Board Profiles

The Board of Commerce Ballarat is elected from within the membership and are highly experienced people.

The Board are representative of a diverse range of industry sectors and bring together a wealth of local knowledge, expertise and ambition for Ballarat and the region.

Our Board Members



Nick Thurlbeck
PFD Food Services

Nick has schooled and resided in Ballarat his whole life, however has spent most of his working career in Australian capital cities. For the last 3 years, he has been proudly working in Ballarat and enjoying every minute of it. Nick currently operates a significant regional business with 90 employees, across 3 sites in Ballarat, Geelong and Bendigo. At 36 years of age, he brings insight and genuine understanding of Gen-X and Gen-Y business proprietors and their staff. With demonstrated success in varying roles across private business / public companies, as well as proven ability across multiple verticals including import & distribution, building products, and FMCG / foodservice, consulting, web and social media. Nick wants to contribute to the Ballarat region, its economic growth, and most importantly to promote local business.




Vice Chair

Hayley Coates
BJT Legal

Hayley is a Director at BJT Legal practising in all areas of business and commercial law. She is a mum to a toddler and in her limited spare time tries to get on the driving range to practice her golf swing.





Jamie Lockett
Crowe Horwath

Jamie is passionate about Ballarat and passionate about business. He is a principal at Crowe Horwath, and has qualifications as a chartered accountant and financial planner.  He has 25 years experience assisting small and medium businesses with their accounting, wealth creation and tax minimisation strategies. 





Carmel Flynn
W.M. Flynn

Carmel is a director of WMFlynn P/L commercial builders, with her husband Peter.  She is very passionate about Ballarat and loves living in the inner city.  Her goal is to speak to as many business owners as she can to get a real feel for how business is performing in the region.




Graham McMahon
McMahon Consulting

Graham works as an independent consultant, currently establishing a real estate development and investment company based in Ballarat. He is also engaged as an administration and marketing Consultant to three regional real estate agencies. In addition to this Graham is setting up international trade agreements with partners in China for an export company and to transact real estate in Australia. Prior to this 25yrs in media with 3BA, Advertising Manager at The Courier and General Manager at The Standard in Warrnambool.  





Rebekah Foster 
Central Highlands Water
Growing up in a family owned Ballarat business for over 30 years, Rebekah has a strong understanding of the daily challenges our local retailers face equally balanced with firsthand experience of the satisfaction and incredible sense of achievement that comes with being a sole trader in our community. This together with extensive Local and State Government experience drives Rebekah’s passion for our beautiful city by nurturing its sense of identity to grow into a place of innovation and creativity while servicing our community and its visitors.


James Robson


James is a dedicated small business owner being Principal Consultant and Director of both On Tap Liquor Consulting and EDQ Town Planning. He commenced his business journey in 2013 after holding a range of public sector roles across both state and local government with positions largely focussed on law enforcement and compliance activities across business. Having grown up in Ballarat, James attended primary and high school in the region and is a graduate of the Federation University Business School having completed his business degree in 2012. He has also since completed a post graduate masters degree in Town Planning through Deakin University. Although limited, James spends his spare time with his wife and two young daughters.






Cr Jim Rinaldi
City of Ballarat South Ward 

Cr Rinaldi is self-employed. Having worked in a number of small businesses in recent years he brings strong financial skills to his role as Councillor, and a clear sense of the type of support required to sustain and encourage Ballarat’s small business sector.

Cr Rinaldi’s upbringing on a farm in Warrenheip has given him an intimate understanding of the changing and complex needs of the rural and agricultural areas of the municipality

An active and talented sportsman and an experienced coach, Cr Rinaldi has a focus on the continued improvement of sporting and recreational facilities in Ballarat. He believes Council should continue to work to maximise opportunities for residents to participate in a range of recreational activities; and that healthy and connected communities are the result.