Judges

Judging for the Perth Airport WA Tourism Awards is conducted by a panel of industry peers appointed by Tourism Council WA.

All judges provide their time and expertise on a voluntary basis and are educated in the entire judging process including submission assessments, scoring guidelines, undertaking site inspections/interviews and providing adequate feedback to entrants.

The objective of the Awards judging process is to fairly and independently evaluate each entry through the formalised and professional assessment process.

The appointment of judges is designed to be completely transparent and all judges must meet strict criteria as well as be a representative of the tourism industry. They possess a strong knowledge of the operations of the industry and will be, or have been, involved in tourism or a similar service at a senior management level.

Each submission is assessed by three different judges. The final score is determined by the aggregate of the three scores (individual categories include an interview score).

Professional auditors oversee the WA Tourism Awards judging process. Their role is to audit submissions for compliance, audit score sheets and check conflicts of interest and confidentiality declarations.

Please find below a list and short biography of our judges.
 

Business Category Judges

Individual Category Judges

 

Top Tourism Town Judges

 

 

 

Pat Strahan - Chair of Judges

Pat commenced her career in the travel and tourism industry in 1984 and started her own business, Strahan Events, in 1990, organising both large and small international, national and State events. She was also CEO of Caravan Industry Australia WA for 15 years. Pat is now semi-retired and focusing on her voluntary commitments within the tourism industry. Her involvement with the awards began in 1995 as the WA Awards Co-ordinator, then a State judge and an Australian Awards Judge for the past 5 years. Pat was a founding member of Tourism Council WA and sat on the Board for many years and is currently a Board member of Visitor Centres WA and is a judge for the GWN7 Top Tourism Town Awards. She has previously sat on the Boards of the Caravan Industry Australia, Meetings Industry Association WA and the Events Industry Association just to name a few. In 2013 Pat was awarded the Sir David Brand Medal for her Outstanding Contribution to the Tourism Industry for which she feels very honoured.

 

Tabetha Beggs

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Tabetha Beggs is a proud West Australian, with over 20 years of experience in tourism marketing and stakeholder engagement. Tabetha has worked across a wide breadth of industries including; local government, tourism and the arts. She is currently the Manager of WA Partnerships and Industry for Tourism Western Australia and has been travelling across the State facilitating the Our Story - Spirit of Adventure Deep Dive workshops to assist regional destinations to find their unique stories. 

Tabetha’s previous roles include; CEO of the Kalamunda Chamber of Commerce and Marketing Executive for the City of Perth. She has also been actively involved with many not-for-profit organisations and small businesses assisting to strategise  towards sustainable futures in an ever-changing economic environment. She is the former Chair of Writing WA. She has lived and worked both internationally and regionally and is a dedicated ambassador for Western Australia and everything it has to offer.

 

Julie Coleman

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Julie has had a diverse career in public relations and marketing, running her own business, then working for the State Government and in the private sector. In 2011, Julie joined Perth Airport to manage the communications and marketing around the $1 billion redevelopment. In addition to this, in 2014, she became Manager of Corporate Affairs with responsibility for internal and external communications, community engagement, media, sponsorships and events. During this time, she developed an extensive network across the aviation and tourism sectors.

With the redevelopment nearing completion, Julie retired in mid-2016 to pursue her passion for travel and her commitment to promoting Western Australia as an outstanding tourist destination, and provide part-time consultancy services to the education and tourism sectors.

 

Dr. Donald Cooper

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Dr. Donald Cooper is an academic and tourism industry professional. He has combined a career within the tourism education field with hands on experience leading industry corporations in both Australia and the US.

He has lectured in tourism business studies at major Perth universities including Curtin, Murdoch and ECU. In addition, he has held a Principal Lecturer position at the North Metropolitan TAFE College, Perth. His sociological/tourism research has focused on the impacts of generational change and the importance of effective, focused marketing geared towards specific cohorts.

With experience in hands on leadership roles in airlines, coach touring and wholesaling in Perth, Sydney and Los Angeles, he is keenly aware of the highly competitive forces within and facing the industry and has hands on  experience in tourism business analysis and marketing.

 

Steve Crawford

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Steve Crawford is the Visitor Communications and Marketing Manager for the Parks and Wildlife Service at the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions.

