our people

the team behind lifetec

LifeTec was established in 1981 in Brisbane in affiliation with the Independent Living Centre (ILC) to provide specialist, objective advice and evidence-based, practical information to help make people’s lives easier, safer, more functional and independent with the support of assistive technology. Ever since then our success has been based on our passionate team of staff who get a great deal of satisfaction from improving people’s lives.

Our team of professionals work closely together to ensure the best choices can be offered to those wishing to maximise their independence in their lives using assistive technology for augmentative and alternative communication, mobility, low vision, driving, vehicle, home and workplace modification, plus many more.

Our team of health professionals include occupational therapists, speech pathologists and a physiotherapist. Supporting our front-line services is a dedicated team of management and service staff that ensure a high level of service and accessibility is always maintained.

LifeTec offers a positive working environment, encouraging a culture of continual professional development and the take-up of fresh new ideas and innovative technologies.

Executive Management Team

James Barrientos

James Barrientos

Chief Executive Officer

Charlie- Chief Financial Officer

Charlie Manchadi

Chief Financial Officer

Karin-Schuhmann

Karin Schuhmann

Executive Services Manager

Management Team

Craig- services manager

Craig Blackman

Services Manager

Wol- business development & marketing manager

Wol Thiik

Business Development & Marketing Manager

Scott- consumer & sector engagement manager

Scott Green

Consumer & Sector Engagement Manager

Jenny Velkovic

Finance & Administration Manager

Coordinators

Chris- occupational therapist

Chris Sweeney

Services Coordinator (Occupational Therapist)

Melissa- occupational therapist

Melissa Farley

Assistive Technology Coordinator (Occupational Therapist)

Katie-Anne - occupational therapist

Katie-Anne Grice

Home Modifications Service Coordinator (Occupational Therapist)

Genine- occupational therapist

Genine Camilli

CHSP Home Modifications Coordinator

Tessa- speech pathologist

Tessa Laing

AAC Coordinator (Speech and Language Pathologist)

All Staff

Antoine- intake officer

Antoine Ermessent

Assistive Technology Officer

Alana- occupational therapist

Alana Skinner

Occupational Therapist

Barb- assistive technology officer

Barb McCulloch

Assistive Technology Officer

Brooke- occupational therapist

Brooke Jorgensen

Occupational Therapist

Bryan- speech pathologist

Bryan Mak

Speech Pathologist

Chris- home maintenance officer

Chris Beckett

Home Maintenance Officer

Claire- speech pathologist

Claire Dunn

Speech pathologist

Emma- speech pathologist

Emma Zeng

Speech Pathologist

Hannah- occupational therapist

Hannah Smit

Occupational Therapist

Jasmin- occupational therapist

Jasmin Murphy

Occupational Therapist

Jennifer- occupational therapist

Jennifer Poppe

Occupational Therapist

Katherine- assistive technology officer

Katherine Shield

Assistive Technology Officer

katrina- occupational therapist

Katrina Szymanski

Occupational Therapist

Kelly Nolan

Finance Officer

Lindsay- assistive technology officer

Lindsay Nott

Assistive Technology Officer

Louise- assistive technology officer

Louise Charity

Assistive Technology Officer

Matthew- occupational therapist

Matthew Goyne

Occupational Therapist

Michelle- speech pathologist

Michelle Swinburn

Speech Pathologist

Mikaela- occupational therapist

Mikaela Kelly-Irvin

Occupational Therapist

LifeTec Headshots - Arceili Niocena

Arceili Niocena

Occupational Therapist

Alisha Herbst

Occupational Therapist

LifeTec Headshots - Jacqui Appleton

Jacqui Appleton

Receptionist/ Administration Assistant

Also in this section

LifeTec works with you to advise you where assistive technology may assist you in achieving your goals. 

View Our Full Range of Services Here

Learn more about what we do and our efforts in inspiring and enabling people to achieve their goals through assistive technology. 

About LifeTec Australia

Here at LifeTec, we have structured the consumer pathway to allow clients to be be in control and well-informed of the solutions that are available to them.

