Co-owning and managing two Western Australian-based companies, HeliSpirit and Avair, Mr McConachy credits much of his business nous to his study at Marcus Oldham College.
“Rather than teaching you a whole lot of information that you store in your head, it actually teaches you where to go find the information,” he said. “It taught me good business management skills and general management skills that I’ve used ever since.”
Mr McConachy grew up in Melbourne (“I’m probably a bit unusual in that respect for Marcus”) and studied at the College from 1991 to 1993, completing a Farm Business Management diploma. “It was a well rounded business management/farm business management course that had a very good reputation and I believe continues to do so,” said Mr McConachy.
He recalls wanting to study at Marcus Oldham as it provided good employment opportunities for graduates. “I started doing ag science at university but really wanted to be doing the course at Marcus,” he said. “My parents had some concerns that not coming out with a degree (the College didn’t offer the degree course at the time) might be limiting my options, which wasn’t the case as it turns out.”
Mr McConachy describes his as an interesting journey, initially managing properties after graduating, before he and his wife Kate established an agribusiness management company. Other past business pursuits include working as an agricultural consultant and running an Australian commodity trading division for an Indonesian-owned company based in Singapore.
Alongside his aviation businesses is his commercial interest in property development, Mr McConachy founding a new resort in Kununurra, Freshwater East Kimberley Apartments, which runs concurrently with another of his businesses, Top End Building Company.
He is also the current Chair of the Kimberley Development Commission and East Kimberly Marketing Group.
Mr McConachy looks back fondly at his time at Marcus Oldham and how it helped shape his career. “I never loved school at all, but really enjoyed my time at Marcus and was doing what I loved.
“We got the opportunity to visit so many farm businesses, agribusinesses and even non-related agricultural businesses and investment opportunities and went to New Zealand for a 10-day tour, but travelled widely throughout Australia.”