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CHRISTOS ILIOPOULOS   DIRK MACLEAN                 MEGAN LYONS    JOHN KALPAKIS MICHAEL CHAPMAN

 


CHRISTOS ILIOPOULOS
Farmers Advocate - Director
 
Bachelor of Arts (Philosophy) La Trobe University
Graduate Diploma of Teaching (Secondary - Gifted Students) University of Melbourne
 
Expert in:
Philosophical Counselling: Wisdom based life-coaching
Complex Business Problem Solving
Property Advocacy: Buying, Selling, Leasing
Disability Housing
Lecturing, Teaching, and Training
 
Contact: 0438 356 145 or christos@f-a-s-t.com.au


Christos was born on a subsistence farm in Kastoria Greece. He was delivered by midwives in the outdoor kitchen of the farmhouse. 

His earliest memories are of a mare giving birth, accompanying his grandfather to the vineyard and wheatfields, and watching his father and grandfather sawing planks out of logs, using the bandsaw-and-pit system.

The farm produced oats, wheat, corn, lentils, chickpeas, beans, grapes, a range of vegetables, walnuts, hazelnuts, chestnuts, and a wide variety of fruit. Farm animals included horses, mules, donkeys, oxen, pigs, sheep, goats, cows, chickens, and the sheepdog.

Christos' favourite farm task was to stomp on grapes with his bare feet alongside other kids. Kids came in handy for the winemaking process! 

Christos' grandmother would teach him about making butter, cheese, smoked sausages, bread, dried fruit, and pasta. She would show him how to milk cows, sheep, and goats, how to weave and spin, and a range of other farm tasks. Christos' mother would show him how to handle bees and how to access the honey. 

After graduating from La Trobe University with a major in philosophy, Christos embarked on a career in business. He went on to hold responsible positions in commerce, education, and in local government. He was the general manager of two Melbourne Taxi companies, and the State Manager (Victoria) of TNT Taxi Trucks.

His business expertise extends to importing and exporting. He has assisted a Melbourne based firm to source consignments of wine from the Hunter Valley (Lakes Folly) and has facilitated their export to China. 

For several years, he lectured in Transport Logistics and Operations, Problem Solving, and Communication Skills at TAFE, where he was awarded the Excellence in Education Award.  He taught Classical Studies and Philosophy at state and private secondary schools.  He held the portfolios of Education and Economic Development at Moreland City Council.

Christos was a philosophy tutor at La Trobe University for several years, with fellow philosopher Dirk Maclean. He is the first Australian philosopher to operate a commercial philosophical counselling clinic:  from late 2006 at Williamstown. Philosophical Counselling is wisdom-based life-coaching. 

Christos is also a property advocate: for over a decade he has assisted his many clients to secure the best deals when they buy, sell, or lease property. He has also worked part-time as a Rural Financial Counsellor with Rural Financial Counselling Service (RFCS) in Gippsland (Maffra).

Christos is passionate about solving problems, and about helping others to improve things. He was a Disability Case Manager for Latrobe Community Health Service, assisting his clients to transition to the NDIS. His social enterprise Freedom Housing won the Australian Human Rights Commission Award for Business and this brought him to Maffra from Williamstown. Freedom Housing is designed to reduce the misery and to increase the happiness, of individuals and families that must daily face the challenge of disability.

Christos believes in the application of compassion, creativity, and rigorous high-order innovative thinking to the task of solving complex problems. He brings a wealth of knowledge, extensive life experience, and well-honed wisdom to his valued farmer clients.

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DIRK MACLEAN
Independent Expert Consultant
 
PhD, MBA, BA Honours, La Trobe University
 
Expert in:
Decision Making During a Crisis or Emergency
 
 
 
 
Contact: 0419 577 627 or editor@avoidingcatastrophe.com

  

Dirk Maclean is an expert in decision-making under conditions of crisis and emergency. He is the author of ‘Shoot, Don’t Shoot, Minimising the Risk of Catastrophic Error through High Consequence Decision Making’, published by the Royal Australian Air Force in 2017. He is the editor of Avoiding Catastrophe. 

Dirk served as an officer in the RAAF from 2012. His training programs have been adopted widely, both within Air Force, across the emergency management sector, and now in business.

Dirk has worked with Dairy Australia to develop the industry’s ‘Rapid Response Plan’ for managing major issues, and crisis situations. His period of collaboration with Dairy Australia came during a time of heavy flooding, bushfires, and various threats to farmers from locusts to animal rights activism. This experience has given Dirk an insight into the adverse conditions farmers must manage, and the wider context within which they operate, including the challenges of exporting their product. Dirk has advised the newly developing dairy industry in Vietnam on some of the critical issues they are facing.

