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Board of Directors

 

Chairman - José Blanco

Jose BlancoBlanco Partners

Email - chairman@alabc.com.au

José has served as the chairman of the Australia-Latin America Business Council since its incorporation.

José is also the founding partner of Blanco Partners, an advisory firm that he established in August 2012, following a 22 year career at Banco Santander in Australia. The firm focuses on cross-border business between Australia, Spain and the major markets in Latin America.

From 1990 until January 2011, José served as the Country Manager of Banco Santander in Australia, then as an Adviser to the bank until July 2012. Before joining Banco Santander, José practiced law for 10 years, having been a partner in the Sydney-based firm, Bodors.

Other major positions held by José have been:

  • Vice-Chairman of the Australian Government’s Council on Australia Latin America Relations from 2001 to 2010. 
  • President of the Spanish Chamber of Commerce in Australia from 2001 to 2007.
  • Honorary Secretary of the Overseas Bankers Association of Australia from 1993 to 2001.
  • Member of the Advisory Board of the Institute of International Studies at the University of Technology Sydney, from 1997 to 2001.
  • Non-executive director of several companies.

José is the author of numerous articles on business issues related to the markets of Spain and Latin America, published in newspapers such as The Australian and Australian Financial Review. He has also been a speaker at numerous conferences and other forums held in Australia, Chile, Singapore and Spain.

Honours awarded to José include:

  • The Spanish "Orden de Merito Civil" in 1992. 
  • The Chilean "Orden de Bernardo O'Higgins" (Clase Comendador) in 1995. 
  • The "Orden Olímpica" from the Spanish Olympic Committee in 2001.

 

 


Vice-Chair SA - Michael Blake

Michael BlakeIndividual Member

Email - michael.blake@alabc.com.au

Michael Blake is the Senior Manager for the Agribusiness unit at Elders; he was formerly Marketing Manager - Wool at Elders; with a focus on market access, market intelligence, domestic and international market development as well as industry relations and innovation.

Following 20 years in the global wool arena, encompassing procuring, manufacturing and marketing throughout Europe, Asia, the Middle East and the Americas. Michael BSc degree in Agriculture, focussed on Animal Science, and has lived and worked in Australia, New Zealand, the Americas and Europe. He has also travelled extensively throughout Asia and the Middle East for the wool textile industry. He grew up in Argentina and speaks fluent Spanish and French.

 


Vice-Chair WA - Steve Hall

Individual Member

Email - steve.hall@alabc.com.au

Perth-based experienced project manager, mine manager and general manager with tertiary qualifications in Engineering; holds an MBA qualification from Monash University.
 
Also an active member of;                                                                                                                                                                                
  • Australian Institute of Mining & Metallurgy (AusIMM)
  • West Australian Mining Club (WAMC)
  • Asset Management Council (AM Council)
  • Institute of Quarrying Australia (IQA)
Working in Chile from 1989-1996 and 2002-03, Mr Hall speaks fluent Spanish and has travelled extensively throughout the Americas developing successful business in Chile, Perú, Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Uruguay, Suriname, Guyana and Mexico for several Australian-owned companies in the mining equipment, technology & services (METS) sector.
 
Has been closely involved with ALABC activities since 1990, and serves on the Board of Directors of the mining equipment technology & services export association Austmine since 2009.

    

 

Director - Marcelo Salas

Euromonitor International 

Marcelo Salas

Email - marcelo.salas@alabc.com.au

 

Marcelo is an international business development professional with more than 15 years’ experience as Senior Trade Commissioner for Chile in the USA and Australia. As a government official, Marcelo gained considerable experience in the design and implementation of growth strategies for companies looking to enter new markets. Between postings, he was Deputy Director of ProChile at Santiago HQ  and before, General Manager for International Marketing responsible for the first Chile Brand Campaign globally.  He has a deep understanding of the mining services and equipment industry and FMCG, and an extensive network of business contacts and market knowledge. He was part of the team that negotiated the FTA between Chile and Australia. In 2010 he moved to the private sector, taking up permanent residence in Australia and in 2012, he became an Australian citizen,

Marcelo is currently a Senior Partner at Euromonitor International in Sydney, a global consulting firm specialising in strategic intelligence for economies, markets, industries and  consumers. He  provides hands-on strategic business development and market research solutions to local and foreign government agencies and trade and industry associations looking at expanding their business internationally.  

