OUR TEAM

 

Emilio De Stefano

MEng BEng (Hons) BMgmt MIEAust CPEng MIET

Director and Principal

Emilio De Stefano

Emilio is Director and Principal of De Stefano & Co. An experienced and award-winning executive and Chartered Professional Engineer (CPEng), Emilio's industry experience commenced in 2005 with Tenix Defence - Electronic Systems Division. After completing a double degree in a Bachelor of Electrical and Mechatronic Engineering and a Bachelor of Management at the University of South Australia, Emilio joined BAE Systems Australia in 2007. His experience extends to the complex discipline of electronic warfare in various hardware engineering, systems engineering and engineering leadership roles. At the age of 27, Emilio became one of the youngest engineers to be accorded a Technical Authority at BAE Systems Australia.
 
In 2011, Emilio undertook the South Australian Defence Industry Leadership Program (SADILP), and shortly afterwards became General Manager at Smart Fabrication. It was during this time he completed his Masters of Engineering, while also leading Smart Fabrication through significant growth and cultural transformation. This saw the company experience record year-on-year growth and also resulted in Smart Fabrication winning two prominent awards; the National Manufacturers’ Monthly “Business Transformation” award in 2014 and the DTC Most Outstanding SME award in 2015.
 
In 2014, Emilio was awarded a grant by the Industry Leaders Fund to study at the prestigious, Stanford Graduate School of Business. Here he undertook the Executive Program for Growing Companies - a general management curriculum centred around educating business owners and senior executives in sustainable business growth.

An accomplished keynote speaker, Emilio leverages the lessons he has learnt from his Stanford experience as well as those from business and life, engaging audiences nationwide on topics including entrepreneurship, risk-taking, leadership and business.

Emilio is a past Chair of The Institution of Engineering and Technology SA & NT Local Network and has held various positions on the national board. Outside of De Stefano & Co, Emilio is Co-Founder of Adelaide Gardening Group, a provider of turn-key garden and grounds maintenance solutions to the commercial and strata management sector.

Professional expertise and interests:
 

  • Strategic planning

  • Tender response development and review

  • Grant applications

  • Structuring companies for growth

  • Business collaboration and teaming

  • Business advisory

  • Business / process improvement

  • Business case development

  • Board / advisory board positions

  • Business development

  • Project management

  • Systems engineering

  • Engineering management

 

Austin Stubbs

BBus(MIS) CISM GSEC

Principal Cyber Security Consultant

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Austin has 15 years’ experience working in the cyber security industry for the likes of BAE Systems Australia, Santos and Deloitte, focusing on management, architecture, risk and security operations. A natural leader within the information security industry, he has a passion for implementing security programs and managing information security teams. Austin excels in working with senior management teams, C-suite executives and business owners whilst coordinating work across technical teams to deliver secure solutions. He specialises in the development of cyber security strategy and security architecture, including cloud and cyber response capabilities.

Austin has Bachelor level qualifications in Business Management Information Systems and is a Certified Information Security Manager. His objective is to develop a security-first mindset across client organisations whilst delivering on strategic business objectives. He achieves this through an emphasis on building rapport with key internal stakeholders including HR, Legal and Internal Audit whilst managing external relationships with business partners, vendors and government.

Professional expertise and interests:
 

  • Cyber security strategy

  • Cyber security audit and compliance

  • Cloud security and integration

  • Defence Industry Security Program (DISP) membership and accreditation

  • Security architecture and transformation

  • Governance and risk

  • Project management

 

Andrew Seal

Senior Associate

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Andrew is an experienced Director and General Manager with Mechanical Engineering qualifications and a Masters in Business Administration (MBA). He boasts a strong track record in the strategic corporate domain with the major international technology company Siemens, as well as various other roles within the Maritime and Automotive sectors.

 

Using knowledge gained through his MBA, Andrew has successfully implemented major business improvement initiatives throughout all areas of business, including new product development programs, rebranding and major revisions to manufacturing processes.

