MHRE Blog Posts

Madeleine Hicks Blog Posts Feature Image

From the beginning of 2017 I have been engaged by Madeleine Hicks Real Estate on an occasional basis to write posts for the agency’s blog featuring local news and personalities. The following are a few examples of the posts I wrote:

Image of Justin Hicks and Jim Spencer outside 8 Culworth Street.

  • Project type: Local news blog posts
  • Skills needed: Writing, interviewing, client liasion
  • Customer: Madeleine Hicks Real Estate
  • Project dates: January 2017-present
  • Link to website:

Australian Ports News articles

The February 2017 issue of Australian Ports News featured the Port of Townsville. I was commissioned to write four stories on it ranging from a CEO’s overview to a berth upgrade and a new ship unloading/loading solution for Sun Metals. 

In addition, I reported back on progress of a jetty and conveyor reconstruction at Eden Port in NSW and the building and delivery by Hart Marine of the first 17.3m Pantocarene-designed pilot boat in Australia. I have included the Townsville Port CEO’s Overview on this page. The other stories are available to read in a PDF you can download by clicking the button below.

Preparing the Port of Townsville for the future                            

The Port of Townsville is the largest general cargo and container handling port in Northern Australia and has a proud history of serving the region since 1864.

It is run by Port of Townsville Limited (POTL) led by CEO Ranee Crosby and is in a state of continuous improvement and expansion. Ms Crosby said that POTL was committed to providing a facility which would serve the needs of all stakeholders now and in the future

She said that future demands on the port would increase and that the Townsville Port Expansion Project plan had been devised in 2007 to take the projected growth into account and lay out a program for upgrading existing facilities and building new infrastructure.

“The aim of POTL is to identify future needs, conduct the necessary Environmental Impact Assessments and obtain approval for projects far enough in advance so they can be delivered as needed to avoid the port becoming a bottleneck in the regional supply chain,” she said.

One of the first major projects, completed in 2012, was the $53-million Townsville Port Access Road providing direct access from the port to the regional highway network. This routed heavy traffic away from residential areas and allowed the use of 53m triple road trains which improved transport efficiencies to and from the port.

Another project was the upgrade of Berth 10 for Defense use and to cater for the ever-growing number of visiting cruise liners. At the berth’s opening in October, 2013, Minister for Defence Senator David Johnston said that the berth would support the navy’s new Helicopter Landing Dock (LHD) vessels as well as other RAN ships and visiting warships from other nations.

Ms Crosby said that Berth 10 was an important facility for the port and that its timely completion would not only support the military in their mission but would also become a major factor in attracting more cruise liners with all the economic benefits associated with greatly increased volumes of visitors.

The next major development  at the port was an $85-million upgrade to Berth 8 which is mostly being used by Glencore and Incitec Pivot and was jointly funded by them and POTL. The 100-year-old berth had been equipped with 40-year-old shiploading equipment and the upgrade, along with new shiploaders, effectively doubled its capacity .

The port’s program to upgrade and extract the maximum benefit from its existing infrastructure has received wide recognition including winning the Svitzer Australian Port or Terminal of the Year award in 2016, for the second year running.

Currently underway at the port is a $42.7-million project to upgrade Berth 4 which involved the demolition of Berths 6&7 to provide the room to extend Berth 4’s quay line seaward by 7m to line up with Berth 2&3’s. The project has an expected completion date in December and will provide many benefits including doubling the port’s capacity to handle containerised cargo.

The first major project under the PEP is the harbour entrance widening project which will hopefully begin in 2018. The 14km harbour entrance channel is to be widened from 92m to 180m to accommodate vessels up to 300m long which currently have to bypass Townsville.

Other projects in future will involve boosting the number of berths as required and, according Ms Crosby, POTL is totally committed to anticipate these needs and deliver them timeously.

“The future is very bright for Northern Australia with Townsville expected to play a major part and the port will be key to the process. We take that responsibility seriously and are committed to growing and providing the facilities required,” she said.

