Rugby union action in Gympie
Rugby union action in Gympie Bec Singh

POWER 30: Sneak peek at Gympie region's most influential #30

THIS is a sneak peek into the Gympie region's most influential people of 2019 - the men and women who make the list of movers and shakers, decision makers and shot callers.

You will know some, others you won't, but they wield the power in our region.

Over the next week, The Gympie Times will count down the 30 most powerful people - online and in print. The lists will also look at our Famous Faces, our Young Guns, and our powerful Families.


Power is a subjective beast, so how can you compile a list of the 30 most influential people in the Gympie without upsetting anyone?

Simply put, you can't.

But we can have a conversation about it.

Email your contenders to or comment below with why they should be on the list.

And don't miss our special publication on The Gympie Region's Most Influential People of 2019 inside The Gympie Times next Saturday.

First cab off the rank today, coming in at Number 30, is Jason McPherson, father, husband, businessman and rugby union devotee.

Some people know "Macca” as the charismatic, energetic and enthusiastic boss of Gympie engineering company CPM Engineering, the company that meticulously restored the Rattler locomotive.

Power 30 - Jason McPherson
Power 30 - Jason McPherson is #30 on the 2019 Gympie region list of Most Influential Troy Jegers

In sporting circles, he is the man who resurrected the Gympie Hammers Rugby Union Club from near extinction in 2016. Just yesterday he was named the Queensland Reds Volunteer of the Year.

As president of the Hammers, he has been the driving force in growing junior player numbers in boys and girls.

In 2010, there were 20 players in school rugby in Gympie, last year it was 303 and this year nearly 600 participants who played more than seven games.

There were about 25 under-12 players which trained before the Hammers' reserves and women's home games. Macca hopes to continue this next year as the players learn the basic skills.

Girls school rugby strengthened this season to feature under-13, under-14, under-16 and opens (under-18) sides which the Hammers has piggy backed off.

"We have under-13 boys and girls team and will have an under-15 boys but we are just waiting on confirmation for the 15's girls,” he said.

"Our goal is for the teams to play in the Sunshine Coast competition and have the under-15s and under-17s play in seven-a-side matches on a Friday night. We will have them start training in term one next year.”

It is not just the junior side of the club that is expanding, the Hammers could return to A-grade footy next year, which the men's side has not played in 14 years.

"We will have a reserve grade colts, women's and men's but if the numbers go right, we could field an A-grade men's team next year,” he said.

"I am certain we will have an A-grade team in 2021,but a few players from Fraser Coast have said they would be interested to play A-grade.”

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 respected local firm.

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

Its 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 that 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 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 and mature tradesman were given full-time employment through the Rattler restoration project.

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.