 

As Head of Defence & Maritime at Siemens, Andrew was at the forefront of the digital technology curve and initiated programs to aide industry in the implementation of these new technologies in the areas of Digital Transformation, Industry 4.0 and Workforce Development.

 

With an established network of senior stakeholders within the Australian and International Defence and Government sectors, Andrew has held positions on the Australian Industry Group Defence Council working groups (Export Control Forum /Commercial, Contracting and Ethics Working Group / Security Working Group) and has undertaken the Defence Industry Study Course (DISC) and is a previous Board Member of the Australia Defence Alliance of Victoria.

 

Andrew has worked closely with DST Group, Primes, DMTC and academia in developmental research and feasibility studies on new advanced platform propulsion and power technologies for the Maritime sector.

 

Andrew’s qualifications and broad experience - both within Australia and internationally - makes him well-positioned to provide strategic advice to Australian businesses on a wide range of topics.
 

Professional expertise and interests:
 

  • Strategic planning

  • Brand and marketing strategy

  • Business development and sales strategy

  • Business advisory

  • Project management

  • Process improvement and operational excellence

  • Change management

  • Defence Industry Security Program (DISP) membership and accreditation

  • Grant applications

  • Tender responses

BEng MBA
 

Brian McAvoy

BEng PMP CPIM

Senior Associate

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Brian is a project management, engineering and supply chain management professional with broad experience in manufacturing, distribution and logistics companies, including global leaders such as GE, Mercury Marine, Bemis and Dunlop Slazenger. More than anything else, Brian is a problem solver with a process and systems focus, whose leadership skills have been developed over 25 years of project, departmental and senior management experience.

After graduating from the University of Wisconsin - Madison with a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering, Brian joined GE's prestigious Manufacturing Management Program (MMP). This time at GE provided exposure to heavy manufacturing such as locomotives and gas turbines as well as fast-moving consumer goods.

After GE, Brian earned the Certified in Production and Inventory Management (CIPM) certification from the American Production & Inventory Control Society (APICS) as a first step toward expanding his career into operations and supply chain management. This led to his first management role with Dunlop Slazenger. As Brian's career progressed he took on roles with increasing responsibility across functions such as sales and operations planning, forecasting, demand planning, procurement, warehousing, distribution and logistics.

Project management has also been a theme throughout the last 20 years, including certification as a Project Management Professional (PMP) with the Project Management Institute (PMI). This has resulted in real-world technology delivery experience, including successful leadership of multiple IT systems implementations and business process overhauls.

Always open to opportunities to learn and grow professionally, Brian has recently enrolled in the Defence Teaming Centre's Defence Industry Leadership Program.

Outside of work, Brian is a volunteer mentor at the University of Adelaide's ThincLab where he works with startup and scaling businesses.

Professional expertise and interests:
 

  • Project management

  • Change management

  • Supply chain management

  • Interim management

  • Strategic planning

  • Process improvement and operational excellence

  • Business intelligence and analytics

  • Defence Industry Security Program (DISP) membership and accreditation

  • Grant applications

  • Tender responses

 

Ken Fong

BAcct BEng MBA (Pending) MAICD

Senior Associate

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Ken is an accounting and engineering professional with 13 years of international experience. He has worked in Defence Electronics at BAE Systems Australia and at BDO Chartered Accountants, where he was part of both the Audit and Advisory teams. Ken's audit experience is diverse, including industries such as Construction, Manufacturing, Retail, Hospitality, Agriculture and Local Government.

 

During his time in Advisory, Ken advised clients using Data Analytics for evidence-based decision making, operational decision-making and analysis for potential fraud. He has extensive experience in Financial Modelling (producing Forecast and Option Analyses) and Risk Management; identifying key enterprise-wide and operational risks as well as developing and implementing risk management strategies, frameworks, policies and processes.

