Defence SA’s team brings together a wealth of diverse experience and talents charged with providing strategy and policy advice to Government to promote the growth of Defence and defence industries in South Australia.

Collectively, our team brings together exceptional experience and expertise and are the driving force behind the delivery of Defence SA’s strategic priorities. They foster strong collaboration and partnership with key State Government, industry and research stakeholders in the pursuit of building and sustaining South Australia’s reputation as the nation’s hub of defence and space innovation.

Within Defence SA sits the Defence Innovation Partnership, South Australian Space Industry Centre and Veterans SA.

  • Richard Price
  • Reg Carruthers
  • Jessica Hernandez
  • David Eyre
  • Ilona Horan
  • Darin Lovett
  • Sumen Rai
  • Nicola Sasanelli
  • Peter Murdoch
  • Richard Price
  • Reg Carruthers
  • Jessica Hernandez
  • David Eyre
  • Ilona Horan
  • Darin Lovett
  • Sumen Rai
  • Nicola Sasanelli
  • Peter Murdoch
  • Richard PriceChief Executive

    Richard Price was appointed Defence SA Chief Executive in October 2017. In this role, he was simultaneously appointed to the position of Chief Executive of the South Australian Space Industry Centre (SASIC).

    Richard has worked within the defence and public safety sectors for over 25 years and has international industry experience in leadership, business development and engineering.

    Prior to joining Defence SA and SASIC, Richard led a Stockholm based business unit for Saab AB with operations in Sweden, Denmark, Australia, South Africa and the UK. The focus was the global market for communication and control room solutions.

    Before moving to Sweden in 2013, Richard was Managing Director of Saab’s Australian operations.

    Richard is an engineering graduate of the University of Wales (BSc Hons, 1985) and a graduate of the Melbourne Business School Advanced Management Program (2006) and the Australian Institute of Company Directors (2010).

    Richard is a Governor of the American Chamber of Commerce in Australia, and the Chair of Autism SA who help each person on the autism spectrum live the life they choose in an inclusive society.

    Richard is a member of Defence SA’s Executive Team.

  • Reg CarruthersExecutive Director, Defence and Space

    Reg Carruthers commenced with Defence SA as Director, Aerospace in October 2016 with a focus on growing the aerospace industry in the state. Reg is also one of the founding members of the South Australian Space Industry Centre (SASIC) executive team and works across Government supporting the space industry. In February 2020, Reg was appointed Executive Director Defence and Space where he works with all Defence SA sector leads, Workforce and Skills, and Government Relations to support and grow the defence and space industries in the State.

    Reg joined the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) in 1981, graduating from the RAAF Academy in 1983 with a Bachelor of Science. After graduating as a Navigator, he completed numerous tours flying the AP3C Orion on operations and exercises nationally and internationally. He completed a three year exchange program flying the CP140 Aurora in Canada, and completed numerous commands including 28 active reserve squadron, the 92 Wing detachment in Butterworth Malaysia, 10 Squadron RAAF Edinburgh and the AP3C Operational Task Group on active duty in the Middle East Area of Operations.

    Reg’s last military command was as Commander of the Aerospace Operational Support Group (now Air Warfare Centre) responsible for electronic warfare, cyber, intelligence, aviation medicine, aviation publications and flight test, weapons and engineering squadrons, as well as the Woomera Test Range.

    Reg has completed staff positions in policy and plans and as staff officer to the Chief of Air Force, as well as an instructor on the Australian Command and Staff College. He is a graduate of the Australian Staff Course and a Distinguished Graduate from the US National War College. He has a Masters in Defence and Strategic Studies (Canberra) and Masters of Science (National Security Strategy) Washington DC.

    After 31 years in uniform, Reg transferred to the Public Service as Director of the Woomera Test Range in 2012, overseeing the project to modernise range systems and the establishment of RAAF Base Woomera.

    Reg remains an active member of the Air Force Reserves and as a Group Captain is Honorary ADC to the Governor General.

    Reg is a member of Defence SA’s Executive Team.

  • Jessica HernandezDirector, Marketing and Communications

    Jessica Hernandez commenced with Defence SA as Events Coordinator in October 2011. Primarily responsible for the coordination and execution of Defence SA minor events, sponsorships and trade shows, Jessica was part of the broader Marketing and Events team. Jessica’s role expanded to include marketing activity for the agency, and now, in her role as Director Marketing and Communications she is responsible for the oversight and management of all marketing and communication activities for Defence SA and the South Australian Space Industry Centre.

