Board of Directors

Janice Knowles (Chairperson)

Appointed 16/05/2001

Janice Knowles has had a career spanning both the private and public sectors. She has worked in the airline, the vehicle and the telecommunications industries before joining local government.

Her roles have included chief executive officer positions as well as chief operating officer positions. Janice also has broad Board experience including membership of the Victorian State Government's Community Safety and Crime Prevention Board as well as the Alexandra District Hospital Board. Janice brings a strong focus on good governance to the Board as well as an attention to efficiency and effectiveness.

Janice holds a masters degree in engineering and is a fellow of the Australian Institute of Management.

Damien Harvey

Appointed 15/04/1997

Damien is a Chartered Accountant and is a senior member of the financial services staff of the University of Newcastle, responsible for the University's capital expenditure budget. Damien has also held the roles within the University of Corporate Development Manager and Business Manager for the Faculty of Business and Law.

His experience outside the University includes roles as Commercial Manager for a local trucking company, Business Banking Manager, Commonwealth Bank and Investigating Accountant, Commonwealth Development Bank. Damien lectured at the Hunter Institute of Technology (TAFE) for a number of years in the subject areas of Small Business Feasibility and Set Up and Business Planning and Operations. He also tutored in the University's Business Venturing and Planning subject, which is part of the Bachelor of Business degree.

Damien makes his time freely available to clients and The Business Centre itself. His knowledge of vocational education and business education provides strong foundations for The Business Centre's delivery of services to clients.

Bob Purser

Appointed 20/10/1999

Bob is a professional Journalist and Public Relations Consultant and is Principal of Purser Corporate Communications, based in Newcastle. This consultancy provides creation and implementation of major corporate communication policies and programs, corporate media relations, corporate positioning and community relations strategies. These responsibilities involve working with private and public sector leaders who are experts in their own fields. It has also often meant working with projects of high commercial confidentiality.

Bob Purser was inaugural President of the Hunter Branch of the Society of Business Communicators and is a member of the Public Relations Institute of Australia (NSW) and the Australian Journalists' Association. He has won awards from the Public Relations Institute and Society of Business Communicators.

Supporting The Business Centre, Bob and his staff provide information and guidance at no charge, addressing such topics as marketing and promotions and media relations both to clients of The Business Centre and the Centre itself.

Warwick Gilbertson

Appointed 21/10/2004

Warwick is a Partner of Turnbull Hill Lawyers of Charlestown, Newcastle, a legal practice that provides services to families and small to medium enterprises in the Newcastle and Hunter Region. Warwick acts for clients on matters of business and family, asset structuring, estate planning/business succession, contesting estates and claims following relationship breakdown.

Warwick was previously a board member, Vice Chairman and Co-chairman for over 10 years of the Bathurst Business Enterprise Centre until August 2003. Warwick is a solicitor of the Supreme Court of New South Wales, holds a Bachelor of Laws Degree, is a member of the Law Society of New South Wales, a practitioner of the High Court of Australia, an Accredited Specialist in Family Law and an Associate Member of the Taxation Institute of Australia. For many years he was a partner of a legal practice in Bathurst which was in itself a small business and which delivered services primarily to Regional Australia. He has held positions in organisations providing services to the community in the Central West area prior to his move to Newcastle in August 2003.

Ed Crawford

Edward Crawford

Appointed 23/01/2014

Edward Crawford is Director and Principal, Crawford Robinson, Property Development Consultants and has experience in a variety of roles in management, business development, and property consulting with specific skills in feasibility planning and market analysis.

Edward has worked within Commonwealth, State and Local Government planning frameworks, and has assisted major corporations in facilities planning and evaluation. Ed has experience in planning, negotiating, documenting and managing complex commercial agreements and contracts, including substantial land leases, services contracts, and development acquisition/construction contracts.

Ed is the current Chair of the Property Council of Australia (Hunter Chapter), a former member of the Lake Macquarie Economic Development Board and lectures online in Property Economics and Finance in the Master of Property programme at the University of Newcastle.


Janelle Kirk

Appointed 26/02/2006

Janelle is a Certified Financial Planner, currently a Senior Financial Planner with the Commonwealth Bank and holds a Master of Financial Planning.

Janelle began working in the finance industry many years ago and over the years has developed her expertise, holding the position of Bank Manager with Colonial and Commonwealth Banks. This background led to the move to financial planning in 1991 where Janelle developed her expertise in financial planning. Janelle is the past president of the Hunter Business Women's Network and provides a conduit to assist women in small business to integrate into the wider business community.

Vince Stanton

Appointed 01/10/2006 

Vince is the Principal and Technical Manager of Apache Computing a personalised business local to the Maitland area of the Hunter Valley, New South Wales. They offer a mobile service to small business in the Lower Hunter, Port Stephens and Lake Macquarie regions. The companies charter is to provide personalised service to small businesses with prompt, reliable and up to date computing support for all their PC, Server, Network & other related needs.

Vince has also been on the Board of the Hunter Technology Consortium (HunterTech) since 2004 which interfaces with a large number of Hunter based IT related business. Vince is able to support the IT needs of the centre free of charge.

Sandra Gilshenan

Appointed 26/03/2009

Sandra is the Business and Community Partnership Advisor for the University of Newcastle. In this role Sandra assists Business, Industry and Government link to the University through business and community partnerships. She has over 20 years of experience in senior management roles including 10 of those years as the CEO of a Financial Institute. Sandra also had her own consultancy business in management and worked with local Credit Unions in the region.

Sandra managed a number of projects funded by Department of Trade and Investment NSW, Hunter Economic Development Centre, the Hunter Business Chamber and Australian Industries Group in the Hunter region over 5 years, which consisted of Hunter Olympic Business Taskforce, International Business Hunter, Hunter Skill Shortage Taskforce. These projects were focused around economic and business development for the region.

Derrick Eube

Appointed 01/02/2010

Derrick is a Certified Practicing Accountant and a partner in one of Newcastle's largest locally based accounting firms - Crosbie Warren Sinclair. Derrick's strengths lie within buinsess services, providing advice to both small and medium sized business's for nearly 20 years in Newcastle, Hunter Region and Northern NSW.

Derrick lectured at the Hunter Institute of Technology (TAFE) in finance and operations for new business owners in the hospitality industry. Being actively involved in the business community Derrick has a strong network within the finance and legal industry and industry associations such as the Australian Hotels Association and the Hunter Business Chamber.

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