Discover the Imagine-Seek-Choose-Live Pathway Here

Interested in partnering with us? Learn more about how your consumers and team can benefit by collaborating and partnering with LifeTec.

Learn About the Benefits of Working With Us 

The LifeTec Reference Committee has been established to provide an opportunity for people with valuable lived experience to have a key role in promoting the successful use of AT for community, social and economic participation.

Learn More About the Consumer Reference Committee

Interested in a rewarding career in assistive technology? Jobs are available for passionate occupational therapists and speech pathologists to support consumers to live their potential. 

Look At Jobs

James Barrientos

Chief Executive Officer

James is a values driven leader who is passionate about assisting people achieve positive change in their lives. The opportunity to contribute to peoples’ aspirations which benefit them, their families and communities, has made his role as Chief Executive Officer at LifeTec Australia a truly fulfilling one. James has worked in the health and disability sector for over 25 years including executive roles in several health and disability organisations. His early career as a medical prosthetist-orthotist also provides James with a sound understanding of clinical governance.

In addition to his LifeTec Australia role, James is also a co-founder and director of two private companies in the private and corporate sectors. This experience enables James to employ contemporary business principles to ensure LifeTec’s continued viability and optimisation of public funds.

Charlie- Chief Financial Officer

Charlie Manchadi

Chief Financial Officer

Charlie is a qualified Chartered Accountant (ANZ) with over 20 years’ commercial experience in finance and accounting.  He is a highly motivated and knowledgeable team player with skills providing leadership and support in relation to the effective design, delivery and evaluation of industry-leading talent, organisational development and Human Resources strategies, processes and procedures.

At LifeTec, Charlie is responsible for the finance, corporate governance and quality management system functions, and advises senior management and Board.  He developed LifeTec’s forecast, budget and oversees the management of cash flow.  His skills include financial 3-way modelling and finance strategic planning, as well as experience in implementation of financial systems, process and procedure and adherence with statutory and government regulatory requirements.  Charlie’s other areas of expertise include data analysis, interpretation of financial reports, writing tenders and business plans to complement the strategic direction of the company; development of staff along with training and development and long-term succession needs, along with Corporate Governance, company secretarial, commercial contracts and legal requirements.

Karin Schuhmann

Executive Services Manager

Karin trained as a Physiotherapist and has a long history of working with people with diverse abilities to achieve a life characterised by active participation. Her foundations of practice include person centred, strength-based approaches which lead to greater autonomy and choice for individuals. She promotes knowledge translation in all areas of her work and is committed to change that is innovative and sustainable for individuals as well as organisations. 

In her role as Executive Service Manager, she enables the Clinical Services Team  and the Consumer and Sector Engagement team to achieve quality outcomes  and her commitment to building a capable and engaged workforce also sees her head up our People Resources unit. Karin is interested in building work environments that are sustainable and responsive to the needs of people with diverse abilities and actively encourages participatory approaches and reflection to achieve these outcomes.

Craig- services manager

Craig Blackman

Services Manager

Craig has over 20 years experience working as a leader across the Disability Sector, he has worked passionately to ensure people with a disability have access to the empowering supports and services they need to live a full and meaningful life. He has held positions on the boards and committes of peak representative disability organisations and disability advocacy groups. Craig is committed to the effective utilisation of Assistive Technology across all groups in the Australian Community, understanding the significant impact appropriate and effective Assistive Technology can make to the lives of people with a disability and older Australians, their stakeholders and the broader community.

Wol- business development & marketing manager

Wol Thiik

Business Development & Marketing Manager

Wol has over 5 years of experience in marketing and is responsible for coordinating marketing activities. He applies both digital and traditional marketing strategies to increase the reach and uptake of LifeTec services throughout Queensland. He loves a challenge and wears many hats within the organisation including the accidental I.T. guru. As a digital native Wol has a passion for technology and has coordinated many digital projects and campaigns. “What I find the most rewarding is working for an organisation that enables independence and safety for people of all ages and abilities to actively engage in the home, work, school and community life”.

