with the marketing team at Green and Gold Macadamias, SGM Management, Production and QA departments in Domestic & Export Sales from point of contract through to delivery. Michelle has a strong focus on Export and Domestic customer contact and service, and strives for success in delivering to the needs of our Macadamia customers.
GROWER SERVICES & COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER
Megan joined the Grower Services Team at SGM in 2016 as Technical Officer, servicing the Queensland growing regions of Gympie and Glasshouse with a strong focus on Integrated Pest and Disease Management (IPDM). After completing her Agricultural Science degree in 2001 at the University of Melbourne, Megan gained experience in a broad range of agricultural fields from intensive livestock production to rural lands management. Megan’s strength is in communicating with growers, encouraging and assisting them to take on best practice production methods to ensure they achieve sustainable yields, and that the highest quality macadamias are delivered to the factory for processing.
admin team and 2021 production team
board of directors
Appointed Director May 2014 and became Chairman in 2016. Geoff has been a member of the Bundaberg Fruit and Vegetable Growers’ Co-Operative for approximately 30 years and has previously held the roles of Chairman and Deputy Chairman for BFVG. He was appointed to the Queensland Minister for Primary Industries Horticultural Industry Development Group in 2013. Geoff has grown macadamias since 1989 and now manages approximately 15,000 trees. Geoff became a Suncoast Gold shareholder in 1998.
Francis James Manning
Appointed to the board in 2003, Frank held the Chairman role from 2004 to 2016. Frank has over thirty years of experience in the accountancy profession (sixteen years with Price Waterhouse and was a partner with this firm). He specialises in the business services and corporate finance area of the profession. He has a wide experience in both taxation and financial consultation work. Frank is currently a principal of RSM and is a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia. Frank is also a Director of Green & Gold Macadamias (Aust) Pty Ltd. Frank comes from a rural background and currently operates a small macadamia orchard.
Appointed Director of Suncoast Gold in September 2008. Mr. Strahley is the Managing Director of Hancock Farm Company Pty Ltd (HFC) and Director of Hancock Agricultural Investment Group. Mr. Strahley joined HFC at its inception in 2000 and has over 30 years experience in corporate agriculture, both domestic (Australia) and international, with many years in senior management positions with ConAgra (AMH), Mitsubishi (Aust) and the Australian Meat and Livestock Corporation (AMLC). As property manager, he oversees HFCs Australian properties including asset acquisitions, dispositions and operations. Mr. Strahley holds qualifications in Applied Science in Agriculture, studying at the Charles Stuart University at Wagga. Mr Strahley’s family farm cereal crops and livestock and is a member of the Australian Institute of Agricultural Science & Technology and serves as a Director on several agricultural boards, including the Hancock Natural Resource Group Australasia.
Appointed Director April 2009. Luigi has served on the executive board of the Queensland Strawberry Growers Association (QSGA) for the last ten years. From 2004 to 2007 he represented the Association as a delegate to the Industry Advisory Committee and Strawberry Australia Inc, which was were responsible for shaping the future of the industry in partnership with government bodies, DPI and HAL. Luigi is currently the President of (QSGA) Queensland Strawberry Growers Association and chair of the Queensland Strawberry Growers Association Promotional Council. Luigi currently serves on the board of Directors of the Elimbah Fruit Growers Association.
Annette is a shareholder and director of Saratoga Holdings Pty Ltd (Saratoga), the largest shareholder of Suncoast Gold Macadamias. Saratoga have been a driving force in Australia’s Macadamia industry through their plantations at Victoria Park in northern New South Wales since the mid 1970 ‘s, Hinkler Park Plantations in Bundaberg and Emerald regions since mid 1980’s and South Africa since 2003. Saratoga are now considered the largest Macadamia growers in the world.
Annette brings a wealth of experience to the Board having been a practicing lawyer for 29 years, having had her own commercial practice in Sydney and most recently as a partner in a Sydney CBD law firm leading their property and commercial teams before her retirement from practice in April 2020 to take on a more active role in Saratoga. Annette has held positions on the Board of MPC. Saratoga. MMI and Pacific Gold providing vast knowledge in the Macadamia industry. Annette Fontana was elected as a director of Suncoast Gold Macadamias at the 2019 AGM.
Cliff Davis was appointed Director July 2021. Cliff’s family began in grain and cattle, farming out of Central Queensland, and in that time Cliff worked as a mechanical engineer for Callide coal fields. After this, the family business moved to Glasshouse Mountains, shifting the focus towards broiler chicken farming, as well as macadamia’s in 1987.
From 1990 to 2018, Cliff was a grower negotiator for the Steggles group, and a delegate for the Queensland Chicken Growers Association (QCGA). During his time in these roles, Cliff was responsible for negotiating contracts between the company and other growers, as well as mediating any issues that arose. He often met with bureaucrats and government officials regarding Workplace Health and Safety as well as development and environmental approvals for farms.
In 1992, Cliff became both a supplier and shareholder for Suncoast Gold Macadamias, supplying 100% of produce to the company to this day from his farms in the Glasshouse Mountains area.