ACCESS DECADES OF HANDS-ON KNOWLEDGE

Our team

RODGER L POWELL
FAICD, FAIM

THE CATALYST. Social; passionate; the paella-whisperer

Since founding THSA in 2005, Rodger has assembled a formidable group of seasoned professionals who share his vision for the business. Together, they have broken the mainstream ‘consulting’ mould and reshaped it into a distinctive and energetic advisory and project management collective.

He derives enormous satisfaction from ‘doing important work for great clients’ with his team of ‘real people, with real experience, and expertise as hands-on practitioners’.

Rodger has an uncommon depth and breadth of experience as an owner, operator and executive level manager across multiple hospitality and tourism businesses. He brings invaluable insight from this background as a professional business leader and entrepreneur to every THSA project.

Rodger’s CV includes CEO and c-suite roles on three continents, in hotel management, development and construction; marketing; industry advocacy and hospitality; gaming; and online technologies.

An owner and former owner of pubs, restaurants and catering businesses, technology companies and services operations, Rodger is also a highly credentialed chairman and non-executive director of multiple hospitality, tourism and leisure companies. He has an uncanny ability to distil complex matters into simple communicable ideas, to sell a vision and generate buy-in both internally and externally, a talent that underpins much of THSA’s work.

Regarded by his peers as a passionate hotel, tourism and hospitality professional who is not afraid to voice an opinion, Rodger is known to be generous with his knowledge and his enviable Australasian and international connections. They describe him as a clear-thinking strategist and value his role as a catalyst for innovation, creative solutions and driver of change.

Over the years, Rodger has developed some prowess in the kitchen, and when commitments allow it, has been known to work a smoker at Burning Man in the Nevada desert. His social media presence celebrates his enthusiasm for all things epicurean. A true world-traveller, Rodger has a penchant for remote wilderness destinations, with Machu Pichu and Antarctica firmly inked on his travel bucket list.

Heather Linnell
HEATHER LINNELL
MSc (Tourism Management), BSc (Hons) (Ecotourism)

THE ANALYST . Talented lateral thinker; quiet achiever; serial traveller

Heather’s 15 years’ experience in the hotel, tourism and leisure industry was gained in Australia, the UK and southern Africa, working for both private and public sector clients.

Her core skills lie in primary and secondary market research, interpretation of key market trends, preparation of market and financial feasibility studies and stakeholder consultation, which have informed operational performance strategies and helped test the viability of numerous industry investments.

The focus of Heather’s work has included hotels and serviced apartments, caravan parks, mixed-use resorts, conference centres, health and wellness retreats, casinos, visitor attractions, theme parks, and destination management. She has conducted more than 200 hotel feasibility studies over the years.

THSA colleagues cite Heather’s outstanding work ethic and thorough research skills as being integral to quality project outcomes. They appreciate her sharp mind and her capacity to suggest alternative solutions to challenges, as well as her ability to clearly articulate her recommendations and the rationale behind them, which evoke confidence and trust in her work. Heather considers seeing projects materialise and the regular plaudits received from THSA clients as being the most rewarding part of that work.

Heather appreciates how THSA ‘does not produce cookie-cutter client deliverables’. She is convinced that by approaching each brief with a ‘blank canvas’, the team continues to achieve exciting and positive results for clients.

Her most memorable professional achievement? Contributing to the identification of a market opportunity for the world’s first trans-frontier national park (Kgalagadi) that straddles the border between South Africa and Botswana, and then ‘as project manager, sharing the enormous satisfaction with my team of watching it come to fruition’.

A little-known fact about Heather is that she was an international-standard gymnast. She also loves to snorkel and scuba dive. As a newcomer to Queensland, she has developed a soft spot for the Sunshine Coast, particularly Noosa, but her favourite part of the country is Margaret River and the Kaurri forests of the south western part of WA.

Luisa Davidson
Luisa Davidson
Project and FF&E Procurement Manager

THE POWERHOUSE. Fiercely loyal; unrelenting negotiator; loves a good shoe

Regarded by her peers and clients as a true force and an invaluable asset to the business, Luisa is passionate about what clients do and how to help them do it better. She brings a vast knowledge of the hospitality and tourism industry to the THSA team having specialised in this sector for more than 30 years in FF+E, procurement, human resources, PR and executive support.

These skills come together to the great advantage of THSA projects, for which Luisa has managed interior design, procurement and fit-out of hotels, resorts and pubs. She participates in THSA’s engagement with local and state governments undertaking industry research and feasibility studies for hotel and tourism projects Australia-wide.

She is relentless in her pursuit of the best price and the fairest terms, and has a burning drive to get the job done as efficiently and seamlessly as possible.

