DISA Conference Speakers

Keynote Speakers


Zoe is an experienced consultant, Churchill Fellow and engineer with a passion for Smart Communities, that is using different ways of thinking and technology as enablers to make the places we live more accessible, liveable and sustainable for all.

The combination of Zoe’s engineering background and her ability to engage and explain complex topics in a friendly and informative way, allows her to offer future-thinking, useful and realistic strategic advice.Zoe keeps up-to-date with the latest trends and shares her learnings through hosting The Smart Community Podcast.

Through her boutique consultancy My Smart Community, she offers strategic advisory on dealing with disruption, leveraging infrastructure spend and major projects, smart technology in regional communities of all sizes and facilitating genuine collaboration.


Sarah Nolet is an internationally recognized food systems innovation expert, the CEO and Founder of AgThentic, a global food and agriculture strategy firm, and a General Partner at Tenacious Ventures, Australia’s first dedicated agrifood tech VC firm. Sarah has been instrumental in building the early stage agtech ecosystem - from advising dozens of startups, designing accelerator programs and consulting to established agribusinesses, to helping industry, universities and government develop and implement forward-looking initiatives in food system innovation.

Sarah is also the host of the AgTech…So What? podcast, and co-founder of Farmers2Founders, a national innovation program that supports primary producers to commercialize inventions and new businesses, as well as gain early access to emerging technologies.

Sarah holds a Masters in System Design and Management from MIT, and a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and Human Factors Engineering from Tufts University.

Sponsor Guest Speakers

Director, Strategy & Research | South West TAFE

Doctor of Philosophy, Bachelor of Agriculture Science (Hons), Graduate Diploma Education, Graduate Certificate in Organisational Change, Diploma of Business Management, Diploma of Business Administration.

John has over 30 years senior management experience in educational and training design for the vocational and secondary education systems in Australia. He has been Executive Manager of Education at South West TAFE, and prior to that he was Head of Innovation and Strategy and Head of Education Development at Gordon TAFE Geelong. These roles have been responsible for educational reform, teaching innovation, online learning and educational delivery services. John’s other roles in the TAFE sector have been Centre Manager for Business Skills; and as a Regional Manager at Bendigo TAFE.

John has previously managed and led an Enterprise-based Registered Training Organisation in the natural resources sector, and been a member of several Industry/Service Skills Councils Industry Training Board advisory committees; and two State government Tech School planning committees. He is a Board member at South West Local Learning and Employment Network (LLEN), and past member of the Cohuna-Campaspe and Wynbay LLENs, and the Beacon Foundation.

National Manager for Local Government | Telstra

Jason Law is the National Manager for Local Government and Smart Cities at Telstra. He is an advocate for Local Government and is accountable for the development and execution of Telstra’s Local Government strategy. Jason has worked closely with Telstra’s Product and Technology team to build digital solutions for Councils and has overseen some of Telstra’s largest IoT solutions.

Beyond Telstra, Jason is also the Deputy Chair for RDA Sunshine Coast and his extensive experience working in regional economic development organisations alongside Local Government has given him a unique insight into the issues facing communities across Australia.

Smart Agriculture Stream

Director & Consultant | Price Rural Management Pty Ltd.

Precision Agriculture Manager | Meat & Livestock Australia.

Darren has 34 years Rural Industry experience. He is extremely passionate about the industry, its people and its future.

Darren started the consultancy business - Price Rural Management in 2013. This business provides Agri business and rural advisory and consultancy services to clients with various size holdings and enterprises, as well as the wider agricultural industry. In 2019 Darren joined MLA as a Precision Agriculture Manager (Consultant). This role allowed Darren to provide expert knowledge and leadership in precision agriculture. Specific tasks include advancing the recent pilot digital farms/digital forums, addressing producer requests and delivering producer awareness, producer adoption and demonstrable impact of precision agriculture.

Darren held the role of General Manager with Carwoola Pastoral Company (CPC) for 22 years. CPC is a group of 4 properties comprising over 16,000 acres. With fodder crops, centre pivot irrigation and carrying capacity of 2,000 cattle and 13,000 sheep, Carwoola Pastoral was an ideal location and property mix for Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA) to evaluate digital production opportunities.

Industry Technology Coordinator – Sheep | Bio security and Agriculture Services | Agriculture Victoria

Mark is an Industry Technology Coordinator with Agriculture Victoria. Over the past two years he has been working alongside farmers in the Agriculture Victoria On Farm IoT Trial to investigate the benefits of IoT technology on farm.

