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Mix of new and old faces on board as FCO looks to the future in business opportunities in the Fraser Coast

July 15th, 2015


THE new board members of the previously embattled tourism entity, Fraser Coast Opportunities have been announced, featuring a mix of new and old faces.


Fraser Coast USQ executive manager Brett Langabeer, Stockland Hervey Bay centre manager Paul Kelsey and former CEO of the Queensland Symphony Orchestra, Libby Anstis are the three new members of the FCO board.

Southern Cross Media Fraser Coast and Bundaberg general manager Greig Bolderrow and Fraser Coast man, Dr Paul Cotton successfully re-applied for their positions, with Dr Cotton replacing Mayor Gerard O’Connell as chair.

Cr O’Connell said he was pleased with the mix of new and old faces selected.

“They have varied skills, including running large organisations, and are passionate about the Fraser Coast,” he said

The five members have been appointed for two years.

Henry Sapiecha

*Comment-So how is the new team going to change anything when previous members are in control of the panel?

We shall wait & see I suppose..Hi Paul. Doug Kelsey’s son.

No manager for FCO Fraser Coast Opportunities position

May 19th, 2015


EXTERNAL consultants will be employed by Fraser Coast Opportunities on a needs basis to replace the position of a full-time investment attraction manager.

Following a meeting on April 15, the Fraser Coast Regional Council voted to conduct a review into the structure of FCO.

Included in that structure review would be the appointment of an investment attraction manager, currently vacant along with the general manager role.

Despite a recruitment process being finalised and candidates short listed in April, Mayor Gerard O’Connell said the appointment was on hold.

But yesterday he confirmed the position would not be made into a full-time role in “the foreseeable future”.

Cr O’Connell said the benefit of not having an investment attraction manager was the ability to hire specific consultants.

“To be able to get ready-made firepower, if I can call it that,” Cr O’Connell said. “Consultants who have got very focused and expert abilities, we thought that would be a better use in getting the investment attraction.

“For instance if we were going to really ramp up investment attraction in aviation, let’s go and get an aviation expert.”

The investment attraction office has been left vacant since the highly respected Scott Rowe resigned in August 2014.

Cr O’Connell said momentum was building for the restructuring of FCO.

He and the council’s CEO, Lisa Desmond, along with councillors Stuart Taylor, Darren Everard and Chris Loft have removed themselves from the FCO board.

Expressions of interest have gone out for new independent directors

EDITORS NOTE:- Grand idea & workable if done in the right manner.

However it would still require a member of council to decide what area is needed to be promoted for the consultants to work on.

This little black duck [me] was the advisor for investment to the Pine Rivers Council in the shire at Brisbane north side before the amalgamations of the councils there.

I did the deals on a shopping centre at Kallangur & the huge AMCOR paper mill at Brendale by attracting them into the developments & even sold properties to the council & its head solicitor.

The council heads are aware of my & my credentials yet I received no expression of interest forms to fill out. So who did they send the forms to & decide not to appoint anyone anyway.

Does that speak of the quality of the applicants or just a change of direction by council?

What we have had to deal with in this council & previous councils is that none of them have had any real experience in developments & really have limited knowledge of what major investors want. Any investments made in this shire have already been decided by the investors & the council members are just shirt tailing the developments for political mileage.

We have good people on council but there need to be some experienced persons in the system.

Talk fests & committees are great if they are focused on what will attract developers & investors & action it accordingly.


Henry Sapiecha


November 8th, 2013




THE upcoming boom of jobs in the North Lakes region will have an impact so big it will directly affect the unemployment rate.

That’s the assessment of Sarina Russo Strathpine Manager Matt Perry, who said interest in projects like Costco was at an highest high among local job seekers.

The North Lakes Times can reveal almost 9500 jobs are up for grabs in the next two years in the trade, management and retail sectors.

The bulk will come from the Moreton Bay Rail Link (8000), but will also include Costco (410), Bunnings North Lakes (160), Bunnings Brendale (420) and Super Retail Group’s Distribution Centre at Brendale (620).

