REGION - James Skene has spent the past month settling into his new role as the executive officer of Central Grampians LLEN after taking over the position left vacated following the retirement of Murray Jensen.
Mr Skene brings to CGLLEN a wealth of knowledge with a background in private enterprise, specifically publishing, marketing and event management.
"I started my career here in Australia with Kerry Packer and his organisation and that was during the time of one day cricket and all the changes that were going on with that," Mr Skene said.
"I was his production manager for the magazine group. It was an exciting job, but very tiring - it was a seven day week type of job.
"One of the big things in that time was changing the Women's Weekly to a monthly magazine, so that was an exciting time too."
When Kerry Packer broke his magazine sector up into different groups, Mr Skene said he had a choice to either move to Sydney or do something different, and so he became a consultant in the printing production industry.
He spent many years working in advertising and marketing which led to him starting his own business.
"That went for a number of years before I sold that and I took up hot air ballooning, which sounds completely different but it really wasn't, it was still part marketing you could say," Mr Skene said.
"That's how I moved to the Grampians region and I flew hot air balloons for about seven years."
Mr Skene settled down and raised a family in the Grampians and said he eventually became involved in a number of different community organisations.
"I've got two young kids and I have watched them grow up in this area and one of the things that struck me is there isn't a lot for them to do," he said.
"Although there are great things about living in the Grampians area - there are massive advantages, but there are also some disadvantages in access to a range of things.
"I have worked with local schools in a variety of after-school activities and programs and then I got involved with doing stuff with the arts groups and programs like the Film Festival in Halls Gap.
"I have been involved in a lot of platforms with kids and this position at LLEN just seemed like a great opportunity to take that an extra step.
"That's what attracted me to this, the chance to do something bigger."
After living in the region for some 17 years, Mr Skene said he is excited to add his skills to an already strong and successful team at CGLLEN.
"Everything runs smoothly here because the staff are really dedicated and good at their jobs," he said.
"There are obviously a lot of things happening with the government making changes, which is an involving issue, but we will push on and continue to assist and encourage our young people to identify and work towards their goals."