Mark has a diverse background; from working as a technology support and product development consultant, to running his own small business providing technological solutions for the bulk heavy vehicle industry. He owns a small property with his partner in the East Wimmera producing fat lambs. Mark also spent over a decade in the education sector specialising in maths, physics and science.

Head of Segment - Agriculture | NBN Co

Robert Hardie is the Head of Segment for Agriculture at nbn.

Robert brings more than 15 years’ experience in advocacy, public policy and the farming sector to the task of helping the agriculture sector on its journey to $100bn by 2030.

Robert grew up in Geelong, studied at The Australian National University in Canberra and was a Policy Director at NSW Farmers; he joined nbn in April 2020 in the newly-created Head of Segment – Agriculture role.

He is a Director with Masters Swimming Australia and the Secretary of the Farm Writers’ Association of NSW.

Technical Specialist Climate Branch NSW Department of Primary Industries | Agriculture

Allen Benter is a researcher at NSW Department of Primary Industries, Agriculture/Climate Branch. Since 2017 he has led projects in the development of digital technology solutions for agriculture across NSW.

Allen is project lead for Climate Smart Pilots, funded under the NSW Climate Change Fund, trialling an open Internet of Things platform to pilot new technologies for agriculture with a particular focus of improving responses to climate variability.

Head of Sustainable Business Development | Rabobank

Lachlan is the Head of Sustainable Business Development for Rabobank working across the Australasia and the Americas.

Before joining Rabobank, Lachlan previously worked for the Zurich based chocolate manufacturer Barry Callebaut running their agronomic R&D division providing research and technical services to cocoa farmers around the tropical belt.

Previous to Barry Callebaut, he worked for Ecom and ran their cocoa export business out of Papua New Guinea, running both a trading arm and an NGO to deliver services to smallholder cocoa farmers.

Chief Executive Officer | RIST

Competence in digital literacy in agricultural education is critical for the long-term career prospects of students.

RIST has been an innovator in introducing digital technology into its curriculum from its learning management system through to its new virtual campus, utilizing virtual reality as an aid to improving student engagement and learning experiences.

Bill Hamill is Chief Executive Officer of RIST, an Agricultural College with a campus in Hamilton delivering Vocational and Higher Education from Certificate II through to a Bachelor of Agriculture (in partnership with CQUniversity).

RIST delivers a comprehensive education pathway from school through to higher education and delivers non-accredited training programs nationally.

Chief Product Officer | AgriWebb

Phil has over 20 years of experience creating and leading product teams in startups and large enterprises and is recognised as an innovator and “intrepreneur” who delivers change.

He led development of the first in-flight internet system at Tenzing Communications and then built the backend for many of the world’s largest websites at IBM.

Phil has been an executive at AgriWebb since 2015, joining as Chief Technology Officer and now as Chief Product Officer. AgriWebb is one of the leading AgTech companies globally, whose mission is to deliver the digital future of agriculture.

Smart Community Stream

Founder & Director | Meshed

Catherine is a global expert in Smart Cities and IoT. Co-Founder and Director of Meshed IoT Integrators, Founder of the Global Community - Giant Ideas for Smart Cities, Co-Founder and Board Member the IoT Alliance Australia.

As a global leader in smart sustainable cities and digital transformation, Catherine has been awarded prestigious industry awards including the IoT Ambassador Award by the IoTAA and Smart Cities Industry Leader by Smart Cities Council.

Prior to Meshed, Catherine was the Director of Smart Cities and Industries for IBM and has held other Executive positions for KPMG, MC2 Consulting, Telstra and PMP Communications and earlier in her career was a Strategic Planner for the City of Prahran (aka as Stonnington.)

Catherine is an Advisory Council Member for University of Wollongong SMART Infrastructure and holds university qualifications in urban planning, economics, telecommunications, management and applied finance.

Innovation & Partnerships Manager | 25eight

Emma Van Smale is an innovation and business transformation professional dedicated to driving human and technological change to deliver better business benefits and community outcomes. Weaving human centred approaches and continuous customer engagement into solutions and cultural change is a passion, with a strong focus on education and adoption.

Emma comes with a spectrum of experience spanning digital transformation, tech product management, project management, digital marketing and customer experience, industrial design, continuous improvement and adoption.

She is currently merging her experience in scaling successful tech start-ups with digital transformation and community programs in Local Government to form approaches, products and programs for positive social impact and community economic development outcomes with the 25eight Group.

