Our Team

Steve Barnes

Steve Barnes

Chief Executive Officer

Steve brings an extensive background in the Australian and international fresh food industry to his position as Chief Executive Officer of the Tipper Group.  Commercially astute and a practiced leader, Steve is experienced in managing and mentoring diverse teams, strategic planning and implementation, international trade, financial management, and corporate governance.

Steve’s in-depth knowledge of the rapidly evolving food industry from a domestic and global perspective expedites Tropical Fruit Direct’s response to ‘paddock-to-plate’ opportunities and helps forge effective partnerships throughout the supply chain.  He has developed export opportunities to 18 countries and is skilled in identifying and developing new domestic and international markets.

As a former business owner in the hospitality and retail food sector, Steve appreciates the need to remain responsive and innovative to meet market demands, putting customer service at the heart of all initiatives.

 

Ian MacLaughlin

Ian MacLaughlin

Director

Ian is a Director of Tropical Fruit Direct Pty Ltd and Skybury Pty Ltd. Following a successful military career in Rhodesia and Oman, and corporate roles in the UK, Ian was drawn to farming in Australia. He established the Skybury farming business in 1987. Skybury is a diverse business growing coffee, papaya, and other topical fruits. Skybury is also involved in agricultural research and tourism, employing around 80 full time staff.

Ian remains hands-on in the business, having the responsibility for Skybury’s nutrient and water management programs, research, business analysis, planning and budgets. Ian believes that farmers should enjoy transactional transparency for goods sold and enjoy a mutually beneficial relationship with their supply partners.

Sean Russell

Sean Russell

Director

Sean has committed over half his life to supporting the agricultural industry, in a variety of fresh fruit categories. Sean has also supported various grower industry boards helping with marketing and varietal development, as well as consulting on R&D projects from new technology to export opportunities.
Sean has a genuine passion for fresh Australian produce and understands that challenges and opportunities faced by growers. Sean believes that growers should be central to consumer engagement, which in turn drives sales and customer loyality, as well as delivering value for retailers. Sean’s drive and passion for the industry has lead him to becoming a founding Director of Tropical Fruit Direct.

 

Jannelle Harris

Jannelle Harris

National Accounts Manager

Sydney based Jannelle joined the team in August this year.  Jannelle has been in the fruit & veggie industry for 34 years, starting at the tender age of 18!!

Jannelle began her career in administration and progressed to managing warehouse operations for Moraitis. She then moved over to operations and management of prepacking facilities for approx. 20 years, firstly with Moraitis and then AAA.

Jannelle has two beautiful kids (now adults), raising them  on her own whilst working hard to achieve her goals in the industry.  Jannelle can be contacted on 0409 065 279 or email jannelle@jetipper.com.au

Candy MacLaughlin

Candy MacLaughlin

General Manager - Skybury

Candy is General Manager of Skybury and her primary role is the production and facilitation of sales through Tropical Fruit Direct. The oldest of three siblings, Candy returned to the family business to oversee the day to day operations of the Skybury, including Papaya production and quality. Candy provides support to the Skybury Management team and as well as having responsibility for day to day coordination with our marketing operations at Tropical Fruit Direct and its retail/wholesale partners.

Candy has a degree with honours in Communication and Design and has worked both in the UK and Australia. Her most dynamic role to date was with QLD corrections where she spent 7 years as a Custodial Officer, in a maximum-security all male jail. Candy lives on the farm with her husband
Paul, and three children.

Paul Fagg

Paul Fagg

Marketing Manager

Paul is the marketing manager for Tropical Fruit Direct and is based in Mareeba.  Following a successful career in local and state government, and private sector development consultancy, Paul joined Skybury as the company’s Business Development Manager in January 2016. In September 2020, he transitioned into his new role with TFD.

A Town Planner by profession, Paul originally moved to Australia in 2005 to oversee the construction of the Skybury Café and Roastery. Paul is married to Candy. Together they live on the plantation with their three children, Samuel, Jacob and Elizabeth, where Candy is also Skybury’s General manager.

Outside of work, Paul is passionate about the growth and development of regional Queensland and values being able to contribute to a number of local and regional community based groups. Paul is a current board Director of Tourism Tropical North Queensland (TTNQ) and has also been a TTNQ tourism awards judge over a seven year period. Paul also spent 7 years on the management committee of the Mareeba Heritage Centre. He is also a past President of the Mareeba Child Care and Kindergarten Association and a past president of the Mareeba Chamber of Commerce.  Paul is also passionate about how the tourism industry can work along side other sectors, such as agriculture.