Stacey Lowe moved up the Power 30 list this year.
Stacey Lowe moved up the Power 30 list this year. Max Van Heusden

POWER 30 SLIDERS: Who jumped up the list, who slipped down

THESE 12 influencers have made Gympie's Power 30 list two year's in row- but none of them have stayed in the same spot.

Six of them have risen, most notably Julie Williams who jumped 10 spots and Stacey Lowe who climbed eight.

A further six people slipped down the list, some by a few places and some by more.

Take a look below:

Who moved up the list?

1. JULIE WILLIAMS (Moved from #16 to #6)

Power 30 Julie Williams.
Julie Williams. Renee Albrecht

SURGING 10 spots up the list to sit just outside the top five, Julie Williams has pressed on as a pioneer for positive agricultural change at a regional and national level as the CEO of AgSolutions Australia.

Ahead of the family business's 30th birthday next year, Ms Williams has continued furthering the tireless efforts of her parents, the company founders Trevor and Wendy Zerner, in the past 12 months by adding 12 new employees to the growing AgSolutions family.

Now boasting more than 50 staff, AgSolutions' family-oriented leadership team also includes Ms Williams' husband Andrew as COO, brother Jason Zerner as production manager and cousin Gary Zerner as sales manager to make a unit dedicated to maintaining its status as one of the country's leading animal and soil supplement companies.

Ms Williams received further recognition for her impressive resume with inclusion as one of just eight industry representatives from all over Queensland on the advisory board of the State Government's Manufacturing Ministerial Committee, chaired by MP Cameron Dick where she plays an integral role in ensuring continued growth and global competitiveness in the manufacturing sector.

The prospect of helping staff members capitalise on opportunities to grow in their roles, face challenges and tackle exciting tasks are "what gets her out of bed every morning”, and she pointed to AgSolutions' "really high” retention rate as evidence of mutual satisfaction within the company.

The AgSolutions "helping Australia grow” mantra was further extended internally by Ms Williams' partnership with president and international business coach Collin McLoughlin, who visited the AgSolutions Gympie site for three months earlier this year.

AgSolutions have been working with Mr McLoughlin and fellow Enna corporation director Jun Nakamuro for the past nine years.

Keeping Ms Williams busy outside AgSolutions is her role as Cooloola Christian College board chair and further board roles at Hope Reins and, more recently, the Gympie Chamber of Commerce.

Through her work with fellow Chamber of Commerce members and president Ben Riches, Ms Williams added Gympie to the list of destinations for the upcoming Ignite Business Conference on October 13, which will feature "nationally and globally recognised keynote speakers”.

Further prospects of expansion at AgSolutions ensures Ms Williams' role as a key influencer around Gympie will continue well into the future.

2. SHELLEY STRACHAN (Moved from #10 to #7)

Photo Renee Albrecht/Gympie Times
Shelley Strachan Renee Albrecht

GYMPIE Times editor Shelley Strachan has jumped up the list this year from #10 to #7.

It has been a big year for the Gympie region's primary source of daily local news and the mother of four at its helm.

The first big win came in April when the Federal Government acquiesced to a concerted, strategic campaign from The Gympie Times, Wide Bay MP Llew O'Brien and the community at large to fast track construction of the $1 billion Gympie Bypass, which will take the Bruce Hwy around Gympie to the east, instead of through the heart of it.

The massive 26km project will start after Christmas instead of in five years time, a move that is estimated to save at least 50 lives and boost the local economy, and increase investment in multiple ways.

The Gympie Times editor Shelley Strachan with the 2018 News Corp Australia Achievements in Regional Journalism award.
The Gympie Times editor Shelley Strachan with the 2018 News Corp Australia Achievements in Regional Journalism award. Renee Albrecht

In August, The Gympie Times beat out The Gold Coast Bulletin and Townsville Bulletin to win the News Corp Australia 2018 Achievements in Regional Journalism Award, Ms Strachan flying to Sydney to accept the gong at a dinner attended by Lachlan and Rupert Murdoch.

This was topped off earlier this month with another award ceremony in Sydney where The Gympie Times beat six other finalists from throughout Australia, the Pacific and New Zealand to win News Media Community News Brand of the Year for the second year in a row, and the fourth time in the last five years.

Ms Strachan grew up in the Gympie region and took over the reins of The Gympie Times three years ago.

She is a loud and passionate advocate for the region and a respected daily editor in the News Corp stable, which includes 16 regional daily mastheads, and multiple online and print news sources across Australia and the world.

