POWER 100: Michael Whittaker, Bruce and Denise Morcombe and Terri Irwin are among the Daily's countdown for the most influential people in the region. Photos: Patrick Woods/Che Chapman
POWER 100: Michael Whittaker, Bruce and Denise Morcombe and Terri Irwin are among the Daily's countdown for the most influential people in the region. Photos: Patrick Woods/Che Chapman

POWER 100: Coast’s most powerful people 20-11

TOMORROW we will finally reveal the most powerful person on the Sunshine Coast.

In today's Power 100 list, the Daily announces the individuals who round out 20-11 that made an impact in 2019.

The selections may surprise you, and we encourage you to share who you believe will make the cut for the top 10 most influential.

For the previous lists, head here:

20. Terri Irwin

YOU'D be hard pressed to find a person in this country who doesn't admire the wildlife conservationist's strength.

Mrs Irwin's devotion to Australia Zoo, one of the region's finest tourism exports, never wavered despite the sudden death of her husband and wildlife hero Steve Irwin in 2006.

Terri Irwin. Photo: Cade Mooney
Terri Irwin. Photo: Cade Mooney

Despite the growing profiles of her two children, Mrs Irwin's online presence still remains as strong as ever, boasting more than 300,000 followers on her personal Twitter account.

The zoo itself was recognised multiple times for its efforts in conservation last year and the Irwin family was honoured with the coveted Australian Tourism Legend Award in March.

It was announced in November construction had started at Australia Zoo on the major $8 million planned wildlife camping ground, Camp Crocodile Hunter.

 

19. Greg Hill

ALTHOUGH the Vice-Chancellor and President of the University of the Sunshine Coast confirmed 2019 would be his last in the leadership role, his impact on the campus will remain relevant for years to come.

USC Vice-Chancellor Professor Greg Hill.
USC Vice-Chancellor Professor Greg Hill.

Under Professor Hill's leadership, USC has transformed into a multi-campus institution growing towards 35,000 students, is rated five stars for teaching quality and continues to increase its research intensity.

The university also continues to expand its sporting wings, riding on the success of the Sunshine Coast Lightning and its USC Spartans swimming contingent, with the new $4.2 million Aquatic Exercise Facility opening in December.

 

18. The Morcombes

THE extremely dedicated child-safety advocates certainly need no introduction.

Bruce and Denise Morcombe have been household names for more than 16 years following the abduction and murder of their son Daniel.

Bruce and Denise Morcombe. Photo: Patrick Woods
Bruce and Denise Morcombe. Photo: Patrick Woods

Despite taking a step back from their commitments with the Daniel Morcombe Foundation, the pair still remain as vital voices within the child-safety conversation.

The foundation most notably opened Daniel House in February, its new national office and a counselling centre for young victims of crime.

It also recorded another successful year of Day for Daniel and the new location was visited by the Governor of Queensland Paul de Jersey during his tour of the Sunshine Coast.

 

17. Roy and Nola Thompson

TERTIARY education on the Sunshine Coast simply wouldn't be the same without Roy and Nola Thompson.

The generous couple have donated more than $14 million to the University of the Sunshine Coast, reiterating their staunch support of higher education.

Roy and Nola Thompson. Photo: Patrick Woods
Roy and Nola Thompson. Photo: Patrick Woods

Most notably, the Thompsons funded the Sunshine Coast Mind and Neuroscience Thompson Institute to the tune of $7 million, followed by a further $3.6 million for MRI imaging equipment.

The prolific philanthropists said in June they would back a major revamp of the Sunshine Coast Stadium, setting up the region to lure more national sporting teams in the future.

Having also tragically been touched by eating disorders in the past, the Thompsons again threw their generosity behind the endED Butterfly House which is set to open this year.

 

16. The Hall family

WHAT started as a one-man operation in 1946 has now grown into Australia's largest privately-owned company of its kind.

Hall Contracting, founded by Les Hall and continued by sons Brian, Peter and eventually grandson Cameron, has grown into a multinational dredging, civil and marine construction business.

Peter, Cameron and Brian Hall.
Peter, Cameron and Brian Hall.

