Staff

Our staff have a diverse range of qualifications and experience to ensure one of the team is a good match for your need, type of farm, business requirements and region.

Nerida Kerr – Executive Officer

Nerida brings a wealth of experience and a life-time commitment to agriculture, economic, community development and social service provision to her role with RFCS Vic-NE, which she commenced in July 2012.

Nerida previously held key regional roles with Regional Development Victoria in management, business and economic development and community capacity building.

She has worked in economic development with the local government areas of Wodonga and Towong, managed home and community care services and managed Neighbourhood House and adult and community education program delivery. During that time, she established and maintained extensive community, agency and business relationships and networks. Nerida also shares her skills through voluntary work in local and regional communities.

In March 2013, she was inducted into the Victorian Women’s Honour Role for services to the community, of which rural financial counselling was a major component. Nerida’s involvement with rural financial counselling services started in 1992 when she joined the inaugural committee of management of North East AgCare.

Nerida was also a founding member of Rural Financial Counselling Service Victoria – North East and remained a Director until she resigned, before taking up the Executive Officer position. Nerida studied Business Management, Social Work and Dairy Farm Management.

Nerida is based in our Wodonga office and regularly travels throughout the region.

Jan Barned

Jan Barned is a qualified accountant who has been specialising in assisting small business for over 20 years.  She is passionate about empowering business owners and managers to become self-sufficient in improving their overall business and financial performance.  She is an award-winning author, having published over 50 small business resources, and is an experienced speaker and facilitator.

Heather Bidgood

After being raised on a beef property near Wodonga then choosing to live and rear her family in the North East, Heather has well developed connections in our local communities. Her strong customer focus and the raft of complementary skills she gained via her work with an iconic electrical retailer, a family farming enterprise and more recently as the account manager for Henty Machinery Field Days, make her an ideal addition to our Agbiz team.

Maryanne Black

Maryanne has dedicated her career to agriculture and holds a Bachelor of Agricultural Science. Maryanne’s area of expertise is dairy and she provides a broad knowledge of livestock, broadacre and horticultural enterprises. She is currently based in our Numurkah office.

John Blackley

John moved to the Mallee from the very heart of Melbourne in 1970 and has made the country his home ever since. His 30 year journey in banking has taken him from Trainee to Relationship Manager right around rural Victoria and even across into South Australia and underpins his motivation to help people reach their business goals. He, his wife Sue and their two children are now settled in Shepparton where John also enjoys volunteering with Meals on Wheels and the Spark Reading Program.

Dan Fewster

Dan is an experienced general manager with over 20 years’ experience, both on the tools and at the helm within the IT industry. Dan’s passion to work more closely with the community has seen him join the team to help develop our core strategies as well as improve our service offerings.

Carl Fraser

Carl has a wide range of specialist knowledge from years of practical farming as a wool classer, shearer and farmer. He has applied this knowledge to serve AgBiz Assist clients. Carl specialises in sheep, beef, broadacre and horticultural farming services and is based in our Benalla office.

Malcolm Gillies

As a client focused CPA Accountant with management and accounting skills spanning a career of 30+ years, Malcolm has gained valuable skills within the corporate, manufacturing, sales and marketing arenas as well as in smaller enterprises.  He delights in assisting small to medium businesses reach their full potential within our ever-changing business environment.

Sara Hely

Over the last 20 years, Sara has held management roles in agricultural research in state and federal government as well as large investors in rural research, development and extension within the agricultural science and rural industries. She has a PhD in climate change research and specific knowledge in the grains industry. She has also worked extensively in program and project management roles, in strategy development and implementation.

Brian Hinneberg

With more than 25 years’ experience as a Business Advisor in central Victoria, Brian has worked closely with agribusinesses and small businesses to improve business capacity, promote business diversification and assist with disaster recovery and succession planning. Brian is passionate about assisting rural businesses to become financially empowered through working with them to develop ideas, make good business decisions and plan for the future. Brian is in Shepparton our office.

Andrew Hipwell

Andrew’s vast experience in dairy farming and cropping positions him well to understand all aspects of farming operations. He has worked in the dairy industry in customer liaison roles for many years. As a strong advocate of community volunteering, Andrew has also held many related positions which saw him win the Shire of Campaspe 2016 Citizen of the Year. Andrew is in our Shepparton office.

Roberta Horne

Roberta’s experience spans everything from working in the Adelaide bureau of an international news agency to spending 20 years at a small intergenerational winery in Rutherglen. Her strong relationship-centric marketing and communications skills are well aligned with how we like to engage with our rural communities.

Chris Howard

Chris has worked in the agricultural sector for over twenty five years. He is a passionate advocate for the rural communities of North East Victoria and member of a number of industry and community bodies in the area. Chris commenced with AgBiz Assist in 2008, initially as a Rural Financial Counsellor before taking on the role of Program Manager. Chris holds various qualifications in accounting, business administration and training and assessment. Chris is based in the Shepparton office.

Clinton Kilday

Clint brings more than 12 years of valuable experience and knowledge of the Information Technology and Telecommunications industry to his Account Management and Business Development role. His qualifications in multimedia and website development have already been acknowledged by his team taking out a prestigious Business Chamber Award for Excellence in Professional/Business Services.