Scott- consumer & sector engagement manager

Scott Green

Consumer & Sector Engagement Manager

Scott joined LifeTec in 2008 and has learnt a lot about assistive technology since then, becoming passionate about the difference it can make in increasing a person’s functional independence. He thoroughly enjoys going out into the community, meeting a diverse range of people, liaising with organisations and spreading the word about how LifeTec’s services and assistive technology can enhance people’s lives.

Scott is a Justice of the Peace (Qualified), has a Bachelor of Social Work Degree and an Executive Certificate in Event Management from the University of Technology, Sydney. He has previously worked in Community Development Teams at three Queensland Councils, for Social Services in the UK, and for community organisations including Oxfam Australia and The Australian Red Cross.

Jenny Velkovic

Finance & Administration Manager

Jenny’s keen interest in business and finance led her to the role of Finance & Administration Manager. In her previous roles, she provided training and support to the Client Services Officers and continues to enjoy providing support to all staff, assisting them to problem solve and reach their goals. Jenny is often involved in project work at LifeTec offering her expertise in financial management, ensuring projects run to budget. Jenny’s studies started out in Psychology and she would like to look at postgraduate studies in Forensic Psychology. Whilst working at LifeTec Jenny has seen some amazing therapy and assistance dogs that assist people with disabilities in so many ways. So much so, that Jenny would one day love to see her Airedale Terrier accredited as a therapy dog.

Chris- occupational therapist

Chris Sweeney

Services Coordinator (Occupational Therapist)

Chris has worked as an occupational therapist for 24 years since graduating from UQ. She remains passionate about the role that assistive technology can have in supporting people to improve their independence and enable them to participate and to engage with their communities. Chris has presented workshops for therapists, presented at conferences and continues to provide clinical support to her peers. Chris has seen many changes in her 15 years of employment with LifeTec and is excited about the possibilities that the NDIS has opened up for people to develop and attain real goals. Her motivation is the people she assists to get the right assistive technology and to see the difference it makes to people’s lives.

Melissa- occupational therapist

Melissa Farley

Assistive Technology Coordinator (Occupational Therapist)

Melissa graduated with a Bachelor of Occupational Therapy from the University of Queensland in 2004. She has had 15 years of clinical experience in a wide variety of settings including hospitals, rehabilitation units, community services and injury management for heavy industry. Melissa has recently returned to LifeTec after spending 10 years living and working as a Senior OT in the United Kingdom.

Melissa enjoys the challenge of finding solutions to improve the lives of people with complex needs. She has special interests in manual handling, environmental modifications and dementia care. Melissa is also passionate about education and training and enjoys teaching people new skills and expanding their knowledge. In previous roles she has been actively involved in the training and development of newly graduated and junior therapists to ensure high quality service provision.

Outside of work Melissa is kept busy by her two small children. She loves traveling to new places and listening to live music whenever she gets the opportunity.

Katie-Anne - occupational therapist

Katie-Anne Grice

Home Modifications Service Coordinator (Occupational Therapist)

Katie graduated with a Bachelor of Occupational Therapy from James Cook University in 2010 and has been with LifeTec since 2013. Over the years, Katie has developed skills in co designing assistive technology and home modifications solutions that enable people to live their potential. Having delivered these services all over Queensland for the past 4 years, she has developed a high level of experience and capability in creating accessible solutions for people within their homes and loves sharing the impact that this has on their lives.

In her role as Services Coordinator for Home Modifications, Katie has created a learning pathway to mentor LifeTec OTs to develop their skills. She also supports builders through an onboarding process to ensure everyone is working together to find the solutions that best meet the consumer’s needs. Katie has also acquired a Diploma in Access Consulting, which will provide exciting new opportunities to influence and inform more accessible design across homes, workplaces and communities.

Genine Camilli

CHSP Home Modifications Coordinator

Genine joined LifeTec in 2015 and has over 20 years experience working in various administrative roles. In 2004 Genine began working under the Home and Community Care program under the auspice of Townsville City Council and it was here that she discovered her passion for helping the elderly in our community. Genine is currently the Coordinator of the Commonwealth Home Support Program (CHSP) with LifeTec, where she oversees the administration of the home modifications and minor maintenance programs. Genine enjoys working as part of highly motived team to deliver this valuable service to the North Queensland community.

