About

Our ADVOCATES

In line with our commitment to upholding a high standard of corporate social responsibility, WA DEFENCE REVIEW welcomes our honorary affiliates as Advocates. As distinguished senior professionals working in concert with WA DEFENCE REVIEW, our advocates serve as focal points for discourse and facilitation with STEM, veterans’ welfare and Indigenous engagement. Their advocacy ensures WA DEFENCE REVIEW is connected to these key sectors and communities supporting positive outcomes.

Our Advocates are ambassadors for WA DEFENCE REVIEW’s commitment to supporting STEM, industry, veterans’ welfare and Indigenous defence engagement.

Toff Idrus

Advocate – Defence & Industry Engagement

Tony Wills

Advocate – Veterans’ Engagement

Andre-De-Barr.-v3

Andre De Barr

Convenor, WA DEFENCE REVIEW Veteran Network

LCDR Samuel Sheppard

Advocate – Indigenous Defence Engagement

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Toff Idrus
Advocate – Defence & Industry Engagement

Beginning as a Marine Engineer Officer and as a submariner in the Royal Australian Navy, Toff retired from permanent military service as a Captain in 2007 after completing a career spanning 23 years. In doing so, Toff deployed to the Middle East Area of Operations on two occasions, and was a recipient of a United States Bronze Star while embedded with the Multi-National Forces in Baghdad. Similarly, he was also awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia for Distinguished Service to Naval Engineering.

Subsequent to leaving the Navy, Toff has accumulated over 15 years of experience working in the corporate and public sectors in a variety of senior decision-maker roles, namely General Manager for Aurizon Rail, General Manager for ANZAC Alliance with BAE Systems Australia, Managing Director of JFD Australia and Executive Director for Defence West.

Toff was previously a Director on the AIDN National board and is currently the Vice President of the Submarine Institute of Australia.

In 2023, Toff established TiREL Defence & Executive Consultancy engaging government and industry as an independent management and strategic consultant.

Tony Wills
Advocate – Veterans’ Engagement

Tony has the distinction of completing a 20 year-long military career in the Australian Army, which included 12 years with the Special Air Service Regiment that emphasised operational service with the Counter Terrorist Squadron and active service overseas with United Nations Advance Mission in Cambodia (UNAMIC) and United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia (UNTAC).

In his post-military career, Tony operated a successful mortgage broking and financial advisory business as the Managing Director of five franchises, which at its peak was valued at $400 million. Currently, Tony is on the boards of Korab Resources and Polymetaluca, both of which are ASX-listed resources companies.

Since retiring from military service, Tony has remained active in promoting the interests of veterans which has led to his longstanding involvement on the committee of the SAS Resources Fund, support to the SAS Historical Foundation and, since 2017, his appointment as the Chairperson of the Veterans Transition Centre Jarrahdale.

Andre De Barr
Convenor, WA DEFENCE REVIEW Veteran Network

Andre De Barr is the Director of VUCAP Strategy and Risk, a Perth-based consulting firm focusing on mid-sized organisations in their growth phase. He has a particular interest in consulting to the not-for-profit sector in relation to risk, governance and compliance.

Born in West Africa, Andre migrated to the UK as a child, growing up in England and Gibraltar. At 18 he joined the Royal Marines and upon completion of his commando training was deployed to various locations around the world. His operational service included Maritime Interdiction Operations in the Arabian Gulf, interdicting piracy and terrorism activity between the horn of Africa and Oman.

As a member of Fleet Standby Rifle Troop, Andre received specialist training in maritime operations, urban operations, reconnaissance, as well as board and search operations.

On leaving the corps in 2004, Andre migrated to Perth, Western Australia. He soon became the Operations Manager for Chubb Security, managing a workforce of over 700 employees across the State. A similar role followed for the Security Division ISS Facility Services, where he was responsible for over 500 security officers in both regional and metropolitan WA.

Andre’s other roles in the field include Security Project Manager on the Wheatstone Project, where he led a fly-in fly-out team of over 100 employees during the project’s construction phase.

These high-level experiences, combined with his military expertise, have allowed Andre to identify opportunities for WA based organisations to reduce their levels of risk. By applying a range of techniques such as internal audit, process improvement and systems design, Andre works with clients to identify enterprise risk and develop controls. Identifying risk is often a process of conducting external micro-environment analysis or conducting internal systems audit. From these analyses he is able to provide advice to clients that maximise opportunities for security and growth.

