Ms Jenn Bestwick
Jenn is an independent Director with a background in business and management consulting. She currently works as a Lead Reviewer with the States Services Commission Performance Improvement Framework and provides strategic consultancy to a number of private and public sector organisations.
Jenn spent many years working with KPMG leading their Auckland strategic management consulting practice before moving to Christchurch where she managed a day surgical hospital before working for a number of years with Ngai Tahu including in a role as General Manager, Strategy and Planning for Ngāi Tahu Holdings Group, the commercial arm of the iwi’s operations.
Ms Bestwick has worked with a number of organisations in the science and research sector having led MBIE’s Review of CRI Core Funding, been on a number of panels reviewing performance of MBIE science investments, been involved in the establishment of Callaghan Innovation and worked with a number of Crown Research Institutes.
Prof. Steve Weaver
Steve is the immediate past Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research) of the University of Canterbury, and is a member of the Board of GNS Science Ltd. Prof. Weaver has decades of experience in senior academic and research management roles at a national level in New Zealand, close experience of the Christchurch and Canterbury community, and a background in the geosciences. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of NZ.
Mr Bruce Wills
Bruce has a background in commercial banking and finance for the agricultural sector and is the immediate Past President of Federated Farmers. He is currently a board director of Ravensdown Ltd., representative of NZ and international Farming and Trade forums, and an active farmer in the Hawkes Bay. In addition to this role, Bruce sits on the Our Land and Water National Science Challenge board.
Mr Greg Orchard
Greg is by background an accountant, and over the past two decades has provided governance and high-level strategic leadership in organisations such as Wellington City, BRANZ, and the Housing Corporation, in particular for areas related to healthy, safe and socially accessible housing. In his previous role as the Wellington City Council Chief Operating Officer he was responsible for improving the resilience of Wellington’s building stock. His experience places him in an excellent position to provide strategic local government-centred advice to the Challenge.
Mr David Middleton
David was appointed CEO of the Earthquake Commission (EQC) after a twenty year career in the insurance industry. Since leaving EQC David has worked as an independent consultant at Kestrel Group. David is currently the Chair of the Strategic Advisory Group of the Natural Hazards Research Platform and Chair of the Strategic and Scientific User Advisory Panel that reports to the GNS Board. In 2010 David was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit and an Honorary Fellow of Engineering New Zealand.
Prof. Shane Cronin
Shane has a background in volcanology, and has published over 150 international works and supervised over 20 PhD students to completion. He is a three-time successful Marsden Fund Principal Investigator, was awarded a ~$1 million international research exchange with South Korea and led the >$8 million Living with Volcanic Risk Programme, from its inception in 2003 until 2015. With research leadership and experience in Germany, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia and the South West Pacific, Shane has worked on a wide spectrum of resilience areas, spanning: community engagement, emergency management, hazard, health-impacts and risk assessment as well as the fundamental underpinning processes of volcanic eruptions.
Dr Richard Smith
Richard has a hybrid background in research facilitation, disaster risk reduction policy and practice, and natural hazards research. Most recently he was Research Strategy and Investment Manager with the New Zealand Earthquake Commission (EQC), with responsibilities for EQC’s national Research Capability and Science-to-Practice programmes. Before joining EQC, Richard held various roles in the Ministry of Civil Defence & Emergency Management (MCDEM), supporting policy and capability development and provision of science advice. Richard has a PhD in Geological Sciences from the University of Canterbury, and prior to taking up a position with MCDEM was a Senior Lecturer in Earth Sciences at the University of Waikato.
Ali is a professional science communicator with a background in ecology and a Master’s degree in Science Communication. She has worked on a range of communication initiatives for science-based projects and specialises in transforming scientific articles into stories that engage and captivate audiences. Her other area of expertise is social media, having managed government department social media accounts, and developed and implemented social media strategy.
The science leadership team is made up of the programme leaders for each of the ten science programmes of the Resilience Challenge.
Suzanne is a Professor in Construction Management at the University of Auckland and the Director of the Centre for Disaster Resilience, Recovery and Reconstruction. Her research focuses on disaster recovery and reconstruction, construction contract administration and relationship management for construction projects. Suzanne has published over 150 papers in international journals and is an editorial board member of the International Journal of Disaster Resilience in the Built Environment. Prof Wilkinson is a regular Keynote speaker around the world on issues concerning Recovery and Reconstruction, Building Resilience: achieving effective post-disaster reconstruction, and has worked extensively on the Canterbury Earthquake Sequence recovery process.
Assoc Prof Mark Dickson
Mark is an Associate Professor at the University of Auckland. He is an international expert in coastal processes and coastal management, having focussed much of his research career on understanding drivers of coastal erosion and exploring possible future shoreline changes under climatic change and coastal management activities. He has published over 50 refereed journal papers across various aspects of coastal geomorphology, engineering and management. Mark collaborates on a number of international projects, but is focussed on coastal erosion research in NZ, in which capacity he engages with a range of NZ regional authorities and consultants.
Prof Brendon Bradley
Brendon is a Professor of Earthquake Engineering in the Department of Civil and Natural Resources Engineering at the University of Canterbury, New Zealand; and the Director of QuakeCoRE: The New Zealand Centre for Earthquake Resilience, which is a network of over 180 active researchers. His areas of interest include engineering seismology, strong ground motion prediction, seismic response analysis of structural and geotechnical systems, and seismic performance and loss estimation methods. Brendon is an editorial board member for EERI’s Earthquake Spectra and the Bulletin of the New Zealand Society of Earthquake Engineering. Brendon has also acted as director of Bradley Seismic Limited since 2010, providing consulting services in several areas of earthquake engineering.
Prof David Johnston
David is director of the Joint Centre for Disaster Research in the School of Psychology at Massey University and Deputy Director of QuakeCoRE, NZ Centre for Earthquake Resilience. His research has developed as part of multi-disciplinary theoretical and applied research programme, involving the collaboration of physical and social scientists from several organisations and countries. His research focuses on human responses to volcano, tsunami, earthquake and weather warnings, crisis decision-making and the role of public education and participation in building community resilience and recovery. In 2016 he became co-chair of World Meteorological Organisation’s (WMO) High Impact Weather Project (HIWeather) steering group. This follows his role as the chair of the Integrated Research on Disaster Risk Scientific Committee (IRDR) (2013-2015), a programme co-sponsored by the International Council for Science (ICSU), the International Social Science Council (ISCC), and the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR). He is the editor of The Australasian Journal of Disaster and Trauma Studies; and was the founding editor of the Journal of Applied Volcanology.
Dr John Vargo
John is a co-director of ResOrgs Ltd. His research interests lie in building organisational resilience in the face of systemic insecurity. John was a practicing Certified Public Accountant (CPA) in the US and was involved in industry for over 30 years. In addition to his academic role, John has filled a range of senior management roles at the University of Canterbury including Pro Vice-Chancellor (Business and Economics), Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer. As a researcher Dr Vargo has led several major MBIE and NZ Natural Hazards Research Platform programmes working on private sector and business resilience during the canterbury earthquake sequence.