There are 3 Industry Development Officer roles working across the major growing regions for Strawberries
Dr Angela Atkinson is based in Victoria just outside of Melbourne and looks after South Australia and Victoria, Wendy Morris is near the Caboolture growing region in Queensland, and a combined team of full-time IDO Helen Newman and industry veteran Aileen Reid (1 day/week) are there to service the needs of berry growers in Western Australia.
Although these IDO’s have a primary responsibility for Strawberries, they are also responsible for providing support to all berry growers in their regions and to Strawberry growers in other areas of the country.
Angela was born in Melbourne and has spent much of her life around the Victorian capital city except for two interesting escapades; firstly, her father took the whole family on a change-of-life journey to the Darling Downs in Queensland to be cattle farmers for five years when she was a small child, and secondly, Angela spent a few years as a ‘trailing spouse’ following her husband’s career which took them to Singapore and Hong Kong.
Angela has incredible experience both as an academic in her own right with a PhD from the University of Melbourne in plant molecular biology completed in 1992, and as a research scientist both at La Trobe University and Monash University.
She also fitted in three children as well during this time so Angela is someone who can juggle very diverse agendas and be successful.
Angela was teaching Horticulture at TAFE in Melbourne when someone suggested she apply for the Strawberry Industry Development role in Victoria. Despite her lengthy career, this was actually Angela’s first job interview ever and, luckily for us, she got the job three years ago as she will be a pivotal part of the project across the next 3 years.
Starting in July 2023, Wendy Morris will be the new IDO for Queensland
Helen joined the Department of Agriculture and Food (now Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development) in 2001 after completing a degree in Environmental Science. Her roles included land-use planning officer, WaterWise on the farm irrigation management trainer, citrus industry development officer, vegetable industry research and development officer, and communications manager.
Her interesting and varied career with the Department ended in 2015 when she decided to spend more time with her son before he started full-time school. She also took this opportunity to pursue her interest in landscape design, and completed the Certificate IV and Diploma of Landscape Design, while working part-time with a landscape designer and at Dawson’s Garden World in Forrestfield.
She started part-time work at South Metropolitan TAFE (Murdoch Campus) in 2018, delivering Diploma units to landscape design, horticulture and conservation and land management students. In 2019, this role expanded, and she now also teaches Certificate IV students about soil and its importance to horticulture, landscape design and the environment.
Helen is also currently engaged as the WA Citrus Industry Biosecurity Representative, a role which she will maintain. The project team and the Australian Berry Industry will have the added advantage of another IDO with expertise in state and national biosecurity activity.