The Whiskey Project Group is the product of collaboration between experienced military operators and world class maritime engineers, architects and innovators, to provide the ADVANTAGE in contemporary maritime missions.
CO-FOUNDER AND CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER
Darren Schuback is an Australian entrepreneur and award-winning CEO who founded The Whiskey Project Group in 2018 with the mission to create operator-focused watercraft that provide optimal performance and protection for those who risk their lives in the maritime environment. Darren is a former military officer with over 24 years of operational and leadership experience in the Royal Australian Navy and ADF Special Operations. Darren’s naval experience included operational oversight of a warfare operation command centre, a military training institution, naval warships and a special operations counter terrorism unit. In each of these roles he designed and led the deployment of operational strategies to meet Australian Defence Force directives. Darren has a distinguished record in leading, mentoring and guiding staff at all levels within his organisation, through change management projects, cultural improvement and creating efficiencies in capability output. Darren is professionally renowned for ‘making it happen’- converting project plans into successful outcomes. This unwavering focus is now concentrated on The Whiskey Project Group, which he oversees as Chief Executive Officer.
CO-FOUNDER AND CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER
Before embarking on The Whiskey Project journey, Ryan built a formidable career in Defence and the Public Sector, including more than 15 years of highly accomplished and commended service as a Mine Warfare and Clearance Diving Officer with the Royal Australian Navy. He has worked globally across complex environments with both government and industry, leading cross-functional teams to deliver practical outcomes and highly effective business solutions. An Executive Level professional, Ryan's experience has primarily been focused in the areas of command and leadership, operations, plans, project implementation and capability management roles. He also served distinguished tenures embedded with the Australian Special Forces (2nd Commando Regiment) and the Royal Navy (UK). He is known for his expert knowledge as a specialist in the areas of maritime autonomous systems, ship handling and navigation, counter terrorism and mine warfare and clearance diving.
CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER
Mr. Bakewell was appointed Chief Financial Officer in May 2023. He is a chartered accountant with more than 38 years finance and commercial experience in listed Australian and international companies most recently as CFO of Australia's leading building products company, Brickworks Limited. Robert has significant experience in mergers and acquisitions, restructuring, balance sheet and capital management. He is responsible for all financial operations of the business including group accounting and taxation, treasury, banking and finance and investor relations.
HEAD OF TECHNICAL OPERATIONS
With over 15 years’ experience in engineering and project/program management within the maritime environment, Jamie’s experience includes supporting complex assets across their lifecycle including design, build and sustainment. Commencing his career as a degree qualified Naval Architect , Jamie worked on the design and build of cutting-edge littoral combat solutions within defence as well as commercial solutions. More recently Jamie has held both engineering and program management roles supporting sustainment and major upgrade programs across the Royal Australian Navy’s Amphibious and sealift fleet.
HIMAJA PARAMATMUNI CA
GROUP FINANCIAL CONTROLLER
Himaja is a Chartered Accountant with over 10 years’ experience in professional services, having worked across multiple divisions within a global accounting firm in both a client facing and internal strategic capacity. Her experience ranges from traditional accounting to broader advisory such as project management, restructuring, and management consulting; combining technical finance expertise with strong commercial acumen. During her career Himaja has worked with regulators, large Australian and international companies, and small to medium high-growth businesses.
PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT MANAGER
Ollie drives continual innovation to better equip and enable the maritime operator. After a 25-year Clearance Diving and Maritime Special Operations Defence career, Ollie is regarded as Australia’s maritime special operations equipment and development expert. He has prepared and supervised teams, developed, lead and executed mission plans in some of the most challenging maritime environments around the globe. With a keen eye on emerging technologies complimented by decades of practical experience.
JOHN MARTIN, ONZM
STRATEGIC BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT
John has a national and international reputation for his ability to construct a future vision for organisations. The former Chief of the Royal New Zealand Navy, he has been active in the Pacific promoting development maritime security and a regional approach to countering trans national crime and supporting South Pacific naval and constabulary forces. In a career spanning four decades, John held senior defence and navy leadership positions including Assistant Chief of Defence, Capability and Fleet Commander. He is a strategic decision maker with a proven ability to lead large and small complex organisations. He has a passion for developing environmental leadership and is motivated to make real change for the benefit of the organisation, community and country. John is an independent director, a Gateway Reviewer of large infrastructure projects, a TWPG NZ representative and the Executive Director of the New Zealand Ocean Foundation and serves as a reservist in the RNZN as Rear Admiral.
GENERAL MANAGER, NAiAD
Andrew Hogg completed a Bachelor of Commerce at the University of Canterbury and began his working life in banking prior to joining the Royal New Zealand Navy as a Seaman Officer. Andrew has over 14 years of military service experience including command of HMNZS ROTOITI and Executive Officer onboard HMNZ CANTEBURY and HMNZS ENDEAVOUR. Some of Andrew’s career highlights included drug interdiction operations in the Caribbean Sea, guard ship duties in the Falkland Islands, and multiple humanitarian operations around the Pacific. Andrew left full-time service at the rank of Commander to take up the position of Nelson Harbourmaster and Marine Operations Manager at Port Nelson in 2019. These roles included managing the navigational safety in Nelson Regional Waters, as well as all marine operations and security of the port.