2020 Outstanding Alumni Award winners
Each year the Outstanding Alumni Awards acknowledge and celebrate USC graduates who have achieved significantly in their fields of expertise since graduating. Congratulations to this year’s winners.
Colin Vale: Outstanding Alumnus Award
Colin Vale graduated with an MBA from USC in 2010 while working on a fly-in fly-out basis and raising three sons (two of whom also graduated from USC) with his wife, Lynette, on the Sunshine Coast.
Under Colin’s leadership as Executive Director of the Anitua Group on Lihir Island, Papua New Guinea (PNG), the organisation transformed into the most successful and largest landowner group of companies in PNG. Growing to more than 4,500 staff and 20 companies, the industries range from mining, security, property and construction to camp management, retail, investments, logistics, farms and drilling. He also demonstrated his commitment to the people of PNG by introducing programs that resulted in a reduction of domestic violence on Lihir and raised awareness of this devastating issue across the country. The initiatives were so successful at Anitua that it became a national issue.
“I’m proud of what I managed to achieve in PNG and I picked up many strategies within my MBA that helped me along the way,” he said.
After many years overseas, Colin returned home and has started a successful health and fitness centre on the Sunshine Coast with plans to franchise in the future.
Raphael McGowan: Regional Achievement Award
Since graduating from USC in 2010 with a Bachelor of Business, Raphael McGowan moved to Sydney and found his calling creating initiatives such as cycling and walking across the USA and Australia to raise awareness and funds to support research for melanoma skin cancer.
In 2017, Raphael returned to the Sunshine Coast to create his current business 'bakslap', a sunscreen application device. The first product was designed, manufactured and launched with the involvement of over 30 USC students and is currently available in 88 retailers, including 44 locally. In 2019, bakslap won a Sunshine Coast Business Award for manufacturing, recognised for innovation and economic, social and environmental impact.
Raphael has also worked on campaigns with Facebook Australia and has voluntarily led national initiatives with the Melanoma Institute Australia raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for melanoma research.
"It was a life-changing experience coming to USC. I’m thankful I’ve been able to make an impact in this region and that so many people have been a part of it," he said.
Dr Krystina Lamb: Rising Star Award
Dr Krystina Lamb is a leader in renewable and hydrogen energy technology research, currently working at the world class National Hydrogen Materials Reference Facility at Griffith University. After graduating from USC in 2016 with a PhD, as well as undergraduate and honours degrees in science, she has had a significant impact on promoting hydrogen technology in Australia, receiving over $2.3 million in research grants to date.
In 2018, she and her team at CSIRO demonstrated a world-first technology of producing ultrahigh purity hydrogen from ammonia to a crowd of over 200, including members of parliament, government, industry representatives and the media. Krystina has been actively involved in mentoring young scientists and STEM professionals. She has spoken at industry events such as Women in Engineering, organised conferences, and is a member of various committees.
“I know USC has produced so many different and talented people from so many different areas, so it’s really exciting for my work to be recognised by my University among those people and professions,” she said.
Ali Couwenberg: Rising Star Award
2010 Bachelor of Business (Tourism) graduate Ali Couwenberg (née Marshall) is a lead marketer for international property and infrastructure group Lendlease in Melbourne. Ali’s career highlights include launching a $350 million new build retail asset and she is currently leading the marketing and placemaking on Melbourne Quarter (MQ), a $2.9 billion project identified as the city’s most ambitious, greenest, urban regeneration development yet.
“Ali’s leadership has made a hugely positive contribution to the success of the project and in embedding MQ as a new city precinct that will transform the way people work and live in Melbourne,” said Lendlease Development Director Brian Herlihy.
Ali has a passion for empowering females to explore employment opportunities in the industry, hosting a marketing workshop and guest speaking at a Property Council of Australia ‘Girls in Property’ program. She is an active mentor to Lendlease team members and has delivered a bespoke art installation at MQ to promote International Women's Day.
“It’s a privilege to be announced as a winner, and it’s a true testament to what you can achieve with a university degree,” said Ali.
For more information about the Outstanding Alumni Awards visit usc.edu.au/alumniawards