Tessa- speech pathologist

Tessa Laing

AAC Coordinator (Speech and Language Pathologist)

Tessa has several years of experience working as a Speech Pathologist in Ballarat, Nowra, Inuvik Canada and more recently the Uniting Care Family Engagement Intervention Service. Tessa has a Masters of Speech Pathology and is currently completing her Master’s in Public Health. Her husband is a veterinarian and they have settled in Brisbane where he can complete his studies to become a Veterinary cardiologist. She speaks advanced level French, having completed a Bachelor of Arts in French Studies and has worked in France teaching English studies to children.
 
Tessa comes with a wide variety of experience working with both adult and paediatric populations and has a strong passion for health promotion and quality improvement. Her experience in Canada included delivering service to Indigenous communities in the arctic circle as well as running Hanen training programmes for children and families. She has some experience with AAC prescription and is looking forward to immersing herself in this area of practice and leading, the team as they develop and deliver the AAC service.

Antoine- intake officer

Antoine Ermessent

Assistive Technology Officer

Antoine graduated with a Diploma of Graphic Design in 2017. He was a Support Carer and an Art Mentor for three years in the Brisbane region. He is warm, caring, empathetic and a good humored person. Antoine has a lot of experience in customer service. As an Intake officer, he is dedicated to assist our consumers through their LifeTec journey. Outside of work he enjoys spending time with his young family, practicing his visual art, taking photos, and playing music.

Alana- occupational therapist

Alana Skinner

Occupational Therapist

Alana started working for LifeTec in 2015 and has a passion for working with people with a disability to help them to achieve their personal goals, either in their home or a community setting and enjoys providing assistive technology recommendations to enable people to remain independent. Alana is particularly interested in home modifications with over 4 years of experience.

Since graduating as an Occupational Therapist from James Cook University in 2012 Alana has worked within community based settings in Townsville with previous experience in Department of Veterans Affairs and Transition Care

Barb- assistive technology officer

Barb McCulloch

Assistive Technology Officer

Barb commenced work at LifeTec in 2013, bringing with her over 30 years administrative experience in the child welfare and health sectors. Initially employed as an Assistive Technology Officer at LifeTec, Barb spent several years working in reception and administration roles, specialising in the demonstration of Assistive Technology on display in Townsville. In 2019 Barb was recruited to her current role within LifeTec’s Commonwealth Home Support Program where she manages all the minor home modifications referrals and the administration of the home maintenance program. Barb finds great satisfaction in this role as she is able to help the elderly in our community to remain living in their own homes.

Brooke- occupational therapist

Brooke Jorgensen

Occupational Therapist

Brooke graduated with a Bachelor of Occupational Therapy (Hons) from the University of Queensland. Brooke has previous experience in Occupational Rehabilitation. She has undertaken a variety of caseloads whilst at LifeTec including NDIS participants, My Aged Care clients and individuals who require workplace modifications. She has a special interest in Complex Home Modifications and finding Assistive Technology solutions with her clients. Brooke has a passion to work with people of all abilities and to help then live a more meaningful and purposeful life.

Bryan- speech pathologist

Bryan Mak

Speech Pathologist

Since graduating as a Speech Pathologist in 2015, Bryan has been supporting the members of multiple rural communities in NSW. As a enthusiastic advocate for people’s right to communicate despite any barriers from their disabilities or geographical isolation, he developed an interests in area of Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC). Bryan moved to Brisbane in March 2020. While half of the city may be shutting down, he brought along his growing passion in various AAC strategies and ten pounds of “resilience” to LifeTec. So he could continue supporting his clients to communicate whatever, whenever and with whoever they want.

Chris- home maintenance officer

Chris Beckett

Home Maintenance Officer

Chris has been employed with LifeTec as a Home Maintenance Officer with the CHSP Team since 2018.  Since earning his trade he has worked extensively in the home maintenance sector, at one time owning his own small business specializing in fire safety systems.  In his position with LifeTec, Chris draws on his experience and skills to find practical solutions to allow people to remain independent in their homes.  From installing grab rails and fixing door locks to replacing smoke alarm batteries and fitting handheld showers, there is nothing that Chris can’t turn his hand to.  Chris’s dedication and passion for helping seniors and people living with disabilities drives him to be the best he can be and he enjoys being able to make a difference in people’s lives.

