UQ Chancellor John Story with Major-General Michael Fairweather at his Graduation ceremony
UQ Chancellor John Story with Major-General Michael Fairweather at his Graduation ceremony
9 December 2011

The life experience as well as the study completed at the Queensland Agricultural College (now The University of Queensland, Gatton) by Major-General Michael Fairweather led him to having two successful parallel careers.

He has been a member for the Army Reserve for more than 40 years while working as a teacher and then in management and governance in the private sector.

The success of these careers will be recognised at The University of Queensland's Gatton Graduation ceremony today where he will be presented with the UQ Gatton Gold Medal.

Major-General Fairweather graduated from the Queensland Agricultural College in 1974 with a Bachelor of Applied Science (Rural Technology).

"The time I spent at Gatton was great, very enjoyable and I made strong friendships. A very good and practical learning experience for science but most importantly for life," said Major-General Fairweather.

"It was there that I started on my career in the Army Reserves as it was a very important part of the college life."

Following this he went on to complete a Graduate Diploma in Teaching at Kelvin Grove Teachers' College in 1975 that led to him beginning a career as an Agricultural Teacher for nine years before moving into a sales and marketing role in the Agricultural sector. Five of those nine years he worked in the area at Lockyer District High School in Gatton.

Major-General Fairweather then went on to gain senior management experience in the private and public sector, with a strong focus on export marketing, leadership and management in the Agriculture, Food, Technology and Defence markets.

"The skills I was learning in both of my career paths complemented each other so I was able to advance in both areas," he said.

All during this time he progressed through the ranks from Private soldier to Major General, and has commanded at all levels up to brigade. He remained with the Queensland Agricultural College Training Unit for 13 years.

He received a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for work in reforming Reserve Officer Training and the Australian Army Cadets and a Reserve Forces Decoration (RFD) for 40 years of service as a Soldier and Officer.

Given his achievements in all areas of his life it is fortunate that Major-General Fairweather didn't feel that he had to choose between the two paths.

"My first priority was always my family, my career, and then my army career. From time to time those priorities switched around. It is crucial to understand your priorities and focus on getting the things done that need to get done," Major-General Fairweather said.

"To the students graduating today I would say congratulations on achieving this significant milestone. Your career may take many different paths, and you will face many challenges, and sometimes they will seem insurmountable. In my view, the key is to not be overwhelmed, focus on what the outcome should be and drive towards it."

"Don't just accept what you're given and don't be afraid to challenge the status quo. Focus on achieving, not just doing your job. You can make a difference."

Major-General Fairweather is currently Military Specialist Advisor to the Defence Export Unit in the Defence Material organisation , Director of Boystown and the Chairman of the Board of Sun Engineering as well as being Chairman and part owner of Amplifi Governance.

For more information and to see previous UQ Gatton Gold Medalists, please visit: http://www.uq.edu.au/gatton/index.html?page=10237.

Media: Ingrid Rubie (UQ Communications) 3365 2619 or i.rubie@uq.edu.au; Major-General Michael Fairweather, michaelf@mfa.net.au