In 2017 she travelled to Canberra as part of the national push for media law reform from regional newspapers like The Gympie Times.

The Gympie Times printed edition is read by more than 32,000 people each week, and has a weekly online audience of about 40,000, and a Facebook following of more than 20,000.

3. SUE MANTON (Moved from #20 to #15)

Power 30 Sue Manton.
Sue Manton. Renee Albrecht

ALTHOUGH preferring to be out of the spotlight, LIttle Haven Palliative Care business manager Sue Manton's power lies in her ability to inspire and motivate those around her.

She moved up the Power 30 list this year from #20 to #15.

Sue attributes a great deal of the success of Little Haven not to herself, but to her team of hard working staff and volunteers.

However, as the public face of the organisation, her influence is undeniable.

Sue has been a constant champion for the community care model that Little Haven adopts for all of its clients and it is a method recognised by Queensland Health and independent assessors as the very best care model in community care anywhere.

Again, Sue would attribute this to her staff and volunteers, but she is the glue that holds the machine together.

Her role is very much to make it sustainable, something she has done for the past 17 years but she tends to downplay her involvement.

"There's a magic about Little Haven. Things tend to fall into place. I think it's because of the good we do in the community,” she said.

Sadly, that good is not recognised through the level of funding the organisation receives and this is a constant frustration.

She works tirelessly with her team to apply for funding and grants and to fundraise the hundreds of thousands of dollars in short-fall needed between the amount of funding received and that required to run such a valuable community service.

Sue says she doesn't work any harder than anyone else in the organisation and said she is often amazed at what her team is able to do.

"There's a degree of respect there for everyone pitching in. We give a lot but we get a lot out of it - support, skills, friendship. What we can achieve amazes me,” she said.

4. STACEY LOWE (Moved from #24 to #16)

Venue Manager Stacey Lowe has fond memories of the Royal Hotel.
Stacey Lowe. Contributed

STACEY Lowe has moved up the Power 30 List this year from #24 to #16.

The co-owner and manager of the Royal Hotel is passionate about not only her family and business but about the Gympie community as a whole and works hard to make weekends out in Gympie as safe as possible for young people.

Her involvement with the Liquor Industry Accord Group (LIAG) has this principle at its core.

LIAG is a network of hotels and nightspots that work together to ban known troublemakers and to put in place procedures that will help to kerb alcohol-fuelled violence and anti-social behaviours among patrons.

"Times are tough for business everywhere but when alcohol is involved, and people drinking, they need to have boundaries drawn and know what's acceptable behaviour and what's not,” she said.

She is also a passionate advocate for Mary St and a member of the Mary St Stakeholders Committee.

She and a number of traders stepped up this year to host the Pre-Muster Party.

"This year it wasn't clear who would organise the Pre-Muster Party and council and the Muster committee had their plates full.

"Many traders, including myself, wanted to see it continue this year.

"After consulting with the mayor and council representatives, they were happy for the traders to put it on this year.

"Next year, with more future planning, it'll be bigger and better than ever,” she said.

When she's not growing her business or working for LIAG or the Stakeholders Committee, Ms Lowe is managing fiance Linc Phelps' music career or being a mum to her son Jack who has autism or running after four-year-old live wire daughter Lyric.

Ms Lowe, who is due to get married next Saturday, would like to see more done to keep young people in Gympie.

"We need to make it attractive for young people to stay and a vibrant place for young families. We need the kids to not turn 18 and want to leave,” she said.

5. MARLENE OWEN (Moved from #23 to #17)

Marlene Owen
Marlene Owen Arthur Gorrie

"YOU don't want to do a story about me,” the unstoppable Marlene Owen said when asked about the work she does in the community, helping hundreds of people dealing with cancer, homelessness and drought.

The bookwork and administration associated with the family business, Gympie Bearings, would be enough for most.

But there are 24 busy hours in any of Mrs Owen's days.

The 2017 Gympie region Citizen of the Year, returns to the Power 30 list at number 17 this year, rising up the chart from Number 23 last year.

Working around the clock to provide assistance to families battling the horrors of cancer is a job she says is only possible because of the team she works with at Supporting Chemotherapy in Cooloola.

"I've been raising money for that for 12 years.

"It's a community of us, not just one person, not just me,” she said.

"For change to happen, it takes all of us to do something, this was never something I could do on my own.”

"Every two years we have the Gala Ball to raise money for SCIC and we fund-raise at the Melbourne Cup every year.

