Rowing SA Board

The Board of Rowing South Australia is responsible for setting the strategic direction for the organisation and overseeing its activities.

The current position holders are:

Michael Harbison

Michael competed in the last Head of the River on the Torrens in 1968, winning the Under 16’s. He rowed in the St Peters College first eight, competing at the first Head of the River held at West Lakes.

Michael was very active as a rowing parent, supporting both Wilderness and St Peters College. He served as Rowing SA Chairman from 1998 to 2003 and Lord Mayor of Adelaide from 2003 to 2009.

Michael was appointed as President of Rowing SA in 2015

Chair (Appointed Director)
Philip Paterson

Philip was appointed to the Board in June 2015 to be the first “Appointed” Director under the new Constitution. The Board elected Philip as Chair in August 2015. A Chartered Accountant and partner with Grant Thornton for 30 years, Philip left the firm in 2012 to achieve a change of pace and to establish his own consultancy specializing in planning, problem solving and governance. Philip’s broad financial and commercial experience is valuable to the Rowing SA Board.

Philip has not rowed competitively but has connections to rowing that attracted him to Rowing SA, including many hours rowing dinghies around Goolwa and the Coorong as a child. Both Philip’s children rowed with Scotch College and Philip continues to be a supporter of the Scotch rowing program. In 2010 Philip was lucky enough to purchase an 18 foot Ken Basset “Liz” timber, sliding seat scull from its builder living on Scotland Island on the Hawkesbury River. Philip’s wife Sandra has recently taken to rowing. In support of that Philip purchased a Race 1 Wave-cutter single scull in 2015.

Three of the four family members are involved in recreational rowing. Philip looks forward to building the strength of Rowing SA in order to support everyone participating in rowing in South Australia.

Board Member (Appointed Director)
Georgina McGuinness

Georgina is an experienced media relations, government relations and stakeholder engagement executive, who has forged a career of more than 30 years in communications. For 25 years, Georgina presented Adelaide’s premier weekend news bulletin on Channel 9. Away from the news desk, she was also a senior journalist, sub-editor, producer, chief of staff and documentary presenter. Georgina has received awards for TV journalism and participated in a news presenter exchange with Adelaide’s sister city, Austin, Texas.

More recently, Georgina has been a speech-writer to two State Opposition Leaders and Senior Communications Adviser to the then Opposition Leader and now Premier, Mr Steven Marshall MP. This unique background across media and government has allowed her to establish a wealth of experience and expertise in communication, stakeholder engagement, key message development, publicity, branding and presentation.

In April 2014, she established McGuinness Media and in the four years since, she has experienced strong and growing demand for her services from local, national and international clients.

Board Member (Elected Director)
Jamie Grant

Jamie has a strong interest in rowing that has grown over the last five years, with the involvement of his son and his niece. He believes that if your children are participating in a sport, then the parents should contribute as well, and in Jamie’s case, the sport of rowing has become a passion for his whole family.

Jamie and his siblings operate three family businesses and have done so for the past 30 years. Operating his own business has taught him many skills, such as: financial management, effective communication, marketing & advertising, time management, logistics, corporate due diligence and event management. It is through these skills that Jamie can make a positive and effective contribution to the South Australian Rowing Community.

Jamie has previously held the positions of Vice President and President of the Prince Alfred College Rowing Club. The time spent in these roles led to his interest and successful nomination to the Board of Rowing SA in 2015, and Jamie has enjoyed carrying out the role with due diligence, for the betterment of rowing as a whole in South Australia.

Board Member (Elected Director)
James Hammond

James was elected to the Board in 2017. James has been an active member of the rowing community within NSW, the ACT and now SA for almost 20 years. Coaching for 12 years, James is passionate about developing young rowers into rowers for life.

Currently Director of Rowing at Prince Alfred College, James is regularly and actively engaged with many aspects of rowing in South Australia. James is an active member of the School Rowing Coordinators’ Committee often acting as a liaison between the committee and Rowing SA. James believes it is important for both Rowing SA and the rowing schools within SA to work collaboratively for the benefit the sport and South Australia’s rowing community. While currently involved primarily with schools James remains sympathetic to the needs of clubs and believes firmly in a united, productive and successful rowing community.

Formerly Executive Officer of Rowing ACT James has an intricate understanding of the operational processes within state rowing associations along with the governance of rowing nationally. Under the direction of the Board of Rowing ACT James managed the daily operations of the organisation which has given him unique experience of the many processes involved in Rowing SA from governance and strategic planning to accounts and asset management and even regatta operations. James is grateful for the opportunity to bring his experience and expertise to the Rowing SA Board to make a positive contribution to Rowing SA in the best interests of all members of the rowing community.

Board Member (Elected Director)
Andrew Hannon

Andrew is the Group Commercial Manager for Viterra and has general management experience in Australian and global business entities. With a Masters in Agribusiness and Diploma of Finance, Andrew has experience managing the requirements of a large scale organisation across multiple stakeholder groups.