Luke McLennan

With over 14 years’ working as a qualified accountant within large commercial enterprises and more recently supporting small business, Luke brings a breadth of experience to his role. Financial reporting, analysis, planning and forecasting are his specialities. He gets a real kick out of helping

his clients better understand accounting and bookkeeping as once they reduce the time they spend on administration tasks, their work/life balance also improves.

Serge Minicozzi

With 25 years of dairy farming experience, Serge brings extensive knowledge and a personal understanding of the difficulties faced by farmers. Serge commenced with RFCS Vic-NE in August 2016 and has previously worked with rural communities in North Central Victoria providing business management services and training. Serge is in our Shepparton office.

Jim Moll

Jim is an agricultural scientist/economist with over 20 years of experience in agricultural research and extension. His speciality is assisting clients to run profitable and sustainable businesses. His knowledge and skills cover a wide range of agricultural industries including dairying, broadacre grazing and cropping, irrigated grain, horticulture and viticulture. Jim is in our Benalla office.

Jackie Morgan

As an accomplished professional with hands on experience specialising in marketing, sales and the development of existing and start-up operations, Jackie’s interest in business and community are built on a personal understanding.

Her easy to understand, friendly and supportive approach is an easy fit for our organisation and reflects her enviable reputation for empowering others by cutting through the ‘tech-talk’ to close the digital gap and help them implement highly effective digital media and marketing strategies.

Edith Nicholls

Edith has worked in the agricultural industry for the previous 20 years, holding positions in Biosecurity, Animal Health and Emergency Management in various state government positions. Edith has extensive experience in the Dairy industry, having grown up on a dairy farm and worked as a Dairy Field Officer for an extended period in QLD and NSW. Edith join our Wodonga office in 2016 working through the lows of farm gate returns and high input costs.

Warwick Philpott

Warwick has been delivering professional services for the past 30 years across Victoria, NSW and Tasmania. He has a farming and small business background in addition to holding qualifications in business, finance, property and agricultural economics. Warwick is in our Benalla office.

Colin Rawnsley

With over 25 years of experience in the Rural Banking sector and a further 15 years in Business, Economic and Regional Development throughout the Northern Territory and South Australia, Colin has accumulated excellent skills and a knowledge base of agribusiness and the issues faced. He has had experience in dealing with Horticulturalists, Graziers, Cattle Station operators and Broad acre farmers. In 2006 he was one of the first in South Australia to gain the APEC Business Counsellor accreditation, a worldwide accepted qualification.

Richard Raymond

His expansive background in helping the agricultural and dairying sectors confront the challenges and ever present need to adapt and change has equipped Richard with a deep understanding of human nature and corporate culture. This has been key to his success in developing and implementing business strategy and change management practices within his leadership and human resources roles.

Kate Scriven

Kate’s love of rural life developed after her family spent time in Colac when she was a child so she didn’t hesitate when offered the opportunity to relocate to the North East in 2003. As a real ‘people person’ she was drawn to the hospitality industry where her talents for organisation and attention to detail were soon recognised. Her finely tuned client liaison, operational experience and friendly unflappable nature will be much appreciated by our clients and staff alike.

Darren Secomb

Coming from a broadacre cereal and prime lamb family property on the Adelaide Plains, Darren’s real-life experiences support his conviction that the best decisions are based on effective communications coupled with a thorough understanding of all aspects of business.

With the recent relocation to Victoria with his wife, Cherrie, Darren is keen to continue his career focused on assisting farming families with their financial management and succession planning needs. His career in rural banking and an ag science degree provide Darren with all the right tools to make a real difference in his role as a Rural Financial Counsellor.

Lyn Shannon

With a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture (Agronomy), Lyn has 18 years’ experience in irrigated cropping and pasture operations. Lyn has extensive knowledge of budgeting and bookkeeping, having ran her own irrigation farm business and provided bookkeeping services for corporate and large family farm businesses. Lyn is passionate about assisting people to understand their financial position and supporting them to make well informed business decisions. Lyn is in our Wodonga office.

John Steer

John, who is based near Wallan, holds degrees in both Economics and Education and has lived in the Mitchell Shire for almost 20 years. After successfully combining a background in farming international development, and small business with experiences gained over many years in the world of finance , he is eager to assist others to build their capacity to succeed and create more positive futures.

Lynda Wilson

Lynda’s farm background nurtured her strong interest in agribusiness and sustainable farming.  Her considerable experience supporting executives and teams in the public and private sectors in agriculture, education and local government, stands her in good stead to co-ordinate the compliance and office activities of the organisation and support the Board of Directors. 

Sue Wheildon

Sue’s strong background in public, private and not for profit sector administration has been well supported by exemplary qualifications in Psychology and Sociology. Fortunately for us, her love of rural life has kept her living locally and her experience in project coordination, grant management and client support have become invaluable assets in the very important role she plays, supporting our executive team.

Albert Zito

Albert’s Bachelor of Business as well as his comprehensive background as a management accountant within both large and small businesses allow him to do what he loves doing – helping others succeed. He’s worked in Melbourne and around the Goulburn and Murray Valley and also makes himself available to assist in the operation of a number of community, sporting and social clubs.