Claire- speech pathologist

Claire Dunn

Speech Pathologist

Claire graduated with a Bachelor of Speech Pathology from the University of Queensland in 2010. Over the past 10 years she has worked in the public, not-for-profit, and private sectors with people of all ages, across the continuum of care. Claire passionately believes that every person has the right to spontaneous, independent communication. She has completed PODD introductory and alternate access training, LAMP training, attended AGOSCI and ISAAC conferences, and has presented at the Rehab for Kids (2017, 2019) and MASS Assistive Technology Conferences (2017). Claire enjoys working collaboratively with clients and their support network, together navigating the complex process of acquiring and implementing AAC.

Emma- speech pathologist

Emma Zeng

Speech Pathologist

Emma is passionate about using a person-centred approach to support AAC users increase participation. Emma looks forward to a society that is readily accessible for those with complex communication needs, by engaging in work that promotes awareness, understanding, and acceptance of AAC.  Emma graduated with a Bachelor of Speech Pathology (Hons) from the University of Queensland, and has worked in public, not-for-profit, and private sectors. Currently, Emma works at LifeTec (Brisbane) where she enjoys supporting adults and children to develop or re-gain communication independence using AAC.

Hannah- occupational therapist

Hannah Smit

Occupational Therapist

Hannah graduated with a Bachelor of Occupational Therapy in New Zealand and then moved to the UK where she developed her love for supporting people of all ages and abilities, living in the community. This involved minor and major home modifications and simple and complex assistive technology. Since moving to Australia, and more recently joining the LifeTec Team, Hannah has really developed a passion for assisting older people to retain their independence, in their own homes, for as long as possible.

Jasmin- occupational therapist

Jasmin Murphy

Occupational Therapist

Since graduating with a Bachelor of Occupational Therapy from the University of the Sunshine Coast in 2015, Jasmin has worked extensively with in Aged Care Sector. Jasmin has a strong passion for using her professional knowledge and skills to help the elder population achieve their goals and remain independent in their home and community. Since joining the Lifetec team in February 2020, Jasmin has witnessed the positive impacts that correctly prescribed assistive technology solutions can have on individual’s quality of life and is thoroughly looking forward to expanding her knowledge of assistive technology.

Jennifer- occupational therapist

Jennifer Poppe

Occupational Therapist

Jennifer trained as an occupational therapist at the University of Queensland and has been solving complex everyday problems with people who have a disability for over a decade. She loves a challenge and enjoys a wide variety of occupational therapy work, including wheelchairs and positioning, accessible vehicles, home control and automation, specialised access to technology, and aids for daily living. Jennifer has a special interest in supporting people to access computers for work, education and of course for fun! Her expertise has been acknowledged through invitations to present at professional events as well as many repeat referrals from happy clients.

Katherine- assistive technology officer

Katherine Shield

Assistive Technology Officer

Katherine is an experienced Administration professional with a background in both the community and health care sectors. She has recently joined the staff on a full-time basis to provide ongoing admin support to our health professionals in Brisbane, Townsville and Cairns. Katherine is passionate about helping people and is proud to be part of LifeTec’s dedicated allied health team.

katrina- occupational therapist

Katrina Szymanski

Occupational Therapist

Katrina has freshly joined the LifeTec family in 2021 after finalising her studies at James Cook University in 2020. Through her student experiences she was exposed to areas such as home modifications, assistive technology and community care and has found a passion in working in these fields and gaining more expertise from the plethora of health professionals working within LifeTec. Katrina brings with her strong interpersonal skills from years in the health and mindfulness industries and is excited to work together with people from all backgrounds and abilities in discovering the possibilities and goals through the “Imagine Seek Choose Live” pathway that guides LifeTec’s comprehensive circle of support.

Kelly Nolan

Finance Officer

Kelly joined our administration and finance team in 2017. She started work on our front reception helping clients to find the information they need. She has since transtioned into her role as finance officer and manages all invoicing and general accounts for our staff.