 

He has been a member of the Board of ALABC since 2010. He was the President of the Australia-Chile Chamber of Commerce from 2010 to 2012 and currently is a member of the Board of the Chamber. Marcelo was the founder and investor of the first online retailer of Chilean and Argentinean wine in Australia, sold after three years. He was also the Country Manager for Australia and New Zealand of the TERSAINOX Group, a specialist stainless steel fabricator of complex equipment for the wine, transport and mining industries. 

 

Treasurer and Company Secretary - Harris Gomez


Harris Gómez Group

Email - harris.gomez@alabc.com.au

Harris Gomez is the Managing Partner of Harris Gómez Group. Harris has over 23 years of legal and business experience between Australia andLatin America. In 2001, he founded the first Australian Law firm to have an office in Latin America.

Harris is the President of the Australia Chile Chamber of Commerce and has also been involved with the Australia Peru Chamber of Commerce and Industry. He has previously been a Director of the Australian Latin American Business Council for a number of years and is very excited to be involved with the Council once again.
 
In Australia, Harris was the Principal Partner of Lyon Law Firm and senior partner at Swaab Attorneys specialising in Property, Finance, Commercial Litigation and International Law with Latin America & Spain. In 2014 he opened a Harris Gómez Group office in Sydney, which continues to strengthen business relations between Australia and Latin America.
Harris specialises in setting up Australian and Latin American businesses and providing support to both regions. His expertise is focused on common law and Latin American cross-border issues in areas including mining and energy, corporate matters, employment, taxation, intellectual property and business ventures. His understanding of both the Australian and Latin American legal and business cultures makes him a priceless link between the two regions.


Director - Richard Andrews

Cutting Edges Equipment Parts Pty Limited

Email - richard.andrews@alabc.com.au

Owner and Chief Executive

Cutting Edges Equipment Parts Pty Limited
  • Australia’s largest aftermarket supplier of Equipment Parts for the mining and construction industry
  • National branch and distribution network throughout Australia
  • Local and international manufacturing and distribution
  • Manufacturing and distribution links to Latin America dating back to 1996

Past President
Australian LPGas Association (ALPGA)
Construction & Mining Equipment Association of Australia (CMEAA)

Proprietor and Managing Director

  • Tailored Solutions Group
  • International company providing IT solutions and strategies to large IT multinationals
  • Servicing a variety of industries from medium to large businesses specialising in special projects such as World Youth Day

 


Vice-Chair NSW - Harold Lucero

Lucsan Capital Pty Ltd

Email - harold.lucero@alabc.com.au

 

Harold has over 20 years of professional experience in international banking, stockbroking and information technology industries. Harold’s lasting interest for Latin American socio and economic affairs has made him an advocate for the region and has been engaged through his involvement as the NSW Vice-Chairman and a Board Member of ALABC. 

Originally from Latin America, Harold completed his undergraduate studies in the U.S. and later post graduate studies in Australia where he now resides. 

Being involved in the founding of various telecommunication and early internet based ventures during the late 90's, Harold’s entrepreneurial spirit led him to also found Lucsan Capital as a business focused data analytics firm where he is currently the Group Executive Chairman. Lucsan has been recognised as one of Australia's fastest growing companies, ranking 18th in the BRW Fast 100 list in the late 2000's. 

Harold holds a Bachelor in Computer Science from Kean University, New Jersey and a Master’s Degree in Banking and Finance from The University of Technology Sydney (UTS). 

