POWER 30: Clarence Valley's Most Influential 23-26
TODAY we reveal 23 to 26 as part of our countdown to The Daily Examiner's inaugural Power 30 - The Most Influential People in the Clarence Valley.
Each day four people will be revealed until we reach the Top 10, which will be announced, along with the full list, in a special eight-page feature in this Saturday's paper.
26. BILL NORTH
WHILE the current editor of The Daily Examiner has only been in hot seat for a few months, the role that comes with warming that chair is one with a very long and important history.
Bill North took over the reins at 158-year-old media institution which has been Clarence Valley voice for longer than most of us can remember. Impressively it still holds the title of the longest, continuously running regional daily, a rare feat in this challenging age of newspaper publishing.
And while what constitutes being an editor in the 21st century has substantially changed since the days of the prolific John Moorhead (1960-1977), Bill knows that getting involved in the community with whatever 'spare' time you may have is part and parcel of steering a community newspaper.
When he's not sitting in front of a computer screen, you may have seen the seasoned Thespian treading the boards for local productions at both the Pelican Playhouse and the Criterion Theatre or out on Clarence cricket and soccer fields.
25. JIM BINDON
BIG RIVER Group general manager Jim Bindon's has outstanding credentials for a spot in the Power 30. For more than a decade he has headed one of the region's oldest family-owned businesses and overseen its transition first to private equity ownership, then in May this year, to its listing on the Australian Stock Exchange.
The public float has been a rousing success, both for the company and investors who snapped up the initial public offering of shares at $1.47. By mid-November the share price peaked at $2.32, an annualised return of close to 50 per cent.
Equally as impressive has been the company's handling of its workers after a disastrous fire at its Junction Hill factory in November 2014.
As it has done during other times of industry downturn, the company adopted strategies to keep as many workers on the job as possible.
24. BILL COLLINGBURN
YAMBA's Bill Collingburn knows a thing or two about building boats.
The man at the helm of Yamba Welding and Engineering for the past 43 years, his humble beginning due to the lack of work around for an ex-navy boat builder has grown to cater to specialist private constructions to million dollar government contracts with clients like Australian Border Force.
His niche market of providing large aluminium boats sees his operation at the top of the tree here in Australia providing vessels that meet national and international standards ensuring his innovative and precise work transcends the Clarence they operate in.
Many young apprentices have been trained under Collingburn's mantra of high standards of craftmanship, superior skills they take with them for life.
His current plans to expand to include a marine industrial precinct at Palmers Island is ambitious and not without it detractors or hurdles but if it gets the go ahead has the potential to triple the company's output. Not bad for a Clarence business that already employs 32 including 10 apprentices and spends $2m a year here.
23. MIKE DOUGHERTY
MIKE Dougherty came to prominence as the Dougherty family expanded its business empire in the 1970s.
He joined Westlawn when the company was transforming into a full local finance company after nearly decade of operations on a smaller scale.
He helped oversee the diversification into the property sector with the acquisition and development of commercial real estate.
In that time Westlawn has grown beyond the bounds of the Clarence Valley, establishing offices across Northern NSW.
Mike Dougherty brought his finance expertise to Ford and Dougherty Real Estate earlier this year, taking up a director's role as they put together an operation to provide locally tailored real estate solutions for local people. Mike's other passion he shares with many in the Clarence is horse racing, where he is a keen owner and trainer.