Coffs Coast Advocate

Coffs Harbour's Most Influential - Part 4


Many desire it, only a select few command it and measuring it is a precarious task.

The Coffs Coast Advocate is doing exactly that, naming the men and women who in 2018 are influencing the future of Coffs Harbour.

It is, of course, highly subjective and will be debated in households from Bonville to Sawtell, Park Beach to West Coffs and right through to Woolgoolga.

Chins will wag, glass jaws will shatter and the only certainty is that no one will agree.

This online series will provide a unique snapshot of the way power is wielded in our great area.

And it comes in all sectors, business, politics, the arts, sport and health.

The one thing everyone on the list invariably share is a passion for our city and a drive to effect change in Coffs Harbour.

Indeed many are on the list on the strength of the work they have done to better the community and the wider Coffs Coast.

Much of this work is done without expectation of kudos or a "return on investment".

It's about civic pride and the desire to give back.

Here's the next instalment of our list as nominated by our committee.

Coffs Harbour Airport Manager Dennis Martin.
Coffs Harbour Airport Manager Dennis Martin.

25. Dennis Martin, Coffs Harbour Airport Manager

Dennis Martin has served as the general manager of the Coffs Harbour Regional Airport since 2008, playing a vital role in shaping the future of the airport.

Under Dennis' guidance, the airport has reached several milestones, due to the innovative growth strategy that continues to evolve.

However, Dennis' contribution to the Coffs community goes well beyond his professional career.

Denis Martin Manager Coffs Harbour Airport, Andrew Fraser member for Coffs Harbour,John Barilaro minister for regional Development NSW . at Coffs Harbour Airport re development.. 26 October 2016
Dennis Martin with Member for Coffs Harbour Andrew Fraser and Deputy Premier John Barilaro. Trevor Veale

Last June, Dennis was awarded an OAM for his many years of community service.

Dennis is involved in a host of committees and clubs; he was a member of the airport redevelopment committee from 1994 to 2008, a member of the North Coast Regional Tourist Board from 1985 to 1996 and president, secretary and member of the Rotary Club of Coffs Harbour at different stages since 1984.

Aunty Bea Ballangarry.
Aunty Bea Ballangarry.

24. Aunty Bea Ballangarry - Gumbaynggirr Elder and Coffs Coast Woman of the Year

Community-minded Gumbaynggirr elder Aunty Bea Ballangarry has been described as an inspirational mentor to women of all ages in Coffs Harbour.

The 2018 Coffs Coast Woman of the Year, is a core founder of the community initiative, WOW Women Of the World, Coffs Harbour. WOW has been connecting women and girls coming from socially, cultural and financially disadvantaged backgrounds since 2011.

She facilitates cultural awareness in a safe environment for women to connect and exchange stories through her Women's Story Circles.

Coffs  aboriginal elders  Aunty Bea Ballangarry and Mark Flanders. at North Coast Botanic gardens.16 JAN 2016
Aboriginal elders Aunty Bea Ballangarry with Mark Flanders. Trevor Veale

These Circles have been part of WOW and other community events via festivals and conferences, as well as putting Coffs Harbour on the international map at an International Women's conference in Katherine in 2015 and opening the Venice Biennale in 2016.

Michelle and Chris Worboys from Key Employment.
Michelle and Chris Worboys from Key Employment. Rachel Vercoe

23. Chris Worboys, Key Employment CEO

Since Chris Worboys set up Key Employment in 1991, he has been a leading light in providing employment opportunities for members of the community living with a disability.

Through Key Employment, Chris works to ensure clients get the same wages and employment conditions as workers without disability.

Key Employment is also committed to giving back to the Mid North Coast community.

Since 2013 Key has spent over $200,000 supporting local cultural and sporting events and Indigenous and Refugee groups, and supported over 400 disengaged and at-risk young people through the Key Youth Services programs.

Cosentino at the Coffs , Harbour Club Event. Michelle Worboys, Chris Worboys from Key Employment. 10 NOV 2017
Cosentino at the Coffs , Harbour Club Event. Michelle Worboys, Chris Worboys from Key Employment. 10 NOV 2017 Trevor Veale

Key Employment is proudly associated with various community-based organisations including Camp Quality, Clarence Valley Business Excellence Awards, Coffs Harbour Chamber of Commerce, Community Care Options, Curryfest, Head Space, Helping the Hungry - Woolgoolga, North Coast Special Olympics, Relay For Life, Sawtell Surf Club, and Warrina Women's & Children's Refuge.

In 2016, Chris and his work was recognised when Key Employment was named in the Coffs Harbour Chamber of Commerce Hall of Fame for Community Services.

See the next three personalities on our list on Monday night.