The Gympie Chamber of Commerce Board is made up of local business people that volunteer their time to forward the cause of the Gympie Region. The Board is elected by the membership each year.
Petra Van Beek
A Queenslander through and through who moved to Gympie in 2019 after purchasing her ‘forever’ home here, Petra is committed to contributing to the Gympie community.
Petra has a passion for facilitating ‘light bulb’ moments for people, and for working with individuals, groups and organisations to create strong, cohesive and successful teams and communities.
Some of her favourite quotes include:
“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.”
“Great things in business are never done by one person. They’re done by a team of people” (Steve Jobs); and “Leaders instil in their people a hope for success and a belief in themselves. Positive leaders empower people to accomplish their goals.”
Petra’s qualifications include a Bachelor Business Management (Human Resources) and a Graduate Diploma in Adult Education. She is also a Fellow of the Institute of Managers and Leaders (IML).
She has over 30 years experience both nationally and internationally with small to large companies and not-for-profit organisations.
Her areas of expertise include the strategic development and implementation of:
- Human Resource Management
- Organisational Cultural Transformation
- Community Engagement
- Organisational Dynamics and Team Building
- Executive Coaching and Professional Development
- Staff Learning and Development
Petra is very pleased to be working as part of the Chamber of Commerce Board to benefit the Gympie business community.
Scott has lived in the Gympie district all his life and was educated at the Federal State School, then attended his secondary schooling at Pomona State High School. He is a third generational resident; his grandparents owned the dairy farm which he grew up on with his two brothers, his mother still lives on the farm today. Scott and his wife have now purchased the farm and run a commercial beef herd.
In business Scott runs Sutton Building Solutions, a local commercial building company, and also Australian Civil and Drainage.
Scott completed his apprenticeship as a Carpenter/Joiner, after which he tried his hand in a few different industries, but kept coming back to the building trade.
Initially, he sub-contracted to a number of local builders in town. After running and managing many projects for other builders, he completed the necessary courses to gain his Builder’s License, before making a move to go out on his own in 2003. He started his business with himself and an apprentice and has grown it to what it is today.
Scott has since completed his Advanced Diploma in Building and Management.
Scott says he’s passionate about the industry because every job is different and comes with its own set of complexities and challenges. “These complexities certainly challenge you personally and make you expand your thoughts so you can complete each and every project successfully. I felt that by becoming a business owner, I could look back over each and every project with a sense of achievement.”
Sutton Building Solutions has been nominated for a safety award for the BER project (Federal Government funded project) in 2010 and has also won a safety award with QGC in 2017.
Scott loves Gympie because it’s a great community based town and he enjoys the lifestyle. He says “Gympie is close enough to our capital city, the coast and the South Burnett, but Gympie itself still has a country town feel.”
Scott is actively involved in other volunteer roles. He is the Chairman of the Traveston Rural Fire Brigade and an active member of the Traveston Progress Association. During Scott’s time in Apex, he was heavily involved in the Gympie Music Muster, Santa Fair and Gold Rush, and still volunteers his time at the Gympie Music Muster each year. He is also actively involved in Gympie Junior Rugby League.
Scott joined the Chamber Board because he wanted the chance to meet, and be involved with, like-minded business people who are also passionate about the area, and the business community as a whole.
His number one piece of advice for a local / small business owner is to “Never give up”,his greatest strength is the ability to be able to work through challenges that arise in the industry or on the job site and come up with an acceptable outcome which works for the project and team as a whole.
Treasurer & Secretary
“Good business strength and success in any region translates into improved employment opportunities and a stronger local economy, which benefits everyone”. – Sharlene Makin
Sharlene decided to create a life with her family in Gympie after moving from South Australia some years ago. After creating a list of criteria for their new home, Sharlene and her husband chose Gympie as it ticked all the boxes. Not knowing many people when they made the move, it didn’t take long to ingrain themselves in the community both professionally and personally.
In what she loves about Gympie, Sharlene reckons you can’t beat the friendly country town atmosphere, while still having sufficient access to all the essential services that make life easier. There’s also the many attractions that are only a short car ride from home, with Sharlene and her family opting for water-skiing and day tripping in their spare time.
In work, Sharlene is the CEO of Roadcraft Driver Education, which has been running in Gympie since 1980. In more recent times the organisation has experienced a multitude of success and growth, namely being the winner of the Community Organisation of the Year in 2012, holding the contract to deliver all driver training to the whole of Queensland Ambulance Service and is the chosen industry partner in a three-year collaborative research project with QUT, Griffith University and UQ.
Bringing her skillset to the Gympie Chamber of Commerce, Sharlene offers over 30 years’ experience in varying industries as both owner and employee, plus a wealth of experience volunteering for other not-for-profit organisations over her entire adult life.
Sharlene is passionate about bringing a business mindset and growth attitude to the Chamber.
“Business should always be a win-win-win situation where the business owners win, the customers win and the employees win. If you’re unsure whether everyone’s a winner in your business, reverse the situation and ask yourself, “Would it still be acceptable?”
Gympie born and bred, mum of three, Principal of Better Home and Gardens Real Estate Gympie.
With a background in Management, Administration and Customer Service, I’m committed to our local community and strive to provide a positive experience for every customer I meet.
I’m passionate about family, friends and healthy living – I may be a workaholic, perfectionist and most loyal companion.