“That’s huge. We’re talking large international organisations.” Mr Perry said.

“I haven’t seen this kind of growth this quickly before.”

Visit our NATIONAL SKILLS WEEK section for more jobs stories

Small Area Labour Market figures for the quarter from December 2012 to March 2013 have the unemployment rate in Mango Hill/Griffin at 4.8 per cent, below the national average of 5.7 per cent.

“We’ll see it (local unemployment rate) come down,” he said.

Mr Perry said the of the roughly 1000 clients served by Sarina Russo Strathpine, close to 90 per cent were interested in retail or warehouse work.

But he said there would be another side to the story, with the impact on small “mum and dad” businesses yet to be seen.

American retail giant Costco did not put a date on when applications for retail are set to open when contacted by the North Lakes Times.

But construction on the $35 million project began earlier this month.

The $38 million Bunnings North Lakes will open it’s doors in late October.

Recruitment for the project is almost completed, with 160 positions once complete, with more than 230 jobs were created during construction.

It will be the biggest Bunnings in Queensland, at a size of store size of more than 19,000 square metres and parking for 490 cars

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Henry Sapiecha the editor,was directly instrumental in achieving developments in the Mango Hill, Strathpine, Brendale, Kallangur, Bray Park, Petrie areas of Brisbane Qld.He had a business there called Queensland House & Land as well as Compac Realty Pty Ltd. Owned and operated the Northside Home Display centre, Greyhound training facility in Kallangur and & land developments in that area with over 20 persons employed by him. Sold development property to the then Pine Rivers Shire Council for their new works depot & to the shires head solicitor a land parcel designated for subdivision that was designed by Henry Sapiecha. He and his company Compac Realty Pty Ltd were appointed project managers for a new shopping centre development in the shire attracting many large players in the commercial & retail world. Once the project got off the ground major players were clamoring for positions in the development in case they missed out.He was given the project management above the Hookers, Ray Whites, Professionals etc because he was able to demonstrate how best his services could be utilized to the benefit of the property owners. There is a lot more to the story. Interested & qualified persons can contact Henry Sapiecha on a need to know basis for a consultation.

Henry Sapiecha settled a sale of a large industrial acreage of land for AMCOR paper mill for their new multimillion dollar factory complex at Brendale

He was a consultant to the the then Pine Rivers council on commercial & industrial matters.

Property & business valuers were constantly contacting the offices of Henry Sapiecha to determine values of properties in the Pine Rivers Shire as he specialized in that field and had the biggest real estate offices in the north of Brisbane

The area of what is known as the Fraser Coast has got so much of it wrong due to self serving lobbying groups centering their efforts on land that is of little interest to the major players in industry.

The council in their well meaning intent has listened to people who know very little about nothing as to how best serve this area to promote growth and employment.

I have seen so many groups & individuals engaged by the local council & other government departments over the last several years with very little to show for it. The commercial developments currently proposed to be built have had nothing or very little to do with any efforts by council or consultants in getting the developments here

The so called talk fest groups sit around & talk rubbish in the main part with a misguided view of what big business wants & needs

The reality is that the major players in commerce & industry are already aware of what they want to make something work & just need these things presented to them to see if they meet their criteria.

The entire Fraser Coast/Wide Bay Region needs to be assessed on a ‘big picture’ & ‘long term’ level and by anybody’s understanding to date all efforts to do so have been cosmetic, placatory or politically driven at best.

Yes we have an extremely high unemployment rate here

**If you have some input into this argument please comment as it would contribute to the possible growth of this region of how we should be looking at development in the Fraser Coast Region






July 13th, 2013


finger pointing man

To their critics, they are the faceless men of corporate Australia – influential but inscrutable, unaccountable yet holding in their hands the fate of workers and executives alike. Often, cynics say, they are brought in to endorse a plan the chief executive and board intended all along – a plan that usually involves cutting jobs

They were there when Pacific Brands hatched its plan to shutter its Australian clothing factories and slash jobs. They were hired by the federal government to lay out the path of the national broadband network – the biggest infrastructure project in Australian history.


