Board Members



Chair - Paul Murphy OAM MAICD ANIA JP

Paul is a local retailer. A former President of the Hunter Business Chamber, the largest regional business representative organisation in Australia, Paul has represented the region in numerous presentations to Government, visiting trade delegations and investors. Throughout his business career he has been active in helping advance the interests of small business and manufacturing to generate employment.He was awarded an OAM in 2003 in recognition of his contribution to the wider community.

Paul’s other Board and Committee memberships include:

  • Board Member Hunter Business Chamber

  • Chair Hunter Business Chamber RIC

  • Board Member Life Without Barriers

  • Member Newcastle City Centre Committee

  • Former President of Waratahs Rugby Club (1994 – 2009)

Paul is a passionate advocate for Newcastle and the Hunter region. He is a great networker with an extensive knowledge of local needs and strengths. He brings energy, focus and a critical mind to all that he does.


Deputy Chair - Tracy Kearney (McKelligott)

Tracy has been the Managing Director of Newcastle-based boutique agency Eclipse Media, Events and PR for almost eleven years. Eclipse is one of the Hunter’s premier boutique Event Management and Public Relations groups. Tracy’s particular skills are in public relations, advertising, marketing, image creation, event management and promotions. Having completed an Honours Diploma in Tourism and Hospitality, and a Diploma in Journalism, Tracy has worked for the best and counts among her clients some of Australia’s biggest and best-known companies.

Tracy began her career in Sydney with the highly successful public relations firm Prue MacSween & Associates (now known as Verve). Here she had the opportunity to learn from one of the country’s finest public relations practitioners. The call to return home became too strong, and she spent five years with Prime Television as Promotions Manager of Northern NSW prior to purchasing Helen Duncan Promotions in 1999.

Tracy is currently a member of Public Relations Institute of Australia (PRIA), International Festival & Events Association (IFEA), Newcastle Visitor and Convention Bureau (NVCB), Newcastle Club, Newcastle Chamber of Commerce and Newcastle Business Club. Tracy is also on the Board of the Basketball Assocaition of Newcastle.


Treasurer and Public Officer - Rolly De With Dip Teach (Ncle)

Rolly commenced employment in the Hospitality industry in 1980 and has been a hotel licensee since 1986, owning The Castle Tavern, Fannys Tavern Nightclub, The Mercury Hotel, The Junction Hotel, The Sunnyside Tavern and most recently the Premier Hotel.

He has won a number of industry awards including The Frederick Menkens Award for Commercial Design 1998 for The Mercury Hotel; NSW Nightclub of The Year 1998, also for The Mercury Hotel; NSW Hotel of The Year (Country) 2008 for The Junction Hotel; and NSW Casual Dining Restaurant 2008, also for The Junction Hotel.


Nick Dan

Nick commenced with Bilbie Dan Solicitors as a partner in 1979 and is a current Senior Partner of the firm. He has more than 30 years experience in the areas of commercial law, property law and wills and estate planning.

Nick is also a Board Member of the Newcastle Knights and is enthusiastic about seeing inner city Newcastle grow and renew itself.



Ben Chard PSM

Ben Chard recently retired after over 40 years’ service with the NSW Public Service. Most of his career has been in the field of economic development.

In 1997, as part of the package offered by the State Government following the announcement of the BHP Steel Mill in Newcastle, he was appointed as Regional Coordinator, Premier's Department, to provide a whole of government approach to major issues in the region.

Some of the projects he coordinated include:

  • State Government support to BHP workers

  • Development of the Steel River Industrial Estate

  • Sale of BHP land to the State Government

  • Environmental remediation of Lake Macquarie

  • Private Irrigation District at Pokolbin

  • Disaster recovery following Pasha Bulker storm

He was formerly an Alderman on Dubbo City Council and is currently a Director on the Shortland Wetlands Centre Board.

He was awarded the Public Service Medal for outstanding service in the Queen's Birthday Awards in 2008.