Some of Harold’s professional memberships include: 
• Practitioner Member – Master Stockbroking of the Stockbrokers and Financial Advisers Association (SAFAA)
• Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (MAICD), 
• Fellow Member of the ACS - The Australian Computer Society (MACS), 
• Gold Member of the Global IT Governance group ISACA - The Global Information Systems Audit and Control Association. 
A keen promoter of entrepreneurship programs Harold mentors across start-up ecosystems. He is fluent in Spanish and English.

 

 


Vice Chair QLD - Tim McLennan ,  BSc (Hons), GAICD, FQA

Qutbluebox Pty Ltd

 

Tim McLennan

Email - timothy.mclennan@alabc.com.au

Over 25 years' experience in the resources, aerospace and energy sectors with an extensive career in successful innovation management and technology commercialisation, international collaboration, government and private sector relations with specific experience in Latin America, Asia, North America and Europe.

Current positions include CEO of QUTBluebox Pty Ltd, the commercialisation arm of QUT, Board member of AWRCOE Ltd and Honorary Consul for Colombia in Queensland.

Previous roles include senior management and executive commercial positions at the Commonwealth Industrial and Scientific Research Organisations (CSIRO), Executive Manager of the Queensland Centre for Advanced Technology; CEO of the International Energy Centre Ltd, Assistant Director of the AGCRC and Board member of the DFAT Council on Australia Latin America Relations (COALAR) (2012 - 2016); Austmine Limited (2006 - 2011) and the Australian Government Resource Technology Innovation Centre (2009).

 


Vice-Chair VIC – John Woods 


Individual Member

Email – john.woods@alabc.com.au

John Woods currently consults on trade and investment matters involving Latin America.  

In addition he is lecturing and coordinating International Policymaking in Practice – a subject in the University of Melbourne’s Masters in International Relations program.  

John’s extensive skills and expertise on Latin America result from his service as Australia’s Ambassador to Peru from 2010 to 2014, where he re-opened the Australian Embassy in Lima. This was the culmination of John’s 42 year career with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT).  He also served as Australia’s Ambassador to Venezuela from 2000 to 2003 and while in Caracas he was accredited to Colombia, Ecuador, Haiti and the Dominican Republic. He directed Canada, Latin America and the Caribbean Section in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) in Canberra between 2006 and 2010. Prior to his Ambassadorial postings, John served in New Delhi, London, Cairo and Jeddah, Saudi Arabia and held several director’s roles while in Canberra. 

Promoting stronger trade and investment links is critical in building Australia’s relationship with Latin America.  Hence assisting Australian business in the region formed a large part of John’s successful work in his Ambassadorial postings and in his responsibilities in Canberra.  He worked closely with his Austrade colleagues to facilitate a doubling in Australia’s commercial presence in Peru.  He was also a member of the Australian team that negotiated the Australia-Chile Free Trade Agreement.  Over the last fifteen years, he has consistently been a strong advocate for greater Australian corporate engagement with Latin America and, as such, has strongly supported the Australia Latin America Business Council (ALABC) in its important work. He is very well equipped to continue to promote and to assist Australian business with Latin America and is delighted to be able to do this as ALABC’s Vice-Chair for Victoria.

John is a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and is on the Council of the Australian Institute of International Affairs in Victoria.

John speaks Spanish.  He holds a First Class Honours degree in Government from Sydney University and a Bachelor’s in Economics from the ANU. 


 

Director - Kate Bennett

 

Individual Membership

Email - kate.bennett@alabc.com.au

Kate is an independent sustainable development consultant and Managing Director of Somos21, a not-for-profit organisation inspiring action and collaboration between young Australian and Latin American professionals. An individual member of ALABC since 2011, Kate joined the Board in 2015 to promote partnerships for sustainable development between the two regions and to enhance the profile of ALABC within the “young professional” demographic.       

Currently undertaking her MBA at University of Queensland Business School, Kate’s tertiary qualifications include Bachelor of International Studies (Languages: French/Spanish) with a focus on Latin American history and civilisation (UNSW) and a Master of International Affairs (Sustainable Development) with a focus on international development and corporate social responsibility (Sciences Po, Paris). 

