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AVS Staff

Agriculture Victoria Services Pty Ltd (AVS) is accountable for the delivery of specialist intellectual property protection, commercialisation and collaboration services - by providing an objective, commercial portal to deliver to the marketplace the novel IP assets and scientific capabilities of the Agriculture Victoria Research branch (AVR) of the Victorian Department of Energy, Environment and Climate Action (DEECA).

The AVS executive and operational structure recognises the commonality of goals between AVS and DEECA.  The Company aims to provide a seamless interface with private sector collaborators and technology licensees to deliver an effective route-to-impact for the novel research and technology innovations of AVR.

The employees of AVS responsible for enabling and delivering the Company's Strategy Objectives are as follows:

Chief Executive Officer

Michelle Goldsmith
BSc, LLB (Hons)

Michelle has been recently appointed as the new CEO and joins from the role of Partner, Strategic Project Partners, specialising in scientific commercialisation.

Michelle’s career in innovation and commercialisation includes SPP, the Florey Institute and Global Kinetics following a range of policy, operational, IP protection and commercialisation roles in health sciences in private and government roles.

Michelle leads the AVS team in maximising the value and impact of AVR research and IP assets that improve the productivity and competitiveness of Victorian and Australian farmers.

Michelle is responsible for ensuring that the organisation’s structure and processes meet the strategic and cultural needs of the company and its legal and regulatory obligations; for leading high levels of service delivery to the company’s stakeholders and customers; and for the leadership, management and oversight of the day-to-day operations of the company, its people and its resources.

Jane Banovac

Chief Commercialisation Officer
BSc (Hons)

Jane was appointed Chief Commercialisation Officer in January 2023.

Jane is responsible for leading the Company’s specialist commercialisation and intellectual property professionals in delivering effective IP protection, management and commercialisation of AVR IP assets and scientific capabilities to deliver economic benefits to Victoria.

Jane joined AVS in September 2008 and in her substantive role as Senior Commercialisation Manager has been responsible for the commercialisation of AVR created intellectual property and the ongoing management of commercially-licensed IP assets, IP protection and strategy development, stakeholder liaison and reporting and support for AVR collaborative R&D with commercial entities.

Shane Cagney

Chief Financial Officer and Company Secretary
BAcct, GradDip (CommTaxLaw), CPA Australia

Shane was appointed Chief Financial Officer and Company Secretary in January 2022, rejoining AVS and having previously served in the role from 2016 to 2019.

Shane is responsible for the Company’s financial planning and management, which includes budget preparation, monitoring and reporting, financial systems, human resources, and information technology.

As Company Secretary, Shane is responsible for governance, risk management, corporate compliance frameworks and procedures and for providing board secretariat services to AVS, the AVS Audit & Risk Management Committee and the AVS subsidiary Phytogene Pty Ltd.

Andrew Suddick

Senior Legal and Contracts Manager

Andrew was appointed Senior Legal and Contracts Manager in November 2019.

Andrew is responsible for providing legal and contract management advice across the AVS business including advice on investment projects, research projects, commercialisation activities and intellectual property management.

Andrew was admitted as a solicitor in England in 1990 and in Victoria in 1998. He also has a graduate diploma in Intellectual Property and is qualified as a Trade Marks attorney. He has extensive experience in private practice in England and Australia and in the public sector having most recently been General Counsel at the Victorian Government Solicitors Office.

Dr Kathryn Morris

Senior Intellectual Property Manager

Kathryn was appointed as Senior Intellectual Property (IP) Manager in March 2022.

Kathryn is responsible for managing the AVS IP portfolio, including patents, trade marks, domain names and plant breeders rights, as well as contributing to IP strategy across AVS research and investment projects.

After completing her PhD in natural products chemistry and two postdoctoral fellowships studying enzyme inhibition and oxidation of lipoproteins respectively, Kathryn became a patent and Trade Marks attorney, registering in 2001.  She has extensive experience in private practice working with Australian companies to manage their IP portfolios and develop IP strategies that align with commercialisation strategies and deliver commercial outcomes.

Enrico Tronchin

Senior Business Development Manager - AgTech Translation
BSc (Hons), PhD, EMBA

Enrico joined AVS as a Senior Business Development Manager in September 2023.

Enrico is responsible for leading the delivery of AVS’ core commercialisation objectives and functions to maximise the global impact and commercial value of AVR innovation through effective collaborations and business models.

Enrico has experience in building business functions, leading multidisciplinary teams, and managing large innovation project pipelines. Previously he managed IP commercialisation at Auckland University of Technology and redesigned the Newmarket Innovation Precinct at the University of Auckland. At the SfTI National Science Challenge he facilitated the commercialisation development of over 100 science investments across NZ

Kate Dawson

Senior Business Development Manager – AgTech Collaboration
B Agr.Sci, GradDip ProjMgt, GAICD

Kate was appointed Senior Business Development Manager – AgTech Collaboration in May 2023.