Colin Scott

Colin Scott is the Mangaing Director of Frontline Hobbies located in Hunter Street, Newcastle. 

Frontline Hobbies began in 1978 and has gradually evolved to become Australia's largest hobby store with over 1,000 square metres of retail space in the heart of downtown Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia.

Colin is also a Director of:

  • Hunter Business Chamber since 2004
  • Hobbies Australia
  • Australian Toy Association
  • Hunter Tourism


Chris Ford

Chris Ford has worked in media and public affairs over a 38-year career. He was a reporter, chief of staff and producer of NBN News; Press Secretary to the Leader of the Opposition in Queensland; Director of Public Affairs, Hunter Water and Marketing Manager, Lend Lease Retail.

He established his communication consultancy, FordComm, in 1990 and has clients in the coal industry, infrastructure development, industrial and residential development, manufacturing, local government, environmental management and health care in the Hunter region and across the state. The company has an ambitious community support program to assist organisations such as Lifeline, HMRI, Newcastle Region Art Gallery, Newcastle Art School (TAFE) and Cooks Hill Surf Life Saving Club. Chris was formerly a director of the Hunter Economic Development Corporation (2003 to 2007), member of the board of the University of Newcastle Foundation (2005/06).


Christine Gregson

Christine Gregson has a background in Design, Hospitality, Retail/Centre Management, and Marketing and Operations. Her current role is Centre Manager overseeing all areas of operation of a major Newcastle shopping centre for the benefit of the owners, businesses and the community. She has been a member of Newcastle City Centre Committee for the past five years and over many years has been involved in the boards and foundations of various charities. She is currently a member of the Foundation of Hunter Medical Research Institute (HMRI).

Christine says, “as a representative of a key stakeholder in Newcastle City Centre that understands the importance of our city’s future, I am passionate about making a difference”.


Claire Williams BA (Hons) Dip Ed MA

Claire is Faculty Director Arts and Media at Hunter TAFE where she manages programs in Fine Art, Music, Theatre, Screen, Fashion and Design. She has also worked as a Workplace Trainer, business consultant, teacher of English and Communications, lecturer in Library Practice and actor. Her interests are in cultural development, sustainable regional development and governance.
Claire’s other Board and Committee memberships include:

  • Deputy Chair, Newcastle Business Improvement Association

  • Member, Samaritans Development Council

  • Member, Newcastle City Council’s Public Art Working Party

  • Member, Newcastle Region Art Gallery Acquisitions Committee

  • Chair, the Lock-Up Artist-in-Residence Committee

  • Chair, The Front Room Gallery Board


Kristen Keegan

Kristen has recently become the first woman to be appointed as the CEO of Hunter Business Chamber, in March 2011. Prior to this appointment she was the Regional Director -  Hunter at the Property Council of Australia for five years. 

Ms Keegan grew up in the Upper Hunter, completed a Bachelor of Law and Administration and a Graduate Diploma in Industrial Relations at the University of Newcastle.  She worked at the university in a variety of roles for 15 years including student accommodation and asset management.


Andrew Fletcher

Andrew has 20 years experience working in membership based associations and regional organisations. As CEO of Hunter Tourism he delivered the region’s first Strategic Tourism Plan and oversaw consistent growth across all key indicators. He secured record levels of funding from the private and public sectors for industry development and marketing and represented the region on several national and international sales missions.

He has worked as a trainer, facilitator and business consultant in industries ranging from equine to hospitality and manufacturing. His current roles is as NSW Regional Director for the Property Council of Australia. His professional interests are the renewal of Newcastle’s CBD and a strategy for sustainable regional development.

Andrew has always been active in the local community in various volunteer roles including with the HMRI Foundation and South’s Juniors. A self-confessed Knights tragic and passionate Novocastrian, Andrew is committed to working towards achieving the status and recognition Newcastle deserves of our elected representatives.



Will Creedon