STEM Defence + Innovation is an activity of RDA Hunter Department of Defence funded ME Program and developed in partnership with The Business Centre to advance the innovation skills and capabilities of Hunter region students.

The 19th of October is pitch night for the students and we have an amazing line up of judges!


Wing Commander Aleisha Broadhead joined the Royal Australian Air Force in 1998. She has enjoyed a variety of postings over 23 years in the Air Force in maintenance, regulatory, sustainment and engineering roles.

Aleisha achieved a career highlight in 2016, deploying to the Middle East Region with No 75 Squadron on Operation OKRA. As the Senior Engineering Officer she had key responsibility for ensuring availability of the Classic Hornet to support these important missions.

She was fortunate to follow this with a posting to the Air Combat Transition Office, responsible to Air Force for all logistics and engineering aspects in the transition from the Classic Hornet to the F-35A Lightning.

Aleisha is currently posted to Surveillance and Control Systems Program Office in support of Air Traffic Management systems.

Together with her husband Scott and three children they enjoy exploring all the sights our amazing country has to offer through camping and outdoor activities. They all share a love of the beach and spend as much time in the sand and surf as they can.


Group Captain Allan Wherrett joined the Royal Australian Air Force in 1993, as an aeronautical engineering undergraduate Officer Cadet at the Australian Defence Force Academy.  Over his 28 year Air Force career, Allan has worked in a variety of maintenance, engineering and logistics support roles for a multitude of aircraft including the F-111C/G, PC-9/A, LIF Hawk, AP-3C Orion, DH4C Caribou, E-7A Wedgetail, F/A-18A/B Classic Hornet, and the F-35A Lightning II. He was the Performance-Based Contracting (PBC) Lead for Aerospace Systems Division, and has performed key project engineering management roles in the acquisition of the F/A-18F6 Super Hornet, the EA-18G Growler and the F-35A Lightning II capabilities. In 2019, Allan was promoted to Group Captain and appointed as Officer Commanding the Air Combat Systems Program Office; a post he holds to this day.

Group Captain Allan Wherrett is a Fellow of the Institute of Engineers Australia and is certified as a Chartered Professional Engineer. He holds a Bachelor of Engineering (Aeronautical) from UNSW, a Masters of Science from Cranfield University, a Masters of Management Studies from UNSW, and a Masters of Military and Defence Studies from ANU. He is married to Rachel and they have three teenage children; he spends his spare time coaching junior basketball and playing golf, basketball, cards and music.


Amy List is the director of Sustainment Operations for Boeing Defence Australia (BDA). She was appointed to this role in March 2020 and has responsibility for managing the company’s through-life sustainment support and training solutions for military platforms in order to maximise operational readiness while reducing the cost of ownership. This includes responsibility for delivering sustainment contracts for the F/A-18F Super Hornet, EA-18G Growler and CH-47F Chinook fleets; F/A-18 A/B Classic Hornet; C-17 Globemaster III logistics support and maintenance; and the Helicopter Aircrew Training System contract.

List joined BDA in December 2018 as director of the Structures and Build capability. Shen then moved into the position of director of Wedgetail Programs, where she was responsible for all sustainment and training programs in support of the Royal Australian Air Force’s fleet of six E-7A Wedgetail aircraft.

Prior to this appointment, List was the head of Business Operations for Raytheon Australia. In this role, List was responsible for the successful delivery of all programs across the company’s portfolio, as well as business intelligence and reporting.

List joined Raytheon Australia in 2010, working within the Business Development team, responding to tenders for Australian Defence Force programs across air, sea, land and cyber domains. During her tenure, List also established and ran a number of successful programs and undertook the role of Strategy executive, developing the business strategy to match the shifting global environment. List started her professional career as an Aeronautical Engineering Officer in the RAAF. During her tenure, she served in a number of operational roles, before running both acquisition and sustainment programs for the Defence Materiel Organisation. Post-separation from the Australian Defence Force, List ran a consulting business, offering project and risk management services to clients across the defence and mining industries.

List is a graduate of the Australian Defence Force Academy and holds a Bachelor of Engineering (Aeronautical) and a Masters Degree in Project Management. She is also a Certified Practicing Project Manager and a member of Engineers Australia.


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