The Board of Directors
Leonie Walsh ( Chair )
Leonie Walsh is a leader and adviser in strategic technology development and commercialisation. She has a background that spans more than 30 years of experience both locally and internationally across a diverse range of industries and applications.
Leonie’s career has traversed Government, industry and academia, involving participation on a diverse range of advisory Boards and committees. Most recently she performed the role of Lead Scientist for the Victorian Government, an inaugural position she held from 2013 to 2016.
Leonie’s current focus is within the renewable energy sector, involving an advisory role with Mondo’s Commercial Energy Services Forum and recent roles as Chair of the Victorian Government’s New Energy Jobs Fund and Battery Storage Initiative, Governance Chair of the Renewable Certificates Purchasing Initiative, and Working Group Chair for the formation of the Centre for New Energy Technology.
Adrian Panow is an experienced energy, resources and agrifood executive with international, private and public sector expertise in business and technology development, joint ventures, stakeholder engagement, commercialisation and program leadership. As the Director, Deakin Energy, Adrian provides leadership in positioning Deakin University as a preferred partner for industry and government in the delivery of innovative solutions to the sustainable energy supply challenges facing modern society. Adrian has responsibility for delivery of the 7.25MW solar and storage microgrid on the Deakin University Waurn Ponds campus to address research, energy cost and sustainability objectives.
Anna Skarbek has led ClimateWorks since its inception in 2009, guiding ClimateWorks’ independent research and advisory work analysing emissions reduction opportunities and partnering with government and business to unblock barriers to implementation. She brings considerable private and public sector knowledge to the role as an experienced non-executive director, investment banker, policy advisor and lawyer. Prior to ClimateWorks, Anna was Vice President, Advisory at Climate Change Capital in London, working as an investment advisor dedicated to raising and deploying capital for low carbon activities.
Terri Benson is Managing Director of South East Water, a role she has held since 2017. Terri has extensive executive experience, having held a range of executive and non-executive director roles in the government utility and private infrastructure sectors. She is a former CEO of SEQWater, Managing Director of Essential Energy and a former Chair of the Energy and Water Ombudsman NSW. Prior to joining South East Water, Terri was the Managing Director of Birdon, an engineering and services business providing innovative solutions to the military and marine industries. Terri is also a Board Director of CRC for Water Sensitive Cities and Board Member of the Water Services Association of Australia.
Michael Brear is Director of the Melbourne Energy Institute (MEI) at The University of Melbourne. He consults to both industry and government and his specialist research areas are: the analysis of transport and energy systems; the combustion of conventional and alternative fuels and; the stationary and mobile powerplant featuring engines, turbines, energy storage and renewables. Michael is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering Australia and the Australian Institute of Energy. Prior to commencing his role with the University of Melbourne, Michael worked for ICI Australia (now Orica), then undertook graduate studies at Cambridge University and post-doctoral research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Ivor Frischknecht has vast energy sector experience and is an expert in the transition of energy markets. He serves on the Board of Queensland clean energy generation entity CleanCo and on the Advisory Board of renewable infrastructure investor Elliott Green Power. He was founding CEO of the Australian Renewable Energy Agency and was previously a venture capital investor in clean energy. He is highly knowledgeable about energy in all Australian jurisdictions and spent a decade in energy and technology innovation in California.
Steven Neave is General Manager of Electricity Networks for Victoria Power Networks (VPN), a role he was appointed to in December 2015. He is responsible for Asset Management, Strategic Planning and Augmentation, Compliance and VPN’s day to day Operations activities. Steve commenced his career with VPN in 1989 when it was still known as the State Electricity Commission. He began his 30-year career as an electro-mechanical draftsman, engineer, moving into senior management roles responsible for design and more recently Control and Operations. Steven is an expert in Victoria’s electricity distribution system and more widely, operation of the National Electricity Market.
Alistair Parker is a senior executive within the energy sector, recognised for strategic leadership, his vision for customers, relationship building with key stakeholders and for the delivery of safe transformational business outcomes to shareholders. His extensive energy industry experience in Australia, New Zealand and Europe covers all aspects of large businesses, including strategy, asset management in critical infrastructure, regulation, operations, advocacy, crisis management and people development. Most recently, this has been as a senior executive in ASX top 100 listed energy company AusNet Services, interfacing directly with shareholders and the Board.
Professor Aleksandar Subic is the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research & Development) at Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne, Australia. Prior to this appointment, Professor Subic was Dean of Engineering and the Head of School of Aerospace, Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering at RMIT University. Over the past five years, Professor Subic has led a number of Industry 4.0 strategies and initiatives nationally and internationally through his roles on the Prime Minister’s Industry 4.0 Taskforce, the Australian Advanced Manufacturing Council Leaders Group, as Chair and Co-Chair on the Australian Industry Group (AiG) Industry 4.0 Committees, and as leader of the National Industry 4.0 Testlabs Network. Professor Subic holds positions on Governing Boards of the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI), the Victorian Centre for New Energy Technologies and the National Imaging Facility (NIF).
James Seymour ( Chief Executive Officer )
James is an experienced and passionate leader in the development and deployment of new technologies, particularly within the rapidly evolving energy sector. With more than 20 years of technology commercialisation experience, James has led the development and management of IP, technology, corporate strategy, policy and innovative business models both in Australia and internationally.
James has focused in particular on commercialisation of new energy technologies driven by changing consumer preferences, technology advancement and government policies. These technologies have included solar, battery/storage, IoT, microgrids and alternative networks, and the financing and policy environments that support such growth.
James’s professional career has spanned roles in venture capital, leading energy businesses in gen-tailing and distribution, government, solar manufacturing and new ventures.
James has been awarded a BEng (Chem), Grad Dip (Applied Science) and MBA from The University of Melbourne.
Monishka Narayan ( Program Manager )
Monishka Narayan is a Physicist by research profession. She has performed research on emerging technologies such as hybrid and organic solar cells. Monishka has worked for Energy Networks Australia as a program coordinator where she managed projects related to innovation and asset management. She has also been an energy correspondent for PV magazine where she published media articles on emerging technologies. Monishka is an experienced researcher and communicator and is now the program manager at C4NET.
Victorian Government Personnel
David Oglesby ( Senior Manager )
David leads the Emerging Energy Technologies team in the Victorian Government. The team focuses on initiatives that support the development of pre-commercial energy technologies and enablers, including green hydrogen, energy sector digitalisation, off-shore wind and innovative energy business models. David is also an experienced energy policy and strategy expert, having led the development of several whole-of-government energy strategies. David has had oversight of the Victorian Government’s involvement with C4NET from its initial design through to full operations.
Marika Wanklyn ( Manager )
Marika Wanklyn is experienced in complex project delivery within the energy and environmental protection areas. Having operated in government agencies and NGOs in Australia and overseas, Marika has worked with the Victorian Government in a variety of energy-related roles since her return from the UK. Marika led the incorporation of the Centre for New Energy Technologies and supported its early operations as an independent entity. She now works as Manager, Emerging Energy Technologies at the Victorian Government Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, in which she continues her liaison role with C4NET.