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Board & Senior Management

Rail Innovation Australia Pty Ltd Board Members

Mr Vince O'Rourke AM, Chairman                                  Status: Independent

Vince O’Rourke is one of the most experienced executive managers in the Australian railway industry and ex-CEO of Queensland Rail (QR). He was appointed as Queensland Commissioner for Railways in 1990 with a brief to transform QR from a Government Department into a commercially focussed business enterprise. Ten years later, under Vince’s leadership, QR became the leading railway organisation in Australia. The transformation period was marked by $6 billion investment into the company track infrastructure, rolling stock and workforce training and development programs.

Before joining QR, Vince held the position of General Manager Freight Services with the NSW State Rail Authority responsible for all operations and the business.

Vince was a founder and Vice-President of the Australasian Railway Association upon its incorporation in 1994. He served as a director on the boards of many well known companies such as Queensland Capital Markets, Australian National Training Authority, Mater Health Services, Linfox Holdings, and Bradken Limited. He was the Chairman of the Cooperative Research Centre for Railway Engineering and Technologies.

His areas of expertise include business management, strategic planning, leadership and rail operations.


Mr John Hearsch, Director                                              Status: Independent

John Hearsch is a rail industry consultant who has been working in the railway and general transport industries for over 50 years. John started his career in 1959 with Victorian Railways where he rose through the ranks and a wide variety of operational, administrative and managerial positions. He became Chief General Manager of Transport Operations of the State Transport Authority of Victoria (V/Line) in 1983. In this position, John was responsible for all operations, maintenance and engineering services for the State freight and non-metropolitan rail passenger services.

John transferred to Queensland in 1990 to become Group General Manager Freight for Queensland Rail. In this capacity, he was responsible for overall operations of QR’s extensive freight business in Queensland including management of over 6000 km of network infrastructure, multiple freight terminals and an extensive fleet of locomotives and wagons. In addition, John was overseeing marketing, finance and maintenance services of the freight business.

After retirement from QR in 1998, John established his own consultancy specialising in railway and transport management and strategy. His clients include a considerable number of major government and private sector organisations.

John is a graduate of Melbourne University in Commerce & Economics and a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport.   He was the recipient of the Railway Technical Society of Australasia 2012 award to an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to the railway industry.


Mr Brian Bock, Director                                                  Status: Indepdendent

Mr Brian Bock has had an outstanding career in the railway industry including 35 years of service in a variety of senior positions with Queensland Rail. Brian’s positions in QR included Major Project and Freight Product Manager, General Manager of QR’s Engineering and Technical Services, Group General Manager Workshops, Group General Manager Shared Services, Executive Manager Strategy and Corporate Affairs and Executive Manager International Industry Relations. In 2008-10 Brian worked as a Senior Advisor at the Headquarters of the International Union of Railways in Paris, France. In his roles of Chairman of the Australian Railway Industry Technology Council, Chairman of the Queensland Division of the Institution of Engineers Australia, Deputy Chairman of the Transport Panel and Member of the Australian Rail Operations Unit, Brian was a major contributor to the development of the national rail safety framework and many other rail industry projects and developments. He was also a Board Member of the Cooperative Research Centre for Rail Innovation. Brian currently manages his own consulting company, B Bock Advisory Pty Ltd.

Brian’s major areas of expertise include railway engineering, safety and operations management, strategic business planning and commercial aspects of rail operations. He has Bachelor Degrees in Engineering from the Queensland Institute of Technology and of Commerce from the University of Queensland, and a Graduate Certificate in Legal Studies from QUT. He is a Fellow of the Institution of Engineers Australia, the Permanent Way Institution and the Australian Institute of Management and a Graduate Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.


Mr Simon Lymbery, Director                                          Status/Company: Industry Sector, Aurizon

Mr Simon Lymbery has had an outstanding 24 year career in the railway and aviation industries. Prior to being appointed as General Manager (Operations Engineering & Technology) at Aurizon, his previous senior positions include General Manager (Engineering Services) at QANTAS, General Manager (Technical Alliances and Product Development) at UGL, and Group General Manager (Asset Engineering) and Vice-President Engineering Services at Aurizon. Simon’s diverse background and expertise cover broad areas of engineering, asset maintenance, supply chain operations, and information technology. In addition to his comprehensive technical skills, Simon has extensive experience in managing large engineering and management teams of up to 200 staff.

Working in senior positions, Mr Lymbery has demonstrated his outstanding strategic thinking and management capabilities by the successful planning and delivery of a number of large-scale multi-million dollar projects that resulted in cost reductions, improvements in efficiency of operations and asset management, and reliability of services. In his current position, Simon has responsibility for development and implementation of Aurizon’s five year integrated strategic innovation and technology plan. He is also directly involved in the OzECP Brake and Train Health Advisory System projects undertaken by Aurizon jointly with Faiveley Transport, CQUni and Rail Innovation Australia.

Simon has a Bachelor of Engineering Degree (Aeronautical) from the University of Sydney.   He has completed MBA modules in Finance, Negotiations, Industrial Relations and Strategy at the University of Technology, Sydney and the Executive Management Development Program at the Australian Graduate School of Management.


Professor Colin Cole                                         Status/Company: University Sector, CQUniversity



Bio will be provided shortly.


Mr Tim Ryan, Director                                                    Status/Company: Industry Sector, ARTC

After a 13 year career with the Western Australian Farmers Federation, including 4 years as the Executive Director, Tim joined the then Westrail in 1992. At Westrail, he was initially responsible for the transfer of the interstate business to National Rail Corporation including developing and executing the first commercial access agreement in Australia.

For 3 years Tim worked as Westrail’s General Manager Freight Operations, responsible for a broad range of railway areas including train operations, safeworking, and infrastructure maintenance and train control. He was involved in the development of the legislation for economic regulation of an open access regime on the Westrail network, and then established and managed the Westrail Infrastructure Division responsible for granting network access to third parties.

After the privatisation of Westrail in 2000, he became General Manager of Westnet Rail, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Australian Railroad Group. In this role, Tim was responsible for track and signalling construction and maintenance, train control, train planning and operations and track access.

Tim commenced employment with Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) as General Manager Asset Management in 2005 and subsequently held the ARTC positions of General Manager North/South Corridor and General Manager Hunter Valley. Tim was appointed Executive General Manager Interstate Network responsible for operations and the infrastructure on the ARTC interstate network in 2011.


General Manager

Dr Anna Thomas

Anna Thomas joined the Australian railway industry in 2000 when she was engaged by CQUni to develop an application to the Commonwealth government for the Cooperative Research Centre for Railway Engineering and Technologies (‘Rail CRC’), the first cooperative centre in the transportation industry in Australia.   After the Centre being successfully established in 2001, Anna took the position of Business Manager responsible for general management of the Centre and commercialisation of intellectual property and research outputs.

Anna was appointed General Manager of Rail Innovation Australia Pty Ltd (RIA) in 2007, taking the responsibility for bringing Rail CRC products and technologies to the market. Over the past seven years RIA has successfully progressed with the challenging task of delivering tangible benefits to the railway industry.

Anna’s career prior to entering the railway industry includes 18 years of experience in technology and product development in both academic and international business environments. She held a number of senior research and management positions in public and private organisations.

Anna holds a PhD in Aeronautical Engineering from the Moscow Engineering-Physics University and an MBA with major in Finance from the USQ. She also completed a number of short-term training courses in intellectual property management, leadership, sales, marketing, product development and start-up ventures in Australia and the USA.



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