Senior BA & Clever Together Workforce Mobility Program Lead | City of Greater Geelong

Kate has been working with City of Greater Geelong for the last 18 months as a Senior Business Analyst in the Digital Modernisation space and more recently taking on the programme lead for the Clever Together Workforce Mobility Program. She has a background in both the telecommunications and financial sectors, working in a variety of roles across both large organisations such as Telstra and NBN to small ‘start up’ companies such as Littlepay.

With a degree in Electrical Engineering, Kate has used this as a starting point to bridge the gap between understanding the customer and business requirements and how technology/process/people can best support these requirements.

She has learnt the full development life cycle from assessment of client requirements to end user testing, documentation and maintenance.

She is experienced in a number of project methodologies from Waterfall and Prince2 to Agile and has built up her skills by working in a variety of roles, including Operations, Customer Experience, Product Management, Business/System & Data Analysis and Project Management.

Her variety of roles displays her adaptability to change and continually learn, with a key learning always being to have the customer experience foremost in her mind and ensure that all areas she works with embrace the integration of technology and feel empowered to be a part of the journey.

Director Business Strategy & Performance | Yarriambiack Shire Council

Tammy commenced as the Director Business Strategy and Performance at Yarriambiack Shire Council in March 2020 and has been instrumental in the implementation of the “Best of Breed” ICT transformation model at Council.

Tammy’s experience includes cluster Managing an Early Years Service, working in the water sector at GWMWater for seven years in Governance, Accounting, Procurement and Asset Management roles, and being employed as the Human Resource Manager between Yarriambiack and West Wimmera Shire Council’s.

Tammy has a Masters Degree in Commerce Professional Accounting, a Bachelors Degree in Business Administration, is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, a qualified accountant completing the IPA Program and is a Member of the Australian Human Resource Institute.

Tammy is passionate about developing strong governance practices being supported by best of breed software that is cost effective for small rural Councils.

Smart Cities and Innovation Consultant

Lorraine Tighe is a creative thinker and collaborative leader with over 20 years experience driving impactful change across private and public sectors in Australia and Ireland. She is an expert in creating and delivering successful digital and innovation strategies, programs, investment, and practices.

At City of Melbourne she spearheaded a number of strategic initiatives to enhance Melbourne’s reputation as a smart city including establishing a core innovation function, CityLab, to work with the broader ecosystem in solving the City’s challenges. She also pioneered the City’s open data program to enhance transparency, service delivery and innovation.

She has worked with both regional and city councils across Australia to develop innovation and economic development strategies, secure partnerships and funding, and build new ways of working and engaging with the community.

She is a strong promoter and enabler of civic innovation and collaboration and is passionate about connecting people, ideas and technology to drive sustainable inclusive change.

Manager Customer & Digital Projects | Alpine Shire Council

Victoria is a corporate projects manager, digital and ICT transformation leader and customer experience specialist with 25 years of international experience.

Victoria is currently Manager of Customer and Digital Projects at Alpine Shire Council where she is accountable for delivering Council's award-winning digital transformation projects and providing strategic and operational leadership to the ICT and Customer Service teams.

Founder | DataTale

Warren is the founder of DataTale, a company specialising in analytics and Power BI for Government.  His belief is that with the advancements of business intelligence tools like Power BI, anyone with minimal training can effectively analyse their data to gain insights. His aim is to equip the government sector to deliver data-driven results.

Warren previously lead the analytics function at the City of Casey. He also founded and organised the Local Government BI Meetup in Victoria and has spoken at multiple events and conferences across the world.

Warren is certified in Power BI and is also a Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT) and was part of the team awarded the Victorian I-Award for AI or Machine Learning innovation of the year in 2018.

DISA Workshop Presenters

Smart Agriculture Stream

Grant Yates is a Precision Ag Specialist who founded Southern Precision, an independent provider of specialist equipment and services that assists farmers in the adoption and application of innovative technology.

Grant is passionate about the use and development of user-friendly technology and is widely experienced in bridging the gap between newly released technologies and how they are applied in broadacre, viticulture and horticulture.

Southern Precision provides RTK and GPS machine control solutions including machinery, software, and control for water management and have also developed their own range of Crop Stalker inter-row precision application equipment.

Prior to starting Southern Precision, Grant spent a decade in Viticulture and holds an Associate Degree in Applied Science from Charles Sturt University.

Senior Enterprise Consultant at D1 Store Australia, 9 years’ experience building, testing and flying UAV’s. Commercial operator since 2016 when he ventured solo into the UK market of aerial photography and videography. Since moving back to Australia and starting work with D1 Store he has a strong focus on seeking out new UAV products and payloads for the Australian market. Identifying the growing trend of UAV’s in the agriculture sector, he has now turned his attention to really expanding the product range and information available to farmers around Australia.