"I look after lots of people I suppose.”

Mrs Owen has been volunteering for decades, starting with the Red Cross when she was 25.

But there always seems to be room for one more worthy cause in her life. Wherever people are in need people like Mrs Owen lead the helping effort.

More recently, she has branched out and has been helping her fellow Citizen of the Year, Tony Stewart with his Drought Runners and Bush to Beach campaigns to take food and hope to the drought-stricken west and to give the children of drought some respite, with holidays at Rainbow Beach.

And she has stepped in to help real community efforts for the homeless.

"Tonight I'm getting a big stew organised,” she said.

On Monday, Wednesday and Friday, she makes dessert as well.

"And if I'm in town, I do this every night, at the Six Mile rest area and Nelson Reserve.”

She says the generally good behaviour of homeless people in Gympie makes it easier to help.

"A big shed is all it would take to provide proper shelter, along with normal policing,” she said.

"I like to help the genuine people, and there are many.

"I feed between 20 and 30 people some nights,” she said.

"I've just been to Cooloola Fitness Centre in Chapple Lane. They're putting out a container so people can make donations.

"Recently I was in Rainbow Beach, helping Tony Stewart with Bush to Beach and Drought Runners.”

She is also keen to work with people helping the wildfire victims of the Woolooga district.

In what would otherwise be her spare time, she does all that bookwork for the business. "It's 43 years we've owned that,” she said.

6. ANDREW 'AUSSIE' CORBET (Moved from #29- #24)

TREES GOING: Andrew Corbet is upset trees are going to be cut down along  the stretch of Mary Valley highway at Long Flat. Photo Craig Warhurst / The Gympie Times
Power 30 #24: Andrew 'Aussie' Corbet Craig Warhurst

LEADER of the Corbet's Group, Andrew "Aussie” Corbet is instrumental in not only driving major growth and industry in the Gympie region, but carrying Gympie's name across Australia.

As general manager of the enormous Gympie enterprise, Mr Corbet has jumped up from 29th place on Gympie's Power 30 list last year to 24 this year.

He is responsible for a 40-year-old sawmill and engineering business that has evolved into one of the largest Australian multi-industry companies; now operating in transport, land clearing, water processing, storage, equipment hire and landscape supplies.

The company provides 300 jobs in the Gympie region, including FIFO workers to major mining sites.

The transport section of the Corbet's Group, made up of a fleet of 120 trucks running from Melbourne to North Queensland, recently added a 30m A-double road train to their fleet.

It was the first of its kind to run the Bruce Highway, and Mr Corbet's push for approval with the state and federal government over a two-year period before he piloted the first truck in June, has opened the door for the Queensland transport industry.

Two more are on order for the company, while other transport companies are already following suit. The growing innovation will change the face of Queensland trucking, as larger haulage capabilities cuts the number of trucks on the road.

While the latest project - a controversial quarry and concrete plant expansion that will generate new jobs in the region - has been green-lit, it is being appealed in the planning and environment court.

Crucial Corbet's Group sponsorship is responsible for the livelihood of Gympie's A-Grade rugby league team, the Gympie Devils.

An avid motor sport fan, Mr Corbet almost single handedly saved the Mother Mountain Speedway after injecting a significant amount of time and sponsorship into the sport.

Who moved down the list?

1. THE NOLAN FAMILY (Moved from #6 to #8)

THE NOLAN FAMILY: Michael, Tony and Terry Nolan have cemented their family business as one of the most iconic in the history of the Gympie region.
THE NOLAN FAMILY: Michael, Tony and Terry Nolan. Josh Preston

A NAME synonymous with the history of Gympie and its business sector, the Nolan family retains its spot inside the top 10 of the 2018 Power 30 due to its continued expansions - and its status as one of the region's biggest employers.

Now more than 70 years on from patriarch Pat Nolan's first foray into the Gympie meat trade as an apprentice in an Apollonian Vale butcher shop in 1945, Nolan Meats continues to go from strength to strength as one of the best producers, distributors and exporters of quality meat products around the globe while maintaining its headquarters in the heart of the region.

Pat and Marie Nolan's three sons, Terry, Tony and Michael, have honoured the spirit of what started as a small family butcher shop in 1958, spearheading and shaping its transition into a global empire.

With more than 400 staff on the books, the Nolans are well known as one of the largest local employers in the region, while their products are sampled in 30 countries including Japan, Korea, United States, Malaysia and Indonesia.

