Published on 23 September 2015
The University of the Sunshine Coast will celebrate the achievements of three remarkable graduates – Debbie Platz, Dr Chris Walker and Bill Darby – at its annual Outstanding Alumni of the Year Awards tomorrow night (Thursday 24 September).
The award recipients are a police chief superintendent who won a scholarship to Cambridge University, a senior environmental scientist who is focused on sustainable urban design, and a business entrepreneur renowned for his tourism leadership.
Media are welcome to attend the awards from 6-8pm on Thursday 24 September at USC’s Innovation Centre auditorium. 92.7 Mix FM’s Caroline Hutchinson will MC the event, which is free to alumni and guests.
Chief Superintendent Platz, who will be named the Outstanding Alumnus, said she had used her USC Master of Business Administration (MBA) and Graduate Diploma of Education to rise through the ranks of the Queensland Police Service (QPS), launching community policing strategies and researching best practice.
She now works in Brisbane as the executive manager of training and development of the QPS and Public Safety Business Agency, responsible for training about 800 police recruits each year and 15,000 service personnel across the state.
“All of the training and education I did at USC stood me in good stead for a whole range of opportunities I’ve had in policing,” she said. “And if it wasn’t for USC, I wouldn’t have gone to Cambridge last year to study applied criminology.”
Dr Chris Walker graduated in 2006 with a Bachelor of Science (Environmental Science) and in 2012 with a PhD that focused on urban lake design and stormwater quality modelling. He said he was delighted to be recognised in 2015 with the USC Rising Star Alumnus award.
Dr Walker, who is environmental manager for Covey Associates, an engineering consultancy with national and overseas clients, has worked on commercial, residential and industrial projects across Queensland to reduce the environmental impacts of large urban developments and improve the health of water courses.
Examples are the Parklakes master-planned estate in Bli Bli, which was selected as a case study by the Sunshine Coast Council and Healthy Waterways, and a Bribie Lakes project which uses a “floating wetlands” technique to treat runoff. He is now doing research with BHP into the treatment of dam tailings.
Bill Darby, who will receive the Regional Achievement award, graduated with an MBA in 2007 following his 2006 Graduate Certificate in the same field. His involvement in both the University and the Sunshine Coast has been forged in many ways, including current co-ownership and management of Caloundra’s only five-star resort, Rumba.
Rumba Resort, which opened in 2009, now employs 25 people, injects more than $4.5 million annually into the local economy and has won many industry awards.
Mr Darby, who helped pioneer the provision of private student housing adjoining USC in the mid-1990s, has taken leadership roles in both tourism and economic development, with organisations ranging from Sunshine Coast Destination Ltd to the Caloundra Chamber of Commerce.
For more details about the event, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 5430 1104.