With more than thirty year’s senior management experience including the Western Australian Tourism Commission (Tourism Western Australia) and Rottnest Island Authority, Steve has a wealth of tourism industry experience in such areas as tourism destination planning, nature-based tourism development, market research, trade marketing, tour operations, education and business enterprise development.  He has represented Western Australia on numerous national fora in such areas as Indigenous tourism, climate change, ecotourism, tourism planning and cruise shipping. 

Steve is currently Deputy Chair, Forum Advocating Cultural and Eco Tourism (FACET), a member of Edith Cowan University’s Tourism and Hospitality Consultative Committee, board member of Australia’s Coral Coast and (Alumni) Chair Curtin Business School Tourism Research Centre. 

His qualifications include undergraduate degrees in geography, social anthropology, regional planning and business as well as a Master of Business and Doctor of Business Administration. Steve is also a Fellow of the Australian Marketing Institute and a Certified Practicing Marketer.

 

Brendan Dugan

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Brendan currently serves as the Managing Director of Directions Hospitality Consulting with over 30 years of sales and operations experience in Australia and Asia. Brendan has dedicated the last 5 years to training Hospitality professionals in Australia and Internationally. Prior to transitioning to training, Brendan worked in various senior positions including General Manager and Food and Beverage Director.

Brendan possesses a Bachelor’s Degree in Business, and Advanced Diploma’s in Hospitality, Travel and Tourism and Events Management. Brendan is a member of the Australian Institute of Management and the Bali Hotel Association. Brendan serves as the State Chair of Judges for the Restaurant and Catering Association and has judged for the Clubs WA awards for excellence for the last five years.

He is a Certified Hotel General Manager (CHGM) from the International Hospitality Institute and has been recently inducted as the Australian Board Member and invited to be on the panel of leading industry representatives in the upcoming Global Hospitality Summit.

Scott Fleming

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Scott has enjoyed working in a variety of sectors within travel and tourism, both in government and private enterprise, in Australia and overseas. His work history includes management roles with Flight Centre Travel Group, Accor Hotels and Renaissance Cruise Lines.

Since 2006 Scott has been the Manager at Swan Valley Visitor Centre for the City of Swan. He is responsible for the strategic direction of visitor servicing in the Swan Valley and involved in all areas of tourism. With extensive experience in tourism, staff and financial management, he has the pleasure of leading one of Australia’s most successful and awarded tourism teams.

Scott has been on the board of the Visitor Centre Association of Western Australia, the executive committee of the Swan Valley Tourism Council and is an experienced tourism awards judge with the 7GWN Top Tourism Awards and the Perth Airport WA Tourism Awards.

 

Melissa Forbes

Melissa Forbes is an innovative brand and marketing professional with nearly 20 years of experience leading multifunctional teams across the government, hospitality, tourism, and travel sectors. As an unashamed parochial enthusiast of her home state of Western Australia, Melissa’s career history has been centred on destination and tourism promotion. As Tourism WA’s Senior Manager of Domestic and New Zealand Markets, she develops and leads the agency’s cooperative marketing strategy, including initiating marketing partnerships with key travel partners such as airlines, online travel agents, wholesalers, and non-traditional partners, with the objectives of extending brand equity and delivering increased leisure holiday visitation and spend to the State.

Prior to this, Melissa spent ten years leading Destination Marketing projects at the City of Perth where she was responsible for destination branding and delivering economic vitality and sustainability across the key visitor industries of retail, tourism, hospitality, arts, and events. She also led the Public Relations team at Voyages Hotels and Resorts, based at Ayers Rock Resort, representing a portfolio of accommodation, touring and dining experiences.

 

Stephanie Juszkiewicz

Stephanie Juszkiewicz is Senior Vice President Aviation Business Development at Perth Airport. For the past five years, Stephanie has been responsible for developing and implementing strategies that have expanded Perth’s air route network whilst growing passenger numbers. Stephanie is currently leading Perth Airport’s aviation recovery, targeting new markets and working with airline and industry partners to re-establish air connectivity.

Stephanie’s career background in aviation, corporate travel and hospitality includes leading brands such as Singapore Airlines, Corporate Travel Management and Sheraton Hotels across a range of sectors including finance, administration, sales and marketing. Stephanie holds a Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Arts (Asian Studies) from the University of Western Australia.

