Board of Directors

Charlie Emery | Chair

Charlie is the Managing Director of SOILCO and has been with the company since 2001. Over the past 20 years, Charlie has overseen the growth of the business through focusing on its core competencies; provision of organics recycling services and production of quality assured soil, compost and mulch products.

A fundamental aspect of Charlies current role is strategic planning and implementation of business development initiatives. Prior to SOILCO, Charlie achieved tertiary qualifications in Science (Environmental Biology) UTS, and worked with a range of environmental, landscaping and horticultural businesses.

Tim Richards | Deputy Chair

Tim is the Managing Director of Richgro Garden Products and has been with the company for 20 years. Tim was born into the organics recycling industry as a member of the family business, Richgro and has grown up with compost under his fingernails.

Prior to joining the AORA Board, Tim was Vice Chair of Compost Western Australia and represented them on the National Board of Compost Australia.  He has also served on the Board of Landscape Industries Association of Western Australia and National Board of the Australian Landscape Industry Association.

Tim is passionate about the organics industry and raising the bar for compost manufacturing in this country. He holds a strong belief that the future of gardening, agriculture and horticulture revolves around the ever-increasing use of organics that help bring life to the ancient soils that we have in this country

Peter Wadewitz OAM | Director

Peter Wadewitz OAM has been involved with many organisations including Waste Management  Australia, Compost Australia and many more.  In 2006 he was awarded South Australia’s Environmentalist of the Year and in 2020 was awarded with an Order of Australia for his services to the organics recycling industry. 

Peter is the Managing Director of Peats Soil & Garden Supplies. He has been commercially processing compost  for  over  40  years.  He  is  also the inventor of the BiobiN®, a waste management in vessel composting system offering  an  alternate  solution  for  businesses when it comes to dealing with their organics.

Peter’s commitment to the growth and prosperity of the organics recycling industry has led to appointments to the Barton  Group’s  Export Task Force and the Prime Minister’s Science, Engineering and Innovation Council. Peter was also a leading figure in developing the Australian Compost Industry Roadmap.

Greg Whitehead | Director

Greg obtained a Bachelor of Business Accountancy Degree from Queensland University of Technology in 1980. The first four years of Greg’s working life were in a marketing and admin position in the photographic retail industry.

In 1994, Greg, along with two business partners started Candy Soil, a small scale composting business with one screening plant and a loader on an old coal mining site in Ipswich.  Candy Soil now operates a large-scale open windrow composting and soil manufacturing operation in Ipswich.

In 2017 , Greg launched Carbon Plus Compost, targetting the growing agricultural compost market in South East Queensland. The compost and mulch produced by Carbon Plus Compost is a high-grade compost blended to suit the needs of the agricultural market. 

Catherine Phillips| Director

Catherine Phillips joined the Organics recycling industry in 2022 after spending her early career working on the Energy transition. She leads Cleanaway’s National Organics Strategy, with a focus on building an integrated and sustainable Organics value chain, from collections to sales. Cat has a Bachelor of Science (Mathematics) and a Master of Mechanical Engineering.

Catherine is passionate about building inclusive and high performing teams. She is particularly looking forward to bringing a different perspective to AORA, and leveraging the diverse views held by our members to solve the challenging issues faced by the industry.

Catherine also brings a wealth of experience as an elite athlete and leader, having captained the Australian Ultimate Frisbee team and the inaugural St Kilda AFL Women’s side. She has also played for the Essendon Football Club and serves as a Director of the AFL Players’ Association.

Jan Duebbelde | Director

Jan is the National Organics Manager of REMONDIS Australia, part of the world-leading REMONDIS Group. Joining the REMONDIS Group in 2006, Jan held several operations and project management roles within the Group’s organics recycling business in Germany, which operates more than 80 Organics Recycling Facilities. Taking responsibility for the organics business of REMONDIS in Australia in 2021, including two in-vessel composting facilities in NSW, Jan is keen to leverage both local and global expertise to drive growth and innovation in Australian organics waste management.  

His passion for anaerobic digestion and composting in combination with a strong commitment to economic feasibility and ecological benefits is the main driver of his work. With this same passion he intends to support AORA on the way to a sustainable Australian future.

Patrick Soars | Director

Patrick is a founding member of AORA and since 1971 the Managing Director of Australian Native Landscapes Pty Ltd. ANL has pioneered the composting of organics and the development of what has become the industry standard across a wide range of recycled landscape, horticultural and agricultural products. ANL operates nine organics processing facilities across NSW and processes in excess of 500,000 tonnes annually

Kali Martin | Director

Currently the General Manager Organics for WestRex, Kali is a seasoned professional with a solid track record in the organic recycling industry. With 6 years of experience in composting, Kali has dedicated her efforts to understanding all aspects of composting, whilst blending her academic background with her profound passion for compost and soil health.

Kali earned her Bachelor of Science (Chemistry) from the University of Queensland in 2006, laying the foundation for her subsequent 11-year tenure of roles within the environmental and technical sector. Her decision to transition into the organics industry was an opportunity to align her skills with her interest and passion for soil. One of Kali’s achievements is the development of WestRex’s compost facility in Queensland. Currently managing the facility, she actively collaborates with the regional farming community, fostering awareness and cultivating a market for high-quality compost.

Kali is deeply passionate about the positive impact the organic recycling industry offers, and her dedication is underscored by her proactive efforts to strengthen the sector through collaboration and advocacy. Her hands-on involvement in facility development, community engagement, and industry advocacy positions her to well to serve the organic recycling industry and assist the AORA team as a driving force behind its sustainable growth

Lachlan Jeffries | Director

Lachlan is an Executive Chairman at the Jeffries Group.

The Jeffries family have their hands in South Australian soil for generations, growing strong since 1842. Jeffries are passionate about creating value from organic resources, many of these organic resources until recently were lost to landfill. The team at Jeffries delivers premium compost, soil, mulch and fertilizer for farmers, viticulturists, landscapers and home gardeners.

Michael Wood | Company Secretary

Michael has a Bachelor of Commerce and a Graduate Diploma in Applied Science Horticulture and has worked in the organic recycling sector and container nursery production for over 30 years in Marketing, General Management and Director roles.

Michael provides consulting services to a range of clients in organic recycling through his Consultancy business Oakwood Consultants Pty Ltd the fields of strategic planning, marketing, technical and quality systems, environmental management, compliance and general management issues. Michael also provides agronomic advice on compost and recycled organics use in client soil health programs to horticultural clients.

Michael led the formation AORA in Victoria and the transition of the former Compost Vic group into AORA Victoria. Michael is currently working with Valoriza Environment Australia at its Dandenong South vessel compost facility and with the Camperdown Compost Company in western Victoria as it works towards a facility upgrade.