Whilst his background is in managing personnel projects and developing strategic options for mid-sized WA-based organisations, his time spent in the British Royal Marines has shaped and helped to refine his work ethic and managerial thinking.

Andre continues to work for, support and develop not-for-profit organisations and initiatives which align with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Cherish McNamara
Advocate – STEM

Cherish McNamara was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio. She attended Wright State University and on the day she graduated with a Bachelor in Business Management in 1997, was commissioned into the US Air Force as an officer.

Once on active duty, Cherish attended Joint Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training (JSUPT) at Vance Air Force Base, Oklahoma, earning her wings in 1999.

Her first assignment – an aeromedical mission flying C-9 Nightingale aircraft out of Yokota Air Base, Japan – took Cherish all over the Pacific region. Here, she attended the USAF Flight Safety School, subsequently taking on the role of squadron and wing safety officer.

Cherish was next stationed at Pope Air Force Base, North Carolina, where she flew the C-130E Hercules aircraft. She was upgraded to Instructor Pilot and was deployed multiple times to the Middle East in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. She amassed over 500 combat hours in the C-130 on these operations.

Cherish’s final assignment, before being honourably discharged at the rank of Major in 2007, was as the Exchange Officer to the UK. In this role she flew C-130Ks from RAF Lyneham.

After moving to Australia with her husband, Cherish worked in the training design/development industry for Jacobs Australia, CAE, IDAT (International Defence and Aerospace Training) and South Metropolitan TAFE, and began lecturing units in pilot studies and aviation management.

A technology enthusiast, Cherish was employed as a RPAS (drone) trainer and assessor for Australian Training Management in 2018. She developed their CASA approved Remote Pilot Licence course and was the Chief Instructor and Chief Remote Pilot.

Currently, Cherish is working as the Training and Development Manager for Western Power where she oversees the Power Training Services Centre – an enterprise RTO.

Cherish is an Independent Consultant for Rodan + Fields, a leading Skincare brand in North America, and was an integral part of its 2018 Australian launch. Her outstanding community work saw her chosen to represent Rodan + Fields in its work with The Smith Family, during their Sydney ChangeMaker Trip. Following this, Cherish became a Smith Family mentor to an tertiary aviation student. Other volunteer work includes being in the command ranks of the only Veterans of Foreign Wars post in Australia.

With a wealth of experience and a natural penchant for engaging with an audience, Cherish is often invited to speak publicly, including at STEM events in primary schools. Indeed, Cherish has been nominated for an award by Women in Technology WA (WiTWA) for her work in the STEM area.

Cherish believes that aviation is infused with STEM and is passionate about getting young girls interested in a career in aviation, especially as a pilot.

LCDR Samuel Sheppard
Advocate – Indigenous Defence Engagement

Originating from Far North Queensland, LCDR Sam Sheppard joined the Royal Australian Navy in 1999, where he completed training as a Communications and Information Systems sailor at Defence Force School of Signals at HMAS Cerberus.

Throughout his career he has been involved in an array of navy and ADF deployments in both sea and shore postings. Highlights have included three operational deployments to the Middle East in HMAS Anzac, providing support as the Communications Supervisor at Australian Clearance Diving Team Four and as a Communications Manager in HMAS Sirius participating in numerous International exercises and engagement visits.

A proud Traditional Custodian from the Muluridji, Djabugay, Koko Mini and Yirrganydji peoples of Far North Queensland, he has been actively involved in a number of navy and ADF Indigenous activities. He is a founding member of the Navy Indigenous Performance Group- Bungaree representing navy at major events such as the International Fleet Review 2013; Indian Ocean Naval Symposium 2014 and RIMPAC 2017. LCDR Sheppard was also the Inaugural Captain of the ADF Indigenous AFL team-Guyala and continues to support navy’s contribution to Indigenous service football.

As Navy Indigenous Advisor, LCDR Sheppard is responsible for providing cultural advice to Navy’s Senior Leadership Team; providing advice on the implementation of the Defence Reconciliation Action Plan; co-design, promote and implement opportunities to enhance cultural awareness strategies across the ADF.

His position is also affiliated with the Indigenous Cultural Advisory Group (ICAG), which provides cultural advice to Defence Senior Leaders and also chairs the Navy Diversity Reference Group – Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander.