Our People

The Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service is an autonomous organisation that has a team of pilots, aircrew, engineers and staff that provide administration and marketing support under a Board of Directors

Cliff Marsh OAM - Patron of the Service

Cliff Marsh has been appointed as the first Patron of the Service and was a director from 1991-2017, and Chairman from 1992 to May 2017. Extensive experience in mine management, personnel management and training including 5 years as Personnel Manager, BHP Mines.  Extensive experience in competition, coaching, administration, and team management in the surf lifesaving movement and community special events management.  Life Member Swansea Belmont SLSC, Hunter Branch SLSA, Surf Life Saving NSW and Surf Life Saving Australia.  Inductee of Hunter Region Sporting Hall of Fame and Surf Life Saving Australia Hall of Fame.

There are 10 voluntary members of the Board of Directors who represent the local community.

John Davis BA – Chairman of Board

John Davis was appointed as Chairman of the Board on 31 May 2017. John has been a director since 2015. John chairs the nominations remuneration and governance committee and is a member of the marketing committee  John was a Partner of Sparke Helmore Lawyers from 1978 until his retirement in 2012, and was the firm's National Managing Partner (CEO) from 2004 to 2009. He has worked for many corporations particularly in procurement and contracting both with and for government at all levels; planning and environmental services for both government and private sectors; and commercial property projects. He has extensive experience in governance systems as he led the transition of his firm from offices in Newcastle and Sydney into the national presence it expanded into in recent years.

Peter Kilmurray - Solicitor, Public Notary

Peter has been a director since 1996, and is a member of the Finance Committee. He is a former President of Cooks Hill SLSC and is the principal of Kilmurray Lawyers in Newcastle.

Ross Taggart - B.Comm, FCPA

Ross chairs the Audit & Risk Committee and is a member of the Finance Committee and the Nominations, Remuneration & Governance Committee. Ross is a local accountant and Managing Partner of Taggart Partners.  Ross  joined the Board in 2010 and  is a Life Member of Merewether SLSC and sits on the Public Practice Committee of CPA.

Katie Brassil - GAICD

Katie joined the board in 2011, is the Chair of the Company’s Marketing Committee and is a member of the Nominations, Remuneration & Governance Committee. Since 2006, Katie has been Centennial Coal’s General Manager External Affairs. Katie has extensive experience across all three levels of government and with demonstrated specialist skills in economic development, public and government relations.

Cr Nuatali Nelmes - B.Bus, MAICD

Nuatali has been a director since 2015.  She was elected Lord Mayor of Newcastle in November 2014 after serving six years on Newcastle City Council.  She has served on a number of Council Committees overseeing coastal revitalisation, recreation, urban planning and design, assets, and catchment management.  Nuatali has a Bachelor of Business degree from the University of Newcastle with a double major in industrial relations/human resource management and marketing.

Cr Bob Pynsent

Cr Bob Pynsent has been a director since 2013. He has been the Mayor of Cessnock City Council since 2012, having been elected as councillor in 1999. He is a former board member of Hunter Valley Wine Country Tourism (1999 to 2008), and is a current board member of Hunter Resource Recovery. Bob is also a board member of Cessnock Men’s Shed and is an active member of the Rotary Club of Kurri Kurri. He is a former assistant principal in the NSW Education Department.

Peter Jordan

Peter is the President of the CFMEU Northern Mining & NSW Energy District, an organisation which has been one the longest and most valued supporters of the Service since it began.  Peter is a member of the Company’s Finance Committee and has been an independent non-executive director since 2007. He has more than 30 years experience in the Coal Mining Industry as a Union Official involved extensively in dispute settlement of legal and industrial matters and direct negotiations of Workplace Agreements. He has been the President of the CFMEU Northern Mining & NSW Energy District since 2009 and is a Trustee of the Mineworkers Trust.

Max Cathcart

Max Cathcart has been a director since 2013 and is the Chairman of the Company’s New England – North West Regional Advisory Committee, is a member of the Company’s Audit & Risk Committee and the Marketing Committee.  He is an experienced aviation professional with a strong background in the engineering and general management disciplines of that industry. Since retiring from the aviation industry Max has completed a number of roles as a consultant specialising in completing feasibility studies for aviation industry projects, government defence contracts, and general management & administration. He is the former General Manager of the Tamworth & District Chamber of Commerce and Industry and during his period as a Councillor on the former Parry Shire Council he has served on many local government advisory committees. Max is currently an active volunteer for a number of community organisations in the Tamworth region.

Chrystal Lockyer - Dip Business

Chrystal represents the staff of the company on the Board and was elected in 2016.  She has extensive experience in retail management (7 years), and was the Membership Coordinator for Newcastle Jockey Club for 2 years. Chrystal joined the Service in 2012 as Receptionist at the Broadmeadow Base and was promoted to her current role as Executive PA to CEO & Operations Department in 2015.

Nat MCgregor - B.Comm, CPA, MBA, Dip Financial Services, GAICD

Nat joined the board in May 2017. He is the Chief Operating Officer of the University of Newcastle. In this role he oversees the following areas of the university's business units/functions: Financial and Commercial Services: Infrastructure and Facilities Services: IT Services: Legal Office and Strategy Planning and Performance.


In the New England – North West an Advisory Committee was established to assist the organisation and the Board.

  • Max Cathcart (Chair) (representing Tamworth Chamber of Commerce)
  • Kevin Anderson MP (Member for Tamworth – NSW Parliament)
  • Sharon Grellman (Support Group Chair - Wee Waa)
  • David Kelly (representing Barraba) Hamish McLaren (representing Walcha)
  • Lindsay Maybury (representing Quirindi) Cr Colin Murray (representing City of Tamworth)
  • John Wearne AM (representing Bingara)
  • Ross Whittaker (Gunnedah - CFMEU Northern Mining & NSW Energy District)
  • Cr Col Murray (Mayor Tamworth Regional Council)
  • Hamish McLaren (Walcha)

Senior Management Team The Service is managed by a senior management team representing the organisation


Richard Jones
Chief Executive Officer  

Peter Alcock
Company Secretary  

John Candy
Commercial Finance Manager  

Fiona Williams
Human Resources Manager  

Robert Jenkins
Operations Manager  

Michael de Winton
Chief Pilot  

Matthew Wallace
Acting Chief Engineer  

James Lawrence
Fundraising & Marketing   

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Engineering Manager