|About the Speakers
Air Vice-Marshal (Ret) Neil Hart AM
Strategic Defence Advisor
QUEENSLAND DEPARTMENT OF STATE DEVELOPMENT
Neil is an experienced leader and facilitator with expertise in strategy development, national security, emerging capabilities, organisations and risk management.
Neil is currently a Strategic Defence Advisor to the Queensland Department of State Development, with a focus on the Aviation and Space sectors, as well as a member of the Ministerial Advisory Council. He is a Professor at Deakin University, appointed Chair in Defence Technologies for the Institute for Intelligent Systems Research and Innovation. He also provides independent consulting, strategic advice and facilitation to a range of other companies and groups.
Neil served for 35 years in a range of Air Force, Joint, International, and Departmental positions giving him an extensive background in joint and emerging technology integration, working with government, military and aviation operations, international relations, leadership and safety. He remains active in the Australian Defence Force though the Air Force Reserve, including serving as president on a range of Airworthiness Boards, delivering lectures and courses and is on the Team Defence Australia panel.
Neil’s previous senior appointments as a 2-star within the Australian Defence Force were as Deputy Chief of Air Force, Head Joint Capability Coordination Division, Head Force Structure Review, and Head One Defence Implementation. As a 1-star he served in the appointments of Commander Air Combat Group, Director of the US Central Command Combined Air and Space Operations Centre, and Director-General Capability Planning in Air Force. Other key previous appointments include Director Special Operations Development in Special Operations Command, Director of the ADF Airworthiness Coordination and Policy Agency, and Deputy Director in the New Air Combat Capability project team.
Neil graduated with distinction from the Royal Australian Air Force Academy and was awarded a Bachelor of Science from the University of Melbourne. He is also a graduate of both the USAF Command and Staff College Course (Alabama) and the Royal College of Defence Studies (London). He is a fighter pilot and flying instructor with over 3000 fast-jet hours, including time on the F/A-18 Hornet, the Mirage IIIO and the Macchi Lead-in Fighter. He has served on flying squadrons operating throughout Australia and South-East Asia, culminating as Commanding Officer of Number 3 Fighter Squadron flying the F/A-18, including leading the squadron on an operational deployment.
Neil was born in the Sutherland shire of Sydney, raised in the Hunter Valley, and has lived, flown and visited all around Australia. He has been fortunate to also have lived in Malaysia, the United States and United Kingdom, as well as flying or travelling in South-East Asia, the Middle-East, Europe, and Africa. He and Ali currently live in Canberra with their three awesome teenagers, and he enjoys motorcycling, road cycling, flying, and watching Aussie Rules, Cricket and Rugby.
Senior Manager - Systems Analysis Lab (SAL), Phantom Works International
BOEING DEFENCE AUSTRALIA
Darin Lovett is the Manager of the Systems Analysis Laboratory (SAL) within Phantom Works International / Boeing Defence Australia. The SAL is the region’s most sophisticated experimentation and analysis facility for modelling and simulation.
He has more than 25-years’ experience in strategy and capability development for the Air and Space domains. His diverse background includes university lecturer, space operations and policy, weapons test and evaluation, flying anti-submarine and surveillance operations, coalition partnering, and large-scale transformation projects.
Darin has considerable experience in the space sector. He is a graduate of the International Space University, was a staff officer in Australia’s joint Defence Space Coordinating Office, spent four years on staff to the US Executive Agent for Space within the Pentagon, and most recently worked at the Chief Australian Space Operations Centre within Headquarters Joint Operations Command.
Darin has a Master’s degrees in Philosophy, Science, and Arts; and a Bachelor of Engineering.
Pamela A. Melroy - Former NASA Astronaut
Director - Space, Technology and Policy | NOVA SYSTEMS
Pam Melroy is a retired Air Force test pilot and former NASA astronaut and Space Shuttle commander.
She was commissioned in the United States Air Force and served as a KC-10 copilot, aircraft commander, and instructor pilot. Melroy is a veteran of Operation Just Cause and Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm, with over 200 combat and combat support hours. She went on to attend the Air Force Test Pilot School at Edwards Air Force Base, California. Upon her graduation, she was assigned to the C-17 Combined Test Force, where she served as a test pilot until her selection for the Astronaut Program. She has logged more than 6,000 hours flight time in more than 50 different aircraft.
Selected as an astronaut candidate by NASA in December 1994, Melroy reported to the Johnson Space Center, Texas, in March 1995. She flew three missions in space: as Space Shuttle pilot during STS-92 in 2000 and STS-112 in 2002, and as Space Shuttle Commander during STS-120 in 2007. All three missions were assembly missions to build the International Space Station. She is one of only two women to command the Space Shuttle. While an astronaut, she held a variety of positions to include performing astronaut support duties for launch and landing and Capsule Communicator (CAPCOM) duties in mission control. Melroy served on the Columbia Reconstruction Team as the lead for the crew module and served as Deputy Project Manager for the Columbia Crew Survival Investigation Team. In her final position, she served as Branch Chief for the Orion branch of the Astronaut Office. She has logged more than 924 hours (more than 38 days) in space.
Colonel Melroy retired from the Air Force in 2007, and left NASA in August 2009. After NASA, she served as Deputy Program manager for the Lockheed Martin Orion Space Exploration Initiatives program and as Director of Field Operations and acting Deputy Associate Administrator for Commercial Space Transportation at the Federal Aviation Administration. She went on to serve as Deputy Director, Tactical Technology Office at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). Pam Melroy now is Director, Space Technology and Policy at Nova Systems.
Jim Varghese AM
SPRINGFIELD CITY GROUP
- Chairman and owner of the Leadership Company Qld Pty Ltd
- Executive Director of the Springfield City Group
- National Chair of the Australia India Business Council
- Director of MindHive Pty Ltd.
- Deputy Chair of the Puuya Foundation serving the indigenous community of Lockhart River in North Queensland.
- Chair of the Gandhi Salt March Ltd which delivered the successful 2017 Power of Peace Festival.
- 30 years’ experience as a Chief Executive in leading government agencies covering Transport, Main Roads, Education, Training, Employment and Primary Industries in both the Victorian and Queensland public sector.
- Jim Varghese was commissioned by the Queensland government to chair and deliver the 2017 independent review of the personalised transport industry in Queensland.
- He has also recently chaired and completed an independent White Paper on Australia’s red meat industry for the red meat advisory council which has been positively received by the Australian Government and key stakeholders.
- Centenary Medal for services to the Public Sector
- Order of Australia for Services to Public Sector Reform and Services to the Community.
- Fellow of CPA Australia, Australian Institute of Management, Royal Institute of Public Administration and Australian Marketing Institute.
- BA (Hons), B.Div University of Queensland
- Dip Ed., MBA, University of Melbourne