Our Directors

The Advance Cairns Board comprises of the Executive Chair, Deputy Chair, Chair of Finance
& Risk Mitigation Committee, and seven Non-Executive Directors.

Nick Trompf


Since moving from Victoria to Tropical North Queensland in 2001, Nick has played an active role as a senior business leader as well as in the wider community.

Having joined Advance Cairns in 2018, after two years as CEO he accepted the role of Executive Chairman, a combined role of both Chief Executive and Chairman. He previously served six years on the Advance Cairns Board (2009-2012 and 2013-2016).

Prior to Advance Cairns he had a 34-year career in media, initially as a journalist and editor and then moving into commercial management. He was General Manager of Cairns’ oldest business, the Cairns Post Pty Ltd, for 11 years before promotion into more senior roles at News Corp Australia – ultimately heading all of its regional divisions from Hobart to Darwin (while still based in Cairns).

Nick has been a passionate advocate for the region serving on a variety of voluntary boards including Advance Cairns (two terms), the Far North Queensland Amateur Turf Club, AFL Cairns, the Salvation Army Red Shield Business Appeal and Events Cairns. He and his family also run a stud beef cattle business on the Atherton Tablelands.

Michael Delaney

Director and Deputy Chair

Michael has been in public practice in Cairns since 1987 and has worked in the audit and business services areas since.

Michael is a BDO accredited advisor in Family Business and consults to a wide range of family businesses.

Michael is former President of the Cairns Amateurs and a former Director of Access Community Housing Company.

Michael holds a Bachelor of Science (UQ), Bachelor of Commerce (UQ), Graduate Certificate in Forensic Studies (Accounting) (Monash), is a Chartered

Accountant and a Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.


Richard Barker

Director and deputy chair

Richard Barker was appointed as NQA’s Chief Executive Officer in December 2020, after joining the NQA Board of Directors in 2015. Richard has extensive experience in the Airports, Retail and Energy sectors. His previous role was General Manager of Retail & Commercial at Auckland International Airport.

Richard has more than 30 years of global experience having worked and lived in New Zealand, UK, USA and Australia. Richard holds a BMS (Marketing/Finance) and a KMI from Kellogg Business School – Chicago and is a member NZ Institute of Directors.  In NZ he was the former Chairman of his tribe’s Trading Company and a Trustee of the Attitude Trust – an organisation that celebrates the achievements of people with disabilities.   He is currently a Director of TTNQ – Tourism Tropical North Queensland.




Trent Twomey

Director and Immediate Past Chairman

Trent is a pharmacist and a partner in a group of four pharmacies.

He is a National Councillor of the Pharmacy Guild of Australia, Chair of the  NQ Primary Healthcare Network, a member of the James Cook University Council, Interim Chair of the Northern Australia Alliance and has been a member of the Northern Australia Advisory Group, providing expert advice on developing Northern Australia to the members of the Strategic Partnership — the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister, the Premiers of Queensland and Western Australia and the Chief Minister of the Northern Territory.

Trent is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, Council Member of the Queensland Futures Institute, Committee for Economic Development Australia Trustee, and the Australian Institute of Management and the Australian College of Pharmacy.

Trent is married with two children.


Professor Simon Biggs


Professor Simon Biggs commenced his appointment as Vice Chancellor and President of James Cook University Australia in February 2022. He is responsible for ensuring clear and effective leadership and management of the University across all operating sites, including campuses in Cairns, Townsville and Singapore.

Professor Biggs’ former appointments include: Senior Deputy Vice Chancellor at the University of Western Australia, Executive Dean for the Faculty of Engineering, Architecture and Information Technology at the University of Queensland and Royal Academy of Engineering/National Nuclear Laboratory Chair in Particle Science and Engineering at the University of Leeds in the UK. His first academic appointment was at the University of Newcastle (Australia).

Educated at the University of Bristol in the UK, Professor Biggs holds a PhD in Colloid Science. He developed his research through post-doctoral positions at the Institute Charles Sadron in Strasbourg, France and the University of Melbourne, Australia.

Professor Biggs is a Council Member of the Australian Institute of Marine Science, and Director, Advance Cairns. He was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering in 2011 and in 2016, as a Fellow of the Australian Academy for Technological Sciences and Engineering.

Chris Boland


Chris Boland is the Chief Executive Officer of Ports North.

Ports North is responsible for the management and operation of the Ports of Cairns, Karumba, Thursday Island, Mourilyan, Skardon River, Cape Flattery, Quintell Beach, Cooktown and Burketown as well as the Cityport project in Cairns.

Chris was born in Queensland and attended university at the University of Queensland gaining an honours degree in Engineering before working in Melbourne, the United Kingdom and Cairns.



Jodie Duignan-George


Jodie Duignan-George is an Associate Vice Chancellor of CQUniversity. The primary focus of this role is to set the strategic direction for CQUniversity’s Cairns and Far North Region and lead activity in pursuit of the University’s engagement agenda.

Jodie has a strong background in corporate and commercial service management and business development within the higher education sector. Jodie’s real strength lies in community engagement. She has experience leading teams and setting strategic direction, for social and economic impact, in collaboration with industry and community.

In addition to her role at CQUniversity, Jodie is the Vice President of the Cairns Chamber of Commerce, Vice President of Study Cairns and Company Secretary of Engagement Australia.

Jodie is a firm believer that the Cairns region has enormous potential yet to be unlocked. As a Cairns local of 26 years, she is passionate about the region’s development and is dedicated to strengthening opportunities for education and industry alike.


Phil Growden


Phil Growden is currently General Manager Queensland for Austal Australia. Austal is a global defence prime contractor and world leader in the design, construction and support of high performance defence and commercial ships.

Over the last 10 years, Mr Growden has held a number of senior management positions including Head of Production Austal Australia and Class Construction Manager, playing an integral role in the development of the company’s productivity improvement programs and delivery of major defence and commercial shipbuilding programs.

Mr Growden was recently moved to Vietnam as Head of Production where he was instrumental in the development of the new shipbuilding facility from green field to full operation, the launch of their first 94m High Speed Ferry in a 2.5 year period and the building a workforce of nearly 400 skilled staff.

Phil was then appointed as Head of Shipyards Queensland, overseeing the Shipyards in Brisbane and Cairns and carried out this role from December 2020 until his appointment as General Manager in August 2021.