Rockhampton’s 50 Most Influential People: Number 7
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 7: EVAN PARDON
If running the Council is like commanding a ship, then the Rockhampton Regional Council is a big ship with many different crew members.
"It can be slow to steer at times," said CEO Evan Pardon.
"But it's remarkable how quickly everyone comes together to respond in times of crisis, such as Cyclone Marcia or Covid-19.
"Everyone gets very focussed on restoring services and putting plans in place to protect our community."
Mr Pardon was born in Townsville and raised in Beaudesert where he took on a cadetship with their council as a civil designer.
Then he went to work in Tasmania for about eight years during which he "drifted over" to the management side of things.
"I had a boss, the director of engineering who used to ask me, 'What do you want in ten years time?" and, after he retired, I realised he'd been priming me to take over," Mr Pardon said.
"I think the main thing is to have empathy and to listen.
"You can't always get both parties to agree to the middle ground, but you can steer them toward the best outcome for your clients."
Mr Pardon moved to Central Queensland in 2004 where he worked for both Livingstone Shire and, following amalgamation, the Rockhampton regional Council to which he was appointed CEO 10 years ago.
"If you were in business, you probably wouldn't want Council in your portfolio - it's that complex," he said.
"Yet it touches everyone in some shape or form."
Mr Pardon emphasised it's the elected councillors who govern what works the Council identifies as a priority.
"They're the ones who know what the community wants and my team just carry out what they resolve," he said.
"We try to take on board the community's feedback and get the right message out there about what Council is achieving."
Mr Pardon oversees services from the airport to childcare, water and sewage, parks and libraries, economic development, "you name it".
Rockhampton Regional Council employs 950 permanent staff with up to 1250 people working on various projects every day of the week.
"One of the best parts of my job is going out to service clubs and the University to talk about what Council does," he said.
"We have so many trainees and apprentices come through as cadets, it gives them a great opportunity to start their professional careers."
Mr Pardon is in close communications with other CEOs from councils in neighbouring region such as Gladstone, Livingstone, Banana and Woorabinda.
And when he gets a rare day off, he enjoys practising his photography skills around the gorgeous landscapes Central Queensland has to offer.
"We need to make sure the economy gets moving, and drive population growth," he said.
"People who live here in Central Queensland have so much to appreciate and they're happy to be part of the fabric of this society the Rockhampton Regional Council serves."
Number 6 will be revealed at 6pm Friday 03 July.