Kate has worked with various ASX listed companies operating both in Australia and overseas to enhance their sustainability performance, and is now working as Senior Advisor - Sustainability Research and Innovation at RMIT, driving the synergies and cross-sectoral collaboration required to deliver transformative sustainable development outcomes globally.Kate also sits on the Board of Stop the Traffik Australia, Australia’s leading coalition movement in the fight against human trafficking and the Australian Alliance for Energy Productivity (A2EP), a cross-sectoral coalition of environmental leaders promoting energy efficiency, energy productivity and decentralised energy.


 

Director - Guy Cowan

Queensland Sugar Limited - Santos Limited

Email - guy.cowan@alabc.com.au

 

Chairman of Queensland Sugar Limited  and Director of Santos Limited. Director of two large private companies.
Formerly Director of UGL, Coffey International Limited Ludowici Limited and Woodside Limited .

Guy worked for Shell International for 23 years in senior Commercial and Financial positions. This included extensive involvement in Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Colombia.

He was CFO of Fonterra based in New Zealand  between 2005-2009 and also responsible for Fonterra's $ 3 billion revenues business in Latin America, primarily Chile and Brazil.

Guy was born in Argentina and has lived over 30 years in both Argentina and Brazil 

He speaks fluent Spanish and Portuguese.

 



Director - Paola Lasso

Email - paola.lasso@alabc.com.au

Paola’s professional experience covers a broad range of sectors including foreign affairs, agriculture, mining, energy, public policy, legal affairs and corporate social responsibility. Paola is the current Senior Adviser, External Relations for Newcrest Mining with responsibility for the risk analysis of new jurisdictions worldwide and ongoing support for the management of industry relationships in Australia. She has previously worked for OceanaGold Corporation as Community and Government Relations Adviser and for Kingsgate Consolidated as Corporate Social Responsibility Manager. Her former career was as a Colombian diplomat, where she worked on a wide range of political, economic and commercial issues, with a special focus on trade and investment. During her time with the Colombian Government she assisted a US$20m investment decision and target identification for an ASX listed mining services company looking to expand operations in Latin America. She also facilitated several export activities from Latin America to Australia. Paola worked earlier as an adviser to the legal secretariat of the President of Colombia. She owned and managed a café in her late teens throughout university.  

Paola is a qualified civil legal system lawyer from the Javeriana Pontifical University with studies of economics in Colombia and Research Methods at the Australian National University. She holds an MBA and a Master of International Business from the University of Canberra and is currently studying a GradDip in Mineral Exploration Geoscience at Curtin's WA School of Mines.



Director - Rob Whiddon

Email - rob.whiddon@alabc.com.au

Rob Whiddon has had a long involvement in Australia-Latin America Relations, and a personal commitment to that relationship.
His term as Managing Director of Trade and Investment Queensland from 2008 to 2014 saw Queensland open the first state trade and investment office in  Latin America,  with a Commissioner and staff based in Santiago, Chile.
Building on a major presence of Queensland companies  in the region,  he and TIQ worked with ALABC, Austrade, DFAT and the Latin American Ambassadors to consolidate and extend the state’s Latin America priorities, especially in mining, mining services, and education.

In the 2013 Australia Latin America Business Excellence Awards Rob received an Outstanding Contribution Award “for contribution to business between Australia and Latin America”

In October 2016, Rob was appointed by Foreign Minister Julie Bishop to a three-year term on the Council On Australia Latin America Relations (COALAR). 
Now resident at Varsity Lakes on Queensland’s Gold Coast, he is also a member of the Australian Institute of International Affairs, and the Australian Institute of Company Directors




 

Director - Kate Bennett

 

Individual Membership

Email - kate.bennett@alabc.com.au

Kate is an independent sustainable development consultant and Managing Director of Somos21, a not-for-profit organisation inspiring action and collaboration between young Australian and Latin American professionals. An individual member of ALABC since 2011, Kate joined the Board in 2015 to promote partnerships for sustainable development between the two regions and to enhance the profile of ALABC within the “young professional” demographic.       

