About Mark Sowerby
Chief Entrepreneur for Queensland
Mark Sowerby is the Founder of Blue Sky Alternative Investments Limited, an ASX listed (ASX: BLA) alternative asset manager investing across private equity, venture capital, private real estate, water, infrastructure, hedge funds and agriculture.
Established in 2006 as a Queensland based startup, Blue Sky has invested expansion and venture capital in more than 30 Australian companies, pioneered investment in Australia’s water rights markets, and launched the world’s first listed diversified alternatives fund (ASX: BAF). With more than $2.4 billion in assets under management, Blue Sky has delivered net investment returns to investors of 16.7% per annum compounding since inception. In March 2016, Blue Sky was admitted to the ASX 300 index as one of Australia’s top 300 listed companies with a market capitalisation in excess of $500 million and offices in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and New York.
Ten years after starting Blue Sky Mark handed the business over to the team to spend more time with his wife Heidi and his two sons, Lachlan and Patrick, and to help with projects that have a positive social impact.
In 2015, Mark received the University of Queensland Vice-Chancellor’s Alumni Excellence Award, was recognized as Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year for Queensland (listed), and completed a successful crossing of the English Channel. Mark serves on the Board of the Starlight Children’s Foundation and Racing Queensland, and was recently appointed by the Premier as Queensland’s first Chief Entrepreneur.
Mark is originally from Warren in western NSW, studying agricultural science at the University of Queensland before completing a Graduate Diploma of Applied Finance and Investment through the Securities Institute of Australia and a Masters of Business Administration (UQ).
About Deb Noller
CEO and Co-founder, Switch Automation
Deb grew up in a family of builders. She spent her childhood hiking New Zealand’s South Island National Parks, and ended up studying environmental management. She went on to study commerce at James Cook University and was introduced, almost by accident to computer science in the JCU curriculum. JCU helped Deb realize her knack for technology, so she finished her studies as one of two female Computer Science graduates. She’s since racked up 16 years as a software engineer and almost that many as CEO of a tech company.
Deb Noller is the CEO of Switch Automation—the world’s first end-to-end IT solution to help people better manage their buildings.
When our company was small, being CEO meant doing everything from washing dishes, to CFO-duties and everything in between—sales, marketing, after sales support, writing documentation and fundraising. As we grow, we’ve been able to hire truly amazing people to take on these various roles, so Deb can now focus on growing the company around the globe. Most of her time is spent with the senior team, business planning, developing strategy and building the team.