Australia Post chief executive Ahmed FahourASX chief executive Elmer Funke KupperCommonwealth Bank chief executive Ian Narev

Former BHP Billiton chief executive Marius KloppersNAB finance executive director Mark JoinerPacific Equity Partners managing director Tim Sims

NAB finance executive director Mark JoinerSt George Bank CEO George FrazisZAH_gallery_1-20130712221253140499-496x620

Now they are inside Qantas, Fairfax Media, National Australia Bank, Telstra and other companies big and small, and government departments, too.


Their longevity is a result of their reputation, their alumni insist.
Their longevity is a result of their reputation, their alumni insist.

They are the management consultants – influential guns for hire whose services come with a hefty price tag, staffed by the brightest, youngest things top-notch universities can produce.

Since the first, McKinsey & Co, arrived in Australia in 1962, the top companies – McKinsey, Bain & Co and Boston Consulting Group (BCG)- have become ubiquitous, their influence and alumni networks spreading deep into boardrooms, academia and government.

To their critics, they are the faceless men of corporate Australia – influential but inscrutable, unaccountable yet holding in their hands the fate of workers and executives alike. Often, cynics say, they are brought in to endorse a plan the chief executive and board intended all along – a plan that usually involves cutting jobs.

But their defenders – including many of the men and women who once worked for them – say they simply have an intense focus on serving their clients, and on finding solutions to the public and private sectors’ most perplexing problems.

”One of the things consultants can do is help you broaden your scope and lift your eyes above the horizon,” veteran executive and director Rod Eddington says.

A former consultant says: “They have a very intense focus on getting to the heart of a matter – working with the most senior decision makers and relentlessly winnowing their work to provide as sharp a point of view [as possible]. They really do stand or fall on the basis of the quality of their work.”

Bain and Co has been hired by Fairfax, while BCG is examining NAB’s cost base. In recent times, management consultants have tackled everything from potential changes at Wesfarmers’ pokie machine operations – a job handed to BCG last year – to McKinsey’s Project Oyster at Pacific Brands, a ”transformation” that involved outsourcing production and ditching brands.

One big transformation job by McKinsey was Project Breakout at ANZ in the early 2000s, which aimed to reshape the bank’s ”political and bureaucratic” culture. McKinsey, with KPMG, was also hired in 2010 to produce an implementation study on the national broadband network. The price tag: $25 million.

Indeed, depending on the number of consultants deployed and the time taken on a job, the fees can mount to tens of thousands of dollars a day, and reach into the tens of millions of dollars for a project.

But while their job partly involves steering clients through change, the world is changing around the consultancy firms, too.

They are having a good year, but upstarts are encroaching onto their turf. ”The consulting arms of the big four accounting firms have closed the gap on them,” Beaton Research + Consulting founder George Beaton says. ”And new forms of competitor are coming along.”

Big companies, baulking at the fees and looking to cut costs, have also become smarter and more discerning about how they use consultants.

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Boral chief executive Mike Kane, for example, recently decided to hire one consultant from a leading firm to train his staff to carry out a cost-savings review, rather than a whole team. ”I was prepared to pay for proven techniques and approaches and to have someone coaching and asking questions along the way, but I didn’t want all of the identified cost savings going to pay for a team of consultants to do the job,” he says.

The latest available accounts for two of the three top consultancy firms shows revenue has shot up in recent years.

Accounts lodged with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission show BCG’s Australian earnings jumped by more than a third in two years – from $109.8 million in December 2009 to $149 million two years later. Net profit more than doubled to $12.5 million in the same period.

McKinsey Pacific Rim lifted revenue from $73.7 million in 2009 to $106.6 million in 2011, and net profit surged from $10.4 million in 2009 to $13.1 million in 2011.

A crucial part of the consulting groups’ business model is their carefully burnished reputations as elite “thought leaders”, set apart from the other firms, big and small, that make up the crowded consultancy sector.

