Coast advocate to become Senior Fellow

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Coast advocate to become Senior Fellow

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Published on 31 March 2014

A former surveyor and town planner who has steered community, business and government organisations to success on the Sunshine Coast since the 1970s will become an Honorary Senior Fellow of the University of the Sunshine Coast.

Ken Hicks, 66, of Mountain Creek, will be the only recipient of an honorary award at the USC Business graduation ceremony at 5pm on Thursday 10 April.

It will be one of four honorary awards to be presented at USC’s four graduation ceremonies over 10-11 April.

Mr Hicks, who recently stepped down after 12 years as Chair of the Sunshine Coast TAFE Council, is a Director of Wildlife Warriors Worldwide which has built the world’s largest wildlife hospital at Beerwah and has conservation projects in at least four countries.

He is also chair of the steering committee of the Steve Irwin Wildlife Reserve after being asked by Terri Irwin in 2007 to manage the acquisition of the 135,000ha property on Cape York, funded by the Australian Government.

“One of my career highlights has been contributing to obtaining the mining ban on the Steve Irwin Wildlife Reserve,” he said.

“I saw Terri Irwin being awarded her Honorary Senior Fellowship from USC in 2007 and I know others who have received this award, so to be standing alongside them is a real privilege. I’m surprised and honoured to receive it.”

Mr Hicks has dedicated his diverse career to improving the Sunshine Coast region for the benefit of the community, working closely with governments.

He was a strong supporter of USC since its inception. As a Maroochy Shire councillor in the late 1980s, he helped advocate for the acquisition of a central site for a future university.

“Through my most recent TAFE role, we developed a close working relationship with USC to ensure we were on the same page for the benefit of all students.”

“USC gives Sunshine Coast students a university to go to without leaving home. It’s receptive to new ideas and is one of the Coast’s biggest employers.”

Mr Hicks established businesses on the Coast such as Ken Hicks and Associates in 1974. He is now retired from the large surveying and town planning company which won the GIO overall award for Excellence in Business in 1999.

He introduced the first solar energy business to the Coast in the 1970s and is a past Director of the Sunshine Coast Tourism Board.

He has served on organisations including chambers of commerce, Rotary (Paul Harris Fellow) and Apex clubs, and is a local rugby union stalwart of 39 years.

“I was heavily involved in the Tollbusters campaign in the early 1990s, where we camped near the Sunshine Motorway for two years to fight for removal of the toll. I’m also proud of advocating for Mooloolaba’s Loo with the View, converting a concrete toilet block into an architect-designed facility.”

— Julie Schomberg

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