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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 Jobs, Precincts and Regions (DJPR).

The AVS executive and operational structure recognises the commonality of goals between AVS and DPJR.  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:

Mr David Liesegang

Chief Executive Officer
B Bus (Marketing), GAICD

Appointed in November 2015, David leads the AVS company comprising 17 professional and support staff, previous to which he performed as the AVS Chief Operating Officer and as Director of the Technology Commercialisation Branch of the State of Victoria’s Department of Environment and Primary Industries.

He is responsible for ensuring AVS provides a unique and valuable entity structure that delivers a streamlined interface between the Department and the private sector, to maximise the adoption of the world-leading research outputs and associated IP assets of AVR for helping to improve the productivity and competitiveness of Victorian farmers.

Jane Banovac

Acting Chief Operating Officer
BSc (Hons)

Jane was appointed Acting Chief Operating Officer in December 2021.

Jane is responsible for leading the Company’s operations team of 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 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 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.

Andrew Grace

Senior Commercialisation Manager

Andrew has been appointed as a Senior Commercialisation Manager for over 10 years. He is responsible for managing AVS investment projects and for the commercialisation of AVS’ intellectual property assets through a range of the plant-based licences including barley, canola, lentils, field peas, pears and pasture seeds. Andrew is also the AVS contact for many of the contract agreements undertaken by Agriculture Victoria scientists for industry and commercial entities.

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 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 mark 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.

Dr Kemperly Dynon

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.

Michelle Xu

Commercialisation Analyst
BEng, MScFoodSc, MBA

Michelle was appointed in February 2021 as a Commercialisation Analyst. Michelle provides project management and portfolio decision-making support for AVS investments. Michelle also provides business and market intelligence, project analysis, and advice for AVR research outputs and AVS assessment of technologies and route to impact strategies.

Michelle has more than 10 years experience as a research food scientist and more than 5 years in business development, marketing strategy and project management, working with local and international companies in the Agriculture & Food sector. She is a co-founder of a start-up, who is developing and marketing AI-based business efficiency solutions. She is also an active mentor in pre-accelerators helping participants to plan and execute technology commercialisation.

Callum Herron

Commercialisation Analyst
BAgSc, BBus (Econ), GCertDataAnalytics

Callum was appointed as AVS Commercialisation Analyst in August 2020.

Callum provides research, analysis and commercial evaluation expertise to support AVS’ provision of agricultural technology value modelling for AVS IP licence agreements and investment projects.

Callum has previous experience in the private sector where he supported commercial product research and development through field trials and data analysis for the benefit of Australian pasture, cropping and turf industries.

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 Maguire

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 DJPR-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.

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.