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Advisory board

The advisory board of Autism Academy for Software Quality Assurance (AASQA) draws on the talent and experience of the following individuals.

Julian Coyne

Julian Coyne – Chair

Julian brings together a distinct blend of entrepreneurship, technology and engineering… with a splash of imagination and a twist of fun!
After graduating with honours in Computer & Mathematical Science in 2002 Julian founded Unified – which has since gone on to deliver ICT & Digital technology projects to major clients including IBM, Microsoft, Toyota, Rio Tinto, INPEX, Landgate, Lotterywest, UWA and Government clients throughout Australia.

Julian’s thesis in computer science dealt with the purposeful application of assistive technologies to improve outcomes in disability, aged care and independent living settings.
Julian serves as WA Chairman & Industry Engagement Lead for the Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA) – Australia’s peak body for the ICT & Digital ecosystem. The AIIA represents global organisations including Amazon, Apple, Google, Intel, Microsoft, Optus, Telstra, Deloitte, EY, KPMG & PwC through to local SMEs, start-ups and scale-ups.

Julian has also launched several successful companies and initiatives, and has been invited to Oxford University, Silicon Valley and Singapore to collaborate with diverse groups across industry, academia & Government.
In 2006 Julian was selected as WA representative in the Commonwealth Government’s inaugural ICT Industry Entrepreneur Accelerator Program. This was at the Macquarie Graduate School of Management (MGSM) in partnership AusIndustry and AIIA.
Julian is also a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, a Senior Certified Professional with the Australia Computer Society, a member of the IEEE and a member of the Commonwealth Club of California.

Image of advisory board member, Robert Williamson.

Robert Williamson – Vice Chair


Robert Williamson, CEO of Red River Group and Executive Advisor China for the Association of Mining and Exploration Companies (AMEC) Australia, is a Chartered Engineer and Fellow of Engineers Australia and a Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Robert is the Chairman of Engineers Australia ITEE Board in WA and a member of the National ITEE College Board, and he is also a member National Professional Standards Board. Robert also sits on the Executive Committee (WA) of the Australia China Business Council. In China, Robert is a member of the China International Mining Cooperation Committee.

After a career of 22 years with Rio Tinto and then General Manager at Snowden Mining Consultants, Robert formed Red River Group in 2012 with a firm vision for trade with China in Mining. Robert is an advisor to Chairmen and Executives of ASX, Private and NFP entities.

Robert Williamson on LinkedIn

Image of advisory board member, Jim Ellis.

Jim Ellis

Adj. Prof. Jim Ellis OAM, B. Sc, CF (Curtin), Hon. D. Sc (Murdoch), FACS CP, FAICD, C. Eng.

Jim Ellis was the inaugural Chair of the AASQA Advisory Board, stepping down in June 2018. He is currently the Immediate Past Chair. Jim has worked in information technology for more than 50 years, working for several multinational organisations in England, Eastern Europe and South East Asia before moving to Perth in 1981. In Perth, he worked for a number of international and local ICT organisations before founding his own company Westinfo Services in 1997. Westinfo Services represented Gartner, the world’s largest technology advisory organisation in Western Australia and Northern Territory from February 1997 until March 2006.

Jim was appointed an Adjunct Professor at Murdoch University in June 2006 and was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for services to the ICT Industry in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List in June 2008. He was given the award of Curtin University Fellow in September 2015 and made an Honorary Doctor of Science by Murdoch University in September 2016.

Jim is a Fellow and Honorary Life Member of the Australian Computer Society (ACS), and a Fellow of the AICD (the Australian Institute of Company Directors). He has been a national Vice President of the ACS, and Chair of the ACS WA Branch. He is currently a member of the Branch Executive Committee of the WA Branch of the ACS.

He was Chair of the WA Chapter of the ACS Foundation, which provides tertiary scholarships in the ICT area, from 2002 to 2013, and was on the national board of the ACS Foundation.

Jim conceived the WA IT & Telecommunications Awards (WAITTA) and was Chairman from its inception in 1991 until March 2003. He is currently a Member of the Management Committee of WAITTA (now the WA IT and Telecommunications Alliance).

Jim is a Non-executive Director of Independent Living Centre WA, and Chair of the IT Industry Advisory Panel at Murdoch University.

He has a B.Sc. in Mathematics and Statistics from St Andrews University, Scotland.

Jim Ellis on LinkedIn

Image of advisory board member, Denis Coldham.

Denis Coldham

Denis Coldham is an IT Lecturer and Head of Programs IT at South Metropolitan TAFE, helping students through their learning journey as they study IT. After working in SME IT for many years, and several years as an IT educator, Denis can use his experience to help students reach their goals.

Through compassion and empathy for all students, Denis successfully guides all students to have a fair chance, allowing self-improvement through study and mentorship while at South Metro TAFE. Using flexible approaches to study and support, Denis help’s more students succeed in their study journey.

As a Certified Professional of the ACS, and a member of the ACS Board Executive Committee in WA, Denis can help affect change in the WA ICT Landscape and create a community that is inclusive for all in their ICT careers.

Alison Davis

Alison Davis joined Autism West as Chief Executive Officer in July 2014. Autism West is a Western Australian not-for-profit that provides a range of services to families affected by autism. It offers a range of skills development programs, social groups and information and advice services. Alison has experience working in the public sector, as well as for not-for-profit and commercial organisations. Alison was most recently the National Copyright Manager for the TAFE sector. She holds an arts/law degree from the University of WA and a Masters degree in law from the University of NSW.

Alison Davis on LinkedIn

Image of Oliver and Virginia Sta Maria

Oliver and Virginia Sta Maria

Virginia and Oliver Sta Maria are property investors with a passion to assist people with Aspergers get the best out of life.

Oliver was born in Malaysia. In the late 70’s he travelled with a band around Australia. He later graduated as an Industrial Designer and set up his own design business. He changed direction and worked in Mental Health Rehabilitation until 2006.

Virginia was born in Perth. Her background is real estate. With Oliver, they started buying and selling real estate and developing properties.

Virginia has had a recent diagnosis of Aspergers and continues to understand herself and the diagnosis.

Virginia and Oliver have been married for over 25 years and have a 21yo son on the spectrum. Raising a son on the spectrum was easy as he never succumbed to peer pressure. Although getting the best for him was sometimes a challenge. He came to Curtin to pursue his passion. He is a participant of the Curtin Specialist Mentoring Program.

We expect to be able to contribute as a member of the Board through our life experience of Aspergers from all angles…our life as a couple and coaching a son with Aspergers.

Dr David Cook

Profile coming soon.

Emma Whitty

Emma Whitty

Emma is widely acclaimed within the IS industry as a fearless innovator. She is driven by the user experience, business opportunities and the current trend in consumerisation of technology. Moving from Melbourne to Perth in 2013 to take on the role of Vice President of Emma has
Information Systems (CIO) at Clough Pty. Ltd, Emma catapulted the renowned Engineering Company on a journey of transformation that included Infrastructure as a Service, the set-up of an innovation retainer, the launch of a mobile app platform, and the introduction of scholarships to help drive change. Underpinning her success was the ability to bring different parties together into novel and valuable partnerships, extending their reach and bringing value to each business.

In 2017 Emma was asked to join the advisory boards of AASQA and the ACS foundation, bringing her drive and approach to innovation into the NFP sector adding a new angle to her focus, technology for good. Emma’s experience with Information Systems spans multiple industries and includes iconic organisations such as Kraft Foods, Seven West Media, Cadbury as well as the Australian Department of Defence.

Michael New

Profile coming soon.