Get To Know Our CEO!

Geoff Penton, CEO for SGNRM recently celebrated 12, very successful, months with us so we sat down with Geoff and asked him a series of ‘hard-hitting’ questions, to get to know him better.

Geoff being interviewed at this years Richmond Field Day.

What are your favourite movies?

Saving Private Ryan & How to Train Your Dragon.

What are 3 items you would take with you to a deserted island?

 If I can’t take a Chinese restaurant then I would say a knife, fishing gear and a plastic sheet.

What do you do at SGNRM?

You mean other than signing things?  I support the board to make strategic decisions about the direction of the organisation and manage the staff to deliver on our projects.

What are your credentials for working in your position?

I hold a bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Systems & a Certificate of Ecology issued by the University of Western Sydney (Hawkesbury).  I started as one of the first four Regional Landcare Facilitators for the Queensland Government, where I remained for several years. I then worked as a planning officer for an NRM group and the NRM Operations Manager for another NRM group before becoming the CEO of an NRM group, a role which I have held for around 12 years.

What got you in to Natural Resource Management?

Initially, I wanted to be a vet but during my college years I had the opportunity to work with the Hunter Valley Conservation Trust which operated to some degree, like an NRM Group. We did a lot of work on catchment management and engaged landholders on erosion control. From here, I realized I was good at it, and I really enjoyed it so I never turned back!  

What is something landholders have to deal with that you want to fix?

To single out one thing, I would say weed and pest threats.  We have a relatively disjointed way of dealing with weed and pest threats. Sometimes landholders can be there own worst enemy for only trying to eradicate the threat when its actively causing a problem for them.  Often this is the worst time to try and control them because its when they are already eating your grain or pasture, so they are not very hungry which makes it hard to poison or trap them.  Being proactive and implementing multiple, systematic rounds of control is a method I would like to see employed more often.  We know that it works! I have seen many projects where pest populations have decreased to nearly zero when an organised and coordinated approach is taken.  I find that more often than not, the problem is the people, not the pest.

What do you like about working at SGNRM?

Simple, the people! There’s a really great staff team which is the main appeal but it’s nice to do a job that you love.  

What are the values that drive you?

I think that an element of fun is important in the workplace, it keeps things lively and morale high but of course, this needs to be coupled with a strong work ethic. I really struggle watching people skate by, only doing the bare minimum.  I also think that when dealing with the community and landholders, especially with dealing with public monies, integrity and honesty are key. 

Lastly, what do you do when you’re not working?

I love to travel with my family, we’ve been fortunate enough to see a lot of Europe together and I’ve also done a lot of exploring Australia which has been amazing.  I am very much into building and furniture renovations as well, its something I have done with my wife for a while, and always satisfying to see the end transformation.  I also love gardening, growing my own vegetables is something I’ve done since I was a kid!

Thanks Geoff for your time!

Here’s What We Loved About the Richmond Field Day

In case you missed it, we recently set up shop at the Richmond Field Day and we had an absolute blast!

There was food, fashion, and fun to be had by all. Standouts of the day included the bull auction, the lawn mower racing and of course the Southern Gulf NRM tent.

Bringing a team of 6 and a truck full of new technology, literature, and demonstration models, we had Project Officers on deck to deliver hands on advice for all things NRM.

CEO, Geoff Penton, and Grazing Land Officer, Georgia Glasson, testing out our soil erosion dumpy level.
Georgia and Vicky discussing land management practices.

We had multiple visitors from all over our catchment including Vicky Molyneaux from Jireena Station who came to us seeking information on weed/pest and land management.  We were able to provide Vicky with the information and support she needed, “Georgia is a wealth of knowledge” she said.

Rachel and Kahlia in a 1:1 pregnancy testing demonstration. Thanks to DAF for supplying the model.

Another of our guests was Kahlia Mickan from Dulthara Station who stopped by to discuss our recent cattle pregnancy testing workshops and left with information on so much more. “Initially, I just came by to ask when the next workshop would be, but I received training, information, a demonstration and even some pamphlets to take home. It’s such a fantastic opportunity to have your team here! We recently missed the workshop and were really disappointed but to have Rachel go through the workshop with us one-on-one at a family fun day is such commitment to the landholders of our region” she said.  

That wasn’t all for us though with further activities during the day including a very popular soil erosion demonstration and the testing of new field equipment such as the automated weather station and dumpy level.

We’d like to that the Richmond Turf Club for organising the Field Days and inviting us to participate, we and we’re sure everyone else who attended, had a great time!

Head to our Youtube page to see our video recap of the day!