Meet the Team
Mark Rawson – Chief Executive
Originally from regional Otago and South Canterbury, Mark holds qualifications in business and economic development and he brings a relatively unique blend of public and private sector experience from a diverse background in senior executive positions in both the public and private sectors at a ‘hands on’ operational, senior management and governance level. This comes from his previous roles in local and regional economic development, regional destination marketing and management, Local Government economic and regulatory service delivery, events and venues management and marketing, inner-city revitalisation and four years in Private Equity.
Prior to the Destination Rotorua role Mark has held the positions of Group Manager Economic & Regulatory Services at Rotorua Lakes Council and prior to that was GM of a Rotorua based Private Equity company involved in a wide range of investments both in NZ and China with a predominant focus in the sectors of Wood processing, Manufacturing, Property Development and China market F&B exporting.
Outside of work Mark’s interest span from cycling, golf, cricket, rugby to pretty much any sport while also maintaining an interest in NZ business and investment markets. Mark is married and has a 22-year-old stepdaughter to help keep him on his toes.
Contact Mark at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone: 03 923 2051
Bill Findlater – Executive Advisor – China Business
Bill was CE of the original EDA from its inauguration in 2004 until June 2016. He has now taken on the role of Executive Advisor – Regional Development for three days a week.
Bill was employed by the EDA after a 34-year career in the pip fruit industry. He came to Nelson in 1985 as the Nelson-Marlborough Regional Manager for the New Zealand Apple & Pear Marketing Board (ENZA) and became National Supply Manager in 1997. For three years prior to joining the EDA, Bill was Procurement Director for a joint venture UK Category Management company supplying produce to seven of the eight major UK supermarket chains. Bill is former Chairman of the company operating the successful Nelson Giants Basketball franchise. He is a Trustee of the Annesbrook Community Trust and a member of both the Nelson Regional Transport Committee and the Tasman Regional Transport Committee. Bill is also a member of the Institute of Directors, on the Board of Top of the South Trades Academy, a member of the Advisory Group at NMIT.
Contact Bill at email@example.com or phone: 03 923 2059
Mark Maguire – Regional Business Advisor – Research & Development
Originally from the UK, Mark has relocated to Nelson after 13 years in Wellington. Mark has held General Manager positions in hospitality, retail, and tertiary sectors and has a strong commercial background from working in small to medium-sized businesses as well as not-for-profit organisations. Mark’s career has been varied, with extensive experience in corporate governance, operational design and strategy, change management and he has also been responsible for financial reporting and business succession planning.
When not in the office, Mark enjoys spending time with his young family. He is passionate about most sports but particularly enjoys supporting his favourite sporting teams including the All Blacks, Hurricanes and Warriors. You may also find him playing golf and tennis when the weather permits.
For more information on how your business can benefit or to arrange a meeting please contact Mark on firstname.lastname@example.org or phone: 03 923 2053.
Lesley McQue – Economic Development Projects & Insights Programme Manager
Lesley moved to Nelson from the UK in 2004, joining the (then) EDA in March 2013. Lesley has had an extensive career in production control, configuration management, business process re-engineering, and project management, in various sectors including military electronics, flight simulation, radiotherapy treatment machines, insurance, wholesale banking and more recently in food production. She also has experience in software training, the diving industry, and office administration in artwork, civil engineering and in community service.
Having travelled extensively, Lesley now enjoys home life on her rural property, tending her vegetable garden and orchard, and making cheese.
Contact Lesley at email@example.com or phone: 03 923 2054
Helen Riddle – Executive Assistant & Office Manager
Helen is a third generation Nelsonian who returned to her home-town after living in Christchurch for ten years. Helen has had a long and varied career in administration, culminating in ten years as an Executive Assistant with a global manufacturing company, with a wide range of responsibilities from Quality Assurance to Occupational Safety and Health.