Under Cameron's current leadership, the family company in June purchased the largest Australian-owned backhoe dredge, creating an opportunity for the business to undertake dredging projects that were previously limited to overseas contractors.

Sunshine Coast Council announced in December Hall Contracting had won the construction contract to transform a crucial Mooloolaba link road into a four-lane carriageway, with the upgrades tipped to come at a cost of about $7.5 million.

 

15. Michael Whittaker

OVERSEEING a council while ensuring game-changing projects in the region are delivered is no easy task.

Yet Mr Whittaker has successfully held the role for almost five years.

Sunshine Coast Council CEO Michael Whittaker. Photo: Greg Gardner Photography
Sunshine Coast Council CEO Michael Whittaker. Photo: Greg Gardner Photography

The Sunshine Coast Council CEO has more than 20 years' experience in senior and chief executive-level roles in both state and local government, which is sure to prove useful in his current role of facilitating one of the country's fastest-growing regions.

Among other projects, Mr Whittaker will oversee council's 10-level, $59.9 million City Hall to be constructed as part of the new Maroochydore CBD.

He also became a topic of conversation in October after council failed to notify ratepayers of its decision to extend Mr Whittaker's contract just over 12 months out from local government elections.

 

14. The Shadforth family

WITH so many large-scale constructions being built around the region, the Shadforths' name has been as prominent as ever in 2019.

The civil contracting firm co-founded by brothers Peter and John Shadforth in 1964 has become the region's largest operator of its kind.

Ray Shadforth.
Ray Shadforth.

Peter's nephew Ray is now the head of the multimillion-dollar business, employing hundreds of people and overseeing major projects that are shaping the Coast.

Between executing earthworks, electrical services and more in residential developments at Sunshine Cove in Maroochydore, Caloundra South, Parklakes II in Bli Bli, the Harmony estate in Palmview and others, the business has certainly kept busy.

In March the brothers told the Daily they were behind the major plans for a Coast glamping tourist park, with rehabilitation of the site expected to take up to three years.

 

13. Tony Wellington

NOOSA Council made history last year with Cr Wellington at the helm after being the first Queensland council to declare a climate emergency.

Not long after leading the push, the mayor was recognised nationally for his fight against global warming with the Cities Power Partnership Climate Ambassador Award in August.

Mayor Tony Wellington. Photo: Patrick Woods
Mayor Tony Wellington. Photo: Patrick Woods

Cr Wellington was also dragged into the national spotlight twice in 2019 after two Noosa councillors made headlines for all the wrong reasons.

He called for councillor Jess Glasgow to resign after his "misogynistic, crude and offensive" behaviour while on The Bachelorette in October, and spoke vehemently against councillor Frank Pardon after he was imprisoned for committing 10 sexual offences last December.

If successful in the council elections in March, Cr Wellington will this year host a major national summit to combat climate change, taking his commitment a step further.

 

12. Andrew Stevens

THE Project Urban managing director heads a team responsible for the region's most prominent development consultancy firm.

Andrew Stevens of Project Urban. Photo: Erle Levey
Andrew Stevens of Project Urban. Photo: Erle Levey

A quick glance at the Sunshine Coast Council's online development application website gives an insight into just how busy the business is.

Having lodged thousands of applications on behalf of their clients, Project Urban have underpinned developments valued at well over $1 billion across Queensland.

Under Mr Stevens' leadership, the company co-ordinated the successful application for a $60 million cucumber farm at Maroochy River in June and prepared a proposal for a huge 49.18ha tourism development project at Palmview in July.

 

11. Rachel Downie

IT WAS when a Year 9 student tragically took his own life as a result of bullying that Ms Downie decided she would become the voice of change.

The ex-educator is the founder of lifesaving platform Stymie, an online tool that allows students to anonymously report family violence, bullying, self-harm and more without fear.

Rachel Downie after winning the Queensland Australian of the Year. Photo: Warren Lynam
Rachel Downie after winning the Queensland Australian of the Year. Photo: Warren Lynam

The past year proved just how dedicated Ms Downie is to the cause, having been named Queensland's Australian of the Year for her work in supporting those who need it most.

Despite missing out of being named Australian of the Year, the Buderim woman proudly represented the Coast and is now working to expand on Stymie's platform for 2020.



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