The Australian Furniture Association is pleased to announce the appointment of the first elected Australian Furniture Association Board since its transition to a company limited by guarantee.
Mr Carlo Gosatti from Inglewood Products Group has been appointed as the new Chair of the AFA. Mr Gosatti replaces Miss Brooke Winter, who was appointed the very first Chair of the Australian Furniture Association Ltd in February 2014.
‘On behalf of my fellow Board Directors I’d like to thank Brooke for her dedication and leadership during her short but valuable tenure as Chair, in addition to her previous many years of service during the AFA’s transition period from incorporated association to a company limited by guarantee. Under Brooke’s stewardship the AFA’s Strategic Plan has been introduced and established as the ‘road map’ for our industry moving forward. The new Board’s role will be to consolidate the great work that has come before and ensure that the future of this important sector continues to thrive and excel in local and international markets.
I’d also like to thank Mr Peter Gray and Mr Simon Bowler, who have stepped down from the Board, for their longstanding contribution to the Council and then as First Directors of the AFA. We acknowledge the time and commitment that both have given over many years and the significance of their guidance during the evolution of the AFA to its current national and international standing.
We retain the services of Mr Joe Stillitano and Mr Josh Topelberg for a further two years, ensuring that the continuity of the AFA’s strategic direction remains sound and viable.
I am proud to be joined by a collective of equally strong experts in a variety of fields who will add their own expertise and good judgement to ensure the delivery of the remaining 4 years of our 5 year Strategic Plan for growth.’
The Australian Furniture Association (AFA) is a peak Australian industry association which represents the interests of the furniture sector from raw material supply through to the end user. Collectively the industry supply chain employs more than 200,000 people nationally.
‘Our new Board of Directors will be working together for a productive and sustainable furniture industry that designs and manufactures quality, iconic furniture to world markets. The AFA is committed to helping Australian businesses through having a focus on building competitive and sustainable business models and to promote the profitable growth, competitiveness, innovation, and the export readiness of its members.’
The AFA is recognised as the voice of the Furnishing Industry by government, media and the general public and as such the Directors take their responsibilities very seriously given that AFA membership includes participation by manufacturers of both residential and commercial furniture, suppliers to the industry, retailers, allied associations and key stakeholders (such as testing and training organisations).
AFA’s public policy positions are continually developed through ongoing analysis and consultation with industry stakeholders and the AFA team regularly provides submissions, on a wide range of areas, to various Parliamentary Committees, independent bodies, commissions, and to government.
The nature and direction of the AFA’s business is defined by striving for world class performance to achieve positive results in pursuing its agenda on behalf of its members and to deliver our vision of our vision for “Australian Furniture for every room in the world”
‘I believe the key to success is ensuring that our industry continues to stay ahead of global competitors through the creation of innovative products, adopting new technologies, and investing in the development of training and healthy business models and I know that I, and my fellow Directors, will do all that we can to guide this association to achieve those Strategic priorities.’
Board of Directors
Carlo Gosatti (Inglewood Products Group) (WA)
Mr Gosatti has a Commerce degree with a double major in Economics and Marketing from Curtin University. After graduating in 1992, he began working in the family business Inglewood Products Group. Inglewood Products Group started in 1957 and continues to be a family owned and operated business employing over 20 people. The company operates a timber processing and manufacturing facility in Oldbury, WA. Products include Custom Outdoor Furniture, Joinery, Commercial Indoor Furniture and Building Materials. In 1997, Carlo became the group’s Operations Director.
Carlo was Vice President of FIAA WA until its transition to the national AFA. He continues to sit on the board of the Food, Fibre and Timber Industries Training Council (WA) Inc as Vice Chair. Carlo is aware of the current training issues facing the industry including thin markets, workforce development and VET in schools.
His keen interest is to see all participants of the furnishing sector remain focused and well trained through innovation in order for industry to successfully compete in the global furnishing arena.
Tony Rogers (Woods Furniture)(VIC)
Tony’s involvement within the furniture industry goes back almost 30 years, initially commencing as a machine operator before becoming a furniture assembler. Upon becoming a production manager for a large Melbourne based commercial furniture manufacturer, Tony enrolled into a Business Management Diploma which he successfully completed in 2002. He has also completed training in Competitive Manufacturing as well as Best Practices in Manufacturing.
Tony joined Melbourne based manufacturer of educational furniture, Woods Furniture, in 2006 as Production Manager. After successfully completing a Diploma in Directorship with the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD) in 2009, Tony subsequently took on his current role as both Executive Director and General Manager of Woods. Tony has also gained experience as a Non-Executive Director with a position on the AFRDI board since 2010.
