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Australian & New Zealand food safety, traceability and technology blog by PMA Technology Manager Richard Bennett
Having gained his Bachelor of Science from La Trobe University (majoring in Microbiology and Biochemistry) in 1983, Rob spent the first year of his career working as laboratory assistant with Carlton and United Breweries prior to further honing his skills as a Microbiologist for four years with Kraft Foods Limited. In 1989, he moved to Brisbane and worked alongside his brother with the establishment of Biotest Laboratories. Rob was Laboratory Manager, a position he held for 12 years before deciding on a sea change.
A sabbatical of approximately 12 months saw Rob and his young family travel around and explore Australia with their caravan prior to returning to Brisbane.
Seeking a change in career direction, in early 2003 Rob joined AUS-MEAT Limited as Program Manager for the National Feedlot Accreditation Scheme. Whilst Rob’s livestock industry experience was limited at the time, he took on the challenge of this new role: a role he held for six years prior to becoming involved with the management of a range of other food safety programs across the meat and horticultural industries serviced by AUS-MEAT/AUS-QUAL.
Rob’s technical expertise resulted in him being appointed as Horticulture Technical Manager. Rob’s technical skills and general food safety experience enabled him to serve as a valuable reference for auditors, clients and his peers in this role for several years up until mid-2020, when he departed AUS-MEAT/AUS-QUAL due to an internal restructure.
Without doubt one of Rob’s most endearing qualities was his genuine interest in people. Rob always took the time to engage with his friends and work colleagues. He was highly regarded by his peers and industry alike. He could always easily engage in conversation with people of all ages and all walks of life. He had a wicked sense of humour, a wonderful laugh and was one of nature’s gentlemen: an all-round nice guy.
Rob enjoyed the outdoors, travel, and most of all adventure. He was a keen cyclist, motorcyclist and enjoyed the thrill of paragliding – a sport he taken up in more recent years. Many of his cycling activities were associated with a cause for his fellow man – whether it be raising funds for organ transplant research or mental health. Rob was a regular volunteer with his time when it came to supporting his community.
As a Victorian through and through, he enjoyed the game of AFL and was a long-standing supporter of the Brisbane Lions.
He was a family man and was immensely proud of his two boys who have grown into fine young men; both having inherited the best traits of their Mum and Dad.
Rob’s passion for adventure recently resulted in his unexpected passing whilst doing what he loved – the wind in his hair and the freedom of flight – paragliding.
Rob’s attitude to life is an inspiration to many. He often said “live your best life” – a motto that he actively followed. He is missed and will always be fondly remembered – a caring son, a great dad, a loving partner, a wonderful work colleague and a true friend.
General Manager, AUS-MEAT & Industry Standards
The July 2020 edition of the Fresh Produce Safety Centre Australia & New Zealand newsletter has just been released!
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