Economic Development Board

On Monday 25 November 2013, Council endorsed the seven inaugural board members nominated for the new Lake Macquarie Economic Development Board. These seven Board Members along with the Mayor of Lake Macquarie and Lake Macquarie City Council's General Manager will set the strategic direction for economic activites in our City.

Edward Crawford, Sandra Hutton, Wayne Lowe, and Beth Webb (in alphabetical order) were appointed to the inaugural Economic Development Board for a term of four years.

Trent Bagnall, Darren Glover and Martin Howes (in alphabetical order) were all appointed to a two-year term on this exciting new Board that will drive economic development in our City.

Initially this group will work together to establish the new economic development organisation and develop a three-year strategic plan. This plan will form the focus of the new Board when they officially commence activities on 1 July 2014.


Cr Jodie Harrison – Mayor of Lake Macquarie City

Cr Jodie Harrison played an integral role in establishing the inaugural Lake Macquarie Economic Development Board. Her vision for a prosperous economy that balances growth with the environment and community was a key driver for her to promote this innovative plan for the City.

Jodie lives in Charlestown with her husband and two children. She is passionate about maintaining the balance of green space and quality development in Lake Macquarie for future generations to enjoy.

Cr Harrison will provide valuable input to the new Board and will help drive the strategic direction of economic development during her term as Mayor of the City.

Brian Bell – General Manager of Lake Macquarie City Council

Brian Bell has extensive experience across multiple organisations delivering growth and sustainability. He currently sets and manages implementation of the long-term direction for Council and the City.

He has been the General Manager of Lake Macquarie City Council for eight years focusing on continuous improvement in all areas. These efforts recently saw Council named NSW Council of the Year, winning the prestigious Bluett Award for excellence in all round performance.


Four Year Term appointments

Edward Crawford - Director and Principal, Crawford Robinson

Edward has experience in a range of organisations, industries and roles, which have contributed to his knowledge and ability to grow sustainable businesses.

He is a Director of a respected property advisory firm, working with property owners, developers, financial institutions and investors. Many of the firm’s clients have major projects or interests in Lake Macquarie, including Northlakes Estate, Aquilo Bonnells Bay, and Wangi Shores Over 55's Village.

Edward lectures in Property Economics and Finance in the Master of Property programme at Newcastle University, is a member of the judging panel for the Lower Hunter Urban Design Awards, and sits on the AFC Asian Cup 2015 Trade & Investment Group.

The property sector supports approximately 11% of jobs in Lake Macquarie. Edward’s role as Chairman of the Property Council of Australia (Hunter Chapter), his knowledge of the property industry, and his Hunter wide experience will help him to make a worthwhile contribution to the Board.

Sandra Hutton – Senior Town Planner/Associate, ADW Johnson

Sandra has extensive experience in land-use planning, balancing development with strong urban design principles and social outcomes. She has been involved in a range of key development projects throughout the city including Caves Beachside Resort, Murrays Beach, and numerous mixed use and multi-storey developments in Charlestown, Warners Bay, Belmont and Cardiff town centres.

Sandra has lived in Lake Macquarie for 13 years and enjoys the lifestyle opportunities available by raising her family here. She is excited to now be able to contribute to the continued success of business in Lake Macquarie.

Sandra is the Lake Macquarie representative on the Joint Regional Planning Panel and her town planning and land use skills will be invaluable to the new Board.

Wayne Lowe - National Executive Strategic Partnerships, The Link Group

Wayne has founded and ran a number of successful financial services companies using his skills as a qualified accountant and experienced superannuation executive professional.

He has lived in Lake Macquarie for 13 years with his family and enjoys a sporting lifestyle that includes bike riding, kayaking, boating and jet skiing on the lake. Wayne is also involved with the Lake Macquarie Foundation, Hunter Founders Forum and the Hunter Angels Trust, supporting local businesses and charitable causes in Lake Macquarie and the greater Hunter Region.

The Board will benefit from Wayne’s strategic vision and strong stakeholder management skills as well as his experience in establishing and growing strong and successful businesses.

Beth Webb - Owner and Creative Director, Webb’s Gallery

In 2012, Beth received the Young Business Person of the Year and Excellence in New Business awards in recognition of her successful art gallery in Kahibah. Her previous experience in government departments included relationship management, growing corporate accounts, minimising operational expenses and boosting profits.

Beth is dedicated to supporting Lake Macquarie by increasing the vibrancy and appeal of our City. She is actively involved with local community groups such as the Kahibah Business and Community Alliance and the Dudley Sustainable Neighbourhood Group.

Beth is passionate about representing the interests of small business on the Board. Her experience in small retail, and her creative background complimented by her previous legal career, will add a positive dimension to the Board.


Two Year Term appointments

Trent Bagnall - Founder, Slingshot Accelerator

Trent founded Slingshot to encourage innovation, by providing seed funding and a mentoring program to new high-tech businesses. He has been involved in the growth of a number of companies including as Managing Director of ASX listed QMASTOR Ltd, which grew to over 100 employees based in Australian and international offices.

Trent has lived in Lake Macquarie since childhood and now resides in Speers Point with his wife and three children. He also enjoys soccer, running and fishing in Lake Macquarie with friends and family.

His success in establishing and growing several strong and profitable businesses, particularly in the technology field, and his sound entrepreneurial vision will ensure Trent can benefit Lake Macquarie businesses and the Board.

Darren Glover – Director and Client Service Partner, Evolution Advisers

Having achieved notable success with the establishment of his own innovative, high performing business, Darren is recognised for his ability to advise on and implement strategies that promote effective business development.

Darren has lived in Lake Macquarie since childhood and now resides in Belmont with his wife and three children. He is a Director on the inaugural Trustee Board for the Lake Macquarie Foundation, which benefits charities and non-profit organisations in our City.

Darren’s experience in financial services, as a Chartered Accountant enabling businesses to achieve sustainable growth, combined with his understanding of investment strategies, will bring valuable skills to the new Board.

Martin Howes – Ex-General Manager - Charlestown Square

Martin has extensive knowledge and experience in the retail sector and retail property management. As General Manager of GPT Charlestown Square, Martin previously worked closely with many large and small local retailers. He is also a qualified Chartered Accountant from an entrepreneurial family and has experience in growing several businesses and retail outlets.

Martin grew up in Charlestown, and after spending 14 years in Sydney, jumped at the opportunity to return with his family as General Manager of GPT Charlestown Square. He was on the Board of The Place at Charlestown and is still actively involved in a volunteer capacity.

Martin's experience in both large and small retail environments will provide positive insights into the needs of the retail sector in the City.