Program Committee

With over 20 years of experience in corporate management and having built and managed his own business enterprises, Chris has developed a broad range of skills and experience. He has had extensive experience in management, sales, and marketing roles primarily within manufacturing and distribution organisations within the Building and Construction Industry.

In recent years, Chris has provided Management Consultancy services specialising in strategic planning, emergency and disaster management planning, investigations and inquiries and process improvement. He is a member of a number of Boards including Crime Stopper Queensland and the Veterans Review Board and is the Vice Chair of the Queensland Advisory Committee for the Commemoration of the Anzac Centenary. Chris is a serving officer in the Army Reserve holding the rank of Colonel and is now posted as Deputy Commander of the 11th Brigade – Queensland’s Army Reserve brigade. Chris has represented the ADF on Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief working groups and exercises throughout Asia over the past four years. He has operational service in East Timor, the Middle East and the Queensland Flood Recovery. Chris is an Honorary Aide de Camp to the Governor General of Australia.

Chris provides his experience as an Independent Company director specialising in SME’s in the private sector.

Kate Fitzgerald is the Director Relief and Recovery within Emergency Management Victoria (EMV). Kate is responsible for leading the Relief and Recovery Directorate to develop and deliver relief and recovery reform across the sector through the Resilient Recovery Strategy and to lead relief and recovery emergency coordination across Government. Kate was previously a Director of the Australian Government Crisis Coordination Centre and Relief and Recovery Directorate in Emergency Management Australia. Volunteering has been a critical part of Kate’s career over the last fifteen years including with the State Emergency Service, Rural Fire Service and Australian Red Cross, including operational deployments in the Blue Mountains and Canberra Bushfires, Queensland Floods, Cyclone Yasi and Hurricane Sandy. Kate holds a Masters and Bachelor Degree in Emergency Management from Charles Sturt University and has studied as an International Fellow at the East-West Center in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Dr Bates joined the Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC as Research Director In 2017, where he Is responsible for managing the CRC’s research and utilisation program. Prior to joining the CRC, he was the founding Director of the Australian Institute for Disaster Resilience.

Dr Bates has formal qualifications in health and life sciences from the University of Melbourne and has worked extensively in the development, translation and commercialisation of research in industry, and in the research sector. He has significant experience in the development and delivery of undergraduate and graduate education in Australia and overseas and has taught at universities in Australia and Asia. John has worked in complex environments in areas including defence, public health, animal health, transport, higher education and food. John is an active volunteer in the Victorian State Emergency Service and Editor-in-Chief of the Australian Journal of Emergency Management.

Des Hosie is a 36-year veteran of the NZ Fire Service and Fire and Emergency New Zealand.

Currently the National Operations Advisor for Safety, Continuous Improvement and Lessons Management based in Fire and Emergency New Zealand’s National Headquarters he has extensive operational firefighting and rescue experience.

He has formed a Lessons Management Community of Practice in New Zealand called LessoNZ. Its function is to share lessons from incidents and exercises across the All of Government, Emergency Services, Defence and key infrastructure sectors.

Des is also a spokesperson for firefighter psychological wellbeing and speaks to both internal and external groups about PTSD and mental health challenges for emergency service personnel. As a survivor of work-related PTSD, he brings first person insights to his presentations.

Steve Jenkins is the National President of The Australian Institute of Emergency Services (AIES) having formerly held the positions of President and Vice-President of the Queensland Division and is the Institute’s representative on the Australian Emergency Management Volunteers Forum facilitated by the Commonwealth Government’s Attorney-General’s Department.  Steve is a volunteer fire-fighter with the New South Wales Rural Fire Service (Megan Brigade).  In September 2016, he was elected as a Councillor on the Bellingen Shire Council in New South Wales and is now Chair of the Dorrigo Saleyard Committee and the Council’s Councillor representative on the Mid North Coast Bush Fire Management Committee.

Steve recently retired from the Queensland Police Service (QPS) following a distinguished 34 year 5 month career.  During his career he served in numerous locations throughout Queensland including: Brisbane and suburban areas; Ipswich; Townsville: Cairns; Cooktown; and Mt Isa where he spent a substantial period of time in remote areas, particularly around the Gulf of Carpentaria and the Indigenous communities of Doomadgee and Mornington Island.  Steve experienced many facets of policing including: general duties; criminal investigations, he received appointment as a Detective; forensic crash investigations (advanced level); education and training; complaint investigations and disciplinary hearings; police communications centre operations and management; search and rescue mission coordination; project and program management (information and communications technology in particular); and extensive managerial experience which he gained as the officer-in-charge of varying sized stations and sections including a district police communications centre, 24-hour district headquarters station, and a 24-hour watchhouse. He also relieved at commissioned rank as a district inspector, district audit inspector, and regional professional practices manager.