Kate is responsible for leading major AgTech research and innovation opportunities, partnerships, and collaboration agreements to deliver technologies that provide better environmental, economic, and societal outcomes.

Kate has over 25 years’ experience in leading new business development, technology transfer, and commercialisation of new or novel products, services and technologies in the grains, dairy, horticulture, animal health and animal nutrition markets.

Vincent Ho

Senior Business Development Manager – AgTech Investment
LLB & BComm (Hons), GDLP

Vincent was appointed as Senior Business Development Manager – AgTech Investments, in August 2023.

Vincent assists in the delivery of AVS’ core commercialisation objectives through effective management of AVS’ investment pipeline. He is responsible for engaging businesses and the investment community, to negotiate fair and sustainable terms, increasing productivity and profitability of the Victorian agriculture sector.

With a strong background in research commercialisation, Vincent spearheaded Deakin University's start-up and spin-out initiatives, overseeing technology assessments, establishing companies, and facilitating capital raises. He has also provided financial & advisory services with Deloitte, NAB, and M&G Investments (UK).

Dr Ernesto Vargas

Senior Commercialisation Manager

Ernesto was appointed as a Senior Commercialisation Manager in September 2015.

Ernesto is responsible for the commercialisation of AVS' IP assets and managing AVS investment projects.   Ernesto has experience in IP commercialisation and early stage investments. He worked at University of Melbourne Commercial Ltd (UoMC), where he was responsible for managing the protection and development of IP across a range of technologies (e.g. biotechnology, biomaterials and medical devices), and for managing valuations, marketing and IP licence negotiations. Ernesto also worked at Trans-Tasman Commercialisation Fund Pty Ltd, valuing investments in early stage technologies.

Dr Kemperly Dynon

Senior Commercialisation Manager

Kemperly was appointed as Commercialisation Manager in October 2020, having joined AVS in 2019.

Kemperly is responsible for providing critical expertise in technology valuation modelling, commercialisation, IP protection and commercial R&D collaborations.

Having completed her PhD in Veterinary Science (Veterinary Virology) at The University of Melbourne, her MBA at La Trobe University and worked in the gene technology space managing contracts relating to OGTR regulation in plants, animals and microorganisms, Kemperly brings significant knowledge and experience to AVS in research, analysis and evaluations in current and future markets for AVS technology commercialisation.

Rae Bacon-Rowe

Intellectual Property Officer

Rae was appointed as  Intellectual Property Officer in December 2019.

Rae assists the Senior Intellectual Property (IP) Manager with the management of AVS' IP portfolio including patents, Plant Breeder's Rights (PBR) and trademark registrations and management, including supporting the design and delivery of IP administrative processes and systems, assisting the entire AVS team in managing and maintaining IP protection, obligations and general administrative and project tasks relating to AVS’ IP portfolio operations.

Jasmine Aquilina-Borg

Contracts Administrator

Jasmine was appointed as Contracts Administrator in October 2016.

Jasmine is responsible for supporting the design, delivery and maintenance of AVS’ contracts administrative processes and systems, as well as providing general administrative support to AVS' commercial operations, clients and stakeholders.

Helen Liu

Senior Accountant
BCom (Acct), CPA Australia

Helen was appointed as Senior Accountant in January 2012.

Helen is responsible for financial and management reporting for the Board, Committees and DEECA-AVR.   Helen also assists the Chief Financial Officer with financial planning, financial management and risk management.   She also has extensive and broad experience in statutory compliances, consolidated financial reports and financial planning.

In Chyi Lee

BCom (Acc), CPA Australia

In Chyi was appointed by AVS as Accountant in November 2023.

In Chyi has extensive experience in financial management and advisory services and supports AVS finance operations in ensuring company compliance with related regulatory requirements.

She provides management reporting, financial planning, and audit compliance assistance for ensuring the company's financial stability, as well as offers strategic solutions for sustained financial growth

Gloria Utai

AVS Corporate Officer

Gloria was appointed as Corporate Officer in May 2018.

Gloria provides executive and corporate project support to the AVS Executive, including the Chief Executive Officer, Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer & Company Secretary.

Rosanna Mastrolorito

Finance & Payroll Officer
Cert Accounting

Rosanna was appointed as  Finance & Payroll Officer in April 2008.

Rosanna assists the Senior Accountant to deliver AVS financial reports and provides general office support services, including accounts payable/receivable records management and payroll.

Katie Macwhirter

Business Enablement and Data Security Officer
BBus, BArts

Katie was appointed by AVS as Business Enablement and Data Security Officer (BEDSO) in July 2022 after having joined AVS in 2020.

Katie assists the business in streamlining business processes, identifying systems & processes improvements, and implementing robust data security measures to safeguard sensitive information.

This includes ensuring compliance with regulations including VPDSS and GDPR.

As a certified change practitioner, Katie also supports organisational, people and culture change initiatives.