Independent Chairman 2013-
Prior to her appointment as Chairman of WAMSI in April 2013, Naomi Brown was the Chief Executive Officer of the Australasian Fire and Emergency Service Authorities Council (AFAC) from 2006 until her retirement in December 2012
During that period Naomi was a Director of the Bushfire Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) and the National Aerial Firefighting Centre (NAFC)
She was also a Director of Mackillop Family Services in Victoria and served as the chair of the Risk and Audit Committee for that organization.
Naomi took up the role of Director Community Safety at the Country Fire Authority (CFA) of Victoria in 2003. She had previously worked in her home state of Western Australia with the WA Fire and Emergency Services (FESA) for five years. She spent time there as Executive Director Community Safety and also Executive Director State Emergency Service and Volunteer Marine Rescue.
Her earlier work history was in the areas of human resource management, equal employment opportunity and teaching, particularly special education.
She is currently the Interim Chair of the new Bushfire and Natural Hazards Cooperative Research Centre which is in the process of being established
Naomi has a Diploma in Teaching, Graduate Diplomas in Special Education and Business and has completed the Australian Institute of Company Directors course.
Peter Millington is the Chief Executive Officer of the Western Australian Government statutory authority, ChemCentre.
ChemCentre has core responsibilities to the community in areas of public and environmental health, forensic science and emergency response. As CEO, Peter is responsible for ensuring the provision of high quality scientific services and information to clients from both government and the private sector. A significant component of ChemCentre’s output is the delivery of collaborative and contract research services.
Before taking up the ChemCentre appointment in 2009, Peter was the acting Chief Executive Officer at the Department of Fisheries. In that role, and in his preceeding Director roles in that department from 1992, he was responsible for new directions in policy and operations including implementing a series of State Government reforms to take WA’s fisheries into the future. He introduced management arrangements for most of WA’s commercial fisheries, implemented a framework for recreational fishing and increased the focus on habitat protection in the estuarine and marine environments.
During his time at the Department of Fisheries Peter was involved in policy development, monitoring and management of Commonwealth fisheries, and foreign fisheries operating in the Australian Fishing Zone. He also convened two international conferences and chaired many national fisheries and marine environment committees.
Peter obtained a biological science degree at Flinders University and pursued his marine interests by undertaking an Honours degree in marine science at James Cook University. He obtained a Masters Degree in Environmental Studies at Adelaide University before obtaining an overseas study scholarship to undertake a Masters Degree in Marine Science at the University of British Columbia, specialising in fish population dynamics. He is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.
WAMSI Board member 2013 -
Science Director, Department of Environment and Conservation
Margaret Byrne is a Senior Principal Research Scientist and conducts genetic research for application in plant conservation and recovery, and in the utilisation of native flora in agroforestry and revegetation. In the area of plant conservation her research is focused on investigating genetic variation, genetic differentiation, gene flow, phylogenetic relationships, evolutionary lineages, and phylogeographic patterns in Australian plants. She uses the information resulting from this research to inform conservation strategies for rare and threatened plants as well as biodiversity conservation at community and landscape scales in relation to remnant viability and revegetation. Her studies on phylogeography and evolutionary patterns in the flora allow understanding of the impacts of climate change on the biota.
Dryland salinity is a driving force for agroforestry and revegetation in Western Australia. Margaret provides genetic research as a basis for the evaluation of potential species for revegetation, particularly for species complexes where there is some taxonomic ambiguity. Her current research in the area of revegetation is directed at evaluating the genetic risk to biodiversity from wide-scale plantings of native germplasm and exotic germplasm with native relatives. She also has experience in genetic and QTL mapping.
Chief Executive Officer, Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS)
John Gunn is the Chief Executive Officer of AIMS. John has significant experience in leading development of strategy, scientific research and capability, and stakeholder engagement across a research portfolio encompassing marine ecology, fisheries, coastal systems, physical and chemical oceanography, atmospheric chemistry and climate science. John joined AIMS from the position of Chief Scientist of the Australian Antarctic Program, where he played a key role in developing the new Australian Antarctic Science Strategy Plan: 2011 – 2021. Prior to this, John was Deputy Chief of CSIRO's Marine and Atmospheric Research Division, the culmination of 29 year career with the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation.
John has held a number of important advisory and policy development roles through his membership of the Scientific Steering Committee for the Global Ocean Observing System, the Australian Academy of Science National Committee for Antarctic Research, the Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Co‐Operative Research Centre Board, the Oceans Policy Science Advisory Group (OPSAG), the Commonwealth Government's High Level Coordination Group on Climate Change Science, and Australia's Integrated Marine Observing System Board.
Alongside his executive experience, John has an extensive academic record. Having graduated from James Cook University, Townsville in 1978 with a first class honours in marine biology, John has authored over 150 peer-review publications, book chapters, papers to international commissions and technical reports, and has presented at more than 100 conferences and symposia, in many instances as the keynote speaker. He has an international reputation in the fields of pelagic fish ecology and in the development of marine biological observing technology and systems.
