RDA Hunter Staff
Chief Executive Officer
Susan is an executive and non-executive leader with an international career across business, government and public/private sector R&D, who delivers economic impact through innovation, investment, industry and regional development.
Career highlights include the establishment and expanded role of Innovation & Science Australia; advisory and governance of the National Innovation & Science Agenda; leading NZ's $10B Bioeconomy economic development portfolio with her largest trade & investment partner (Australia, at that time); and mentoring start-up to scale-up entrepreneurs through DIIS, CSIRO, Austrade & Slingshot programs/accelerators.
Supporting this is a 20 year international business and management consulting career in strategy, public affairs, BD, marketing and innovation spanning start-up to tier-1 MN companies across the biotech, pharma, medical technologies, public health and agrifood sectors.
Susan holds a Bachelor of Science (Biotechnology, Macquarie), MBA (Strategy & Marketing, Macquarie Graduate School of Management) and is a Member Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. Her areas of interest include innovation governance, cluster and workforce development, entrepreneurship and the digitisation of mature sectors.
Trevor joined RDA Hunter in November 2011 to research and write papers on current issues and opportunities for the region, its people and economy.
He studied Psychology, Economics and Philosophy at Adelaide University before moving to Sydney to attend the Australian Film TV and Radio School. After lecturing in sound and television production for three years at Wagga Wagga, Trevor moved to Newcastle in late 1988 on his appointment as a Communications lecturer. Before joining RDA Hunter, he was Member Communications Manager in the Marketing team at Newcastle Permanent Building Society.
Trevor has been a member of Newcastle University Academic Senate and served on the boards for community radio station 2NUR-FM, Sports Union and Hunter Academy of Sport. He was the inaugural Chair of Newcastle University Sport Ltd (NUsport).
Director, Projects & Communications
Kate joined RDA Hunter in 2010 to work on the organisation's economic development and communications initiatives. She has developed and implemented many regionally significant projects that have helped achieve RDA Hunter's vision for the region's future. They include Hunter Central Coast Innovation Festivals, Hunter Innovation Scorecards, Study Hunter, Smart Happens Here and Smart Specialisation Strategy for the Hunter Region. She is also responsible for the organisation's corporate communications.
Prior to RDA Hunter, Kate worked for economic development agency, the Hunter Economic Development Corporation, where she planned and implemented various regional marketing campaigns aimed at promoting the Hunter region as an investment location following the cessation of steelmaking in the Region.
Kate holds a Bachelor of Communications from the University of Newcastle and has completed various short courses through the University of Sydney. She has a particular interest in raising awareness of the Hunter's capabilities nationally and internationally to encourage investment in the region.
ME Program Director
Dr Scott Sleap is the ME Program Director at Regional Development Australia – Hunter. Previously he was a Head Teacher of Industrial Arts & Teaching and Learning at Maitland Grossmann High School and has over 20 years’ experience as an educational leader.
Scott completed his PhD in Engineering in 2015 through The University of Newcastle after receiving a research scholarship in 2010. He has published numerous research papers in international journals and has presented his work at a range of conferences both in Australia and internationally. He has co-published numerous papers with the renowned academic, Laureate Professor Scott Sloan, 2015 NSW Scientist of the Year and recent Fellow of the Royal Society. He has worked as a casual lecturer in both undergraduate and postgraduate studies at The University of Newcastle, specialising in Engineering and Technology and Applied Studies.
Scott is known for the production a large array of STEM based curriculum material, including the innovative iSTEM program and has been associated with RDA Hunters ME Program since its inception. He has experience as an educational consultant for Video Education Australia helping produce many commercially available engineering and design based videos.
Scott works closely with both the NSW Board of Studies Teacher and Educational Standards currently as a member of their STEM Advisory Group and has worked closely on the development of the NSW Department of Education’s Stage 4 STEM Project.
Scott also manages a small pastoral company in the Upper Hunter and has experience consulting with industry groups and government at all levels. He has strong interest in developing school and industry partnerships and the value of STEM skilling to economic development
Industry Development Officer
Rick is an Industry Development Officer for RDA Hunter's ME Program. He coordinates the STEMship program, a pre-vocational pathway for students skilled in STEM disciplines to enter highly technical trades via vocational education and training (VET). Originating in the Hunter Region, the STEMship has been an exemplar of collaboration between industry, education and government in producing a talent pool of employees for industries such as defence, manufacturing, resources and energy and information technology.
Rick has a strong employment history in vocational education and training, formerly employed by the Department of Industry (Training Services NSW). Training Services NSW is responsible for the implementation of funded programs, including Smart and Skilled, apprenticeships and traineeships and adult and community education in NSW. Prior to this, Rick worked for an Australian Apprenticeship Centre in Adelaide and Sydney.
Completing both University and VET qualifications in Newcastle, Rick is passionate about developing skills for the Hunter region's future workforce. He is active in initiatives such as the HunterNet Future Leaders program and innovation projects in the region. Outside of work, Rick is a devoted family man and enjoys developing the surfing skills of his two young children.
Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme Project Officer
Emily joined RDA Hunter in 2014 to manage the organisation’s Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme program which operates in partnership with the Australian Department of Immigration. She recently graduated from the University of Newcastle with a Bachelor of Communications and is currently undertaking the Bachelor of Communications Honours program.
Emily majored in video production and has experience and film credits in media production.
She is also involved in promoting RDA Hunter’s ME Program - attending events including Pacific 2015, RDA Hunter’s STEM Workforce Conference and various careers expos where she advocates the value and intricacies of the Program to diverse audiences which have included the Australian Minister for Defence and school children making subject choices for their futures.