Currently undertaking her MBA at University of Queensland Business School, Kate’s tertiary qualifications include Bachelor of International Studies (Languages: French/Spanish) with a focus on Latin American history and civilisation (UNSW) and a Master of International Affairs (Sustainable Development) with a focus on international development and corporate social responsibility (Sciences Po, Paris). 

Kate has worked with various ASX listed companies operating both in Australia and overseas to enhance their sustainability performance, and is now working as Senior Advisor - Sustainability Research and Innovation at RMIT, driving the synergies and cross-sectoral collaboration required to deliver transformative sustainable development outcomes globally.Kate also sits on the Board of Stop the Traffik Australia, Australia’s leading coalition movement in the fight against human trafficking.

Director - Kate Bennett

 

Individual Membership

Email - kate.bennett@alabc.com.au

Kate is an independent sustainable development consultant and Managing Director of Somos21, a not-for-profit organisation inspiring action and collaboration between young Australian and Latin American professionals. An individual member of ALABC since 2011, Kate joined the Board in 2015 to promote partnerships for sustainable development between the two regions and to enhance the profile of ALABC within the “young professional” demographic.       

Currently undertaking her MBA at University of Queensland Business School, Kate’s tertiary qualifications include Bachelor of International Studies (Languages: French/Spanish) with a focus on Latin American history and civilisation (UNSW) and a Master of International Affairs (Sustainable Development) with a focus on international development and corporate social responsibility (Sciences Po, Paris). 

Kate has worked with various ASX listed companies operating both in Australia and overseas to enhance their sustainability performance, and is now working as Senior Advisor - Sustainability Research and Innovation at RMIT, driving the synergies and cross-sectoral collaboration required to deliver transformative sustainable development outcomes globally.Kate also sits on the Board of Stop the Traffik Australia, Australia’s leading coalition movement in the fight against human trafficking.

Director - Kate Bennett

 

Individual Membership

Email - kate.bennett@alabc.com.au

Kate is an independent sustainable development consultant and Managing Director of Somos21, a not-for-profit organisation inspiring action and collaboration between young Australian and Latin American professionals. An individual member of ALABC since 2011, Kate joined the Board in 2015 to promote partnerships for sustainable development between the two regions and to enhance the profile of ALABC within the “young professional” demographic.       

Currently undertaking her MBA at University of Queensland Business School, Kate’s tertiary qualifications include Bachelor of International Studies (Languages: French/Spanish) with a focus on Latin American history and civilisation (UNSW) and a Master of International Affairs (Sustainable Development) with a focus on international development and corporate social responsibility (Sciences Po, Paris). 

Kate has worked with various ASX listed companies operating both in Australia and overseas to enhance their sustainability performance, and is now working as Senior Advisor - Sustainability Research and Innovation at RMIT, driving the synergies and cross-sectoral collaboration required to deliver transformative sustainable development outcomes globally.Kate also sits on the Board of Stop the Traffik Australia, Australia’s leading coalition movement in the fight against human trafficking.

 


Vice Chair QLD - Tim McLennan ,  BSc (Hons), GAICD, FQA

Qutbluebox Pty Ltd

 

Tim McLennan

Email - timothy.mclennan@alabc.com.au

Over 25 years' experience in the resources, aerospace and energy sectors with an extensive career in successful innovation management and technology commercialisation, international collaboration, government and private sector relations with specific experience in Latin America, Asia, North America and Europe.

Current positions include CEO of QUTBluebox Pty Ltd, the commercialisation arm of QUT, Board member of AWRCOE Ltd and Honorary Consul for Colombia in Queensland.

Previous roles include senior management and executive commercial positions at the Commonwealth Industrial and Scientific Research Organisations (CSIRO), Executive Manager of the Queensland Centre for Advanced Technology; CEO of the International Energy Centre Ltd, Assistant Director of the AGCRC and Board member of the DFAT Council on Australia Latin America Relations (COALAR) (2012 - 2016); Austmine Limited (2006 - 2011) and the Australian Government Resource Technology Innovation Centre (2009).


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