 

Marilyn Kestel

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Marilyn Kestel has been a judge for the WA Tourism Awards since 2016 and involved in the Caravan and Tourism industry since 1968, when she commenced managing the Plantation Caravan Park in Carnarvon, Western Australia, with her husband David.

Marilyn brings a wealth of experience and expertise. For over 40 years she has been an instrumental pioneer in the consistently evolving caravan and tourism industry, especially in Western Australia. She aided in establishing one of the first branded caravan park chains, Top Tourist Parks, now known as G’Day Parks into Western Australia and was one of the first park owners to fully implement a computerised booking system.

Marilyn, at one stage, was managing five caravan and tourist parks in WA. Her knowledge of ‘what a customer expects’ and how a park should be presented was critical to her success. Her hands on experience were defining in the planning, development and success of Palm Grove Caravan and Tourist Park Broome, Ningaloo Holiday and Caravan Park Exmouth and the establishment of the first of its kind, Lifestyle Village in WA, Riverside Gardens Estate, with 300 sites.

Marilyn’s excellent reputation was recognised when appointed the state manager for the introduction of Maui Motor Homes into the Western Australian market. She established depots in Perth, Broome and Alice Springs, finally overseeing the merger of Maui and Brits in WA. Only two years later, she was then tasked with leading the introduction of Kea Campers to the WA market, establishing an excellent operation. She retired from the motor home industry in 2006.

 

Tracy McCullough

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Tracy’s tourism career spans three decades of promoting, utilising, and experiencing Western Australia’s tourism product portfolio across the State and from top to bottom, in the public, private and not-for-profit arenas. Destination marketing, branding, product development and public relations roles with Tourism WA and Perth Convention Bureau have involved working cooperatively with regional tourism organisations, tourism operators, wholesalers, and the media, both at home and internationally.

As principal of a Perth-based destination management consultancy with a state wide focus, servicing the local, interstate and international corporate tourism markets and a broad range of multinational clients from various industry sectors has provided an insight to much of what Western Australia has to offer.

A passionate home-grown West Australian, Tracy holds a Bachelor of Business (Tourism) degree from Edith Cowan University, enjoys continuing to explore the corners of the State and is delighted to return to the Judges’ Panel in 2021.

 

Joan Mulcahy

Over many decades, Joan has had extensive Managerial experience with Australian and International Airlines, Travel Agencies and in the Vocational Education and Training sector.

Joan has been a committee member of Tourism WA’s International Marketing Committee and China Ready Working Group and previously judged Top Tourism Town Awards and the WA Tourism Awards. 

She has represented Western Australia at national level developing and implementing vocational training programs for the Travel, Tourism & Events industry sectors across Australia and represented WA on the executive committee and held the position of President of Australian TAFE Tourism and Educators Association.

Matt Norton

Matt commenced work with the Geographe Bay Tourism Association in 2009 as the Visitor Centre Manager. With the amalgamation of the AMRTA and GBTA, he was appointed the Tourism Services Manager, responsible for the MRBTA's four Visitor Centres and membership teams. In addition to his role as Tourism Services Manager, he has been the Chair of the Visitor Centre Association WA for the past three years and was involved in the amalgamation of VCAWA with TCWA, which has seen a united voice and increased exposure for Visitor Centres.

He believes in working together across all tourism industries, sharing information and experiences. He has been very supportive of the joint WA Tourism Conference where Caravan Industry Australia WA, the Visitor Centres WA and FACET joined with TCWA to provide a state tourism conference. He is a strong advocate in promoting the 'value of tourism' for Western Australia, attracting visitors to a vibrant capital city and from Perth to experience the diverse beauty of the regions.

 

Barry O'Sullivan

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For well over 30 years Barry had a long and fulfilling career with Tourism WA where he was lucky enough travel extensively across the length and breadth of WA.

His time also saw him involved in developing new tourism product while working as the Goldfields Regional Manager and worked with both domestic and international marketing teams to maximise the exposure for WA and the many amazing tourism assets the state has.

Barry remains passionate about WA and what we have to offer the world from a business, sporting and particularly, a tourism perspective.

 

Sally Pullin

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Sally has a diverse background in the tourism and hospitality industries over a thirty year career. After completing a Commerce degree at Curtin University, her earlier career was spent working up the chain of the five star international hotel sector through accommodation sales and conferencing and event management, before moving to the renown Melbourne caterer Peter Rowland Catering. 

