Desert Knowledge Australia Board and CEO


The Desert Knowledge Australia Board was appointed in April 2016.

Mr Chris Fry, Chair

Chris brings extensive governance and executive experience to the Desert Knowledge Australia Board. Chris has been involved with a number of regional boards and was CEO of Indigenous Business Australia (IBA) from 2011 to 2016. He joined IBA after a working with the National Australia Bank for over 25 years in regional and urban roles.

Chris has a longstanding interest and involvement in Indigenous affairs. He was Chair of the Indigenous Land Corporation’s Mossman Gorge Development Steering Committee and an inaugural board member of the Indigenous Tourism Leadership Group. He has also completed a secondment with the Miriuwung Gajerrong Corporation in Kununurra.

Chris holds a Bachelor of Agricultural Economics from the University of New England and a Masters of Applied Finance from Charles Sturt University, is a graduate of the Australian Rural Leadership Program, and is a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. He is a fellow of the Australian Institute of Banking and Finance and the Australian Rural Leadership Foundation.

Ms Leeanne Caton, Deputy Chair


Leeanne is a Kalkadoon woman who grew up in Darwin. She has family and cultural connections throughout the NT, WA and Queensland.

Leeanne has worked for the Australian, Western Australian and Northern Territory Governments, as well as in the private sector. She has over 30 years’ experience in Aboriginal health, education, employment, social justice, housing and economic development.

Before joining the Office of Aboriginal Affairs as Executive Director Leeanne was Managing Director of Perth-based Aboriginal owned and managed housing company Noongar Mia Mia Pty Ltd.


Mr Paul Ah Chee (Ngala), Director


Over the past 20 years Paul has been developing his capacity to contribute efficiently and effectively to the community, with a particular focus on the engagement of Indigenous Australians within the community. His goal is to see Indigenous Australians able to be economically self-sufficient and able to make choices about their future and day-to- day living.

Paul is currently the Director of the Alice Springs Desert Park. He has held a number of appointments to national boards and committees including the National Collection Council Australia, the Australian International Cultural Council, Indigenous Tourism Leadership Group, NT Indigenous Economic Development Committee, South Australian Museum and the Australian Tourism Commission.

Paul has served on the Desert Knowledge Australia Board since August 2014.


Mr Dave Batic, Director

David has worked in the Defence and Civil aviation industry for over 35 years. Prior to taking up his current appointment as General Manager Alice Springs and Tennant Creek Airports, David was General Manager Aviation Operations at Townsville International Airport.

David holds a Bachelor of Aviation and is currently a Chartered Engineer through Engineers Australia. As part of a senior management airport corporate development program, David completed a Graduate Certificate in Business through Southern Cross University as part of an MBA program.

Since taking up the role of General Manager Alice Springs Airport, David has also been appointed as Chairman of Tourism Central Australia, Executive Board Member of the Chamber of Commerce and President of the Alice Springs RSL.

Mr Steve Brouwer, Director

Steve has been a resident of Alice Springs since 1986, and has been involved since then with building development and various commercial businesses, including an airline catering company.

Steve is Chair of the Regional Economic Development Committee, a Member of the Business Advisory Council, and Member of the Correctional Industries Advisory Council.

Mr Jimmy Cocking, Director

Jimmy is an environmentalist and community leader based in Alice Springs. He is Director of the Arid Lands Environment Centre and is passionate about desert Australia. He has a strong connection to his local community and is keen to represent the issues facing northern and central Australia.

Mr Jason Quin, Director

A resident of Alice Springs, Jason Quin has worked for many years to support entrepreneurship with particular focus on ventures with a social and environmental purpose. 

Currently representing Many Rivers Microfinance in Central Australia, Jason is also involved in a range of local organisations including Red Hot Arts Central Australia (Chair), Alice Springs Art Foundation (President), Arid Lands Environment Centre (Public Officer) and Tamara Cooperative/Desert Fruit Company (Director).

Previously, Jason has worked for UnLtd - the Foundation for Social Entrepreneurs (UK), the Australian Centre for Social Innovation (Adelaide), and in Alice Springs, the Centre for Appropriate Technology, the Alice Springs Beanie Festival and the Broadband for the Bush Alliance.

Mr Rede Ogden, Director

Rede started Ogden Power in 2005 and was contracted for Bushlight in 2006 installing remote off-grid power systems. He partnered with SunPower Australia in 2008 installing the largest grid connect system in Australia at Crowne Plaza Alice Springs and installed the ADES tracker at the Desert Knowledge Australia Solar Centre, the largest dual axis tracker in the southern hemisphere.

Ogden Power is now partnered with WINAICO Australia as the NT preferred supplier and is working with WINAICO to develop off-grid solutions for remote Australia.

Mr Raymond Pratt, Director

Raymond Pratt is a proud Western Arrernte man. He is the director of DICE Australia and its group of companies, including Dice Contracting, Dice Renascent and Allgrid Energy.

AllGrid Energy was established to offer renewable technology solutions to Indigenous communities and the broader domestic market. The success of both DICE and AllGrid Energy is built firmly on Ray’s commitment to a collaborative business model that enables the companies to buy, build and develop the solutions needed for sustainable regional and remote enterprise.

Ray is honoured to be a board member of AEMEE, SCTE and DKA.

Ms Lauren Ganley, Chief Executive Officer

Lauren joined DKA as CEO in January 2017.

Lauren is a descendant of the Kamilaroi people and was raised in Darwin in the Northern Territory. She had a successful career at Telstra for more than thirty years working in senior positions in the Northern Territory and South Australia.

In her most recent role as the Head of Telstra’s National Indigenous Directorate, Lauren led programs and business activities to improve digital and social inclusion for Indigenous Communities across Australia. With an extensive professional network, Lauren is passionate about issues facing Indigenous Australians, and regional and remote Australia.

Lauren has extensive experience in commercial and cultural strategies, policy and program development/delivery, and community stakeholder engagement.

Lauren was a member of the Expert Panel (2011) to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples in the Australian Constitution. She is currently the Chair of Telstra’s Indigenous Advisory Committee; a Director of Kakadu Tourism, the Aboriginal Foundation of South Australia and Power Community Ltd; an Ambassador for Indigenous Community Volunteers; a graduate and Fellow of the Australian Rural Leadership Foundation; and a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

In 2014 Lauren was recognised as one of Australia’s most influential women, winning a place in The Australian Financial Review and Westpac 100 Women of Influence Awards.