Having recently built a new home, Helen is enjoying landscaping and gardening, she also enjoys outdoor life – camping, boating, walking. When bad weather strikes she spends time indoors on hand-crafts.
Contact Helen at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone: 03 923 2052.
Jessie Creedmore – Domestic Consumer and Events Marketing Manager
Jessie joined the NRDA in September 2016, bringing with her 20 years’ experience in business development, event marketing, publishing, website development, writing, creative services and digital media. She has also bought and sold a marketing and website development company.
Previously, Jessie’s predominantly worked with the private sector across a range of industries, from product development, branding and distribution of import sporting goods, property developments, wine marketing, commercial bus manufacture and marketing, and digital content marketing training services.
Jessie is a strong advocate for Nelson. She’s lived in several beautiful parts of New Zealand and visited amazing places around the world, but now calls Nelson her forever home. It makes sense that Jessie chose to work in an organisation tasked with the enhancement of the vitality of the region, given her love for the region.
Contact Jessie on email@example.com or phone: 03 545 6858.
Debbie Armatage – Web and Image Comms / Visitor Guide Coordinator
Born and bred in Auckland, originally Debbie trained in journalism then retrained in marketing some years later after travelling extensively. A decade of marketing mainly in the domestic meat industry was then followed by a move to Christchurch and a change of sectors to hospitality, food and beverage, and tourism. The opportunity to manage a new luxury lodge in Tasman first lured Debbie and her husband to this region is 1999. They returned to Christchurch four years later but the family moved back to Nelson in 2013, missing the light, colours and charm of the region.
In her spare time, Debbie places emphasis on books, dogs and family. Sometimes in that order.
Contact Debbie at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Gisela Purcell – International Marketing Manager
Gisela grew up in Nelson but has spent enough time living in other places around the world to appreciate what makes this region unique. She has an MA in International Development and a wide range of work experiences including running her own business teaching languages to children in New Zealand and Australia, marketing local education opportunities to international students, and promoting the region’s wines. Gisela believes that the synergy created by working collaboratively harnesses more energy to achieve maximum results.
Outside of work, Gisela enjoys playing in a variety of music groups from percussion bands to classical orchestra. She loves getting into the great outdoors either on foot, by bike or in her kayak. She is also passionate about her volunteer roles with the Trade Aid Shop and Fair Trade movement.
Contact Gisela at email@example.com or phone: 03 545 6853.
Tracee Neilson – International Media Liaison
Tracee grew up in Nelson and is proud to call Nelson home. After completing a BCom DipCom in Marketing at Otago, Tracee went on to work for Shell Oil company both in NZ and Australia, managing retail fuel marketing. Returning home to Nelson in 2004, Tracee has enjoyed a part-time role planning itineraries, hosting visiting media and supporting the International Marketing Manager with trade relations at NRDA Tourism (formerly NTT) for almost eight years. Tracee has immensely enjoyed the sector switch to promoting a beautiful region’s attributes.
In her spare time, Tracee makes full use of our national parks and all the other great outdoors activities the region offers, particularly running and mountain biking with her two children.
Contact Tracee at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone: 03 539 0820.
Dorothy Riley – Nelson i-SITE Manager
Dorothy grew up in a dairy farming family in Taranaki and then the West Coast, with extended family always in Nelson. After an OE and four years in Auckland, she moved to Nelson.Dorothy’s initial career was in Early Childhood. After having her own children, a change in career was required, and with travel being another major interest, this was the obvious choice. With a travel qualification from NMIT secured it was off to gain experience in an awesome NZ locality with a tourism focus – Te Anau/Fiordland, being employed with a major NZ tourism operator, this then led to the Nelson i-SITE.
Dorothy and her family live in Richmond. Exploring NZ in any way possible is one of their main pastimes, along with the challenge of modernising their 1960s home and keeping up with two teenagers and their activities.
Contact Dorothy at email@example.com or phone: 03 539 0827.
Further information on other staff members coming soon.