Who We Are

Our Board

Deb MacCauley
Board Chair

Deb MacCauley (GradDip in HR Management) is an HR professional with general management experience, and a pragmatic view of the challenges faced by rangatahi looking to enter the world of work.  She currently owns a small business in Hamilton and has been able to employ two team members while they have been studying, allowing them to develop their practical skills in a real business environment.

Deb’s first-hand experience with Smart Waikato initiatives was in her recent role as People and Culture Manager at Hamilton-based engineering business Longveld which inspired her bid for board appointment after she saw the positive impact of the trust’s work. 

Deb’s previous roles include New Zealand National Fieldays Society HR and Health & Safety Advisor as well as being a joint owner-manager of a commercial construction company.

She believes that her personal experience with her own whanau and their pathways to employment along with her business experience working with a wide range of people allows her to contribute positively to the trust’s success.

Grace Reid

Grace Reid is now a Trustee after being the Youth Advisor to the Smart Waikato board. As a previous national winner of the Lion Foundation Young Enterprise Scheme (YES) with Just Kidding Babysitting, Grace is also a member of the YES Alumni Advisory Group. A former Waikato Diocesan School for Girls student, Grace’s role with Smart Waikato gives her an opportunity to contribute a youth voice to the organisation. Grace also works for Bayleys Hamilton after more than three years as an intermediate accountant at KPMG and is working towards the Bachelor of Applied Management qualification.

Damian Sicely

Damian Sicely (M.B.A.) is the General Manager for Showing Waikato, responsible for the management, leadership and creation of the iconic Waikato Show and A&P Show. He has experience in recruitment, human resources, coaching, governance and strategy. Damian has also recently founded his own small business, CV Lab, to help and advise people with writing CVs and the job application process.

Building a career based on helping others, Damian is a big believer that you can have a significant impact on communities by starting with the right education at a young age. Working with the Smart Waikato board is a great fit with Damian’s passion to help people across the Waikato.

Amy Hacker

Amy Hacker (BS, MS, PG Dip) Secondary School Principal, has a background in Research Science, Biology, Zoology and Education. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Zoology/Animal Biology, a Master’s degree in Wildlife Biology and Post-Graduate Diploma in Secondary Teaching – and over 12 years’ experience in school leadership as a Deputy and School Principal. Amy has provided leadership in several different Waikato schools – Waikato Diocesan School for Girls, Otorohanga College, and Paeroa College. Amy has a student-focused approach to education and the overall wellbeing of students, which sets her in good stead for her role as Smart Waikato Trustee.

Amy was brought up in the USA and immigrated to New Zealand in 2000. Prior to entering the secondary education sector, she taught at a University level and was employed in the private sector as a Wildlife Biologist. With a teaching background in Science, she has been involved in education for more than 25 years.

Amy is committed to secondary partnerships with business and industry to provide students with pathways through and beyond school. She is passionate about the importance of connecting with local businesses and training opportunities to create powerful post-secondary opportunities for young people.

Apulu Alo Aliitaeao (Tjay) Asiata

Tjay rejoined the family’s 100% Samoan-owned enterprise in New Zealand – LM4 Group – in 2020. LM4 Group is the parent company of three distinct subsidiaries Alignz Recruitment, Puatala and Oyonnx. As the Group CEO of LM4 Group, Tjay has been instrumental in expanding LM4 Group with offices in Auckland, Hamilton, Tauranga and Christchurch (and soon in Wellington). In 2023, Tjay established a marketing and media company, ASIAL, with his sons. They are not just building brands but fortifying communities and supercharging economies across Aotearoa.

Shelley Wilson

Shelley joined the Board as a Trustee in 2024. With over 28 years of experience in the tertiary education sector, Shelley is passionate about delivering high-quality, learner-centered, and industry-relevant programs that prepare students for the future of work. As Executive Director – Teaching and Learning at Wintec, Shelley oversees the teaching and learning delivery of the business division, leading a team of over 400 staff.

Shelley has also fostered strong partnerships with industry, government, and community organisations to ensure that Wintec’s programs are aligned with the needs and expectations of the employers and the society.

Roger Evans

Roger Evans is the Founder of Stafford Engineering Ltd, established in 1986 to service the local precision engineering market. Over the ensuing years the business has prospered and evolved into a comprehensive facility manufacturing food processing and packaging equipment for the world. In recent years Roger has discovered that skill shortage has been an impediment not only to the business operation but also the opportunity to grow. 

Frustration motivated Roger to first understand and devise strategies then confront the issues by providing leadership, vision and energy. Roger helped establish WECA (Waikato Engineering Careers Association) with a vision to raise the profile of engineering so that young people see engineering as a career of choice. This led to Roger becoming a founding trustee of Smart Waikato Trust, with a vision to co-ordinate meaningful connections between Waikato Schools and Waikato work places. In 2019 he became the first Patron of Smart Waikato Trust.