Kevin Weldon AM
Kevin has an impressive track record in supporting rescue innovation. He was the Founding President of both the World Life Saving Movement and the International Lifesaving Federation and during Kevin’s leadership the following iconic rescue initiatives were introduced into Australia’s beaches and communities: Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopters, the “rubber ducky” inflatable rescue boat, and torpedo rescue tubes.
He is a distinguished Australian publisher, businessman, aviator and successful entrepreneur. Kevin was the founding managing director of the Paul Hamlyn Group, which was one of the most successful publishing ventures Australia has seen to date, and was responsible for landmark publishing titles which supported and recorded our unique national heritage, wildlife and lifestyle.
Kevin went on to form his own company, Weldon International, and was responsible for best-selling Australian and international publishing projects such as the Macquarie Dictionary and China the Long March. Considered a visionary and innovator, Kevin prototyped the world’s first electronic book in the early 1980s, which is now housed in the Powerhouse Museum.
Harold brings to the Ripper Group more than thirty years’ experience as a respected independent strategic advisor in the Australian innovation space. He was a founding board member of ILAB (the Queensland State Government’s business incubator now owned by the University of Queensland), which has started over 500 companies and helped to raise hundreds of millions of dollars since 2001; and the $80 million Creative Industries Precinct at the Queensland University of Technology.
In recent years Harold was a board member of the Australia China Council (now the National Foundation for Australia China Relations), a government advisory body, and is a China specialist with commercial, cultural and political networks inside China dating back to 1985. He is adept at providing independent, well-researched, market-ready advice to Australian businesses or not-for-profit organisations seeking to extend the reach of their products or services into a particular global market.
His expertise gives the Ripper Group the ability to build on long-term relationships that enable partnership opportunities in the drone space and facilitate strong commercial outcomes in Australia, China and the rest of the world.
For over 10 years Ben has been actively involved in manned and unmanned aviation operations for search and rescue, disaster and emergency response and EMS. As a senior NVG and winch operator qualified Helicopter Rescue and EMS aircrewman, he has a BSc and holds a Certificate IV in Aviation (Aircrewman) with over 2200 operational flight hours, and has undertaken numerous emergency missions, saving many lives.
Ben continued following his passion for aviation, successfully applying his broad skills and experience to unmanned aircraft through his own UAV company before joining the Ripper Group as Chief Operating Officer. He has been integral to the ongoing success and growth of the company.
Jason’s background is in sales and management within the sports and motorcycle industries. His broad skill base includes business development, account and client support, and staff management and training. He has a wealth of experience in all aspects of the supply chain, from B2C brick-and-mortar retail and e-commerce to national wholesale distribution, product development and marketing.
His firm belief in the importance of building lasting and trusting relationships has helped Jason excel in his career. His astute business acumenand expertise have seen him support individual retailers at the grass roots level as well as negotiate large strategic corporate deals that contribute to brand leadership and profitable partnerships.
In addition, when it comes time to operationalise these strategic decisions, Jason has direct experience in supporting teams and clients through this transformation, and the ability to respond to changing market and environmental demands.
Leanne St George
Leanne St George’s expertise has been pivotal in the Ripper Group’s achieving outstanding media results over the past two years; to date over 3482 media reports with a cumulative audience of 28,002,055 and an ASR of $6,353,580.
She is director of Leanne St George & Associates and has worked with an impressive range of national sports and performance events and major sponsorships such as the Surf Life Saving Series, cricket, horse racing, golf, polo, V8 Supercar Championship series, Indy car racing and Australia’s three major football codes of Rugby Union, Rugby League and Australian Rules Football.
Leanne has travelled extensively on behalf of clients in Australia, New Zealand, China and USA, and has worked with high profile clients such as News Limited, Australian Rugby Union, Ferrari Australia, Alfa Romeo and Polo Events Australia.
Li Dong is the Secretary-General of the World UAV Federation/Australian Chapter. His knowledge of Asia markets includes Japan, South Korea and South East Asia, positioning him ideally to move the Ripper Group forward in this dynamic region.
One of China’s foremost experts on business with the West, Li Dong has worked with several former Australian Ambassadors, including ten years as a chief representative in China for Dr Stephen Fitzgerald, Australia’s first Ambassador to China.
He has served as Country Manager for CCH and LexisNexis, the world’s leading professional information provider, and worked for the Weldon group as Senior China Advisor for over 30 years. During this time he has engaged almost every level of China’s commercial, cultural and senior leadership including directly with the Australian Embassy in Beijing. Similarly, he has facilitated and advised senior Australian business, political and cultural leadership on active China engagement.
Li Dong’s current China advisory work spans the financial, private equity, hi-tech, trade and cultural sectors.
Nige Austin is the Business Development Manager for The Ripper Group, a world leader in unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) strategy, training, deployment and innovation. He has over a decade of experience building tech startups and management consulting in greenfield markets across a wide range of industries and sectors.
Identifying the rapidly emerging unmanned aviation industry in 2016, Nige is committed to driving transformation and mass-market adoption of next-generation technology solutions which deliver real-world ROI. He is a member of the Australian Certified UAV Operators Inc (ACUO) RPAS Aerial Application Sub-Committee which is working with State Environmental Protection Agencies (EPA) departments to develop the policy framework for drones in agriculture in Australia.
Nige has held management positions across Consulting, Strategy, Business Development, Sales & Marketing, Human Resources, Health & Safety, Finance, and Digital Marketing to name a few. He holds an MBA from the Australian Institute of Business, is currently furthering his studies in aviation and has a fascination for everything emerging in UAV.