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Bilby Macrotis lagotis. Image: J Lochman

Chief Executive Officer: Peter Zurzolo

Peter is the CEO of the Western Australian Biodiversity Science Institute. Prior to this appointment he was the CEO for the Future Farm Industries Co-operative Research Centre.

Peter has spent much of his career involved in agriculture with specific involvement in commercialisation and management. Previously, Peter was CEO and Executive Director of Interflour Vietnam and has held several Board and senior management positions.

Peter holds an M.B.A. from The University of Western Australia, a B.Com (with Honours) from Curtin University and a Post Graduate Diploma in Treasury.

Strategic Engagement Director: Preeti Castle

With expertise in strategic communications, stakeholder engagement, marketing, brand development and business development, Preeti has worked extensively across the corporate and not for profit sectors as well as with government and in consulting.

Preeti has significant experience in leading strategy development and implementation, in helping to establish, reposition and grow organisations, in engaging stakeholders through multi-channel strategies and in delivering sound business outcomes.

Preeti holds a B.A. in Communications, an M.B.A. from The University of Western Australia, and is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and is a Non-Executive Director of the Munda Biddi Trail Foundation.

Program Director, Subterranean Fauna: Dr Lesley Gibson

Lesley commenced with the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (then CALM) as a Research Scientist in 2004, within the Science Division’s Biogeography Program. As a survey zoologist for the Department, she has participated in a regional biological survey of the Pilbara and coordinated a major survey of Kimberley islands. In 2014, she commenced in the role as Leader of the Biogeography Program. Before working with DBCA, she was a Research Fellow with Deakin University, Victoria, for 2.5 years, developing predictive distribution models of rare and threatened faunal species.

Prior to this, Lesley worked in south west Queensland for 10 years, where she conducted research on macropods with Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service, and completed her PhD on the nutritional ecology of the greater bilby. Lesley has many research interests, but her current focus is on examining the distribution patterns of both plants and animals to help inform conservation actions to protect WA’s unique biodiversity. Lesley admits that she has been privileged in her professional roles in WA, as the opportunities to explore new and remote landscapes blends nicely with her personal love of the great outdoors.

Lesley was awarded a Bachelor of Science (Hons 1) from the University of NSW and a PhD from Sydney University. She holds a substantive position of Principal Research Scientist at DBCA and an Adjunct Associate Professor appointment at the University of Western Australia.

Program Director, Biodiversity Survey: Denise True

Denise has an extensive knowledge of the Western Australian landscape and ecology having conducted and managed numerous projects undertaking biological studies including, flora and vegetation, rare flora, and terrestrial and subterranean fauna surveys throughout the state. She has extensive experience in environmental management and impact assessment having worked across the private sector, non-government and government organisations.

Denise has applied her expertise and strategic approach for biodiversity outcomes at international meetings for the Convention on Biological Diversity in Nairobi and Montreal and as a representative on national and state bodies such as the Natural Heritage Trust State Assessment Panel and Bushcare Reference Group, and Ministerial appointments to the WA Threatened Ecological Communities Scientific Committee and previously, the Pastoral Lands Board and State Salinity Council.

With a comprehensive and detailed knowledge of the legislation and policy pertaining to biodiversity conservation, natural resource management and environmental protection in Western Australia, Denise has worked in government and led the development of subsidiary legislation for the protection of native vegetation under the Environmental Protection Act 1986.

Denise has a Bachelor of Science (Biology) from Murdoch University and a Masters degree in Intellectual Property Law that focused on the protection of Traditional Ecological Knowledge from Queensland University of Technology and the UN World Intellectual Property Office. She is currently undertaking a research thesis on the integration of indigenous knowledge in environmental impact assessment, with the University of New South Wales.

Program Director, Ecosystem Processes and Threat Mitigation: Dr Bruce Webber

Bruce has over 15 years’ experience as a research scientist focusing on the impacts of global environmental change on plant-ecosystem interactions.  Since 2009 he has been working with CSIRO in Western Australia to improve on ground outcomes for terrestrial biodiversity.  In collaboration with a range of land managers from the south west to the Kimberley, Bruce has led projects that translate novel research findings into improved management solutions to address the biggest challenges at the nexus of landscape change, species invasions and native species resilience.

Bruce has published over 50 peer reviewed articles with a focus on the role of plant-ecosystem interactions in shaping community composition.  He has led CSIRO’s biosecurity presence in Western Australia since 2014.  Previously Bruce spent four years working with the CNRS, the University of York and the University of East Anglia in France and the UK.

Bruce has a BSc (Hons I) in plant ecophysiology and PhD in plant-animal interactions from the University of Melbourne.  He holds a Senior Research Scientist role at CSIRO as well as an Adjunct Associate Professor appointment at the University of Western Australia.

Program Director, Information Management: Chris Gentle

Chris has over twenty years’ experience consulting at a strategic level within the information management industry for natural resources and government sectors. He has specialised knowledge in developing and implementing location-intelligence strategies and leading ICT strategy and implementation planning for resource infrastructure capital projects. Chris has a focus on customer outcomes with his multi-disciplinary expertise gained through years of working in the data management and systems as well as the engineering services industry.

Chris holds a Bachelor of Science from The University of Western Australia, a Graduate Diploma in Technology Management and an M.B.A. from La Trobe University.

Executive Assistant: Eilin Mangan

Eilin has extensive experience providing high level executive and administrative support to senior executives. Her strong administrative background covers education, information technology and banking.

Eilin’s previous roles include that of Executive Assistant at the Energy and Minerals Institute’s International Mining for Development Centre, as well as positions in the Vice-Chancellery, Public Affairs and the School of Business at University of Notre Dame, Fremantle and Vice-Chancellery at The University of Western Australia. She has lived and studied in Aix-en-Provence in France and travelled extensively in Europe and Africa.

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