The team at the Smart Energy Council

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 ImageE: [email protected]

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 Oliver Image

E: [email protected]

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 ImageE: [email protected],au

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 ImageE: [email protected]

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), Workplace Training and Six Sigma - Green Belt.


Brett Thompson, Sales Manager

Brett ThompsonE: [email protected]

Brett Thompson is the Sales Manager for the Smart Energy Council.

Brett has spent the last decade working in Sales Management roles and is experienced in B2B solution selling and digital account sales.

He believes the industry will hit new highs in the coming years and he is here to help companies looking to capitilise on marketing opportunities.

Face to face events, print and electronic marketing opportunities - We can work within a budget to build your brand and sales pipeline!


Marianne Fang, China Sales Manager

E: [email protected]auMarianne Fang

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, Membership Sales Manager

E: [email protected]au

Our Membership Sales Manager Luke Shavak has a bachelor in business as well as over ten years sales experience.

He has spent the last five 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.


Sona Swindley, Senior Events Manager

Sona Swindley ImageE: [email protected]

Sona is an event management and marketing 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

E: [email protected]Max Hewitt

Max Hewitt joined the team in August 2019 in the role of Project Officer for the new Hydrogen Australia division.

Max has a background in a variety of liberal arts with a strong emphasis on historical inquiry. With well-honed written communication skills and an ability to research quickly and critically, Max fits perfectly to the rapidly changing hydrogen space.

In the few short months he has been in the role Max has:

  • carried out a market study of renewable hydrogen projects in Australia,
  • organised an online seminar with leading industry representatives, and
  • built a strong industry body with over 100 members.

His other work 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).


Carlos Martinez Nunez, Project Support Officer

E: [email protected]auCarlos Martinez Nunez

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.


Maddie Robinson, Administrative Assistant

E: [email protected]Maddie Robinson

Maddie Robinson joined the team in April 2019 in the role of Administrative Assistant.

Maddie has extensive experience with all administrative tasks, with expertise in scheduling and correspondence. 

With many years of customer service and relations experience, Maddie brings exceptional communication skills to always deliver a positive experience.

Having a passion for protecting the world around her, Maddie looks to ensure that every voice and idea is heard to help create a more cleaner and renewable environment for the future.

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