Upon leaving St Virgil’s at the end of 1982, Mark started a science degree at the University of Tasmania at the tender age of 16.
Editor: I recently received a whisper that I ought to check out Mark’s story. I never cease to be surprised as to the achievements of alumni. In this case – Wow! – a great story!
Mark Hunt BAppSc (Hons) PhD MBA GAICD MIFA
Professor and Pro Vice-Chancellor at University of Tasmania
Upon leaving St Virgil’s at the end of 1982, Mark started a science degree at the University of Tasmania at the tender age of 16. Everyone said he was too young and they were right. After some health problems and very modest academic progress he left university about 18 months later and embarked on something of a career tangent that lasted nearly seven years.
He worked at various hotels, restaurants and bars around Hobart, including being night shift supervisor at Wrest Point Casino for a while. He moved to Melbourne in late 1985 where he worked as a technician in the haematology lab of St Vincent’s Hospital before spending three months employed as a butler/housekeeper for the triple Archibald prize winning artist Clifton Pugh after answering an ad in the paper for a 'Jeeves type Gentleman'. That was quite an experience for a 19 year old. He tired of Melbourne and hitched a ride from there to Perth in 1986 where he worked in various hotels and in youth training during the America’s Cup defence in Fremantle in the heady days of the Western Australian entrepreneurs like Bond, Holmes a Court and Connell.
He returned to Hobart in 1987 where he worked as a technician at the Government Analyst and Chemist before moving to the north of the state to work as an animal keeper at what was the Tasmanian Wildlife Park where his specialty was handling tiger snakes in 'The Snake Pit'. To this day, Mark suggests there are more photos and videos around the world of him with snakes than there are of him with his family.
Mark returned to university at the beginning of 1991 and was now ready to have another go. Here’s what eventuated.
1991-93Bachelor of Applied Science (Honours), UTAS1994-98Doctor of Philosophy (Forestry Science), UTAS2001-04Master of Business Administration, MBA Technology Management, Latrobe University2004Company Directors Diploma, Australian Institute of Company Directors
1998-2011 Gympie, Queensland
For the majority of this period, Mark served as a Program Manager and Science Leader within what is now Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries responsible for leading and managing the State of Queensland’s capacity in industrial forestry and forest products research, development and extension and providing high level advice to the Minister, the Secretary and other senior departmental executives. As well as his work with the Queensland industry, during this time Mark worked internationally in Aid-funded projects across the South Pacific and Asia and advised industrial scale forestry companies in the United States.
Station Leader at Australian Antarctic Division’s Casey Station.
Mark took a sabbatical from the tertiary education and forestry sectors to undertake an operational leadership role in Antarctica. Casey is Australia’s busiest Antarctic station. He undertook three months training in late 2011 and then spent over 400 days on the ice. His role was the coordination, management and leadership of all expedition personnel on station and leadership of supported field operations irrespective of employment affiliation or nationality.
2013- Professor of Forestry Science, UTAS2015-22Non-Executive Director, Sustainable Timber Tasmania2016-17Director, National Centre for Future Forest Industries2016-17Deputy Head, Biological Science, UTAS2016-18Graduate Research Coordinator, UTAS2016 - Director & Chief Investigator, ARC Industrial Transformation Training2018-19Dean, School of Natural Sciences, UTAS2019-Acting Dean, School of Technology, Environment and Design, UTAS2019- Chairperson, Student Conduct Committee, UTAS2019- 2023
Pro Vice Chancellor – Transformation, UTAS
In the role of Pro Vice Chancellor - Transformation, he has been responsible for the following:
- Provision of academic leadership within the University for meeting high level strategic transformation goals underpinning the $1 billion statewide infrastructure program supporting the move of the three main campuses to the Hobart, Launceston and Burnie CBDs.
- Ensuring that core Academic business is front and centre of infrastructure planning.
- Provision of leadership in the detailed design of facilities, including building a strong relationship with external consultants (architects, designers, builders, quantity surveyors) and internal decision makers and their teams.
- Investigation of opportunities for co-location of university infrastructure with business and government and seeking alternative locations for activities and assets that are not suitable to be developed within the CBD environments.
- Engagement with regional stakeholders including schools, communities, government and business.
- Leading the transformation consultation and engagement with internal University stakeholders.
After four years in the role, Mark recently stepped down from the Pro Vice Chancellor position to return to his research and teaching in Forestry Science.
Mark met his wife, Kimberly (who is a registered nurse), in Perth in late 1986 while he was living and working there. Kim returned with him to Hobart the following year and they were married at Corpus Christi church in April, 1988. They have two children in their 30s, Caitlin and Joseph, and two grandchildren, Emily and Lilian.