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What attracts me to the sandalwood industry are the stories, history, and opportunities that this remarkable product has. Sandalwood has a history that is intertwined with many cultures including our own state of Western Australia. Its use has been wide and varied from the beauty regime of Cleopatra to a source of foreign exchange. And excitingly, although this commodity has been used for millenniums, there are still secrets to be prised open and each time we reveal one, a new question presents itself. I am never bored.
No, I don’t think that we have just scratched the surface in regard to uses and applications. 4,000 years of use has meant that there is a lot of understanding of this product. I think that opportunities are present in the interpretation of traditional uses in contemporary applications. Also, the development of new delivery systems that allow the benefits of sandalwood to be delivered to the consumer in different gestures, for example, fabrics, functional beverages, and cosmetics.
On the production and silviculture front, there are opportunities to improve our understanding of what causes sandalwood to produce aromatic heartwood and how this can be incorporated into our plantings.
Quality Indian sandalwood is an investment.
You want it to be responsibly sourced and sustainable.
I love my job because it's challenging. I get to find solutions to issues and my role encompasses much of the sandalwood value chain, which means I get to work with people throughout the business. For example, my work extends to adding value to our oil and sandalwood products. This is undertaken by conducting research activities on the oil and then passing the information on to sales and marketing who then use this information to develop business opportunities. My team also develops novel ingredients and end-use applications for these ingredients. The current new product that we have just launched is Indian Sandalwood Extra Fine Powder, the first sandalwood powder designed to be used in liquid and anhydrous cosmetics.
My role also involves research and development on modeling heartwood and oil in our trees. This is very interesting work as the heartwood is hidden inside the tree, so we need to look for clues on the outside of the tree that enable us to work out what is going on inside the tree. The work also extends to provide guidance to the forestry team as to what type of tree we need to grow to yield the most heartwood and the highest quality.
Before joining the company, I worked in the health and beauty industry for 20 years in addition to a year in brewing.
The first commercial harvest of trees from Kununurra in 2010- 2012 was pretty memorable, along with the steps we introduced that enable us to produce our quality Indian sandalwood oil.
Well, I am an avid oarsman and compete in rowing at a master’s level, we try to compete against open rowers but our recollections of how fast we used to go and how fast we go now are a bit misaligned.
I also enjoy surfing and usually throw the board in the back of the car when I go to Albany. The surf in Albany is good and unlike Perth, the breaks are much less crowded.
I have also recently taken to improving my golf -there is certainly room for a lot of improvement!