They are steadfast in their support of local farmers, giving them access to overseas markets by buying local cattle, and their 'Private Selection' signature brand of beef has been branded through Woolworths and featured on the Breakfast Creek Hotel menu.

The company's year so far has been highlighted by securing a major $9.95million expansion to be rolled out at the East Deep Creek facility during the next five years.

The expansion, which included $4.97million in Federal Government funding, is expected to create 200 jobs and 45 more during construction.

Tony said the expansion would occur all over the plant and will allow the company to double its production from 550 to 1100 cattle a day in future.

Terry added the expansion projects would also enhance the plant's infrastructure and design.

Another recent big-scale addition at their East Deep Creek facility saw their Dematic automated storage and retrieval system, which forms part of their muti-million dollar cold distribution facility, become the biggest in the southern hemisphere.

Ever present in the community they love, all three Nolan brothers have received Paul Harris fellowships in the Rotary Club of Gympie and Cooloola.

Tony has served as chairman of the Gympie Music Muster and the family remains involved in the local Apex Club.

The Nolans continue to sponsor the Muster Cup, which is the biggest race day on the Gympie Turf Club's calendar, along with long-term sponsorships of the Gympie Show Society and "fairly well established work programs to introduce young people into the workforce”.

Terry said there were about 45 Gympie students working at Nolans after school hours to establish themselves with potential career options.

The family lost its matriarch with the passing of Marie earlier this month, and held a celebration of her life at St Patrick's church to commemorate her passion and dedication to the family business and the Gympie community.

The promise of additional expansions on the local and international scale ensures the iconic Nolan family will honour Marie's legacy and remain a Gympie powerhouse for years to come.

2. JASON MCPHERSON (Moved from #15 to #20)

Power 30 Jason McPherson.
Jason McPherson. Renee Albrecht

SOME people know Jason "Macca” McPherson as the charismatic, energetic and enthusiastic boss of Gympie engineering company CPM Engineering.

In sporting circles, he is the man who almost single-handedly resurrected the Gympie Hammers Rugby Union Club from extinction in 2016.

The head coach of the Hammers reserve side, he was also the driving force behind growing the club to feature an under-16/17s boys squad.

In 2010, there were 20 players in school rugby, this year there were 303 participants who played more than seven games.

It is not just rugby union "Macca” is involved with; he has sponsored trophies and jerseys for junior rugby league's most passionate players for each age group from under-13s to 16s.

"I was never a great player as a child, but it was my passion which kept me going,” he said.

Professionally, CPM Engineering is an industry leader and one of the most respected local firms.

Like "Macca”, the business's values are firmly aligned with growing opportunities within the Gympie region.

CPM's delivery of the ground-breaking water processing machine Ali-Jak, is testament to this.

The Ali-Jak was invented by "Macca”, and is a water treatment machine which converts liquid waste into reusable water.

It will be utilised commercially next year, and CPM will fabricate the Ali-Jak in Gympie, creating employment and helping drive the economy.

The Rattler has been a topic of discussion, and "Macca” said it has been a good project for CPM.

"It combines old fashioned tradesmen skills mixed with new technology. There has been an average of about five staff working on the project,” he said.

A CPM apprentice was rewarded with full time employment through the Rattler project. It also gave a mature tradesman the opportunity of full-time employment.  

3. RON OWEN (Moved from #13 to #28)

Ron Owen from Owen Guns in Gympie.
Ron Owen. Renee Albrecht

ONE man. One shop. One huge influence.

An endless campaigner for people's right to own firearms, Ron Owen continues to play a large role in region economically and politically.

His reach is not small, either.

He sends more than 10,000 emails out every week, and his magazine Lock, Stock and Barrel is a hugely popular read.

His passion even extends to the past; a love visible in the gun museum he opened last year which includes some firearms which date back to the 1870s.

In the past year his already tireless campaign to finally bring about a solution to the more-than- 25-year-old problem of a Gympie shooting ratcheted up another notch.

Along with making it a major piece for the Gympie region is last year's state election (it was an electoral promise put forth by One Nation and the LNP), he has pitched a cutting edge solution in an effort to get Gympie Regional Council's feet moving - an underground range like those operating around Europe.

And while movement is still to be made, he has not been hesitant in pressing all political levels over why a decision is taking so long.

Not that he is new to the realm of political controversy, though; his enthusiasm and dedication to protecting the rights of law-abiding firearm owners has led to several historic blow-ups with authorities.

None of which he has ever let stop him from trying to make a difference.