Based at The National Gallery of Victoria, she was Group Venue Sales Manager managing a broad event management team across seven premium venues around Melbourne. 

After returning to WA in 2007, and along with her husband Craig, Sally now runs her family’s boutique accommodation property in Albany – The Beach House at Bayside – which has recently been inducted into the Qantas Australian Tourism Awards Hall of Fame.

Sally sits on the Board of Australia’s South West Regional Tourism Organisation and the Board of Tourism Council of WA, and her passion is to ensure that invested, small tourism business operators have a voice in the destination marketing discussion alongside Government and NGO representatives. 

 

Rod Quartermain

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Rod Quartermain has been in the tourism industry as an operator and administrator for nearly 40 years.

He was the Manager of the Tourism and Property Branch for the Western Australian Department of Parks and Wildlife until his retirement in 2017. Since then he has been a part time consultant on a number of ecotourism projects and is Deputy Chair of Australia’s Golden Outback.

His background is as an owner operator of small to medium size businesses in a number of business sectors in many states in Australia and also worked in the import/export sector in London.

He got into tourism in the early 1980’s and has been a cruise boat operator on the Murray River and in Queensland, operated and managed a heritage park in Victoria, a WA Tourism Commission Regional manager in the Gascoyne, CEO of Fairbridge WA and President of the Peel Tourism Association.

Rod joined the then Department of Conservation and Land Management in 1998 and became responsible for tourism industry policy, liaison, licensing, evaluation of commercial tourism proposals, research and marketing and leases. This includes coordinating the successful Naturebank program that identifies opportunities for commercial accommodation development in WA’s parks.

For five years he was chairman of the Tourism and Protected Areas Forum that has representatives from all Commonwealth and State protected area managers and tourism agencies. This group discussed common issues and to look at a consistent approach to the management of tourism in protected areas can be achieved.

 

Jim Sharp

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Jim Sharp is the former Director General of the Department of Parks and Wildlife, having retired in 2017 after 35 years involved in managing most of Western Australia’s magnificent marine and terrestrial areas. This also included 12 years as Director of National Parks.

Jim’s career has been characterised by a passionate commitment to creating opportunities for people to engage in high quality experiences in natural areas to both ensure a sustainable tourist industry as well as a constituency for their conservation.

He has overseen many major infrastructure developments and initiatives in managing and facilitating tourism in the natural areas of our state. During his involvement and leadership, visitation to our national and marine parks grew dramatically to reach over 17,000,000 visits per year.

Jim is the first honorary life member of the Bibbulmun Track Foundation, having been a board member since its inception as well as a former board member of the Mundibiddi Trail Foundation and a foundation member of the WA Parks Foundation. He was, for more than three decades, also a member of the World Commission on Protected Areas Working Group on Tourism.

 

Nick Vanderwoude

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As the Regional Manager in the state of Western Australia, Nick overseas and maintains key local relationships across Business, Government, Tourism and Regional markets on behalf of Qantas Airways. The role is critical in providing local focus and advocacy in achieving broad commercial objectives.

Nick joined Qantas in 2008 and held a number of national commercial roles prior to relocating to Western Australia in 2019 to take on the current position.

He has over 20 years global experience in the tourism and hospitality sector with organisations such as Singapore Airlines, Langham Hotels and Cunard.

 

Chad van Heemst

As managing director of Vanguard Press and Premium Publishers, Chad van Heemst (CA, B.Com) has worked extensively to market destinations throughout WA and promote tourism operators through the power of print.

The team at Vanguard have created a holistic approach to print; their mission is to go beyond executing a beautiful print result. They also generate engaging content, use inspiring images and reach your target audience through unique distribution channels. Vanguard is proud to have been a finalist in the Mumbrella Travel Publication of the Year Awards in 2019, and continues to produce a range of publications for iconic destinations in WA, including Margaret River/Busselton, Broome, Carnarvon, Kalbarri, Bunbury and Dwellingup.

Chad has been a member of the Tourism Council of WA Judging Panel for the Top Tourism Town Awards since 2017 and previously worked at Deloitte’s as a manager in corporate finance, mergers and acquisitions, gaining extensive experience across a broad range of industries.