Joe Stillitano (International Cabinets) (WA)
A cabinet maker by trade having commenced in 1979, Joe completed his trade in 1984 and then progressed into a management role in his family's business - International Cabinets, established in 1973. International Cabinets employs 51 people, with Joe holding the position of General Manager for 14 years.
Joe's professional and representative career has progressed from the completion of Diploma of Builders Registration in August 2003, with Building Registration # F107 granted in February 2011. Joe was Board Member of FIAA WA for seven years until its transition to the Australian Furniture Association, and is a current member of the Membership Committee for the Housing Industry Association. Joe currently holds and advisory role on the Training Council in WA, as well as being a Board Member of Sacred Heart College in Sorrento, WA.
Joe is committed to the prosperity of the Australian Furniture and Cabinet industry, is keen to see the timber manufacturing sector regain government support and would like to establish and develop strategies to put the furniture industry on a global platform and encourage consumers to buy quality Australian made products that comply with safe Australian Standards.
Josh Topelberg (Decor Design Centre)(WA)
Josh has been actively involved in the furniture industry all of his working life. Josh began his career in big box retail and moved into bedding sales for one of Australia’s largest manufacturers. In 2001 he joined his family’s company, Decor Design Centre, which has been operating as a supplier to the furniture and design industry for over 50 years. Josh has significant supply chain experience, sourcing products globally and assisting in the design process from concept through to market. He holds Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Arts degrees from the University of Western Australia and has been involved with the Furniture Association at a board level since 2005. Josh is actively involved in his local community and has been a Councillor at the City of Vincent since 2009. He is passionate about the industry and the people that make it tick.
Katrina Myers (Zuster)(Vic)
Katrina has been Head of Manufacturing at the designer furniture company, Zuster, for almost 13 years. She is passionate about keeping manufacturing alive and well in Australia. Drawing from study in Total Quality Management and supply chain management, she has worked in collaboration with internal and external stakeholders to systemise and streamline business practices resulting in seamless service delivery and high levels of customer satisfaction.
“The furniture industry, and working with my family and the great team at Zuster, has taught me a great deal as well as given me immense job satisfaction. I look forward to contributing to the continued great work of the Australian Furniture Association to help make our industry even stronger”.
Matthew Moore (BFX Bizfurn Express) (QLD)
Matthew possesses over 20 years comprehensive knowledge in the furniture industry over a cross section; from manufacturing and procurement, to retail, sales and supply. His understanding of the industry's needs and trends is extensive.
In 1999 at the age of 19, Matthew started upholstering furniture and spent the next 6 years perfecting his craft whilst studying Marketing and Accounting at University. He then moved into cabinet making and product development over the next few years. In recent years Matthew has focused on product procurement, logistics and efficient business management.
As a Director of BFX (Bizfurn Express), Matthew has been instrumental in the company's development from a small family business to becoming one of the leading suppliers of education and office furniture in Australia and New Zealand.
Matthew has an unwavering commitment to ensuring the future growth and success of the furniture industry in Australia. He further demonstrates this commitment by being a current Non-Executive Director on the AFRDI board.
Lawrence Christoffelsz (Logistics Results)(Vic)
Lawrence's background centres around a dynamic management career in international trade supply chain optimisation and logistics solutions within a competitive business market. He is an expert in building top‐producing logistics and trade organisations through strategic marketing, tactical sales, partner alliances and key account management with an outstanding record of achievement in supply chain improvement and international contract negotiations.
Lawrence's excellent communication skills, coupled with an ability to actively manage change, will provide significant benefit to the Association, along with his proven leadership skills and ability to train and maintain enthusiastic and productive staff.
Geoffrey Bowll (Starship)(Vic)
Geoffrey is a pragmatic, seasoned professional marketer with an outstanding track record of success, driven mainly from a bent for process and research/strategic planning. He has spent many years on a range of boards of large and small organizations across health, education, export and retail.
Geoffrey has extensive marketing & management experience in agribusiness, art, automotive, charities, fashion, finance, food, HVPG, media, pharmaceutical, property, retail and web businesses. With some 33 years in the field, Geoffrey has led a successful advertising agency for 23 years. His background is market research and strategy for major corporates including Australia Post, Australian Trade Commission, Ford, National Australia Bank, Telstra, Just Jeans and Myer.
Geoffrey co-launched The Starship in 1991. It is a creative-based, full service, integrated ad/design agency handling clients such as Barry Plant, iSelect, La Manna, Metricon, Scope, Sustainability Victoria and Tintern.
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