Dirk was a career firefighter with CFA, attending the 2002/3 Alpine Fires among others. He was exposed both to bush fire fighting within the mining and resources sector, both in Australia, New Incident Management Teams and forest management during his time with the then NRE. Later Dirk went on to serve as a trainer to Zealand, and across Asia.

A significant influence on Dirk’s thinking comes from his study of philosophy, in which he has a Doctorate (PhD). This gives him an appreciation for rural life, of the need for a connection with the land, and how farming practices can reflect and sustain this. Dirk studied philosophy alongside Christos Iliopoulos at La Trobe University.

Later Dirk went on to gain a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) and he has since lectured in Management at Masters level at several Australian Universities, as well as in Vietnam and Mongolia.

Dirk has two sons, both of who have grown up in rural Victoria. The oldest has spent the last three summers as a member of the rappel fire crew based at Heyfield, as part of DELWP’s Forest Fire Management division.

Dirk’s speciality is in guiding people through complex situations, where they have important choices to make: ones which will shape their entire future. Dirk has developed an approach to this by drawing on lessons learnt from both military and emergency contexts, where the cost of error can be catastrophic. These lessons can be applied by anyone, including farmers facing difficult decisions in life.

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MEGAN LYONS
Independent Expert Consultant
 
Member of Institute of Chartered Accountants of Australia
ICAA SMSF Specialist
SPAA Specialist Auditor
ASIC SMSF Auditor
Registered Tax Agent
Registered Company Auditor
 
Expert in:
Accounting
 
Contact: (03) 9455 3300, (03) 9455 3322 or megan@rankinandyoung.com

 

 
Megan has been employed at Rankin and Young since July 2000 and became the firm's principal - taking over from her father Robert Young - in 2007. Rankin and Young is a small chartered accounting firm based in Rosanna which is now over ninety years old. It is a firm of seven professionals which includes Megan's brother Hayden.
 
The family size of the firm ensures continuity of staff to your farm business needs. You will have ready access to staff that know your farm business. Both Megan and Hayden have provided accounting services to Christos Iliopoulos since they began working at Rankin and Young. Their father Robert has provided accounting services to him since 1980.
 
Prior to Rankin and Young, Megan was employed for five years in the audit division of a second-tier accounting firm. Her major focus is to assist small and medium-sized businesses with their day to day accounting issues and longer-term tax minimisation strategies. This includes specialist taxation advice on a variety of issues.
 
Megan also has many years of audit experience including audits of public listed and unlisted companies and preparation of general purpose financial statements.
 
Audit of self-managed superannuation funds has become a recent focus for Megan and her experience and knowledge gained from auditing such a large number of funds has given her a thorough understanding of the relevant rules and requirements. She is constantly advising clients and accountant colleagues of the practical application of SIS Act and Regulations.
 
Megan and her team are able to provide all the accounting services that your farm business may require. 
 

   

JOHN KALPAKIS
Independent Expert Consultant
 
Dip. Bus. CEA (REIV)
Licensed Estate Agent 
 
Expert in:
Real Estate 
 
 
Contact: 0412 500 250 or john.kalpakis@raywhite.com
 
 
 
John immersed himself in real estate from the day he left school in 1983. He has amassed in-depth knowledge and gained wide experience during a successful career.
 
John has worked across many facets of the real estate industry including:
 
Commercial and Industrial Sales and Leasing
Property Development
Project Marketing
Asset Management
Residential Sales
Land Leasing and Sales
 
John is highly organised and fastidious. He delivers an outstanding level of service to his clients by consistently seeing through all the elements of every transaction from start to finish.
 
John has worked over several years with Christos Iliopoulos, to ensure that Christos's clients receive the very best service and value.

John has a clear understanding of the important role that real estate plays in farming and its impact on the lives of farmers. 
 


MICHAEL CHAPMAN
Consultant Commercial Litigation Lawyer

Expert in:
Commercial Disputes
Financial Services Law
Agriculture Business
 
Michael is a commercial litigation lawyer with specialised skills in financial services law and regulation, banking and finance, consumer law disputes and agricultural and rural legal issues.
 
He has successfully acted for big and small businesses in a number of complex matters in courts around Australia. He specialises in advising on farm debt disputes, agricultural leasing disputes and investments in agribusiness assets.

With a background in farming and advising on rural legal issues, Michael understands the need to keep things simple,  achieve commercial outcomes, and get it done properly.
 
Michael is an Associate Director with Mackay Lawyers and Advisors.