4. COS SCHUH (Moved from #17 to #22)

Cos Schuh.
Cos Schuh. Jacob Carson

SCHUH Group has been part of Gympie's financial landscape for a long time.

And it was almost a decade ago that it added financial planning and wealth advice to its portfolio of services, also including business valuations and strategy.

The firm's principal, Cos Schuh, has a deep involvement with the community, and not only the business community.

Mr Schuh, #17 in our Power 30 list of Gympie region movers and shakers last year (the people who make things happen in our part of the world) is on the list again and comes in at #22.

In addition to the operation of a "One Stop” accounting, financial planning and finance broking model, the Schuh Group is involved in managing an extensive commercial property portfolio for properties spanning New South Wales, Queensland and the Northern Territory.

Mr Schuh also sits on the Sunshine Coast Health and Hospital Board which has responsibility for hospitals at Gympie, Nambour, Maleny, Caloundra and Kawana.

Having lived with his family in Gympie for more than 40 years, he says his firm has deep ties with the Gympie community and an affection for the people and way of life here.

Reflecting his commitment to local businesses in the community, Mr Schuh and the Schuh Group have been a major force for charity fundraising in the region.

This year the Group was the major sponsor for the Wishlist Jazz and Wine Festival, which saw a desperately-needed $31,000 raised to provide medical equipment for the Gympie Hospital and facilities for Gympie people.

"As a family we have been privileged to do business in Gympie for over 40 years. We are very fortunate to have enjoyed the support of our local community and value very highly the trust placed in us by local people.”

5. DARREN BURNS (Moved from #19 to #25)

Power 30 Darren Burns.
Darren Burns. Renee Albrecht

DARREN Burns is not only the face of Gympie rugby league, he is its driving force.

After a career in the national rugby league that saw him play for the Brisbane Broncos, South Sydney Rabbitohs, Western Suburbs Magpies and the Sydney Roosters, Darren has provided a stable platform of motivation and inspiration to Gympie's aspiring rugby league players in a time where the game, at a regional level is struggling.

He has mandated the consistent presence of rugby league at a school level, which has seen a resurgence of young players in the local junior ranks.

As rugby league grows to feature the anticipated women's competition, Burns has been leading the charge to expand the game in Gympie to include a women's team. A women's game was added to the Devils 20th anniversary celebrations and old boys day at Albert Park in mid-September.

But Darren's influence and mentoring has gone beyond the playing field.

He has worked in conjunction with the Brisbane Broncos to provide education to Gympie region students in everything from domestic violence to healthy eating.

He continues to provide front line leadership as president of the Gympie Devils Rugby League Football Club, stepping up to the plate after the resignation of Gympie rugby league stalwart Jim Bougoure.

It has been Burns' intricate knowledge of league administration that has helped keep the game alive and thriving in a region with a proud rugby league heritage.

It is through his dedication and influence in local sport that Darren Burns has earned a place in Gympie's list of most influential people.

6. TONY GOODMAN (Moved from # 27 to #29)

SITTING at #29, Gympie businessman Tony Goodman is passionate about promoting Mary St to locals and visitors alike.

Mr Goodman is a member of the Gympie Town Centre Stakeholder Reference Group, a group of business people and community members committed to promoting what he calls "The Heart of the City”.

He is also on the board of the Gympie Chamber of Commerce.

The man with the plan to see regular events in Mary St adopted with some kind of permanency is delighted the Gympie Regional Council has embraced the concept he had a major hand in starting four years ago.

Looking back on that, Mr Goodman said he knew Mary St needed an injection of life.

"People were commenting on the decline and how shops were becoming empty and staying empty,” he said.

"I wanted to showcase the heart of Gympie and make it a destination and a point of difference to the shopping centres.”

The quarterly events he helped inspire and which were organised by a group he was involved in, the Mary Street Traders, are now regularly attended by thousands of people.

Mr Goodman feels the GRC's willingness to get behind the initiative and help shoulder the burden of funding will only help the celebrations to grow.

"Now that council has embraced it, it's great to see,” he said.

"I use the lifeboat example and the number one rule in a life boat is we all row together. A strong, dynamic and vibrant town centre sends psychological ripples out into the community,” he said.

What do you think about Gympie's Power 30?

SOME could argue money is influence, and in some cases, they would be right.

Others could argue sports stars hold greater influence than, say, artists and charity workers.

Both could be right, or wrong, because that's the subjectiveness of power.

Let's start a conversation.

Email your thoughts to or leave your comment online at