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Their “frameworks” are the stuff of corporate legend. BCG’s Growth Share Index, for example, which dates to the 1970s, classifies assets as stars, cash cows, question marks and – for low-growth, low-market-share companies – dogs.

McKinsey’s 7S framework urges companies to think differently about organisational issues, while its MACS framework, standing for Market Activated Corporate Strategy, is designed to help a company decide what businesses it should own.

The firms cultivate close relationships with top business schools and publish research – such as BCG’s Value Creators rankings – to remain in the news. “These firms have been quite good at developing the idea that they are ahead of the curve, they come out with new innovative ideas, they all have magazines, they encourage their partners to write books,” Chris Wright, of Sydney University’s faculty of economics and business, says.

Over the years, they have helped shape public policy in areas such as industrial relations, productivity, education and manufacturing, through their work for governments, companies and industry groups such as the Business Council of Australia.


But it is, perhaps, through their powerful alumni that their presence is most felt.

McKinsey might have finished its national broadband network implementation report three years ago, but its DNA remains at the organisation, with one of its alumni, Siobhan McKenna, chairing its board, and another, Diane Smith-Gander, serving as a director.

Commonwealth Bank chief executive Ian Narev was straight out of McKinsey when he was recruited as the bank’s head of strategy by Ralph Norris. ASX chief executive Elmer Funke Kupper and former BHP Billiton chief executive Marius Kloppers both did time at McKinsey, as did opposition environment spokesman Greg Hunt, and entrepreneur and former Victorian Labor MP Evan Thornley

BCG’s alumni include Australia Post chief executive Ahmed Fahour, NAB finance executive director Mark Joiner and St George Bank chief executive George Frazis.

And Jetstar chief executive Jayne Hrdlicka worked at various stages for Bain, along with Pacific Equity Partners managing director Tim Sims – one of many former Bain consultants in private equity and PEP in particular.

Bain’s most famous alumnus is former US presidential contender Mitt Romney.

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“It’s character building,” says Victorian Liberal MP Alan Tudge, who worked at BCG. “It’s a very satisfying role. You work incredibly hard and under intense deadlines, and it can become an all-encompassing job. There are very high expectations, and very high expectations from the clients, and a very strong professional drive to deliver for the clients.”

The companies’ burgeoning ranks of alumni reflect, in part, their high staff turnover – ”every two years, half the people go”, a former consultant estimates.

The long hours and relentless travel also mean many consultants leave when they find partners and have children, leading to the sector’s reputation as a training ground and a young person’s pursuit.

This intense work – and the relative youth of many consultants – leads to long-lasting friendships.

Despite the rumoured ruthless “up or out” policy of the groups – jettisoning consultants when their careers hit a rut – the firms take pains to keep in close touch with their alumni.

This has led to the perception that former consultants stick together, and dole out plum jobs to their old firms once they reach the top of the corporate or bureaucratic tree.


However, former consultants deny this. “Working the relationships is of course part of it but the executives’ arses are on the line – they need to defend their choice of adviser,” one says.

“Sure, it does give consulting firms great advantaging in getting future work if you help people who are leaving get jobs and they might become clients,” another says. “But it can be a bit overrated. Some people say it’s a secret society like the Freemasons. I have never felt obliged to do anything for an alumnus of the firm I worked for.”

And says a third: “I still know a lot of people that I met when I was at [the firm]. It is not as though they are the reason I got a job or they get jobs because of that or that there’s some kind of vast web of people [from the firm] running the country.”

Yet the strength of the alumni relationships is clear when you track the career path of successful former consultants.

Some of them, having made an impression, stay behind when a consultancy has finished its project with a big company, or are hired years later. They, in turn, hire people they know and trust.

Hrdlicka’s first client at Bain in Australia in the late ’90s was a thirty-something Alan Joyce, then in charge of Ansett’s route network.


After the consultancy gig for Ansett ended, the pair stayed in touch and, more than a decade later, Joyce, who by this time was Qantas chief executive, offered her a job in 2010 as head of strategy and information technology.