Lindsay- assistive technology officer

Lindsay Nott

Assistive Technology Officer

Since commencing work at LifeTec in 2001, Lindsay has gained an extensive knowledge and brings a lived experience that assists in his reception work. Over the years, Lindsay has assisted in numerous workshops, student education sessions and trade displays in Brisbane. Lindsay enjoys sharing his unique knowledge with clients and staff. The best part is of his job is seeing a client receive the correct equipment, that will change their daily activities.

Louise- assistive technology officer

Louis Charity

Assistive Technology Officer

Louise has been with Lifetec since 2018, having worked within the disability, aged care and Assistive Technology sectors for the past 10 years she has developed a wide knowledge base across mutiple funding bodies. She has a particular interest in Assistive Technology and how it can help individuals to get the most out of life.

Matthew- occupational therapist

Matthew Goyne

Occupational Therapist

Graduating in 2010 from the University of Queensland with a Masters of Occupational Therapy Studies, Matthew has spent 10 years in assstive technology prescription at LifeTec assisting clients achieve their goals including both through the NDIS scheme and currently through the Short Term Restorative Care program. Through this program, Matthew assists older Australians to participate more safely and independently at home and in the community through collaborative equipment prescription. Matthew has a particular interest in finding assitive technology solutions for clients with vision loss and memory loss.

Michelle- speech pathologist

Michelle Swinburn

Speech Pathologist

Michelle has been working in the field of AAC since graduating from James Cook University as a Speech Pathologist in 2017. She enjoys attending professional development in the area of AAC, including training on PODD & LAMP, the 2018 ISAAC conference and webinars on mounting and switch access. Michelle is interested in helping everyone communicate to the best of their ability and is enjoying finding AAC solutions to meet people’s needs that fit the environment they live in, particularly in North Queensland. Michelle enjoys finding creative solutions to combine access, leisure and technology to make communication even more effective.

Mikaela- occupational therapist

Mikaela Kelly-Irvin

Occupational Therapist

Mikaela joined the LifeTec team in September of 2020. Mikaela graduated from James Cook Univeristy in 2018 with a Bachelor of Occupational Therapy. Mikaela has worked as an NDIS registered Occupational Therapist since her graduation and has found her passion in Assistive Technology and Home Modifications. Mikaela has previously worked with those affected by disability, providing ongoing therapeutic intervention for children and completing comprehensive functional capacity assessments for consumers in all age brackets. She enjoys being able to act as an advocate for her clients and provide them with effective Occupational Therapy services to enable them to achieve their goals.

LifeTec Headshots - Arceili Niocena

Arceili Niocena

Occupational Therapist

Arceili graduated from Auckland University of Technology in 2015 with a Bachelor of Occupational Therapy. She has had 6 years of clinical experience in geriatric rehabilitation in Singapore, NDIS sector, residential and community aged care in Australia. Arceili joined LifeTec in 2021 after discovering her passion in the Assistive Technology sector. She enjoys working with people from all backgrounds and assisting them to achieve their goals. In her spare time, Arceili likes to crochet, garden, bake and travel.

LifeTec Headshots - Alisha Herbst-

Alisha Herbst

Occupational Therapist

Since graduating with a Bachelor of Occupational Therapy (Hons) from the University of Queensland in 2017, Alisha has worked in both Aged Care and NDIS sectors. Alisha has previously provided ongoing therapeutic intervention, equipment prescription and completed comprehensive Functional Capacity Assessments for consumers of all ages. Since working at LifeTec, Alisha has found a passion for Assistive Technology and Complex Home Modifications. Alisha enjoys collaboratively working with participants and their families to find the most appropriate, safe, evidence based and functional solution that will meet their needs and goals. In her spare time, Alisha likes to spend time with family and friends, and enjoys outdoor activities such as camping.

LifeTec Headshots - Jacqui Appleton

Jacqui Appleton

Reception/ Administration Assistant

Jacqui joined our team in May 2021 as front reception and AAC administration support officer to the Speech Pathologist team in Brisbane and Cairns. She has over 25 years of customer service in assisting clients face to face and over the phone. She is an experience administration officers and has a Diploma of Government.