Andrew is a Ministerial appointment to two agricultural industry consultative committees working with regulators and government departments at federal and state level. Through working with company Boards, corporate and industry bodies, Andrew has an excellent understanding of appropriate governance models to ensure the achievement of positive outcomes, supporting all participants.

As past-President of Saint Peters Girls Rowing, Andrew introduced a sustainable funding model and implemented the use of an innovative marketing and communications plan. This plan delivered significant program improvements for athletes and parents.

Andrew is a former national and state sailing representative, a competing member of the Adelaide Rowing Club and the current holder of the Moffat Le Page Masters Trophy. Andrew remains keen to deliver on the strategic development objectives of the Rowing SA Board.

Board Member (Elected Director)
Greg Melbourne

Greg has been involved in rowing for over 40 years, starting as a coxswain back in 1974 and progressing to being a reserve for a SA Kings Cup Crew. Over the years, Greg has actively been involved with the Riverside Rowing Club, at times being their Association delegate, Club Captain, President and is now a Life Member.

For the past 23 years Greg has been a State umpire, including 19 years as an Australian umpire at national regattas, and a FISA umpire for over 12 years at international regattas. Greg’s dedication to the rowing community includes assisting SASI with transporting their athletes to training camps and National regattas interstate.

Outside of rowing, Greg is self-employed and has previously worked in various legal firms in Adelaide for 14 years, and in the cleaning industry for over 12 years.

Greg brings to the Board a vast knowledge of rowing, as well as an unbiased and fair approach to all athletes and all members of the rowing community. Greg is the current chair of the Umpire and Volunteer Subcommittee.

Board Member (Elected Secretary)
Richard O’Dea

Richard was appointed to the Board in August 2015 and is a member of the Riverside Rowing Club. He was a competing Masters rower for Riverside from 2007 to 2013 and is currently taking a break from competing due to family (primarily children’s sport) commitments. He is the parent of a schoolboy rower for Pulteney Grammar School.

Richard is a Principal at the legal practice, Madsen O’Dea, and was previously the Managing Partner of a mid-tier corporate and commercial legal practice in Adelaide. He was a member of the Board of Pulteney Grammar School from 2002 to 2013 and was the Chair of that Board from 2009 to 2013. His experience as Managing Partner of a legal practice, and Chair of the Board of an Independent School, has given him a strict understanding of the delineation between governance and management to focus on each of the following:

  • The continuous engagement of stakeholders affected by decisions of the Board
  • The rigour of all processes (including nomination processes – and internal governance policies and procedures)
  • Opportunity and crisis management
  • Financial and governance integrity

Richard’s work for the Rowing SA Board this year has included strategic planning, reviewing the suite of documents which regulate the governance of the Association (including the By-laws and the Constitution) and attending upon Judiciary Committee hearings.

Board Member (Elected Director)
Steve Pennington

Steve’s involvement in rowing began at school, including in the First VIII, followed by a couple of seasons at Adelaide University Boat Club. He returned to rowing through the Masters at Riverside where he also served on their committee for several years and was boat captain. As well as local and National regattas, he has also completed at a number of FISA World Masters Championships. In addition to competing, he is a level 3 coach and an RA umpire. He has also participated in a number of other sports including rugby at state and junior national level, sailing, hockey and soccer coaching.

Steve has had two terms on the RSA Board, 1998 – 2011, during which the last building extension and the course upgrade to international standard occurred and more recently 2013 to the present, a period of major changes in the management of all sports driven by the Australian Sports Commission. He has also served on a number of school boards. This background in both rowing, the more recent history of the Association from SARA to RSA and management through boards has allowed him to serve both the interests of the rowing community as well as the growth and development of rowing in SA.

Board Member (Elected Director)
Helene Wipf-Grant

Helene is a current member of Torrens Rowing Club and has been an active member of the rowing community since 2011. She has been involved as a competitive member, umpire, and coach, since learning to row at West Australian Rowing Club as a master.

Helene’s business background includes over 12 years of extensive and specialised consulting in the Resources and Infrastructure industries. She has worked internationally and nationally, and has postgraduate qualifications in Project Management, Business Leadership, and Change Management. She has extensive skills in stakeholder engagement and communication, and experience in risk management and governance frameworks for business. Helene also advises business on integrated management systems, policy development and strategic planning, as well as conflict resolution.

Helene enjoys developing the next generation of professionals and acts as a business and career mentor for participants of The University of WA Career Mentor Link and the Australian Women in Resources Alliance.

As an active volunteer, Helene contributes to causes where her skills and passions intersect and, with a profound love for rowing she is keen to contribute to the growth of the sport through:

  • Improving participation of the sport of rowing in SA and representation of our State athletes at all levels
  • Increased opportunity and inclusivity for rowers of all ages, abilities and background
  • Better coaching frameworks and coaching resources for Clubs
  • Enhanced development pathways for athletes and the deployment of national best practice selection for State and National competitions
  • Greater transparency and collaboration between Rowing SA, Clubs and School rowing in policy development and governance.

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