  • Project type: Magazine articles
  • Skills needed: Writing, interviewing, client liasion
  • Customer: Australian Ports News
  • Project date: November 2016 / January 2017
  • Link to issue:

Village buzz blog post

Portfolio feature image

I was commissioned to write a post for Madeleine Hicks Real Estate’s community blog on local speedway racer Leonie Knight:

Because I can

Probably the last thing you’d imagine when meeting immaculately groomed McDowall local Leonie Knight  is that she spends many of her weekends competing on equal terms in the male dominated sport of speedway racing.

It’s a far cry from her weekday occupation of managing a top recruitment agency but she has become addicted to the thrill of competition and pitting her wits against the more experienced drivers as they hurtle round floodlit oval dirt tracks vying to be first across the line and the chequered flag.

“My dad Phil Mutton was a stalwart of the Brisbane racing scene and ever since I was two weeks old I was taken along to motor racing meetings but only decided to give it a go myself after he passed away on June 15, 2015,” Leonie said.

“Dad was widely known as one of nature’s gentlemen and ran service stations in Zillmere and Sandgate for many years. His great love was motor racing and he was always either participating or building racing cars for sale to other competitors. For years he was the official supplier of methanol racing fuel to IndyCar racing on the Gold Coast.”

At the time of his death Phil was busy restoring a De Tomaso Pantera which had been converted into a racing car and competed at Toowoomba for many years. Leonie decided to enlist his old pit crew, led by crew chief Michael Denning to finish the job in his honour.

The car, dubbed Rory the Red Racing Car by Leonie’s daughters Georgia, 10, and Samantha, 8, was soon restored to his former glory but the thought had entered Leonie’s mind that she’d like to have a go at competition herself. The family were too attached to Rory to risk him in the hurly burly of racing, especially after a clutch-related incident in which he leapt out of the garage in McDowall and wedged himself up a wall.

Fortunately unhurt, Rory was placed on display in the Queensland Motorsport Museum at Ipswich as a permanent memorial to Phil Mutton and it wasn’t long before a muscular Holden V8 by the name of Arnie joined the family and Leonie Knight Racing was well and truly launched.

Arnie came with a 253 cubic-inch motor developing 340bhp and had been built to compete in AMCA (Australian Motor Contest Association) Nationals speedway racing. AMCA had been developed as an affordable dirt track racing discipline where the best driver could win rather than just whoever could afford the best technology.

The top AMCA racers complete a full lap of the oval track in about 16 seconds and Leonie has improved her times from 26 seconds to an average of 17 or 18 seconds. She started out determined not to drive beyond her ability but to drive smoothly and gradually get fast enough to become competitive.

“My pit crew roll their eyes at me when I don’t know all the jargon but I learn more and more of the real names for the thingies on the car every day,” laughed Leonie. “The AMCA guys are great mob to race with and very helpful to me as a rookie, and a female one at that.”

Leonie drove in her first race in February 2016 and competed in the season-ending AMCA Nationals in Lismore in May where she placed 33rd in a field of 41, all of whom were men. That season had already begun so her official rookie season is the 2016/7 season which began in November during which she will complete in the Queensland and New South Wales Title events.

“My goals in going racing are to have fun, to show my fellow women that we really can do anything we set our minds to and commemorate the life of Phil Mutton, a truly wonderful man. On Arnie’s boot is written the motto ‘Grandpa’s Girls’; that’s Mum, me, Georgia and Samantha,” said Leonie.

Keep an eye on Leonie Knight Racing – Helmets & Heels’ page on Facebook for the latest updates on the team’s activities. Why not come out to Archerfield speedway one day? You’ll be expected to give an especially loud shout of support when Leonie and Arnie (car Q52) go blasting by.

