AUSTRALIAN livestock exporters celebrated two of their highest achievers at the industry’s annual gala dinner in Canberra last night as part of the LIVEXforum 2016 conference.
Livestock Shipping Services supply chain manager Byron O’Keefe was named Landmark International/ALEC Young Achiever of the Year and internationally-regarded livestock consultant Jim Stewart was confirmed as the 2016 LiveCorp Hall of Fame recipient.
Australian Livestock Exporters’ Council chairman Simon Crean said the industry’s recognition of its stand-out achievers reflected the trade’s commitment to innovation, leadership and world-leading practices.
“Australia’s livestock export industry relies entirely on the professional men and women employed in our supply chains. Our future success will be driven by emerging leaders like Byron O’Keefe,” Mr Crean said.
“I congratulate Byron on his outstanding contribution to our industry and wish him further success in the future.”
As part of the Young Achiever award, Mr O’Keefe will participate in the eight-day, cross-sector Australian Rural Leadership Program’s 2017 TRAIL program in Canberra.
LiveCorp chairman David Galvin paid tribute to Mr Stewart.
“Congratulations to Jim Stewart – not just on receiving this award but for his extensive contribution to our industry over many decades,” Mr Galvin said.
“He is a very worthy recipient of the industry’s Hall of Fame award. His contribution to the industry over five decades and transfer of skills and knowledge has had a profound impact in countless overseas markets over many decades,” Mr Galvin said.
Young achiever has animal welfare focus
Byron O’Keefe got his first taste for the livestock export industry in 2003, working for Consolidated Pastoral Company at Argyle Downs in Western Australia, which involved protocoling cattle for shipment to Indonesia. This was followed by further livestock work on agricultural properties throughout Australia and a twelve-month period as a stock agent in his native Victoria.
After completing a Bachelor of Business (Agribusiness) at Marcus Oldham College, Mr O’Keefe began in a consulting role with in the Livestock Export Program – a joint program between Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA) and LiveCorp. During his time with the LEP, Mr O’Keefe worked across South East Asia, the Middle East and Russia, undertaking risk analysis and providing in-market technical support and training programs.
In 2014, Mr O’Keefe started employment with Perth-based exporter, Livestock Shipping Services (LSS), as a regional supply chain manager in the Middle East North Africa (MENA) region. This involved assisting stakeholders around ESCAS compliance, supply chain support, training and relationship building.
Among the highlights of Mr O’Keefe’s work with LSS has been his development of the company’s MENA Regional Animal Welfare Improvement Program, to underpin efforts in the supply chain to meet OIE and ESCAS standards. He has won the praise of his peers for his ability to work with colleagues and customers across different markets, as well as his proven personal and professional skills which help the business to overcome commercial, cultural and language barriers.
In addition to his work with LSS, Mr O’Keefe also consults to various organisations, including LiveCorp, evaluating and delivering training programs. He lives on a property near Warrnambool in Victoria’s south west.
From the wheatbelt to the world
Jim Stewart came out of Western Australia’s eastern wheatbelt to develop expertise in livestock and supply chain infrastructure that has made him a sought-after management consultant on breeding, transport, feedlot and abattoir projects.
Mr Stewart completed technical extension studies in veterinary science, wool classing and meat grading after his matriculation in Perth, and was employed as stock agent and meat buyer early in his career. His involvement in the live trade started when he commenced employment with the Vestey Corporation (then trading in WA as WM Angliss & Co) in 1959, buying sheep and goats for live shipment to Singapore on open-deck Bakke Line vessels. Mr Stewart was involved in further live sheep exporting during stints with Patton Exports and the Metro Meat Group.
In 1976, he started in a role with the Clausen Steamship Company and supervised the exporter’s purchasing, pre-feeding and loading operations across WA, SA, Victoria and Tasmania. This work also took him to Iran, Kenya, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Uruguay and Mongolia.
In his subsequent work as a livestock export consultant, especially with Brisbane-based exporter Austrex, Mr Stewart has worked across a wide range of supply chains in countries including Ethiopia, Algeria, Sudan, Jordan, China, Kyrgyzstan, Korea, Kuwait, Egypt and Dubai. In more recent years, he has also consulted in China, the Philippines, Indonesia, Russia, Uzbekistan, Armenia, Ukraine, Turkey, Pakistan, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and the Solomon Islands.
In 2007, Mr Stewart now lives in the Southland region of New Zealand’s South Island.