Life & Founding Members

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    Nick Hartgerink

    Nick Hartgerink is a Wollongong-based media consultant and writer. He worked as a journalist at the Illawarra Mercury from 1977 to 2001. He was Editor from 1995 until 2001, when he established his own media consultancy providing media advice and writing, publishing, editing and MC-ing services. Since then he has worked with many Illawarra and national clients.

    He is the author of eight books, including a best-selling biography of Wollongong's world motorcycle champion Wayne Gardner and a history of the University of Wollongong, published in 2011. His most recent is RMB: 130 Years of Legal leadership 1885-2015. He has been a member of the Illawarra Connection since its inception.

    Other positions Nick holds include:

    - Chair, Regional Advisory Committee, NSW Cancer Council Southern Region

    - Board member, Illawarra Regional Information Service

    - Media Advisor, iAccelerate

    - Honorary Publicity Officer, Illawarra Folk Festival

    - Honorary Publicity Officer, Folk By The Sea Festival

    - Judge, NSW Country Press Association Newspaper of the Year Awards.

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    Janine Cullen

    Janine has more than 30 years’ experience in the media, public relations, event management and marketing. She has worked in management and as a senior journalist with all facets of media, including press, television and radio, both locally and nationally. Janine founded JC The Power of One, one of Wollongong’s leading communications companies, in 1986.

    Janine has involvement in many charity organisations and received recognition for this recently, being named the 2015 Wollongong Citizen of the Year by Wollongong City Council.

    Janine also has an Order of Australia medal, awarded for her service to Business and Regional Development.

    In addition to her role on the Board of The Illawarra Connection, Janine is also the Deputy Chair of the Light and Hope Committee and the International Women’s Day Committee in Wollongong, a Councillor on the NSW Business Chamber, a Director of Kiteboarding Australia Limited and Greenacres Disability Services, an Illawarra Committee Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, and past Deputy Chair of the Illawarra Regional Development Board and the Illawarra Business Chamber.

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    Wendy Gee

    Wendy was born in England, educated at South East Essex Grammar School and later at the South East Essex Technical School and School of Arts, Wendy excelled in English, Mathematics, French and Art, and she went on to take degrees in Marketing and Home Economics.

    Wendy went into her first business before she was aged 20 when she opened an up-market hairdressing salon and boutique chain, which she operated for 14 years. This was followed by time as National Sales/Marketing Manager for the Microwaves Division of Phillips Major Appliances where she was the driving force responsible for sales of 1 million dollars’ worth of microwaves sold in nine months. Then in 1987 she met her present husband Doug and decided to come to Australia in 1991 to retire!

    Retirement meant that she joined the radio division of WIN Television in Wollongong where she helped progress the then 2 Double O up in the ratings. When local radio went FM some 18 months later and 2 Double O became i98 she spearheaded the station’s climb to the top ranking spot in the local market.

    Wendy left i98 in 1996 and established her own company, Wendy Gee Management, and took with her many of the clients she had serviced during her time with the WIN organisation. It was in 1997 she joined WAVE FM as Sales Manager, progressed to General Manager and is currently the Executive Regional GM for NSW overseeing all of the company’s commercial radio stations in NSW as well as their network of Country Music stations that were launched in 2007 under the Hot Country Banner. At the same time she continues to service her loyal personal clients under an agreement with the station’s owners.

    2017 sees Wendy celebrating 20 years with Grant Broadcasters. During her time with WAVE she has seen the station come from 15 points down in the ratings to hold top spot for two surveys. Wendy is also proud that WAVE continues to hold its demographic spot in the 30 to 54 year old market, and can’t speak highly enough of her staff and their devotion to their work.

    Wendy likes to support as many local charities as she can, whether personally or through the radio stations in NSW that she looks after.

    Her personal interest in the local Kidz Wish Foundation and the Youth Achievement Awards and The Disability Trust goes back many years. Wendy believes being able to help children with special needs and their families be a little happier not only brings its own rewards, it puts our busy lives into a reality check.

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    Roger Summerill OAM

    Roger has spent many years in broadcasting and has extensive experience in announcing/presenting, interviewing, journalism, production, programming, marketing, administration, consulting and teaching.

    He has held senior management positions at numerous radio stations, including 2GB and 2UW in Sydney, 2KA Western Sydney, the 6IX Radio Network in Western Australia, 2ST and PowerFM on the South Coast, WaveFM and the ABC. He was also responsible for the establishment of radio training at the Sydney Film and Television School.

    For seven years Roger was Manager Local Radio NSW for the ABC and was responsible for managing 702 ABC Sydney and the NSW Local Radio Regional network. During this period, 702 ABC Sydney was named Station of the Year at a number of Local Radio Awards presentations. Since leaving the ABC in July 2007 he has worked as a consultant to ABC Local Radio.

    While in the role of President and Chairman of The Illawarra Connection, Roger also held positions as the Deputy Chairman of RDA Illawarra, The Illawarra Grammar School and a member of the Anglican Media Council.