  • Project type: Blog post
  • Skills needed: Writing, interviewing, client liasion
  • Customer: Madeleine Hicks Real Estate (Village Buzz)
  • Project date: January 2017
  • Link to blog: Because I can

Mikaela Briggs press release

Portfolio feature image

Breast Ever Brunch an outstanding success in Milton

Milton-based Body and Soul Breakfast Club scored a major hit recently when members put on a fundraiser for Mater Chicks in Pink.

“A large percentage of women and their families will be affected by breast cancer at some time in their lives and our community members wanted to do something concrete to help,” said Body and Soul Breakfast Club founder Mikaela Briggs.

“We decided that we would hold a Breast Ever Brunch to benefit the Mater Chicks In Pink who provide vital support to women being treated for breast cancer at the Mater Hospital,” she said.

“We thought we could get a large bunch of ladies together and have a terrific workout followed by brunch to raise funds for this very worthy cause.”

Body and Soul Breakfast Club’s Breast Ever Brunch was held on October 30 and thanks to the amazing support from local businesses there were thousands of dollars’ worth of prizes up for grabs on the day.

A bunch of over 40 Chicks in Pink supporters gathered to enjoy an intense 30-minute workout led by Mikaela. In the process of raising $750 the ladies enjoyed free beauty product samples, newly released cookbook samples and five major raffle prizes.

After the workout which tested everyone’s muscles, attendees made their way to Cafe Nui where they received a very welcome glass of champagne on arrival and the usual sumptuous eats which were provided by the café staff.

“The Body and Soul Breakfast Club came about after a Breaking Free of Fear workshop I attended where I realised that fear was the main reason that we saw so few women in our gym,” said Mikaela.

“We decided to start the breakfast club as a safe women-only community where we could all progress on our individual fitness journeys in an atmosphere of mutual support and free from fear. We women are all bosses and the club aims to improve our body confidence and empower us all to be the best we can be.”

Mikaela leads a Learning To Lift session at 21/43 Lang Parade, Milton, every Saturday morning. It is open to all and attendees pay only what they think it is worth.

This is followed at 7:30am by a 30-minute free workout for The Body and Soul Breakfast Club which is free and open to women only. Afterwards the club meets at nearby Café Nui for a delicious breakfast at each member’s cost.

Prospective new members are welcome to pitch up any Saturday or call 0499 499 955 for more details.


  • Project type: Press release
  • Skills needed: Writing, interviewing, client liasion
  • Customer: Mikaela Briggs Strength Coach
  • Project date: November 2016
  • Link to site:

Australian Ports News articles

Australian Ports News portfolio header

I was commissioned to write four stories for the November/December 2016 issue of Australian Ports News. They ranged from a woodchip mill’s response to their export jetty being destroyed in a storm to a new pilot boat for Port Philip Sea Pilots. The stories are available to read and you can download a PDF by clicking the button below.

  • Project type: Magazine articles
  • Skills needed: Writing, interviewing, client liasion
  • Customer: Australian Ports News
  • Project date: October/November 2016
  • Link to issue:

Australian Power & Energy News articles

This month I made a significant contribution to a feature published in the September edition of Australian Power & Energy News. In the spotlight was the building of a transmission station and associated power line linking the Ararat Windfarm to the national grid. I was tasked with writing stories on the contributions made to the project by three organisations which were:

I was responsible for interviewing nominated members of staff in the each of the organisations, writing up their stories and obtaining copy approval. The final layouts from the publication are included below:

  • Project type: Magazine articles
  • Skills needed: Writing, interviewing, client liasion
  • Customer: Australian Power & Energy News
  • Project date: September 2016
  • Link to issue:

Powercor story: Page 1
Powercor story: Page 1

Powercor story: Page 2
Powercor story: Page 2

Ennesty Energy story.
Ennesty Energy story.

Boom Logistics story.
Boom Logistics story.


Coaching Life article

Coaching Life header

I was commissioned by Coaching Life magazine to ghost-write an article for a contributor based on a recorded interview I was given.