I love to shop local, dine local and promote local, after all, Gympie is a most sought after location in these modern times
“I have been in the accounting industry since 2015. I have completed a Bachelor of Commerce (Accounting) at the University of the Sunshine Coast and now currently studying for the Certified Practicing Accountant (CPA) qualification. I am passionate about my local community. I enjoy helping my clients better their business.”
“What gets me out of a bed each day is the opportunity to contribute to our community in a positive way. To promote this amazing region to visitors that we are so fortunate to call home.”- Sherry Lowe
Joining the not-for-profit organisation, Mary Valley Rattler in 2021, Sherry has provided strong leadership in areas such as projects, assets and infrastructure. Sherry was appointed as Deputy General Manager in April 2022 with a portfolio that includes the sales, marketing, and guest experience team.
Sherry brings to the Gympie Chamber of Commerce a background in business, local government, commercial enterprises and tourism leadership.
Having lived in the greater Gympie community most of her life, Sherry is proud to be raising her two children Ethan (10) and Georgia (7) with husband Bruce on their rural farm at Bells Bridge.
Sherry’s first job was picking small crops on a local Glastonbury farm. After finishing her traineeship in late 2002, Sherry left for Brisbane to start an executive support and procurement role with the Department of Natural Resources and Mines.
She returned to the Gympie region in 2004 and accepted a role with Cooloola Shire Council Records Management team.
During her 16 years with both Cooloola Shire and Gympie Regional Council, Sherry was involved in providing business support to areas such as corporate governance, executive services and several commercial enterprises.
To support her ongoing professional development, Sherry also completed Diplomas in: Business – Frontline Management, Project Management and Cert IV Training and Assessment.
In her spare time, you can find Sherry on her rural property at Bells Bridge where the family grow dragonfruit, radish, coriander and have a few pet farm animals.
One of Sherry’s recent personal achievements was finishing the 160km national endurance horse ride, the 2022 Tom Quilty Gold Cup.
Martin’s mantra is “there is no such word as can’t” and “don’t ask your staff to do something you wouldn’t do yourself”.
Martin’s qualifications include Diploma in Occupational Health & Safety and ISO 9001 Auditor. Martin is a Duntroon Graduate and served the Australian Army for 9 years specialising in logistics. Martin’s Private sector appointments have been in manufacturing, security printing for the finance sector, warehousing and distribution and as a Funeral Director and Celebrant.
Martins’ parents moved to Gympie in the late 1980’s and he has travelled annually to the region. Martin moved to Gympie in 2015 with his wife commencing work at Gympie Funerals.
Martins voluntary work in Gympie began in 2017. Martin was appointed Treasurer of the RSL Club in 2018 and the President of the RSL Sub Branch in 2019. Martin oversaw the amalgamation of the two entities (Club and Sub Branch) in 2019 and the $8 million renovation of the licenced facility in 2020.
Martin is currently employed as the Group Manager of the Gympie RSL and fosters the Mission – Proft for Purpose.
Martin is committed to supporting volunteer organisations in the Gympie Region, advocating on Veteran matters and humbled to represent business interests as part of the Chamber of Commerce Board.
Co-Founder of The Real Body Movement and RBM Recovery
- Master Functional Trainer, Animal Flow Instructor & Rehab Coach
- Educator / Mentor for SRPT Recruitment’s students – Certificate III / IV in Fitness @ The Real Body Movement
Passion for educating and empowering students and teams to become the best version of themselves to build reputable careers in the health and fitness industry.
Mum of two girls (16 & 19 years of age in 2022) & her husband, Matt is the other hand on the steering wheel of The Real Body Movement and RBM Recovery. Our vision is to have a positive impact on the community by helping people FEEL better, MOVE better and LIVE better to create a community armed with the health and wellbeing tools that allow them to feel educated and empowered in making the best choices for their own bodies and minds, now and in the years to come.
Fiona presents twice a year with the Elite Alliance Fitness Business Coaching Group at their conferences on various topics to help educate other fitness professionals to develop teams aligned with company values and add layers to their business so they can not only succeed in business but change people’s lives.
Peter is a relatively recent addition to the Gympie community, having moved with his wife from Brisbane in late 2021.
Peter grew up on dairy farms in Victoria before developing an interest in business. Working in clerical and accounting roles with a national printing firm in Albury – Wodonga whilst studying for his Bachelor of Business in Accounting helped give practical application to the degree qualification.
After completing the degree, Peter worked in financial and operational roles across a range of industries including printing, transport, logistics, energy, entertainment, and for the last two decades, the healthcare sector.
“I found the healthcare sector interesting from a commercial perspective because doing business in the healthcare sector generally involves three parties:
- The customer (patient) who seeks a health service,
- The healthcare provider (doctor or other health professional) who provides the health service, and
- A health service facilitator (General Practice, Health Service, Private Hospital Network, Specialist Health Services, etc) who arranges for the health service to be provided by the healthcare professional to the customer.
The system relies on interdependencies and each part of the health system being able to find a balance point between providing the best care possible in a way that is commercially sustainable.”
Part of Peter’s time in healthcare included the trading of some health businesses, leading Peter to get a Real Estate Agent’s licence in 2015. Peter joined the Tom Grady Real Estate team in 2022, focussing on businesses and commercial property.
“My experience of Gympie in the time that we have been here is that there is a strong sense of community, and a tendency within people to help those around them.”
It is also close to Sunshine Coast beaches, and not that far from Brisbane.
Peter joined the Chamber of Commerce because it offers an opportunity to be involved with businesses and business people across a range of industries throughout the Gympie region.
Peter also volunteers as a mentor to accountants through the mentoring program with CPA Australia.