    Roger received the Rod Murdoch Memorial Award 1996 for Outstanding Contribution to Regional Tourism in NSW and the Order of Australia Medal 1999 for services to tourism.

    Roger was elected as the second President on 5 December 2005 and, after almost 12 years, announced on 1 August 2017 that he was standing down from the role and passing the mantle to Graham Lancaster. He was officially made a Life Member at the 2017 December dinner meeting.

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    John Glynn

    Professor Glynn has wide international experience in management development programs. He is an advisor to a number of companies, government agencies and departments including the National Audit Office (UK), The Australian Audit Office, the NSW Parliament's Public Accounts Committee and the OECD.

    Professor Glynn has particular interest and expertise in the areas of strategy formulation, management of change, financial management and performance appraisal across all levels of the public and private sector. He teaches accounting, financial management, public sector management and corporate strategy. His research interests are primarily public sector financial management and the management of change. Previous academic appointments in the UK were at the Universities of Exeter and Kent.

    Professor Glynn has a Doctorate of Philosophy, a Master of Philosophy and a Master Degree, all with an Accounting major.

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    Gerard Sutton

    The Patron of The Illawarra Connection is Professor Gerard Sutton, Former Vice Chancellor of the University of Wollongong, a role he held for 17 years.

    Under Professor Sutton’s leadership the University of Wollongong won two Australian University of the Year awards (in 1999-2000 and 2000-2001) and rose to be ranked among the top two percent of universities world-wide.

    Professor Sutton also led the development of the Innovation Campus, Graduate School of Medicine, Illawarra Health and Medical Research Institute and SMART Infrastructure Facility.

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    Barry Wood

    Barry is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (FAICD) and a Fellow of the Australian Society of Certified Practising Accountants (FCPA). He was a member of the Australasian Institute of Credit Union Directors (AICUD).

    With a special interest in strengthening social responsibility, ethical behaviour and community development, Barry held a number of honorary executive positions for various community and business organisations in the Illawarra Region. He was Chairman of City Coast Credit Union, a Director of Australian National Credit Union, a Founding Director of the Australian Social and Ethical Accountability Centre including the Social and Ethical Auditing Institute Inc, and Executive Board member of Centacare Catholic Family Welfare Services.

    Barry has also served on a number of Regional committees including the University of Wollongong Foundation Ltd. and the Illawarra Business Excellence Awards and is a member of the St James Ethics Centre.

    Barry held a position on the Board of The Illawarra Connection from 1990 until 2010, and remained in a non-Director capacity as the Executive Officer until his retirement in 2014.

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    Peter Kell AM

    Mr Kell is the former chief executive officer of Anglicare, former president of The Illawarra Connection and was the founder of Kells the Lawyers.

    He is currently a Board Member of The Illawarra Credit Union and the Community Alliance Credit Union.

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    Rod Cunich

    Rod Cunich has 37 years’ experience in consumer, business, corporate and commercial law and practice.

    A director of numerous companies and Not-For-Profit organisations over the last 35 years, Rod’s clients benefit from both his extensive legal expertise and his first hand commercial experience. In addition to being a practising lawyer Rod is a Certified Trustee & Estate Practitioner (TEP).

    Rod has lectured nationally and internationally on a range of topics relating to business transactions, business structures, corporate governance, wealth protection, personal estate planning and business exit planning.

    For the last five years Rod has managed Slater and Gordon’s Wealth Protection and Estate Planning Division Nationally.

    Rod is a former Director, and now a Life Member of, The Illawarra Connection.

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    Peter Newell OAM

    A retired daily newspaper editor and CEO, Peter has been associated with registered clubs for almost his entire life. Currently serving as Chairman of the Illawarra Steelers in Wollongong, NSW, where he has been a Director for 24 years, as well as serving as the ClubsNSW Chairman since 2004. Peter was elected as President and Chairman of Clubs Australia in 2008. Peter also serves as Chairman of ClubKENO holdings, is a board member of the New South Wales Institute of Sport and in 2011 was appointed a trustee director of ClubPlus Superannuation.

    In 2003, Peter received an Order of Australia Medal in the Australia Day Honours for his service to the community.

  • Jim Pearce

    Director of various family companies, retired from business activities since 1997. Jim has been a life member of TIC since 2001.

    Jim held the role of Regional Manager Chamber of Manufactures NSW between 1987 and 1993. While in this role there were many non-manufacturing businesses who indicated a desire to network socially, to share experiences and develop business relationships. Jim was part of a small group of like-minded people who invited former New Zealand PM David Lange to speak at the formation event of The Illawarra Connection.

    Other positions include:

    - Chairman Wollongong Legacy group 2007-2008

    - Manager Operations – Australian Business Limited 1994 – 1997

    - Director and Life Member – Illawarra Steelers 1981-1997

    - Director – Illawarra Technology Corporation 1991 – 1993

    Jim was a member of various state and federal regional development and community welfare bodies during the 1970s and 1980s and spent 29 years in managerial roles at Tubemakers Australia P/L.