Our Team

The ABA is the peak industry body for the almond industry in Australia that facilitates the development of the industry, seeks to maximise the viability of stakeholders and ensure its sustainability.

Our Team

Ross Skinner

Chief Executive Officer

Ross is Chief Executive Officer of the Almond Board of Australia, holding this position since November 2010. Ross holds a Bachelor of Economics. Ross was previously Assistant General Manager of the Australian Dried Fruits Association, General Manager of the Dried Fruits Research and Development Council, and General Manager of the Australian Dried Fruits Board. Ross has 36 years’ experience managing R&D and marketing programs for many Murray Valley horticultural industries and assisting the development and implementation of their strategic plans. He has strong linkages with other horticultural bodies both in Australia and overseas.

Deidre Jaensch

Industry Development Manager

Deidre joined the ABA in October 2019 as Industry Development Manager. She holds a Bachelor of Agricultural Science and has worked in irrigated horticulture within the government, industry and private sectors for over 27 years. Deidre manages the research and development program working with growers, researchers, suppliers and service providers as well as industry collaborators to generate the knowledge, skills and technologies required to enhance industry’s competitiveness and further development in line with the almond industry strategic investment plan.

Joshua Fielke

Industry Development Officer

Josh was appointed in October 2015 as an Industry Development Officer. Josh has been involved in the horticulture industry since 2010 working with a variety of crops. Josh began as a farm hand at QFM Productions, and then completed a Bachelor of Environmental Science at the University of South Australia. During this three-year period he worked as a supervisor/farm hand at Cooinda Mixed Farm gaining experience in growing practices. Josh then gained a post-graduate job at the Mitolo Group as an agronomist. This role was based around nutrition, and pest and disease management.

Ben Wiblin

Industry Development Officer

Ben joined the ABA in November 2018 after completing a Bachelor of Agricultural Science at the University of Adelaide. Ben works alongside Josh Fielke as an Industry Development Officer. Ben has previously been involved in various agricultural production systems allowing him to use his knowledge in soil and plant science to help maximise yields whilst also monitoring pests and disease. Ben’s role is centered around facilitating the extension of new research in an effort to increase industry knowledge and efficiency.

Anthony Wachtel

Almond Centre Orchard Manager

Anthony joined the ABA to manage the 60 hectare experimental and demonstration orchard that is part of the Almond Centre of Excellence established at Loxton. Anthony has extensive experience in almond production working with Century Orchards as Assistant Farm Manager. His role requires him to work closely with researchers to ensure the specific management programs required for their trials are adhered to. He has also overseen the establishment of the orchard infrastructure to provide a world class facility that suits the conduct of current and future research. Anthony is a member of the ABA’s Industry Development team as the orchard will be a key part of extending best practice to producers.

Anna Petersen

Publications Manager

Anna is engaged on a part-time basis to manage the ABA’s range of publications. These include the In A Nutshell industry newsletter as well as other annual documents. She is responsible for the sourcing of articles, editing, advertising, production and distribution. Anna also works closely with other ABA staff to provide support for industry events and other communications related activities. Anna holds a Bachelor of Arts (Communication and Media Management) and a Graduate Diploma Communication (Public Relations).

Joseph Ebbage

Contracted Consultant

Joseph is engaged by the ABA to manage the Almond Market Development Program. Based in Melbourne, Joseph has worked with the ABA since 2003 and is the principal of “Consumer Insights”, a market research and consultancy agency. Joseph works with industry marketers to promote almonds on the domestic market and build awareness of the Australian almond brand internationally.

Louisa Martin

Marketing Officer

Louisa Martin was appointed to the position of Market Development Officer with the ABA in August 2019. Lou has a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing (Business) from the University of South Australia. Her role at the ABA is to promote the consumption of almonds to Australians and educate consumers about the many health benefits of regularly eating almond products. This involves organizing and attending the ABA stand at food, health and fitness exhibitions throughout Australia, liaising with health and fitness professionals and working closely with various industry stakeholders to prepare materials promoting almond consumption. Lou is responsible for the ABA’s social media and digital platforms providing informative and interesting updates to our consumers and those that influence buying decisions.

Shannon Harkins

Finance & Business Manager

Shannon was appointed as Finance & Business Manager for the Almond Board of Australia in January 2011. Shannon holds a Diploma of Business and Certificate IV in Training and Assessment. Shannon’s role with the Almond Board of Australia sees his skills utilised for payroll, accounts payable and receivable, forecasting and budgeting, internal reporting, audit liaison, management of legal financial obligations, project financial management and acquittals and organisational management.

Deborah McMahon

Administration & Finance Officer

Debbie has been employed by the Almond Board of Australia since 2008. Her role includes general administrative and finance tasks and work in support
of the Chief Executive Officer, Finance & Business Manager, and Market Development Manager. Deb has a Bachelor of Education, Diploma of Teaching
(Primary) and an Associate Diploma of Editing and Proofreading. Deb also provided administrative support to the Australian Nut Industry Council.

Abigail Quirke

Events & Compliance Officer

Abigail joined the ABA team in July 2018. Abigail’s role is diverse, including organising the Australian Almond Conference and R&D Forum, which are held biennially. Abigail works closely with the Almond Centre of Excellence Experimental Orchard in the compliance side of her role. Externally, Abigail is involved in the horticulture sector having started a collaborative dried fruit processing company with her two brothers to market the fruit they grow. Abigail has also worked as a laboratory technician with the wine industry for several years.