    After tertiary education, where she completed a Diploma of Event Management, Jessica began her career in events with a South Australian professional conference organiser, All Occasions Group, in 2006. Her role as Senior Event Coordinator saw her coordinating all aspects of conferences and events around Australia for a wide variety of associations and private companies for up to 2,500 delegates at a time.

    Prior to joining Defence SA, Jessica worked for Advantage SA (formerly SA Great) as Program Manager. In her role at Advantage SA, she managed the successful Speakers In Schools program, exposing South Australian students to the vast range of career opportunities available within the state and the South Australian of the Year and Regional Awards Programs recognising the excellence and innovation of individuals and businesses.

    Jessica is a member of Defence SA’s Executive Team.

  • David EyreDirector, Maritime

    David Eyre joined Defence SA as Director of Maritime in August 2016. The focus of his role is to develop and deliver a program of activities that grows defence presence and the defence industry base of the state sustainably.

    David has over 30 years’ experience in Shipbuilding construction (including Submarines, Patrol Boats, Frigates and Offshore Gas Platforms) across engineering, major subcontracts and senior management positions. Over 15 of those years working on South Australian naval shipbuilding projects with over 7 years on construction of the Collins class submarines, and almost 8 years on the construction of the Hobart class Air Warfare Destroyers.

    Prior to joining Defence SA, David was responsible for the overall management of the Forgacs, Tomago (NSW) shipyard (400+ personnel) in construction and delivery of over $200m of ship blocks as part of the SEA 4000 Air Warfare Destroyer project. This role included management of all aspects of an EPC construction project including planning, production, quality, risk, safety and overall cost/schedule control.

    David’s formal qualifications in Engineering (BEng Hon), Project Management (CPPM) and Business Management (MBA) provide him with a broad skill set, with an excellent understanding of all aspects of naval ship construction.

  • Ilona HoranDirector, Corporate Services and Projects, Infrastructure and Investment

    Ilona Horan is the Director of Corporate Services and Director of Projects, Infrastructure and Investment at Defence SA. Following a successful career in the Australian Army, Ilona joined Defence SA in September 2016, where she fulfilled various roles in strategic planning, project management and investment and relocation support.

    In her current role, Ilona oversees the agency’s entire corporate services functions, including the management of human resources, WHS, procurement and contracting, while also supporting defence and space organisations to invest in South Australia. She provides strategic advice and assists South Australian-based Defence Force personnel to navigate state government processes.

    Since joining Defence SA, Ilona has successfully led several defence and space industry infrastructure projects in South Australia. She played a crucial role in assisting the relocation of the Australian Space Agency headquarters to South Australia’s Lot Fourteen, as well as supporting the establishment of Haulmark Trailers’ state-of-the-art manufacturing and maintenance facility at Edinburgh. Ilona was responsible for establishing the Defence and Space Landing Pad at Lot Fourteen, which provides a base for international and interstate companies to establish permanent operations in South Australia.

    Prior to joining Defence SA, Ilona served in the Australian Regular Army for over 18 years, undertaking a number of regimental, training and instructional postings throughout Australia. This included a posting in command of the Army’s Logistic Support Element at RAAF Base Edinburgh, as well as deployment to East Timor and Iraq. She currently serves as a Lieutenant Colonel in the Army Reserve as the Commanding Officer/Chief Instructor of Adelaide Universities Regiment.

    Ilona’s formal qualifications include a Master of Applied Science (with Distinction) from the University of Western Sydney; a Master of Management from the University of New South Wales and a Bachelor of Science from the University of Adelaide. She is the Presiding Officer of the South Australian Veteran’s Health Advisory Council and remains actively involved in South Australia’s Army and veteran community.

    Ilona is a member of Defence SA’s Executive Team.

  • Darin LovettDirector, South Australian Space Industry Centre

    Darin Lovett is Director of Space at the South Australian Space Industry Centre. His focus is on leveraging disruption, innovation, and strong support to build a sustainable space industry in South Australia.

    He brings more than 25 years’ experience in strategy and capability development for the Air and Space domains. His diverse background includes space operations and policy, university lecturer, weapons test and evaluation, airborne anti-submarine and surveillance operations, coalition partnering, and working on large-scale transformation projects.

    His space credentials include working as a staff officer in Australia’s joint Defence Space Coordinating Office, four years at the US Executive Agent for Space within the Pentagon, graduate of the International Space University, and Chief of Australia’s Space Operations Centre within HQ Joint Operations Command.

    Darin holds Masters degrees in Philosophy (Military Strategy), Arts (Strategy and Policy) and Science (Technology Management); and a Bachelor of Engineering (Aerospace). He is a graduate of the Australian Defence Force Academy (ADFA), Canadian Forces Aerospace Systems Course (ASC), Australian Com