Coffs Coast Advocate

Coffs Harbour's Most Influential - Part 7


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.


Agent pick of the week McGrath coffs martin wells
Martin Wells. Contributed

16. Martin Wells, McGraths Real Estate, Coffs Harbour Chamber of Commerce Committee President

As well as being an integral part of the local real estate market, Martin Wells has become a champion of local business, playing a vital role within the Coffs Harbour Chamber of Commerce, and the Sawtell Chamber of Commerce.

Martin and his hand-picked team, were crowned winners of the '2015 & 2014 REINSW small agency of the year' award, and hold four finalist titles.

Having served the local community for over 15-years as a Paramedic with the NSW Ambulance he brought with him to real estate the same credibility, professionalism, integrity and commitment to those he serves.


Chamber lunch with John McGrath at Pacific Bay. George Cecato (Chamber president), Martin Wells (McGrath realestate). 11 Februray 2016Photo: Trevor Veale / The Coffs Coast Advocate
George Cecato with Martin Wells. Trevor Veale

In 1994 he received from the Governor General the Australian Bravery Medal (Australia's third highest civilian award) for his role in a treacherous yacht rescue 30 nautical miles off Coffs Harbour, whilst a crewman on the Westpac Rescue Helicopter.

His philosophy and ethos is always to go above and beyond, and never give up until the job is done, and done right.

Martin was recently appointed as the Coffs Harbour Chamber of Commerce Committee President.


George Cecato
George Cecato Contributed

15. George Cecato, Deputy Mayor, Coffs Harbour City councillor, Coffs Harbour Chamber of Commerce Past President, Coffs Coast Tourism Association

As former head of the Coffs Harbour Chamber of Commerce, George Cecato has been the voice of the local business community.

The deputy mayor is a force to be reckoned with, and has worked tirelessly to lift the profile of local businesses.

He has also worked with members of the Chamber to create and implement initiatives designed to strengthen the local business community.

George has been a small business owner since 1985, covering Retail, Distribution, Transport and Logistics.

The last 18 years he has been the Licensee/Principal of his Franchise 'Thrifty Car and Truck Rental' covering Taree, Port Macquarie, Coffs Harbour and Grafton.


Coffs Harbour city councillorCr George Cecato. 22 March 2018
Cr George Cecato. Trevor Veale

His franchise is known within the Thrifty world as a benchmark for customer service, vehicle quality and presentation and for exceeding Thrifty standards, recognised by the many awards his franchise has won.

George firmly believes that the more effort, as individuals and business owners, we put back into the community the better off we all are.

He has been a proud Rotarian for almost two decades, was five years at the Coffs Coast Tourism Association as a Treasurer and President, and spent almost two years on the Jetty Foreshores Reference Group.


Coffs Harbour Golf Club pro Matt Allan was thrilled with the signed US Masters gift given to him by long time member Mike Blewitt.
Mike Blewitt with Coffs Harbour Golf Club pro Matt Allan. Brad Greenshields

14. Mike Blewitt, Mike Blewitt Ford, Coffs Harbour City Rotary

Mike Blewitt and his wife, Helen, have nurtured their car sales business so successfully over almost 40 years that they have provided hundreds of jobs over the years, and created a family legacy.

Mike Blewitt Coffs Coast car franchises are a study in effective family succession as one generation hands over to another, with another generation already in the wings preparing to step up.

The couple established the business originally as a Ford dealership in July 1978 after working in the industry in Melbourne and then Brisbane.

In 2003, Mike achieved his goal of retiring by 60 when at 59 years old he handed over his business to his son, Todd, who became dealer principal.

Now 15 years later Mike and Helen are delighted to see their oldest grandson Jackson, with his sales traineeship completed, joining the business.

In addition to creating one of the region's strongest, most successful and most enduring businesses, Mike is also a valued member of the Coffs Harbour City Rotary club, happily donating his time, effort and money to a multitude of community projects.

See our next three personalities tomorrow night.