 

Ken assists both Chinese and Australian companies as a business consultant. In this role he assists clients with the Preparation of International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) Financial Statements, 'westernising' company accounting policies to align them to International Accounting Standards, pre-audit preparation and project management support.

 

Fluent in English, Mandarin and Cantonese, Ken's language skills have enabled him to undertake audits on a number of Chinese entities in preparation to be listed on either the ASX or NSX. Ken is a Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and is currently completing his Masters of Business Administration (MBA) through the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT). He has a Bachelor of Accounting and a Bachelor of Electrical and Telecommunications Engineering.

Professional expertise and interests:
 

  • Grant applications

  • Management accounting

  • Financial modelling, forecasting and analysis

  • Virtual Chief Financial Officer (Virtual CFO) positions

  • Business / financial process and policy development

  • Business advisory

  • Internal auditing

  • Option analysis

  • Business case development

  • Risk management

  • Evidence-based decision making

  • International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS)

 

Leigh Whicker

MBA AdvDip Rural Bus Mgmt

Senior Associate

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Leigh is an experienced Field Engineer and business development professional. With a career spanning some 25 years, he has extensive experience in agribusiness, major oil and gas projects (both domestically and internationally) and the defence sector.


Commencing his career in the agribusiness sector as a Jackaroo on stud and commercial properties in SA, WA and QLD, Leigh has held operational and commercial roles that extend to commodities export as well as international trade in Europe, South East Asia and the Pacific Rim. He spent 6 months on secondment in Paris with the import agent for retail giant Carrefour Group.


Moving into oil and gas in 2005 as a Field Engineer for Halliburton, Leigh worked on offshore and onshore projects specialising in well interventions and production enhancement throughout Kazakhstan, South East Asia, Papua New Guinea, Australia’s North West Shelf and its Bowen Basin. He was also involved in early works on the CO2 injection program for Chevron Barrow Island on the Gorgon project. After 6 years, Leigh moved into commercial roles with Cameron (now a Schlumberger company) in surface flow control and sub-sea infrastructure where he negotiated sales and service contracts with the likes of Woodside and Chevron within Australia. After 2 further years in a senior management role with Ferguson Group, Leigh relocated back to South Australia taking up a role in the defence sector with QMS Connect, an asset integrity service supplier for Collins Class submarines.


Recently, Leigh has dedicated his efforts to assisting SMEs in the defence, mining and energy sectors with business development, commercial and supply chain capabilities.

 

Leigh has a Master of Business Administration (MBA) and an Advanced Diploma Rural Business Management.

Professional expertise and interests:
 

  • Grant applications

  • Strategic planning

  • Business collaboration and teaming

  • Brand and marketing strategy

  • Business development and sales strategy

  • Product / service commercialisation

  • Tender response development and review

  • Business case development

  • Interim management (e.g. BDM, GM, etc.)

  • Process improvement and operational excellence

 

Les Shearn

BMgmt DipBus DipOH&S GAICD

Senior Associate

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Les is an accomplished professional with over 25 years in strategic and operational roles within both large multi-nationals and Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs). His areas of specialisation include organisational design and development, change management, defence industry market-entry and business growth. Les has diverse sector experience including engineering, broadcasting, manufacturing, construction, production, heavy maintenance, warehousing and logistics.

 

Les has a business focused, practical and highly consultative approach which enables him to identify core issues, develop strategies and deliver solutions. Les is creative and outcome oriented with a passion for developing strategies and programs focused on employee engagement and business growth.

 

With an ability to combine commercial acumen with an understanding of the key drivers for organisational effectiveness, Les thrives on working alongside a business or individual to analyse a problem and develop a practical solution to transform a business or individual for the better. He has worked across a diverse range of industries within Australia and Internationally that has provided him with extensive business experience, expertise and understanding of solutions that impact positively on the bottom line of any business.

