The Smart Energy Council is driven by an extraordinary team, with a mission to exceed your expectations at every turn.
Meet us all here...
John Grimes, Chief Executive Officer
John Grimes was appointed as Chief Executive of the Australian Solar Council in 2008.
John started his career as an officer in the Air Force and went on to found and grow a number of companies, including a startup company he took to a successful listing on the ASX with a market capitalisation in excess of $30m.
His most recent company was in the environmental sector employing over 25 people with operations in Australia, the US and the Middle East.
In his role as CEO of the Smart Energy Council he has grown the profile and influence of the organisation.
John has a passion for the solar, storage and the smart energy industry. He is regularly called upon, by the media, to provide relevant and independent comment in these areas.
Sharon Oliver, Finance Officer
Sharon is the Financial Controller and maintains all financial aspects for the Smart Energy Council.
With a diploma in Accounting, Sharon has worked over the last 15 years looking after the finances of various small businesses and has held a series of managerial jobs.
With a strong background in accounting, extensive budgeting, auditing and financial management knowledge.
Having joined the team in July 2014 she began by running our Solar 2015 Exhibition & Conference and continues to contribute to various areas of the council.
Sharon has a passion for all aspects of finance and is recognised for her fantastic organisational skills.
Wayne Smith, Government Relations Manager
Wayne Smith is a political strategist who helps shape and develop the tactics for the Smart Energy Council.
A professional lobbyist and policy advisor, Wayne also plays a wider role in guiding the Smart Energy Council policy and presenting industry submissions.
As manager of Government Relations, Wayne Smith is responsible for policy, advocacy, strategy and campaining across the organisation.
Wayne has held senior roles in the renewables industry for over a decade, working and consulting for some of Australia's leading renewable energy companies and industry bodies.
Wayne has been a senior adviser for a number of Federal Shadow Ministers and has previously worked for the Federal and ACT Governments, as well as a number of peak non-government organisations.
Cathryn Blair, Marketing and Communications Consultant
Cathryn Blair joined the Council in May 2017 and manages Marketing and Communications.
As a business development, marketing and communications professional, Cathryn's experience includes developing and executing strategies to increase brand awareness, revenue and customer satisfaction.
Cathryn's qualifications include a Master of Business Administration, Bachelor of Management (Marketing), Bachelor of Business (Information Systems Management) and Six Sigma - Green Belt.
Marianne Fang, China Sales Manager
Marianne Fang is assisting Chinese companies to enter the Australian smart energy market successfully, then continue to grow market share.
Marianne brings with her several years of marketing experience in the solar and energy storage industry.
This makes her well placed to advise Chinese companies. She also has access to key reports and local industry intelligence she can share.
Marianne has a passion for the smart energy industry.
She is a dynamic and results-driven professional with a highly successful background in marketing, management and new business development.
She remains focussed on exceeding customer service expectations, ensuring optimum brand impact.
Luke Shavak, Australia & International Sales Manager
Our Sales Manager Luke Shavak has a bachelor in business as well as over ten years sales experience.
He has spent the last six years in the solar industry as a business development manager with local and national solar companies, giving him many key insights into how the industry works from the ground up.
Luke is extremely familiar with most players in the industry and has many key contacts.
On a deeper level, Luke has a passion for renewables and creating a cleaner and greener planet for future generations. He plans to spend the rest of his life in the renewable energy space.
Send Luke an email now to explain what you’re looking to achieve and he will follow up with how we can help you do that through a Smart Energy Council membership. Face to face events, print and electronic marketing opportunities - we can work within a budget to build your brand and sales pipeline!
Sona Swindley, Senior Events Manager
Sona is an event management professional who has worked in the industry for over 20 years and brings with her a wealth of knowledge and experience in all areas.
She has managed a diverse range of events both in Australia and internationally.
Some of the large scale city events in which she has been involved include The Annual Meetings of the Boards of Governors of the World Bank Group and the International Monetary Fund (approximately 15000 delegates), Asian Games (approximately 15000 visitors and participants), World Youth Day (400,000 visitors).
Recently Sona has been working with associations and organisations in the marine, legal, education, research, science, medical and government specialising in the strategic direction and management of their national conferences and events; focussing on their marketing, content and profitability and overall project management.
Leveraging her qualifications and experience, she has started teaching event management in the vocational and higher education sector and incorporates best practices into her everyday work.
Being a mother of two young children, Sona is passionate about making this a cleaner and better world for her girls and is committed to working with our members and partners in achieving their objectives through targeted events.
Sona looks forward to hearing from you with any ideas you may have with regards to events that will benefit the industry.
Max Hewitt, Division Manager for Hydrogen Australia
Max Hewitt joined the team in August 2019 in the role of Division Manager for Hydrogen Australia – a division of the Smart Energy Council.
Max has a background in a variety of liberal arts with a strong emphasis on the field of historical inquiry. With well-honed written communication skills and an ability to research quickly and critically, Max fits perfectly with the rapidly changing hydrogen space.
In his time in the role Max has:
- organised several online seminars with leading industry representatives,
- carried out multiple market studies of renewable hydrogen projects in Australia and,
- built a strong industry body with over 100 members.
His other experience includes an internship with CWP Renewables as a Business Analyst, as well as a Research Project for the Queensland Museum.
Max has a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in History, Class II A from the University of Queensland, as well as a Bachelors of Arts – History (Extended Major) and Political Science (Minor).
Reach out to Max if you are doing work with hydrogen in Australia, or if you are interested in the current state of the hydrogen industry.
Carlos Martinez Nunez, Project Manager
Carlos Martinez-Nunez joined the team in February 2018 in the role of Project Support Officer.
He has a personal passion for renewable energy and a true appreciate and understanding of its role in achieving a sustainable future.
Carlos has brought not only his passion for the industry but a wealth of business expertise with him, from client relations, project management and systems and procedure development to merchandising, marketing, sales and business development.
He has developed these skills and expertise through his work at multinational organisations such as Intel Corp. and smaller organisations such as the University of Canberra and VisAustralia, a local immigration firm.
Additionally to his work in a variety of industries, Carlos completed his Bachelor in International Business, Minoring in Computer Science in the USA, and his Masters in International Business at the University of Canberra.
Alethia Barceinas, ACT Renewables Hub Manager
Alethia joined the team in January 2020 to be the project leader of the ACT Renewables Hub.
She has been deeply involved in Business Innovation from the earliest years of her professional career. With a Master in Public Policy and Public Administration, and a second one in Accounting, her experience is largely focused on developing relations between the private and public sectors for the creation of social welfare. From 2018, she started working with environmental and sustainability issues in the ACT in her position as Policy and Planning Manager of the Renewables Innovation Hub.
Alethia is the main liaison between the Smart Energy Council and the ACT Government to strengthen the Renewables network in the ACT.
Additionally, she is responsible for building local and international linkages for the Ecosystem through a comprehensive program of networking, mentoring, information sharing, and other innovation capacity-building activities and events.
In her words “Innovation is simply looking at problems as opportunities of improvement and being brave enough to look at them from a different perspective”. That is the mindset that she is adding to the team and implementing in her role as Hub Manager. Reach out to her if you want to be part of the ACT’s thriving renewables ecosystem.