THE SKYBURY TEAM
The Skybury Team
Our people are our greatest asset. They drive the business forward each and every day, come hail, rain or shine. At any one time, we have 90+ staff working for us. Some stay with us for six months - earning money and building friendships and experiences as they travel the world.
Others have been with us for many years and are the back bone of our workforce.
Some are employed from Papua New Guinea under the seasonal workers program. They gain skills, experiences and take home wages that make a real difference to the livelihoods of their families and their communities.
Ian & Marion MacLaughlin
Ian and Marion drive the strategic direction and growth of the company, as well as having control over financial performance and management. Ian and Marion established Skybury in 1987 and grew Skybury Australian grown coffee as a leader in domestic and international markets. They diversified further into the production of red papaya and agri-tourism. Marion’s primary role is Skybury’s financial controller. Ian remains hands on in the business, with responsibility for Skybury’s nutrient and water management programs, business analysis, planning and budgets.
The oldest of three siblings, Candy returned to the
family business to oversee the day to day
operations of the Skybury business, including
Papaya production and quality, roast coffee sales
and operations at the Skybury Cafe and Roastery. Candy provides support to the Skybury Management
team and as well as having responsibility for day to
day liaison and coordination with our marketing team at
Tropical Fruit Direct and its retail/wholesale partners.
Candy has a degree in Graphic Design & Communications and lives on the farm with her husband Paul, and three children.
Manager – Plant Breeding & Health
Mark has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Agronomy from the University of Queensland. Following his studies, Mark was a senior agronomist in an agricultural consulting business. Ian and Marion's son returned to Skybury to put his qualifications and experience to good use by leading our agronomy and plant health programs. Mark works closely with our research leader, with responsibility for trialling new papaya varieties with the aim of improving taste and disease resistance. Mark lives on the farm with his partner Paige, and two children. Mark is also an industry representative on the Papaya Strategic Advisory Panel.
Manager – Development & Maintenance
Mark is a highly experienced farm manager, with extensive experience in the mango industry. Born and raised on the family farm in Zimbabwe, Mark and his family emigrated to Australia in search of a more stable life for their children. Mark has responsibility for land development and farm maintenance, ensuring that land is ready for planting, irrigation and managing the maintenance of the irrigation and farm equipment to avoid downtime in planting, production and packing operations. Mark studied in the US where he received a Diploma in Agriculture.
Having joined Skybury as a papaya picker and packer in 2005, Lee has worked his way up the ranks. Lee has had roles managing our pack shed before being promoted to the Skybury management team to oversee the daily management of staff and the operational requirements of the farming operations. Lee has extensive knowledge of papaya production and provides mentoring and training support for our pack shed supervisor and packing/picking teams, to ensure that quality and consistency is maintained at all times.
Bongani was born and raised in Zimbabwe, where he obtained a Bachelor of Science Honours Degree in Horticulture. Bongani has responsibility for our nursery operations, ensuring that plant production for both papaya and coffee is maintained to drive overall production increases and standards. Bongani is a hands on manager, often supporting our planting teams in ensuring that new production is maintained through the delivery of healthy and strong plant material.
Pack Shed Surpervisor
James was born and raised in Taiwan, where he obtained a Bachelor of Science Degree in Engineering. James originally joined Skybury as a papaya picker & packer but quickly became a team leader on one of our picking crews. Recognising his skills and potential for growth, Skybury has promoted James further, who has now taken on responsibility for pack shed operations, organising the packing and dispatch of Skybury Papaya daily. James has a keen eye for detail, operating our pack shed operation with quality, consistency and presentation in mind.
HR, Business & Brand Development
Paul originally joined the Skybury team in 2004 and project managed the construction of the Skybury Cafe & Roastery, before assuming responsibility for the broader marketing and public relations of the business. Following a senior role in the Queensland Government, Paul returned to the business to take overall responsibility for marketing and public relations, as well as assisting the business to meet its growing compliance and HR responsibilities. Paul lives on the farm with Candy and their three children and has a degree in Town Planning. Paul is also an industry representative on the Papaya Strategic Advisory Panel and is a board Director of the Regional Tourism Organisation, TTNQ.
Dr Josekutty is a highly qualified researcher with over 30 years of world wide Agriculture & Biotechnology Research and Development experience covering Australia, USA, New Zealand, South Africa and India. He heads up the Skybury research program, which is responsible for research and development to improve, or change management practices for improved commercial outcomes in papaya production. Through his efforts and those of his team, Skybury is the only papaya farm in Australia that grows 100% tissue cultured / cloned papaya, ensuring a secure and ongoing supply of elite plant material. Current research is centred around disease resistance, quality and taste.