 

Les has a Bachelor of Management, a Diploma in Occupational Health & Safety (OH&S), a Diploma of Business and is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (GAICD).

Professional expertise and interests:
 

  • Strategic planning

  • Business development

  • International engagement and market entry

  • Business growth advisory

  • Organisational design and development

  • HR management

  • Change management

  • Defence Industry Security Program (DISP) membership and accreditation

  • Interim management (e.g. BDM, Operations Manager, etc.)

  • Board / advisory board positions

Marcus Benny

MAIPM DipProjMgt

Defence Estate & Infrastructure Consultant

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Marcus has over 25 years’ experience in strategic planning and project delivery in the defence sector across Australia. He combines this expertise with 30 years working within the Australian construction industry, with both Tier 1 and lower tier consultants, contractors, and has held several successful business development roles.

Marcus has delivered major projects and managed Defence business as an executive leader in both Project Director and Sector Leader roles. Organisations in which Marcus has held such positions include BADGE Constructions, KBR and Australian Naval Infrastructure (ANI).

 

In his role as Defence Estate & Infrastructure Consultant, Marcus assists Australian SMEs to develop, communicate, and execute detailed strategies to win and deliver key Defence Estate & Infrastructure business successfully. His strong communication skills complement his extensive national Defence industry network. He engages effectively at all levels, from internal stakeholders such as site personnel and senior management to external stakeholders, including Ministers and other senior Government officials.

Professional expertise and interests:
 

  • Strategic planning

  • Defence Estate & Infrastructure

  • Business development

  • Defence contracting

  • Bid advisory

  • Project mentoring

  • Indigenous business support (e.g. IPP)

 

Tracy Pierce

AMAMI CPM

Associate

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Tracy is a marketing and communications professional with 15 years of defence experience. Starting her defence career with Tenix Defence - Electronic Systems Division (ESD), Tracy was part of the Business Development team managing the bid process, from developing tender documentation to coordinating bid teams, and managing the division's marketing activities. Following on from her time with Tenix Defence, Tracy worked for BAE Systems Australia as part of the Corporate Affairs team, managing and coordinating internal and external communications for the Joint Business Unit.

Before joining De Stefano & Co, Tracy managed events and communications for the Naval Shipbuilding College (NSC) and prior to this, spent 9 years with defence industry association, the Defence Teaming Centre (DTC). Tracy served as Director Member Services and Marketing and Editor of Defence Business magazine during her time at the DTC, overseeing the member engagement program, marketing and communications, and representing member capabilities to prime defence contractors, government and SMEs in Australia and overseas.

A graduate of the 2013 South Australian Defence Industry Leadership Program (SADILP), Tracy is also a Certified Practising Marketer with the Australian Marketing Institute and holds Diplomas in Project Management and Management.

Professional Expertise and Interests:

  • Strategic marketing and communications

  • Tender response development and review

  • Grant applications

  • Defence Industry Security Program (DISP) membership and accreditation

  • Brand development

  • Project management

  • Business improvement

 
 

Louisa Canning

BA (CommMediaMgmt)

Associate

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Louisa is an Associate at De Stefano & Co, supporting the team and our clients with grant applications, Defence Industry Security Program (DISP) memberships and more.

 

With a background in marketing and a Bachelor’s degree in Communication and Media Management from the University of South Australia, Louisa also coordinates a range of marketing initiatives for the business, including website management, graphic design, social media administration, writing, editing and proofreading. 

 

Louisa is experienced in preparing successful grant applications for SMEs, including the Export Market Development Grant (EMDG) program and the Skilling Australia's Defence Industry (SADI) Grant. By utilising her high-level communication skills, Louisa ensures that each application is well-written, accurate and best represents the applicant in order to achieve a positive outcome.

Professional Expertise and Interests:

  • Strategic marketing and communications

  • Grant applications

  • Defence Industry Security Program (DISP) membership and accreditation

  • Business development

  • Project management

  • Brand management

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