Registered Charity The Virtual Irrigation Academy Ltd (VIA Ltd) is a charity registered with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC). As a registered charity, VIA Ltd must comply with the ACNC Governance and External Conduct Standards which ensures the organisation remains charitable, operates lawfully and is run in an accountable and responsible way.

VIA Ltd is governed by a Board of Directors

Kim Gillis AM – Chair

Kim Gillis AM – Chair Kim is an experienced company director and currently holds positions on 5 company boards, including Advent International, a US based private equity firm with $140 billion under management Kim’s career spans both public and private sector organisations. Kim was Deputy Secretary Capability Acquisition & Sustainment Group (CASG) and National Armaments Director for Department of Defence. In this role nghe managed a $250 billion acquisition portfolio. Prior to that Kim was CEO of Boeing Defence Australia overseeing 2500 staff from 31 locations both in Australia and overseas. In January 2020, Kim was inducted as a Member in the General Division of the Order of Australia (AM) in the Australian Day Honours List for his significant service to public administration and to defence projects. In his spare time Kim enjoys restoring and driving vintage cars and being a grandfather to his 10 grandchildren.

Simon Dyer – CEO

Simon Dyer – CEO Simon is the current CEO of The Virtual Irrigation Academy Ltd. An experienced business manager who thrives on delivering results, improving productivity, and collaborating with stakeholders to drive desired outcomes. Simon holds an MBA and a degree in Biotechnology Innovation. Having lived and worked in developing countries, Simon understands the challenge of operating business in these environments and is well placed to oversee business operations across multiple countries and cultures and to ensure VIA achieves its purpose of creating positive impact for smallholder farmers. When not working Simon enjoys playing football (soccer) and spending time at the beach with his 2 children.

Robyn Johnston

Robyn Johnston Now semi-retired, Robyn was the Research Program Manager for Water for the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR), where she was integral to the development and creation of VIA. Before joining ACIAR, Robyn was Principal Researcher with the International Water Management Institute, including 3 years as the institute’s representative in Myanmar. Robyn previously worked with the Murray–Darling Basin Commission and the Mekong River Commission, as Environment Advisor for AusAID, and with the Bureau of Rural Sciences and Geoscience Australia, working on science and policy of land and water management. She holds a Bachelor of Science (Honours) from the Australian National University, a Master of Science (Geochemistry) from University of Leeds and a PhD from the University of New England.

Stuart Thompson

Stuart Thompson Born, raised and still living in Johannesburg, South Africa, Stuart’s early professional career was as an Engineer before moving to the finance and investment sector, where he focused on capital raising and early stage ventures. Stuart’s experience includes director roles with both JP Morgan and ING Barings and he now manages investment portfolios on behalf of private clients. Stuart’s passions include running and craft beer, where he has created his own recipe and brand, Loxton Lager, which you can find in select restaurants around Johannesburg.

Jo Spencer

Jo Spencer Jo Spencer is a communication and business strategy expert who has worked in both government and private sector. Jo is currently the Executive Director Marketing and Communications for Synergy Group, an ACT based consultancy and project management company. Prior to this Jo was Executive Business Manager Communications and Engagement for ACT Health Directorate and helped oversee the ACT governments communications during the COVID19 pandemic. Jo brings a wealth of experience in business strategy communications, marketing and government relations to VIA.