Jane Court works for Agriculture Victoria in the Meat and Wool team, based at Bendigo. Jane is working on projects that look at ways of improving information for farmers including the FeedingLivestock website and the use of soil moisture probes in pastures.

Dr Brendan Cullen is a Senior Lecturer in grazing systems in the Faculty of Veterinary & Agricultural Sciences at The University of Melbourne. Over the last 15 years, Brendan has worked on a series of research projects with the dairy and red meat industries to understand the impacts of projected climate changes on livestock production businesses across Australia. He is also currently involved in a Producer Demonstration Site looking at using soil moisture data to predict spring pasture growth.

George is the Sales Manager of his family business - Hamilton Farm Supplies. Over the past 5 years George has established himself as one of the leading distributors of Te Pari Racewell Sheep Handling Systems in Australia. Designed and produced in New Zealand, Te Pari are global leaders in the development of animal handling technology.

Jen has always had a strong passion for agriculture, coming from a sheep and wool property at Gunning, NSW. Returning home to the family farm in 2010, she now helps run a successful sheep enterprise in partnership with her husband and three children.

In 2003, Jen graduated from Sydney University with a Bachelor of Agricultural Economics (Hons), starting her career with the then Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry and more recently works with AgriFutures Australia (formerly the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation).

As Senior Manager of AgriFutures’ Rural Futures Program, which invests in research to underpin sound policy decisions, Jen combines her strong background in farming and agriculture with strategic research that contributes to the national debate around policy decisions affecting Australia’s primary industries. She plays a key role in managing cross-sectoral projects and works closely with the other Rural Research and Development Corporations, the National Farmers’ Federation and Australian Government Department of Agriculture and Water Resources. Previously Jen managed AgriFutures Australia’s Investing in People Program.

Until recently, Jen was also the Executive Officer of Tablelands Farming Systems, a farm-owned grower group delivering targeted training, information and extension to local farmers in the southern tablelands of NSW. She is also actively involved in a number of local community groups in the Gunning region.

For over 80 years Gallagher have proudly designed and manufactured a range of animal management solutions including permanent and temporary Electric Fencing and market-leading Weighing & EID products including Weigh Scales, EID Tag Readers and Loadbars. Our passion for relentless innovation means that we’re well equipped to help improve your on-farm productivity by improving grazing management and pasture utilisation through recording the individual animal data of your herd to ensure that all your animals are performing.

Nick Seymour started Farmo in response to the challenges of managing a cattle property at Vasey while still living in Melbourne. The need to know when tanks are empty, gates are open and electric fences are down drove the development of the sensors and dashboard now used by Farmo customers around Australia. This farmer driven approach has led to the invention of two uniquely Australian products, with patents filed for the Water Rat water level monitor and the Farmo Gate Sensor.

With over 17 years’ experience in communications and technology, Jono is fully licensed and has demonstrated expertise in farm and commercial technology and management.

Servicing Hamilton and the surrounding district, Jono is your go to person to discuss how farm technology and connectivity can assist in the day- to- day operations of farm management. Including but not limited to, CCTV, Wi-fi connectivity, water monitoring and sensor technology, electric gate openers and more

Andrew is a passionate advocate for the better use of technology in Agribusiness to improve productivity, sustainability and profitability. After an extensive executive career in capital markets and funds management he has spent the last 7 years in the Agritech sector mentoring emerging technology companies as an Investor, Adviser and Company Director. He is a founding Director and Chairman of AusAgritech, the industry association representing the national development of the sector, and also Chairman and Managing Director of Farmbot Monitoring Solutions, a fast-growing technology services company in the remote monitoring and IoT for Agri sector.

Chris grew up in Central West NSW before he graduated with a Bachelor of Farm Management from Charles Sturt University – Orange. Over the next few years, he spent his time in Southern Queensland on an 18,000 SCU feedlot working across all facets of the business. He worked from the feed mill through office through to livestock. Chris joined the department in 2011 as an Extension Officer, with the ‘Agriculture Victoria - Meat and Wool’ team based in Hamilton, where he has had the opportunity to work on a range of beef and sheep projects. He has a strong interest in the use of technology in agriculture and its various applications.

Sam is the Hamilton Branch Manager for Cervus Equipment, one of Australia’s largest John Deere Distributors. Sam has extensive experience in Agribusiness including roles with Caltex Australia and Elders Real Estate.