ACO Board Members

Rick McDougall

Chairman, ACO Certification Ltd

Rick has been a farmer for almost 50yrs and has operated the family livestock and cropping farms as certified organic for the past 20yrs. He also has extensive experience working with various committees and industry associations. He has been a director on Co-operative and company boards and participated in company directors courses (AICD). He is a past member of the National Standards Subcommittee.

Rick is currently Chairperson of ACO Certification Limited. Rick is a former long serving councillor on the Goondiwindi Regional Council, and a former director of Australian Organic Ltd.

Wayne Shields

Director, ACO Certification Ltd.

Wayne is the farmer/director/founder of Peninsula fresh organic, a Certified organic vegetable production farm & retailer of our own produce based on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula along with growing sites at Bullarto in Central Victoria & Barham in the NSW Riverina.

Wayne has worked in many progressive horticultural businesses both conventional & Organic, starting as an apprentice to labouring farmhand & operations manager’s at farms like Taranto farm’s, Rocky Lamatina & sons, Clays farm, Northern Citrus, Mt Alma farming & Spring Creek Organic before starting PFO.

Outside of farming Wayne is into his 4th term as President of the Victorian Farmers Market Association - a 700 plus member organisation advocating for small farmers, farmers markets & artisan producers, while administering the VFMA’s farmers market accreditation program.

Brendan Ryan

Director, ACO Certification Ltd.

Brendan is the Managing Director of Biocentric Partners Pty Ltd, which was established in 2003 to provide Strategic Consulting, Innovation and Advisory Services to assist and guide medium to large, predominantly family-owned, agri-food businesses pursuing growth and excellence. Brendan lives with his family near Toowoomba in regional southern Queensland.

Brendan has a career that commenced in Perth in 1987 as an Accountant and Farm Management Advisor with Chartered Accountants Bird Cameron after graduating with a Business Degree in Rural Management from Queensland Agricultural College (now University of Queensland - Gatton). He has lived and worked extensively in Queensland and regional New South Wales, with client and project engagements spread nationally and increasingly into Asia.

Brendan career has spanned Executive, Business Development roles and Directorships across a range of industries including Agribusiness/Agrifood/Agriculture, Accounting and Business Advisory, Banking and Finance, Retail and Information Technology, as well as Not for Profit Directorships. Brendan is a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, as well as a number of other regional, industry and professional associations.

Ross Burling

Director, ACO Certification Ltd.

Ross has been in management leadership roles in the private, public and not-for-profit sectors for over 25 years.

Ross is a Director and CEO of Stahmann Farms, the largest vertically integrated Pecan and Macadamia Food business in the southern hemisphere.

Across his career Ross has lived and worked at home and abroad in the mining services area and has extensive experience across a number of agricultural sectors, with a passion for horticulture.

Ross Joined the Board of Stahmann Farms in February 2010 and has lead the company as the Chief Executive officer since March 2013. Ross is also a Director with Australian Certified Organic limited, and a member of the Gwydir Valley irrigators association. He has undertaken ongoing studies with, University of Queensland in Business Management and is a graduate of the AICD Company director’s course.

Georgia Beattie

Director, ACO Certification Ltd.

Georgia began her career studying entrepreneurship at Babson College, Boston and RMIT, Melbourne. Shortly after finishing her University degrees, Georgia raised seed capital to found wine startup Lupé Wines in 2011. Lupé Wines specialised in supplying events, airlines and hotel minibars with the world’s first single serve glass of wine designed for ease of use. The company expanded quickly across Australia, Japan, Korea, Taiwan and China. Lupé was listed as top 10 startups to watch by BRW and Georgia was listed as Top 50 Entrepreneurs to watch in 2015. In 2016 the company was successfully acquired.

Georgia took on the CEO role at Startup Victoria from 2016-2018 to help organise the startup ecosystem from her experience as an Australia entrepreneur. Startup Victoria is the go-to independent startup body for Victoria that focuses on creating more founders and better founders with over 30,000 members.

Georgia is now CEO and shareholder of Bulla Park, Australia’s largest organic mushroom farm. She specialises in high performance farming embracing the use of technology and innovation to achieve fast growth and scale in agriculture. Bulla Park has 80 employees over 2 farms in Victoria and is focused on creating clean food via environmentally clean agriculture practices.

In 2021 Georgia was awarded an International Nuffield Scholarship to write a thesis on soil regeneration within agriculture and methods to sustainably grow mushrooms on spent coffee beans.


For more information please email info@aco.net.au or phone (07) 3350 5706.