Rockhampton’s 50 Most Influential: Number 6
Like 'em, love 'em or "never heard of 'em", these are your locals who strive to make Rockhampton a better place to live, work and raise a family.
Some of them were born here and some of them moved here to make the most of the family-friendly facilities, opportunities for employment or to spend more time with their extended families.
Whether they're a community leader or someone working hard behind the scenes, we think you'll be surprised how humble and grateful our Fifty Most Influential are.
MORE COUNTDOWN HERE: Rockhampton's 50 Most Influential people: Numbers 20 to 11
Number 6: STEVE WILLIAMSON
After a decade in the Royal British Navy, Steve Williamson wanted a seachange.
"Nearly 20 years I had the opportunity to begin working in hospital management and I loved it," he said.
"The impact you can have, whether in operations support or as a health practitioner, is incredible."
As Chief Executive of the Central Queensland Hospital and Health Service, Mr Williamson sings his team's praises proudly.
"I've learned so much from our staff, from Aunty Barbara, for example, who bends over backwards to help us understand what Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people need from us.
"And under Dr Khandakar's leadership, our Public Health Unit won CQ's Team of the Year award in 2019."
In particular, CQHHS has made enormous strides with its anti-smoking and pro-vaccination campaigns.
"Smoking, drinking and diabetes related to obesity translates into a really high demand on our hospital services, so the success of our 10K Lives (anti-smoking) project has a direct impact on managing demand."
Although he only claims a small role in its making, Mr Williamson said the formal agreement to open a medical school in 2022 will be a game changer for the whole of the state.
"For the first time, Central Queensland kids won't have to go to Townsville or Brisbane or interstate to become doctors," he said.
"It's not only exciting for them and their families, but also of enormous economic benefit to the local community."
As part of its Destination 2030 plan, the CQHHS aims to save ten thousand patients from having to travel for health care each year.
"Travelling is not only stressful but it delays healthcare and, in some cases, proves a disincentive for people to get treated," Mr Williamson said.
"We have made significant investments into rural medical teams in Emerald and Biloela hospitals, and we're leading the way in training specialist skills in the areas of maternity and mental health.
"Through our partnerships with other regions, we'll see more placements in smaller hospitals and more specialists travelling out to visit those regions."
Mr Williamson said his experiences in Central Queensland so far have highlighted the strength of the local community to work together.
"It's fantastic that our hospital carpark was treated as a political priority," he said
"People can be nervous or apprehensive about the procedure they're coming in for; they shouldn't be worried about where they're going to park."
He said the Covid-19 threat provided a "huge opportunity" for stakeholder to come together in transforming the funding landscape to provide more immediate and more sustainable care around the region.
"The great thing about working in health services is there are, literally, hundreds of career choices which let you work alongside other people to make a real difference," he said.
"As well as medical, nursing, midwifery and allied health careers, there are many more opportunities.
"Whether it's in finance or operation support or building maintenance, there is enormous opportunity for people to stay in or move to Central Queensland to be part of our health team."
"The CQHHS staff, even the ones least likely to stand out and shout about it, deliver outstanding care and bring about great change every single day."
Number 5 will be revealed 6am Saturday 04 July.