Bob Hawes commenced with the Hunter Business Chamber (HBC) as CEO in January 2017. The HBC boasts over 2,000 members and is the largest regional Chamber in Australia. As CEO, Bob is responsible for driving the HBC strategy and program of thought leadership, policy development, advocacy and executing delivery of events and member development programs.
Prior to joining the HBC, Bob lead the Hunter Development Corporation (HDC) for over five years. This coincided with a period of significant change and a refocusing of priorities of the State government particularly onto the renewal and revitalisation of Newcastle. During this time, Bob was tasked to not only drive the activity of the HDC, but also establish and administer the $790 million Hunter Infrastructure and Investment Fund and the $17 million Newcastle Mines Grout Fund. In addition to these duties, Bob was also acting General Manager for the Central Coast Regional Development Corporation from early 2012 to mid-2013.
Bob has extensive experience and knowledge in the realm of regional development with expertise in infrastructure planning, location analysis, economic and social impact assessment, project feasibility, property and land use strategy. For 15 years Bob was chair of the Hunter Chapter of the Property Council of Australia. He is now a life member of the NSW Division of the organisation.
Bob has an Economics degree and is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. He is an active rugby union referee and current president of the Newcastle Rugby Union Referee Association. He is also a life member of the Merewether Carlton Rugby Club.