Hrdlicka’s predecessor at Jetstar, Bruce Buchanan, had a five-year stint at BCG, during which he led the team that prepared the business case for Jetstar. Joyce and former chief executive Geoff Dixon asked him to stay on at Jetstar for six months, and it turned into an eight-year stint at the budget airline.

Ironically, the management consulting industry is itself being shaken up by new outfits with new operating models, which say they are making headway.

The new competitors include Internal Consulting Group, a two-year-old venture led by former Oliver Wyman consultant David Moloney, whose clients, he says, include most major blue-chip and government entities in Australia. “We would easily be one of the fastest growing companies in Australia and certainly the fastest growing consulting firm by any measure,” Moloney says.

He points to a lack of innovation in the consulting sector, saying it has barely evolved since its beginnings in the 1940s.


On the one hand, Internal Consulting Group is a professional association for consultants – providing everything they once relied on a firm to give them, such as insurance, administrative support or even a desk if they wanted one. On the other, it is a consultancy one-stop-shop for clients, who can pick and choose which consultants they want to hire for specific projects.

Cast Professional Services, founded by former McKinsey Australia managing partner Adam Lewis and former BCG principal Cindy Carpenter, has a hand-picked network of about 40 freelance consultants on its books. The idea is to give both clients and consultants more flexibility, but with the partner-level oversight of a big consultancy firm. Since its launch almost three years ago, Cast’s projects have included a corporate merger and strategy projects for big banks.

The new outfits are expanding as clients are closely examining their spending. Several companies have told Weekend Business they recently severed long-standing links with external consultants in an attempt to prune costs.

”A lot of businesses are looking very hard at consultancy spending across the board – from specific projects, to HR, to restructuring programs,” a senior manager says. ”If they are looking externally, it is on very limited terms, or they are doing it in house.”

For the $200,000 to $250,000 a small project would cost through a consultancy, companies could put on skilled professionals to do the project, then keep them on to use in other parts of the business. A lot of companies are doing this, the manager says. ”You’ll find consultancies are doing it tough at the moment.”

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When Kane took up the role of CEO at Boral late last year, he knew one of his first big tasks was a cost review. He also knew the company needed help to do it – but he did not want a big team of external consultants coming in, and Boral could not afford it.

“Instead, I wanted our own people to take on the project and to own the decisions, and to be well-equipped to do the task,” he says. This influenced his decision to choose one consultant at the “right” firm to come in and train Boral’s staff.

Yet Boral, like many other big listed companies, also has a ”handful” of executives and senior managers who have spent time in consultancies, whose skills Kane has called upon. ”It’s been very helpful to identify those individuals in the business and to leverage their skills and past experience,” he says.

The elite consultancy groups have weathered bubbles and downturns, and watched competitors come and go. They rode the boom of the 1990s, somehow escaping the fallout from the collapse of Enron, McKinsey’s client. They have survived the rapid growth of the IT consulting industry, which spawned giant listed consultancies such as Accenture. They withstood the tech wreck and the global financial crisis.

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Even the imprisonment of former McKinsey global managing director Rajat Gupta, for insider trading while a board member at Goldman Sachs, appears to have barely tarnished their cachet.

Their longevity is a result of their reputation, their alumni insist. This, they say, is the greatest rebuttal to one of the common criticisms levelled at the firms – that they are unaccountable, expensive rubber stamps brought in to endorse management’s plans.

”I’m sure there are times when a manager might have known what they want to do and they just want a rubber stamp,” a consultant acknowledges. ”Could that have occurred in some places? Yes, it probably could. You are just aware that when you are working with one of these particular firms, that firms that used to be viewed in a particular light no longer exist because they did something like that. You would get pressure from an executive that wanted a particular outcome. We would take it as a point of pride to resist it.”

There is an old joke that consultants are paid to borrow your watch to tell you the time. ”Well, yes,” says one. ”But if you walk in and the watch is in pieces all over the table, and there’s no clocks in the room, putting it back together can be helpful.”

McKinsey and Bain were unable to comment for this story.

BCG declined to comment.

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Henry Sapiecha