  • Project type: Ghost-written article
  • Skills needed: Writing
  • Customer: Coaching Life
  • Project date: 2016
  • Link to issue: Click here

Promotional copy

RJ Motorcycle

Calls to action:

  • Bike broken down? Call John 24×7 on 0421 399 671


  • Bike need towing? Call John 24×7 on 0421 399 671


“Motorcycle riders often have to wait for a long periods at the roadside for their bikes to be recovered after a breakdown or accident.  I started R.J. Motorcycle Towing & Support to provide a quick recovery service for the community. Having been on the side of the road myself a couple of times, I know what it’s like not having someone to call to get home. ” – Renton John Eschbank.

What we are

R.J. Motorcycle Towing & Support is a Brisbane-based business dedicated to serving the motorcycle community through a variety of services including the recovery of motorcycles stranded on the roadside after breakdown or accident or moving them from one location to another for whatever reason.


  • Roadside recovery and towing – we can get you home again at low affordable rates.
  • Business to business – we can transport up three bikes from one shop to another.
  • For a service – we can pick your bike up from your workplace or home, take it to your service centre of choice and, when the work is complete, deliver it back to you.
  • To the bush – we can take you and two mates and your off-road bikes out into the bush and pick you up later at a pre-arranged spot.
  • Rally Support Program – you get the full use of R.J. Motorcycle Towing & Support on your rally or breakfast run. We provide a fully stocked first aid kit, an emergency fire extinguisher, our motorcycle trailer, 20L emergency fuel, a selection of tools you can use to maintain your motorcycle, the use of an esky and extra space for gear in the our ute.

About John Eschbank

My passion is motorcycles and all in all I’ve owned more than 12 of them since I was 14 years old when I brought an old 1979 100cc Yamaha. It was a bit rough around the edges but it worked and cost me only $100. I can’t remember all the bikes I’ve owned but I now have a 2003 Honda VT 750cc Shadow.

Five years ago I met Racheal my current partner five years ago and she has been supportive of everything that I have tried to do for our family and of my love of motorcycles and the motorcycle community as well.

Racheal has been the rock when I have let things get to me and she is the one who has been the driving force and kept me on track in the past 12 months of while we planned to launch R.J. Motorcycle towing and support.

  • Project type: General purpose promotional copy to support business launch
  • Skills needed: Writing, interviewing, client liasion
  • Customer: R.J. Motorcycle Towing & Support
  • Project date: 2016
  • Web:

Point of Difference website copy

Point of Difference header

Managing your investment properties as if they were my own

Point of Difference Properties is a boutique business offering a full-service rental property management service in the Redland City area. The business was founded by real estate professional Kerry Elliot to bring a new level of personalised service to rental property owners in her area.

“I’m focused on becoming the go-to rental property management specialist in the Redlands and in building productive relationships with a select list of clients and suppliers in the area. My promise to clients is that I will look after their investment properties as if they were my own and that they will never be just numbers to me. I’m devoted to my family, friends and my local community and determined to deliver maximum value to my clients.” – Kerry Elliot.


  • Marketing your property
  • Detailed screening of prospective tenants
  • Detailed entry and exit reports
  • Regular and thorough inspections
  • Maintenance completed by licensed and skilled tradespeople
  • Regular statements and payments direct into your bank account


I am a fully licensed Real Estate Agent and a member of the REIQ (Real Estate Institute of Qld). I am committed to keeping abreast of all the latest developments in the rental property market including changes to applicable legislation.


Kerry is a complete professional and has a very high customer service focus

I engaged Kerry to take over the property management of my investment property at Camp Hill in November 2015. She managed the transition from the old property manager with ease and also organised inspections with the current tenants so I could assess the current state of the property. It was identified at this inspection that we needed a new fence & Kerry facilitated meeting the contractors on-site for the quote & start of work.

