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Industry speakers

Learn from industry's finest

Learning from the lessons of those who have worked extensively on major projects is key to the John Grill Centre learning experience. Board members and senior executives from a range of industries join our programs to share their insights.

Jim McIlvenny
Senior Vice-President
The Dow Chemical Company

Jim McIlvenny is a Senior Vice President of The Dow Chemical Company and Chairman of the Dow Sadara Project Office responsible for leading one of Dow's key, large-scale investments designed to enhance the long-term profitability of the Company. He also sits on the Board of Directors for Sadara Chemical Company as Deputy Chairman and is Chairman of Sadara’s Project Execution Committee.

Jim joined Dow in Australia in 1982, and has since held a number of positions in the areas of technical service, sales, marketing, and business leadership. He has held the posts of CEO & Chairman of Filmtec Corporation, President & CEO of Hampshire Corporation, President of Union Carbide Corporation, and President Dow Asia Pacific. In 2009, he was named as a Senior Vice President of Dow with responsibility for the Performance Products Division which accounted for $13 billion in sales to Dow.


Michelle Tredenick
Non Executive Director
Bank of Queensland and Canstar

Michelle is a company director with extensive experience in businesses operating in a broad range of industries, including financial services, education and training, health insurance and the superannuation sector. She has deep experience in businesses and industries undergoing change and runs her own corporate advisory business advising boards and CEOs on strategy and technology.

Michelle currently serves on listed and private company boards, including ASX listed - BOQ and private company Canstar - Australia's leading ratings and research provider. She is also a Non Executive Director of Cricket Australia and chair of the IAG/NRMA Superannuation Fund. In the NFP sector, she is a Board member of the Ethics Centre and a Member of the University of Queensland Senate.

Her executive career included roles on the group executive teams of a number of Australia’s largest companies including NAB, MLC and Suncorp.

Sir David Higgins
High Speed 2, UK

David was appointed Chief Executive Designate of the Olympic Delivery Authority in December 2005 & appointed Chief Executive with effect from 30 March 2006. Prior to December 2005, he was Chief Executive of English Partnerships, the Government’s national regeneration agency, for 3 years.

On 1 April 2010, he was appointed a non Executive Director of Network Rail Infrastructure Ltd. On 28 September 2010, he was appointed Chief Executive of Network Rail Infrastructure Limited with effect from 1 February 2011 until February 2014.

On 1 January 2014, he was appointed Chairman of High Speed Two (HS2) Ltd.

David graduated in Civil Engineering from the University of Sydney & holds a Diploma from the Securities Institute of Australia. Following graduation, he spent time working in the UK & Africa, returning to Australia in 1981 & joined the Lend Lease Group, an international property & construction company, in 1985. In 1995, he was appointed Managing Director & Group Chief Executive of the Group.

Leigh Clifford AO
Qantas and Bechtel Australia

Leigh Clifford was appointed Chairman of the Qantas Board on 14 November 2007, having been a Qantas Director since 9 August 2007.

Leigh is also a Director of Bechtel Group Inc in the USA and Chairman of Bechtel Australia Pty Ltd, Senior Adviser to Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co, Chairman of the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute and a member of the Council of Trustees of the National Gallery of Victoria, and also Chairman of the National Gallery of Victoria Foundation.

Leigh retired as Chief Executive and Director of Rio Tinto, after 37 years with the company, in 2007. He is a qualified mining engineer, having graduated from the University of Melbourne with a Bachelor of Engineering (Mining) and a Master of Engineering Science.