POWER 100 2020: Toowoomba’s most influential people – 20-11
THESE are Toowoomba's most influential people, the men and women who make our city what it is today.
Some of the faces you will know, others might come as a surprise.
Over the next two weeks The Chronicle will count down our 100 most powerful people, online and in print.
Power and influence are a subjective thing, so you might not agree with everyone we have put, or haven't put on the list.
Email who you think should be on the list and why to firstname.lastname@example.org.
20. Brian Pidgeon
The Toowoomba region's most important public servant, council CEO Brian Pidgeon oversees a budget worth half a billion dollars and almost 2000 staff members.
All of the council general managers and staff members report to him, and all decisions have to pass through him.
He is known for his studious work ethic behind the scenes and is well respected by councillors and council staff members.
He was appointed to the role in 2013, after two stints as acting CEO, and has been the longest serving chief executive for the council since it amalgamated in 2008.
Brian placed 23 in the last Power 100.
19. Todd Rohl
Todd Rohl became the CEO of the Toowoomba Chamber of Commerce at the start of 2020.
He hit the ground running straight away, becoming a strong advocate for businesses in the region, and called for sensible economic responses to the COVID-19 pandemic.
He has lead the charge on offering Toowoomba as a home for an NRL team during the pandemic and released the Chamber's much-anticipated produce map.
Prior to taking on the role, he was a town planner for many years, a former Queensland President of the member-based Planning Institute of Australia, and has also worked in and with all tiers of government for more than 15 years.
This is Todd's Power 100 debut.
18. Mike Condon
Mike Condon has been the Queensland Police Service Assistant Commissioner for the Southern Region since 2018, a role which he was promoted to after a long career in policing.
He is the most senior police officer in the police region, which covers a third of Queensland, and reports directly to Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll.
In his time in the role Mr Condon and his team have worked to develop, grow and embrace collaborative relationships with the community through the provision of an ethical and professional policing response.
He has championed the health and wellbeing of officers, improvements in service delivery, addressing emerging issues and driving change.
Road safety is one of his strongest policing interests and he is an executive champion of the QPS LGBTI Support Network
This is Mike's Power 100 debut.
17. Barry O'Sullivan Jnr
In just 19 years Newlands Group has grown to be one of Toowoomba and Queensland's largest civil and commercial construction companies, all based out of the Toowoomba CBD.
Founded as Town and Country Industries by Barry O'Sullivan Jnr, the construction company has now delivered hundreds of millions of dollars worth of projects across the state.
In recent years Newlands has worked on projects at the Toowoomba TAFE campus, the Qantas Group Pilot Training Academy, the Highfields Sports Park and water connections in the region.
Mr O'Sullivan, who is the company's director, is well respected for his ability to develop innovative solutions to meet client needs.
Barry placed 14 in the last Power 100.
16. Dr Mark Copland
Mark Copland has been a fighter for the rights of minorities and other forgotten communities for years.
From being a founding member of the Toowoomba Refugee and Migrant Support Service, to campaigning for recognition for historic First Nations figures, Mark Copland is Toowoomba's top human rights advocate.
He was the Toowoomba Catholic Diocese's's Social Justice Commission executive officer for a number of years and now is the mission executive at St Vincent's Private Hospital.
He was an instrumental figure in getting Toowoomba named a Refugee Welcome Zone and his campaign to get part of the Toowoomba Bypass named after Aboriginal warrior Multuggerah paid off, with the viaduct named the Multuggerah Viaduct.
He is a regular columnist for The Chronicle, where he writes about everything from everyday issues to human rights violations.
Mark placed 20 in the last Power 100.
15. Steve Etwell
The Chronicle's editor-in-chief, Steve Etwell, has been instrumental in setting the news agenda of the Toowoomba region for the last 14 years.
He has his finger on the pulse of the city and champions its potential to no end.
Under his leadership, the newspaper has campaigned for projects such as the Toowoomba Bypass, the Inland Rail and the New Acland Coal Mine stage three expansion.
During the COVID-19 pandemic he amplified the voice of the people, calling for border closures and other measures to be introduced. After each front page call, the government acted.
In his time as editor, The Chronicle's online presence has grown dramatically and the newspaper has cemented its place as Toowoomba's leading news organisation.
Steve placed 15 in the last Power 100.
14. Peter Lock
Peter Lock has been the CEO of Heritage Bank, Australia's largest customer-owned bank, since 2015.
Under his leadership, the bank has nabbed many top titles, including this year being named Australia's top bank for customer satisfaction by global research firm J.D. Power.
The bank has consistently recorded large profits under his leadership.
He has been a strong advocate for Toowoomba and has been advocating the benefits of living in regional areas like the Darling Downs.
He has spoken at length about how the COVID-19 pandemic has provided an opportunity for growth in places like Toowoomba.
Peter placed 36 in the last Power 100.
13. Geoff McDonald
Long-time councillor Geoff McDonald ascended to the Deputy Mayor position after the 2020 local government elections.
He had previously led the Toowoomba Chamber of Commerce and ran a printing business.
Cr McDonald was the council's tourism spokesman for many years and up until this year was the public face of the Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers.
He is known for his enthusiasm and passion for all things Toowoomba.
He has long been considered Toowoomba's mayor in waiting and the most likely successor of Paul Antonio when he retires.
It will be up to voters in 2024 to see whether that comes to fruition.
This is Geoff's Power 100 debut.
12. Bishop Robert McGuckin
At the last census, the number of practising Catholics in Australia dropped by three per cent. In Toowoomba, there was no drop.
That is in part to the hard work and dedication of Bishop Robert McGuckin, the head of the Toowoomba Diocese of the Catholic Church.
Appointed to the role in 2012, just as the Catholic Church was facing criticism nationwide over historic cases of child sexual abuse, Bishop McGuckin acknowledged the church's failings and brought about change, both locally and nationally.
He is one of the most senior Catholic officials in Queensland and has been active in calling for action on climate change and has been a strong voice for promoting multicultural and multi-faith events in Toowoomba.
The Bishop placed 12 in the last Power 100.
11. Derek Tuffield
It's hard to put a number on how many lives Derek Tuffield has helped change for the better.
The Lifeline Darling Downs and South-West CEO has overseen the organisation for 19 years ago, and is in charge of over 100 staff members and hundreds of volunteers.
From crisis support, to suicide prevention and counselling services, the organisation has saved thousands of lives.
He has been an advocate for LGBTI+ support in the region and was a strong advocate for Queensland's container refund scheme.
Mr Tuffield has been open about just how difficult 2020 has been for the organisation, but has been working tirelessly to make sure those that need Lifeline Darling Downs' services in these unprecedented times are able to access them.
Derek placed 11 in the last Power 100.