Kerry has now also been able to secure new tenants in March 2016 for a 2 year lease. I have been highly impressed with Kerry’s service, knowledge and professionalism and I would recommend her service to anyone who is looking for a new Property Manager who will help you maintain your asset. Kerry, you are very professional and therefore you are already streets ahead of the rest. That is your Point of Difference   –  Melanie W.

We got our bond back the next day

Kerry is a wonderful property manager. She is knowledgeable, objective, efficient and very pleasant to work with. She gave me sound advice so that we were able to get our bond refund back on a timely basis [from another property manager] with minimal heartache. I highly recommend her services.  –  Lisa S.

  • Project type: Website copy
  • Skills needed: Writing, interviewing, client liasion
  • Customer: Point of Difference Properties
  • Project date: 2016
  • Website:

SpotOn Web copy

SpotOn Logo

View my my actual submission (PDF) and then to get an idea of how much I was able to help Patrick, the actual text he handed me at our initial meeting.

SpotOn Quality Assurance Systems

Hospitality • Tourism • Food production

 “An expertly implemented Quality Assurance System can save the owners and managers of hospitality, tourism and food production businesses up to 50% of their time spent dealing with staff issues, increase customer satisfaction and save on costs through increased efficiencies.” – Patrick Amrein, CEO SpotOn Solutions.

Quality Assurance is at the core of successful and streamlined businesses and many business owners see its value but don’t want to retain one of the QA giants because of the very high costs, administrative burden and need for extensive staff involvement. SpotOn’s Patrick Amrein can provide a cost-effective Quality Assurance package including analysis of your existing workflow to identify areas for improvement, the design of a sustainable Quality Assurance solution, the training of key staff in the new streamlined procedures and ongoing Quality Audits.

SpotOn services

  • Initial workflow analysis and audit to determine the procedures being used and the current Quality levels being attained by your business.
  • Design and production of Standard Operating Procedure-Manuals [SOP] describing your procedures and processes in detail – based on the most thorough Quality Assurance System in the world; ISO:9001-2015.
  • Production of in-house training manuals and posters illustrating your procedures and standards.
  • Induction materials prepared in print and/or electronic formats to quickly introduce new employees to your systems and expectations.
  • Training of key-personnel in Quality Assurance, leadership and in implementing a mentor system for new employees in your business. This should ideally include face-to-face training and company-specific electronic online short courses [10min], designed to refresh and update employee’s knowledge on standards, procedures and processes.
  • HR-Mediation because reducing staff turnover and retaining trained and experienced staff pays off with less time spent on training new personnel.
  • Quality Assurance Progress Audits conducted on a regular basis un-announced help you keep your finger on the pulse of your business and determine how your staff are shaping up in relation to your the standards set for the business.
  • Monthly subscription service takes care of your QA maintenance needs, covering minor updates and adjustments on the module/s and consequent training for your staff. This provides big savings to you and avoids the expensive pitfalls of traditional QA management services.

SpotOn Quality Assurance products are tailor-made for your business and modular so that, as with children’s building blocks, they can be neatly arranged in whatever form suits your current and future business. The beauty of the system is that you only pay for what you need.

Quality benefits your business

SpotOn Quality Assurance products will benefit your business by:

  • Increasing the number of customers who return.
  • Increasing free word-of-mouth marketing from satisfied customers
  • Higher staff retention through less job ambiguity
  • Higher net-profit by eliminating costly faults
  • More free time at hand through less fault fixing
  • Boosting business performance through streamlining processes
  • Bringing increased recognition from critical clients, banks and suppliers

About Patrick Amrein

I was born, raised and trained as chef in Switzerland which provided me with a deep understanding of the operations side of the food and hospitality industries and in designing and implementing quality assurance systems for those industries. This together with decades of international experience in Training and Quality Assurance for multiple clients has empowered me to be able to provide service which will be a game-changer in the operations management of your business.

  • Project type: Copy for website
  • Skills needed: Interviewing, Writing
  • Customer: SpotOn Quality Systems
  • Project Year: 2016
  • Website: