Mark Dowling is an accomplished senior executive and non-executive director. He has served for-profit and non-profit organisations in Australia and overseas, in sectors ranging from heavy engineering to academic research. This solid in-field experience is grounded by engineering (BEng (Hons), MEng), business (MBA) and governance (GAICD) qualifications.
Mark’s career began in his teens, “on the tools” in a nonferrous foundry. After graduation Mark served as a professional engineer before moving up to sales and sales team management, then executive management and ultimately, to the Boardroom.
At his core, Mark is part strategist, part salesman, part manager. This manifests as a passion for business development, particularly in industries that impact the wellbeing of regional workers and communities. Decades spent serving global sugar - a mature industry - ingrained a discipline of lean management and cost control on the one hand, and appreciation for the upside of new markets, coproducts and byproducts on the other.
Mark defines business development as "a collection of activities focused on identifying, developing and implementing growth opportunities that align with, or are tangential to, the organisation’s core mission". He sees these activities falling naturally into four major elements; sales, marketing, relationship management, and strategy. His perspective, summarised:
Sales. The sales team has a product or service to sell, and their chances are maximised when they offer (i) a quality product, that (ii) does what the prospect wants it to do, at (iii) a price they can afford to pay. This requires systematic prospecting of a correctly targeted market.
Marketing. Marketing succeeds when the prospect accepts as fact that "they would be crazy to work with anyone else". This requires filtering of an uninterested market to locate the few active and interested prospects that the sales team can work with.
Relationships. Different organisations can share a common goal. Strong business relationships can provide leads, increase credibility, and give access to a wider range of complementary product or services.
Strategy. Growth must be at a rate that is both sustainable by the organisation and achievable within the business environment. The business development function is by nature responsive to the dynamics of the market, and can inform executive management when a disconnect between the organisation and its market is likely.
Mark has successfully used this perspective of business development over the last three decades, varying the mix to suit each situation. Most recently, he filled a regional role with Uttam Group, a large and successful engineer/ procure/ construct (EPC) multinational. This role emphasised relationships and strategy. Immediately prior, Mark served Australia’s Sugar Research Institute as its General Manager/ Chief Executive after initially connecting with the organisation in a business development role. This role utilised all four elements and included some less commonly used ones; product development, human resources, formal research, and outsourced services. Business development is, by nature, bespoke.
Currently, Mark leads a medical research and technology organisation bringing a unique RNA/ DNA-based diagnostics solution to market. He is implementing strategies to support the current COVID-19 situation by increasing supply of his organisation's novel isothermal polymerase chain reaction (PCR) reagents.
What Mark brings to the table:
Skills, knowledge and experience. Mark’s work emphasises business-to-business operations alongside divisional and P&L responsibilities at senior and executive levels. Mark administers his businesses with professionalism and calm:
Business strategy and business development expertise. Mark founded and continues to operate his own business. He establishes regional operations in Australia and New Zealand for Silicon Valley companies. He reinvigorates ailing organisations and restructures others to thrive in the dynamic business environment that’s the 21st century. Mark’s strategic and business development successes are up there with the best.
Stakeholder relationships. A common element of Mark’s recent roles is achieving balance in the often conflicting expectations of stakeholders in the business. He recognises the value of formal and informal links with community groups, Government, suppliers, service providers, customers, and the market generally. All this against a backdrop of always moving towards the organisation’s vision and mission.
Sustainable growth. Mark recognises the need to manage organisational growth in a way that maximises market opportunities yet maintains operational viability through focus and appropriate resource allocation. Every business is different, and sustainable growth is a crucial strategic consideration impacted by many different operational and environmental factors.
Analyse and assess. As a necessary component of his senior executive responsibilities, Mark has developed a comprehensive understanding of the subtleties of financial statements. He gauges business performance against agreed objectives and recognises when governance practices, legislative compliance or risk management may have drifted and need to be realigned.
On short notice Mark took a short-term executive role at Entellect Solutions to help correct a number of operational and people/ culture issues that threatened a proposed private equity stake. These actions were successful and the investment proceeded to completion. Prior to his engagement as Interim Managing Director, Mark was working with the Entellect executive team as advisor and mentor.
At both Inktomi and CrossWorlds Software, Mark established and managed the Australia/ New Zealand subsidiaries of their Silicon Valley parents. Both local operations achieved commercial success before their global acquisition by Yahoo! and IBM respectively.
At Andersen Consulting (now Accenture), Mark managed business and technology alliances with the Australian subsidiaries of SAP, IBM, Peoplesoft, Hewlett-Packard, and Salesforce. In this role he was part of a global team of alliance managers. Although these relationships were strategic for all parties, the daily workload emphasised a tactical focus.
At SRI, Mark increased Membership engagement through product/ service line rationalisation, new research and technology updates, and a series of new industry training programmes (designed for audiences ranging from factory floor personnel through to qualified technologists and management). Significantly, he also oversaw the renewal of a strategic agreement between SRI and a major Australian university that was core to both organisations' business models.
At Uttam, Mark restructured and managed executive business relationships with major sugar manufacturers in Indonesia, Thailand, Brazil, Colombia and Guatemala. Some long-standing issues were corrected and significant new business won from existing and new clients.
Mark was brought on board at BioCifer by the then Chief Executive to provide independent governance expertise during the establishment phase of the organisation. Within 12 months Mark was elevated to Managing Director, tasked to establish new laboratory facilities on Queensland's Sunshine Coast and ramp the organisation's manufacture of its novel polymerase chain reaction (PCR) reagents alongside significant research commitments to Australia's Department of Defence.
Dual role as General Manager and as Board member. Full responsibility for P&L, operations and strategy under formal delegation of authority from the Board.
BioCifer is a medical research and technology organisation focused on pathogen detection using novel isothermal polymerase chain reaction (PCR) methods. Base intellectual property licensed from University of Sunshine Coast (USC) and commercialised in-house.
Uttam is an India based multinational organisation focused on major projects in sugar and ethanol production, biofuels and cogeneration. In this role he was headquartered in Singapore and spent most of his time in Indonesia.
HRL is an engineering company specialising in steam generation, offering professional services ranging from boiler optimisation through to metallurgy. In this short term business development role, Mark was responsible for initiating the organisation’s move into non-traditional markets, such as food-related sectors. The strategies included opportunistic sales, key account targeting and management, and other traditional business development strategies.
SUGAR RESEARCH INSTITUTE
Formal delegation of authority from the SRI Board (includes P&L, management, strategic responsibilities).
SUGAR RESEARCH INSTITUTE
SRI is a 70 year old non-profit organisation, with membership drawn from the Australian sugar industry and operated for their benefit. SRL operates globally and has offices in Brisbane.
NATURAL SOLUTIONS ENVIRONMENTAL CONSULTANTS
Natural Solutions was an environmental consultancy providing advice to individuals, developers, councils and corporate clients. Specialities included stormwater catchment and control, swale and wetland design, sediment management, and flora/ fauna mapping. Natural Solutions operated in Queensland.
Through a series of acquisitions, mergers and divestments, Natural Solutions now resides partly with Premise Pty Ltd (Australia) and partly with RPS Group PLC (UK).
Focus on Internet search, search engine optimisation, analytics, web technologies. Stratify was formed as a "company of one" to serve Inktomi's Australian and New Zealand client base under arrangement with its new owners.
Stratify was de-corporatised yet continues to operate as a one-owner business for Mark's income-producing and investment activities, including ad-hoc consulting and advisory work.
Inktomi was a US-based provider of web search services, search software, and Internet infrastructure products. This role involved all aspects of running a local subsidiary of a US-based business, with a focus on account management and sales. Inktomi closed all non-US offices in May 2002 and was acquired by Yahoo! shortly thereafter.
Entellect was an Australian software developer with an emphasis on the telecommunications industry. Mark was engaged to prepare the company for investment funding by fixing a number of management and operational issues. Funding was successful and implemented in late 2000.
DA CONSULTING GROUP
DACG was a USA-based provider of change management and change communication services to large organisations. Mark's role focused on business development, sales and account management.
CROSSWORLDS SOFTWARE, INC
CrossWorlds was a US-based company that developed and supported enterprise integration applications. Mark's role was to set up the local company from scratch, and involved all aspects of operating the local subsidiary of a US-based technology company.
Andersen Consulting (now Accenture) was a large, global management and technology consulting partnership. Mark was one of two Alliance Managers based in Australia, and his role was to foster the business relationships between Andersen Consulting and its major technology partners.
Siemens was global diversified technology company active in many engineering sectors. Mark's role was to manage all industrial automation activities in NSW, Qld, ACT, NT and New Zealand.
Lansing was a UK-based manufacturer of materials handling equipment and automated handling systems. Initially Mark's role was to provide technical support for the Systems sales group, and this grew to become a direct sales role.
CSR was a diversified company active in sugar milling and refining, coal, copper, natural gas and building products. Mark commenced as a Cadet Engineer whilst studying for his first degree and worked at a number of sugar factories. When he left CSR, he was Capital Works Engineer at an ethanol distillery.
CSR's sugar and ethanol business was acquired by Wilmar International (Singapore) in 2010.
Various short courses and updates:
Mark is a current AICD member.
Company Directors Course - Update
Qualification retained - GAICD
Various training programmes:
Company Directors Course
Qualification earned - GAICD
Masters degree in business administration
Qualification earned - MBA
Postgraduate degree in engineering (major in control systems)
Qualification earned - MEng
Undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering
Postnominal earned - BEng (Hons)
Phone: +61 478 600 661
Post: PO Box 1417
Noosaville DC, 4566 Queensland