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Board of Directors

Chairman - Richard Andrews

Email - chairman@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 SA - Michael Blake, GAICD

Michael Blake

Individual Member

Email - michael.blake@alabc.com.au

 

Michael works in agribusiness at the South Australian State Government Department of Primary Industries and Regions (PIRSA). He grew up in Patagonia, Argentina and speaks fluent Spanish and French.

Michael has been a member of ALABC since its inception. He worked for over 25 years with Elders and French multinational Chargeurs, operating international trade activities, mainly in the agricultural commodities area. His agribusiness experience is in market access, development and intelligence, as well as extension, innovation and transfer of technology in the livestock industries. He travels regularly to the region, freely giving of his knowledge to the agribusiness sector. 

Michael is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (GAICD), has a BSc in Animal Science, and has lived and worked in Australia, New Zealand, the Americas, and Europe

 


 

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.

 


 

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.

 


 

Vice-Chair NSW - Harold Lucero

Discidium Pty Ltd

Email - harold.lucero@alabc.com.au

Harold is the CEO and Co-Founder of Discidium – a company delivering innovative business models and technology platforms to help enable forward-looking financial services and products.

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

Harold is a creative, entrepreneurial and a skilled strategist executive with over 20 years of professional experience in the banking, stockbroking and information technology industries. Harold has founded, established, operated and divested of a diverse number of telecommunications and e-commerce marketplace ventures. In recent years, his in-depth understanding of emerging technologies and their commercial applications has also led him to the founding of Discidium Pty Ltd (Discidium) and Lucsan Capital (Lucsan) a management consulting, advanced data analytics and regulatory technology (RegTech) organisation offering enterprise data and risk management solutions for the financial services industry.

Harold’s ventures have involved substantial equity and debt fund-raising round activities as well as a recipient of multiple grants including a $1M Accelerating Commercialisation innovation grant provided by the Australian Government’s Entrepreneurs’ Programme.

Harold currently holds several board positions including Director and Board Member of the RegTech Association (RTA), the NSW Vice-Chair and Board Member for the Australian Latin American Business Council (ALABC). He is also a Master Practitioner of the Stockbrokers and Financial Advisers Association (MSAA), a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD) and Fellow Member of the Australian Computer Society (ACS).

Harold is a keen promoter of entrepreneurship programs mentoring across various start-up ecosystems, he is also a regular speaker and guest lecturer at Business Schools and enjoys developing ecosystems to support innovation, new marketplaces / business models and early stage investment.

Harold holds a BA in Computer Science and Mathematics from Kean University – NJ, USA and a Masters in Banking and Finance from The University of Technology (UTS) – Sydney Australia.

 


 

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

 

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 ALABC’s profile within the young professional demographic.

Kate is Sustainable Development Manager of Orocobre Limited, an ASX listed lithium producer with brine-based operations in Argentina. Kate is also Co-Founder and Managing Director of Somos21, a social enterprise promoting connection and collaboration between Australian and Latin American professionals, an Associate of Research Innovation and Entrepreneurship at RMIT University, and a Non-Executive Director of Stop the Traffik Australia, Australia’s leading coalition movement in the fight against human trafficking. 

Kate has an MBA from University of Queensland, a Master of International Affairs (Sustainable Development) from Sciences Po, Paris, and a Bachelor of International Studies (Languages) from University of NSW.  

 


 

Director - Paola Lasso

Individual Membership

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.

 


 

Vice Chair QLD - Rob Whiddon

Individual Membership

Email - rob.whiddon@alabc.com.au

Rob Whiddon was Managing Director of Trade and Investment Queensland, the international arm of the Queensland Government, for six years from 2008 to 2014. 

TIQ assists Queensland business with export advice from its professional team in its Brisbane headquarters, and through its many international offices in The Americas,  Asia, the Middle East and Europe. 

Under his stewardship of TIQ the Queensland Government opened a trade and investment office for Latin America based in Santiago, Chile, the first Australian state to have a base in the region. 

As MD of TIQ he had a very  close relationship with ALABC, and he continued that involvement by joining ALABC in a personal capacity after his TIQ term concluded.  He has been a Director of ALABC for the past twelve months. 

Now living on the Gold Coast, Rob remains involved  in international trade and investment activity.  As well as ALABC he is on  the board of the Council On Australia Latin America Relations (COALAR)  , and also on the Management Committee of the Queensland Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry. 

He received an Australia Latin America  Business Excellence Award  in 2013 for an “outstanding contribution to business between Australia and Latin America”. 

As MD of TIQ he served on the board of Australia Trade Coast, and was Chair of the Queensland Government’s G20 Economic Benefits Working Group when the G20 met in Brisbane. He is a member of the Australian Institute of International Affairs, and of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. 

Prior to his appointment to TIQ, Rob was Chief of Staff to Queensland Premier Peter Beattie for eleven years, and before that a Private Secretary to the  Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade,  Bill Hayden.


 

Nico Soza

PwC

Email - nicolas.soza@alabc.com.au

Nicolas (Nico) Soza is a Public Accountant from University of Valparaiso, Chile. He holds the role of Senior Manager at PwC Tax & Legal Services, managing cross-border tax, reporting and social security advice for Australian companies working in Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico and Peru. Nico has assisted companies with their first arrival into these and other Latin American locations, both in meeting compliance obligations and in understanding the cultural differences and potential barriers which can be hard to navigate when entering this market.

In 2007, he was an Assistant Lecturer, Tax Law for Public Accounting and Business programs at University of Santiago, Chile.

Nico started his career in PwC Chile and relocated to Australia in 2008. During his career at PwC, Nico has supported the PwC Global Mining and Metals Leader and has first access to broader insights and networks within this industry and with Latin America.

 

Chief Executive Officer

Marcelo Salas

ALABC                                                                                                                                                                                                               

Email - ceo@alabc.com.au

Marcelo is the CEO of ALABC since May 2018.  He was a Non-Executive Director of ALABC between 2010 and 2017.

Prior to his current role, he was Senior Partner at Euromonitor International in Sydney, a global consulting firm specialising in strategic intelligence for economies, markets, industries and consumers. He provided 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.
 
Marcelo is an international business development professional with more than 15 years’ experience as Senior Trade Commissioner for Chile based in the USA and in Australia. As a government official, Marcelo gained considerable experience in marketing, communications, information systems and in the design and implementation of growth strategies for companies looking to enter new markets. He was also part of the team that negotiated the FTA between Chile and Australia signed in 2009.

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, FMCG, Tourism, International Education, Mining and Manufacturing and an extensive network of business contacts and market knowledge in Latin American countries.  His experience in government and the private sector, gave him the necessary skills to understand global market dynamics and the complexities of dealing with different business cultures and multidisciplinary teams.

ALABC Information

Contact ALABC

Australia-Latin America Business Council
Suite 14.02
Level 14, 14 Martin Place
Sydney, NSW 2000
Australia

Phone 1300 0 25222 or +61 4 1264 3343
 

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