Luisa has a natural acumen for research and reporting and was born with an eye for design and style. She is an energetic and active professional who resolves challenges through employing analysis and logical reasoning. The archetypal team player, Luisa is one to always ‘go the extra mile’ for her colleagues and clients alike. She is a confessed process and project framework tragic, which guide her exceptional project outcomes.

Luisa’s CV includes work on Hamilton Island’s iconic Qualia Resort, the island’s yacht club villas, the golf course club house and resort hotel refurbishments, as well as development and procurement projects for the Nelson Meers Hotel Group, Marlow Hotel Group, Roddy Group and Anthology Travel.

She considers that the dynamic individuals who make up THSA, and their diverse specialist experience bring a uniqueness to all their client projects. Equally she believes this is how they deliver the ‘unachievable’ – bringing a compelling mix of ‘practical advice and creative applications to projects that may not ordinarily be obvious’.

Her 11 years in Queensland’s Whitsundays had an indelible effect on her and to this day, it is her favourite destination – ‘it rivals any coast in the world…has the best boating waterways anywhere!’ As it does for Rodger, the lure of Antarctica looms large for Luisa.

Craig Davidson
Craig Davidson
Assoc. Dip. Hotel & Catering Services (Dist.), AICD

THE NEGOTIATOR. Engaging; lover of raclette; killer of black runs

Craig has spent more than 30 years working within the Australian hotel and tourism industry, on a broad range of senior executive roles in hotels, resorts, attractions, nature-based experiences and tourism marketing organisations including Southern Pacific Hotel Corporation (now IHG), Hamilton Island, Voyages Hotels and Resorts, Tourism Australia and Ardent Leisure Theme Parks.

He has held numerous board positions during his time in the industry including six years as a director at Destination Gold Coast.
His contribution to the development of Tourism Australia’s Investment Attraction and Industry Development team is his most satisfying professional achievement to date and is testimony to his ability to negotiate and collaborate with senior government and private sector partners. Craig headed up this initiative, which included international aviation route development, infrastructure investment attraction and the Indigenous Tourism Development Program.

His passion for indigenous culture began in the early 90s during his tenure at Ayers Rock Resort and has continued throughout his career; his most recent project was opening Dreamworld’s Corroboree, Australia’s first interactive indigenous theme park experience which showcases the stories, wildlife and culture of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Tourism advisory projects with THSA have included pre-opening and operational advice, interim executive roles, strategic acquisitions and asset due diligence for industry leaders including KSL Capital Partners, ROC Capital and Voyages.

Craig’s colleagues all agree that he is ‘confident, warm, approachable and engaging with an innate ability to lead, negotiate, strategise and communicate as few can’.

When not working, Craig may be found on his motorbike, playing tennis or baseball, or escaping to his second home in his beloved Snowy Mountains of NSW, his ‘happy place’ for the gathering and feeding of friends and family.

Simon SMith
Simon Smith
MBA, BEc (Hons.), BSc, GAICD, MRMS

THE NAVIGATOR. Methodical; diplomatic; loves a long walk

Simon has wide-ranging experience in economic and financial consulting, market and community research, project management, systems and processes, strategic and business planning and information technology. He has worked on and managed significant projects for a range of private sector and public clients.

He is the ‘yin’ to Rodger’s ‘yang’. As a disciplined economist, he views each project through a structured lens that brings rigour to the process. With particularly complex projects, his abilities to navigate competing priorities and interests, and to distil information into manageable strategies have been invaluable.

Simon is also Chairman and Principal Consultant with AEC, a company Rodger has collaborated with for more than twenty years, which provides business consulting services in core areas of economics, finance, market research and visual communication. Prior to this he was CEO for sixteen years during which time he grew the capacity of the company to nearly 40 professional staff across several Australian offices.

His role has allowed him to focus on consulting engagements. Having developed expertise over the years in tourism, hospitality and leisure, including owning and running restaurants and a brewery, and developing the first tourism satellite accounts for Queensland Treasury, Simon’s skills dovetail perfectly with the THSA advisory team.

He observes that a primary point of difference between THSA and others is the ‘economic discipline approach to the work undertaken’. He considers that ‘everyone involved is a true professional ‘ and ‘does what is required in their area of expertise but also takes the time to add value to others’ contributions’.

‘Simon is a deep thinker who overlays his core economics competency with common sense. He has done so many tourism and economics projects that he’s forgotten more than most of us know! Loves a craft beer and a laugh – fits right in.’

Tourism goals for Australia? Simon would like to see more major long-distance hiking trails developed, especially in Queensland, as well as more attention paid to customer service delivery and improved data ‘such as real-time visitor spending and linkage of outcomes to marketing efforts’.

Margaret River features as Simon’s favourite part of the country, but outside Australia, his travel bucket list includes Iceland and long-distance European walks, especially Via Francigena.