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Meet the city leaders at the top of their game

These Gold Coast city leaders showcase the depth of business diversity in the city. They talk to We Are Gold Coast about their career highlights and challenges, the evolution of the city’s business landscape and the opportunities they see facing the Gold Coast over the next 10 years…

Craig Treasure | CEO – Villa World

Since taking the role of managing director and CEO of Villa World more than three years ago, Craig Treasure has increased sales threefold and has taken the affordable homes developer into the ASX 300.

For 30 years he has worked with the Gold Coast’s biggest developers – first as a consultant, and then at Sunland and today at Villa World Group.

He’s seen booms and busts, but says these can be handled through astute management.

As Treasure’s career has progressed, he has grown to see the value of empowering staff and investing in a company’s culture and says this has been integral to Villa World’s success.

Hailing from Central Queensland, Treasure initially dreamed of being a mining surveyor, but once he saw the bright lights of South East Queensland, he never went back.

There are a few more bright lights in the sky on the Gold Coast today than there were 30 years ago, and Treasure has played no small role in helping that happen.

To read more about Craig Treasure, including his thoughts on the current property cycle, check out his We Are Gold Coast profile.

Vin Cox | Managing Director – Magic Millions

Vin Cox took the reins of the Magic Millions carnival as Managing Director in 2011, and since then, he has groomed it like the offspring of a champion filly.

Cox has presided over record sales, rising prize-money and a growing franchise of sales meetings. He has a strong reputation among breeders and buyers, and has put on race meetings that are major drawcards for the Gold Coast.

Cox is among the most respected men in racing Australia-wide, having learned from and worked with some of the biggest names in the business, such as Reg Ingles and Rogers Beazley.

To read the full interview with Cox, which includes discussion about his childhood dreams, leadership, and most memorable Magic Millions race day, check out his We Are Gold Coast profile.

Annabelle Chaplain | Chair – Queensland Airports

Annabelle Chaplain was one of the first students to go through Griffith University when it first opened its doors in 1975, and now the businesswoman has come full circle in her role as chair of Queensland Airports Ltd.

Having completed Modern Asian Studies, Chaplain spent much of her career working abroad in Taiwan and Hong Kong, before beginning an investment banking career working primarily in Sydney and Melbourne.

However, her home has always been Queensland and she jumped at the chance when the opportunity to head to the Gold Coast arose in 2014.

As chair of Queensland Airports, Chaplain is responsible for oversight of a board that manages a portfolio of four regional airports in Queensland – Gold Coast, Townsville, Mt Isa and Longreach.

Gold Coast Airport is the largest in the portfolio and remains a key focus for capital expenditure to cope with rising demand.

A $300 million upgrade, codenamed Project LIFT, is expected to double the size of the city’s international gateway over the next four years with the first stage to be completed in 2017, in time for the Commonwealth Games.

The upgrade will include three new wide-bodied aircraft stands, a three-level terminal development and up to four aerobridges.

To learn more about the expansion of Gold Coast Airport and connectivity challenges and opportunities facing the city, check out Annabelle Chaplain’s We Are Gold Coast profile.

Kenton Campbell | Founder – Zarraffa’s Coffee

Kenton Campbell’s rough childhood imbued him with a desire to achieve something more in life, to ensure money wasn’t an issue and to provide his own kids the settled life that he never had.

The opportunity to do just that came through coffee, first as a cart operator in Seattle, and then as a coffee store owner on the Gold Coast.

Campbell opened his first Zarraffa’s Coffee store at Australia Fair, Southport, in 1997 and the second came two years later at Harbour Town.

Today, there are around 74 Zarraffa’s Coffee stores Australia-wide and Campbell has ambitions to continue expanding both in Australia and New Zealand.

Campbell is known as someone with almost unlimited energy – and it is not just due to the quad shot Americano with cream and honey that is his favourite coffee – and he puts that energy into everything he does, from his business, to conservation efforts in Africa, to his family, and fight against cancer.

To learn more about Campbell’s childhood, the challenges he faces in business and why he loves living on the Coast with his wife and three sons, check out his We Are Gold Coast profile.

Tim Brailsford | Vice Chancellor – Bond University

For Bond University Vice Chancellor and President Tim Brailsford, the real test of an individual comes when the going is tough, and that is evident in the approach that the university takes with its students.

Even as Bond strives to stay ahead of the technological curve, Brailsford maintains that it is more important to develop the student as a person.

“We think about transforming peoples’ lives, and not only so they are different people in terms of what they know, but in terms of who they are,” he says. “It is not just about giving you a degree in subject X, it is much more than that.”

Australia has enjoyed a period of prosperity since World War Two and Brailsford believes that perhaps the generations since have not been properly tested. That frames Bond’s focus on teaching the skills and personal qualities needed to respond to adversity.

“The great challenge we have for businesses generally in Australia at the moment is about individuals and extrapolating their value into the organisation as a whole,” he says.

“After all, organisations are really just an extension of a group of individuals.

“When things get really tough, how are we going to react? How are we going to make decisions? That test is yet to come.”

To read more about Tim Brailsford, including his thoughts on leadership, higher education, business and entrepreneurship, check out his We Are Gold Coast profile.

Suzie Wright | CEO – Digga Australia

While it might seem like an industry largely dominated by men, Gold Coaster Suzie Wright is proving that gender is no barrier when it comes to manufacturing in Australia, and argues that it should be embraced by more women.

The businesswoman, a rigger by trade, is at the helm of Digga Australia, a leading manufacturer of planetary gear boxes, attachments and drive systems that employs around 215 staff globally and turns over about $50 million a year.

Wright has led the company since 2004 and is responsible for a number of successes, including the consolidation of its handful of operations in Australia to one large facility on the Gold Coast; rescuing troubled Kanga Loaders and successfully integrating it into the Digga business; and establishing a large manufacturing plant in the US.

Wright talks to More Gold Coast about how she copes working in a ‘man’s world’, her vision for a Gold Coast centre of excellence for manufacturing and design, the state of the manufacturing industry in Australia, and what is next for the thriving Digga business.

To read more about how Wright copes working in a ‘man’s world’, her vision for a Gold Coast centre of excellence for manufacturing and design and the state of the manufacturing industry in Australia, check out her We Are Gold Coast profile.

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