Having worked within and led a number of world-leading, multidisciplinary teams and programs, John is a passionate advocate for science, and in particular marine science, and its role in securing a prosperous and sustainable future for Australia. While addressing the needs and demands of a broad user community, he is determined to maintain and further enhance the scientific excellence for which AIMS has gained an enviable international reputation.
Acting Director General, Department of Fisheries (Western Australia)
WAMSI Board Member 2014-
Heather Brayford has extensive experience in fisheries and aquatic resource management including senior management and policy roles related to commercial fisheries, recreational fisheries, pearling and aquaculture and fish habitat protection.
Heather is currently the Acting Director General with the Western Australian Department of Fisheries and has also held the position of Executive Director of Fisheries in the Northern Territory. Heather is also a Director of the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation.
Dr. Andrew Steven(PhD, GAICD) Research Director - CSIRO Coastal Development & Management Program
WAMSI Board Member 2014-
Dr Andy Steven has twenty five-plus years of experience in coastal research and management throughout temperate and tropical Australia, the Asia-Pacific and the Middle-East. He is the Research Director of the CSIRO Coastal Development & Management Program, the largest coastal research program currently in Australia. He is also the Director of the Australian Coastal Ecosystem Facility (ACEF) and leads the CSIRO involvement in the eReefs project and the CSIRO Marine and Coastal Carbon Biogeochemistry Cluster.
Andy is recognized for his research on nutrient and carbon biogeochemistry of coastal ecosystems, including coral reefs and estuaries, and its application to natural research management. His research and leadership in the field coastal optical biogeochemistry has contributed to the development of regionally validated algorithms for Great Barrier Reef waters and the provenance of colour dissolved organic matter as an important bio-optical constituent. He has championed the development and application of new technologies for observing monitoring aquatic ecosystems include the use of optical and acoustic methods, the development of underway and in situ monitoring and the application of remote sensing for water quality assessment.
Andy currently holds adjunct positions at Griffith University and the University Technology of Sydney and co-supervises a number of doctoral students and post-doctoral fellows. Andy has a strong record of civic duty and has worked on a number of not for profit boards and steering committees related to marine and environmental science and monitoring.
Peter Davies is Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research) at The University of Western Australia.
WAMSI Board Member 2015-
Peter Davies is Foundation Director and Professor of Freshwater Ecology of the Centre of Excellence (Natural Resource Management; CENRM) based in Albany. Initially, negotiations had to be completed with Centre financial partners (Department of Environment, Department of Agriculture, City of Albany, DOTARS, CALM Premier and Cabinet and UWA). CENRM is the only State Centre of Excellence to continue substantially past the core funding period. At present, the Centre has over 25 staff and an annual budget of about $5m. The Centre has grown using funds from a number of Federal funding agencies (RIRDC, LWA, ARC, AusAID etc) and has developed a new Albany-based degree (BSc in Restoration Ecology) and a co-badged MSc in “Integrated Water Management”.
Peter has investigated/researched water allocation issues across Australia (Murray-Darling Basin, Lake Eyre Basin etc) and internationally (USA, Sweden, Burkina Faso). Most of this research and management activities involves scientifically-based, equitable water sharing.
He is a co-founder of the International Water Centre (with four national universities) whose main research focus is establishing a whole-of-water cycle approach to water management. He continues to work with the irrigation industry to negotiate water sharing and has written chapters for water quality guidelines (e.g. ANZECC).
Peter is committed to knowledge exchange and during 2005, co-convened a river restoration workshop for government agencies in each State and Territory.
Director at Office of Research and Development, Curtin University.
WAMSI Board member 2015 -
Mr Thorn has over 28 years experience in research management, commercialisation and technology transfer in agriculture, fisheries and University research institutions.
He has held several executive positions in government in both the fisheries and agriculture sectors and more recently in the University sector including the Director Research and Innovation at Edith Cowan University and Associate Director Research and Development at Curtin University of Technology,
Executive Director of the Australian Sustainable Development Institute (ASDI) at Curtin University of Technology and currently the Director of Research and Development at Curtin University. The role of the Director is to lead, manage, develop and grow the University’s research. Mr Thorn has held several board positions on CRC's and regulatory authorities.
Specialties: Agriculture, aquaculture, sustainable development, renewable energy, regional development, research administration.
WAMSI Chief Executive Officer 2013-
Patrick Seares joined WAMSI as the Chief Executive Officer on the 2nd April 2013.
Patrick has worked for the WA state government and as a consultant for the majority of his career. He has worked predominantly in the terrestrial water sector and has largely held positions responsible for linking research to policy outcomes.
He moved to WAMSI from the role of Director Water Assessment and Allocation at the Department of Water. There he oversaw the majority of the department’s hydrological and related environmental sciences. He was also responsible for overseeing this works translation into statutory allocation planning (resource sharing), and policy advice to government.
Previous roles with the Department included the Director of Reform Programs, management of the strategic policy and planning branch, and leadership of the water allocation planning program.
Through his various roles he has often worked with the Commonwealth government on policy matters and with research institutions both on major projects and advising on the scope of research proposals.
Patrick also spent six years in England with roles as a water and then management consultant to the UK Government.
Patrick holds a Bachelor of Science in Natural Resources Management from the University of Western Australia.