Meet Our Team

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As DWS Hospitality Services moves in 2021 we have now been trusted in business for the last 28 years.  Our team brings expansive knowledge, experience and solutions to our clients.  With new and existing faces, we would like to take the opportunity to introduce the people that make us so successful.

John Dickson, Chairman & Principal Consultant

John is the founder of DWS, having grown the business significantly since its inception as John Dickson Strategies in 1994. He has over 40 years of experience in the hospitality and leisure sectors in senior management and consulting roles. John specialises in the areas of strategic planning, corporate governance, business structure and workshop and training facilitation. John holds the following qualifications and industry associations:

  • Bachelor of Business with Distinction
  • Fellow of Australian Institute of Management
  • Fellow of The Catering Institute of Australia

Before establishing DWS, John was the founding Managing Director of one of Australia’s most successful clubs, The Brisbane Polo Club.  Other senior managerial roles include management of the Power Group of hotels, responsibility for the catering operations at the Melbourne Cricket Ground and Club Manager at the Brisbane Lions.

Since establishing the consulting business, it has grown from a small team of two consultants to a strong strong with links and associations to the hospitality, leisure and tourism sectors. John is highly acknowledged as an industry leader and is actively involved in advising business and other senior level personnel on key issues. Key career achievements include:

  • Established CTA Training Specialists, a registered training organisation with over 30 employees.
  • Service to Industry award 2015 Keno and Clubs Queensland Awards for Excellence.
  • Voted General Manager of the Year at the 1997 Queensland club industry awards.
  • Appointed by the Queensland Government to produce the Business Assistance Tool Kit for the tourism and hospitality sector.
  • Appointed by the Queensland Licensing Division to deliver mandatory training.
Contact John on 0417 721 942 or

Michael Blong, Licensing Senior Consultant

As our Senior Consultant Michael brings extensive licensing and hospitality experience to DWS clients. Having spent nine years as an investigator with the Queensland Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation (OLGR), Michael offers superior knowledge of the liquor and gaming regulatory environment and the ability to offer in-depth advice to clients on a range of complex regulatory, compliance and training concerns.

Michael also has considerable experience in the hospitality industry growing up and working with his publican parents who managed hotels throughout New Zealand and he also worked in hospitality venues in the UK, during a ‘sabbatical’ from the NZP.   During his service with the NZ Police, Michael was the OIC of a Police Unit responsible for policing licensed venues.  This varied hospitality experience, together with having been the owner/operator of his own small businesses (while employed with NZP and afterwards) ensures that he has an empathic understanding of the vagaries of business and legislative requirements and obligations.   It also allows Michael to consider matters from “both sides” of the regulatory fence.

During his time with the NZP, Michael also developed a strong background in training and recruitment, having developed and coordinated a number of educational programs delivered to policing and allied departments.

Michael is a qualified trainer and assessor and has a Diploma in New Zealand Policing as well as qualifications in management, recruitment and prosecutions.

Contact Michael 0458 464 444 or

Aaron Bray, General Manager CTA Training Specialists

Aaron’s intimate knowledge of training and development comes from not only his position as General Manager of CTA Training Specialists for the last 7 years, but also as a key consultant for DWS Hospitality Specialists.  Aaron uses his 16 years of high-level management experience within the hospitality industry as well as his extensive career in hotel and resort management, operations, food and beverage and sales to provide knowledgeable training and development advice to clients.

Aaron currently holds a Diploma in Hospitality Management and is an undergraduate of a Bachelor’s in International Hotel and Tourism Management.  Through his time in the industry, he has forged strong client partnerships in government, private business and the hospitality training and staff development sector. Aaron has held key appointments at the Hilton International, MIRVAC hotels and resorts, Walker Corporation and Troon Golf.

Contact Aaron on 0447 464 333 or

Michelle Pitman, Work Health, Safety & Compliance Advisor

A highly qualified advisor, Michelle brings with her 20+ years of experience in safety and compliance.  With experience spanning multiple industries including hospitality, construction, mining, environmental services, large municipalities and amusement centres, Michelle will bring fresh ideas and a breadth of knowledge to the role.
Her qualifications include:
– Diploma in OHS and Management
– Lead Auditor for QHSE systems
– Cert IV in Training and Assessment & Fire Safety Advisor

A motivated, passionate and hardworking consultant, Michelle easily understands and interprets the relevant rules and legislation to assist with safety and compliance issues that may arise in any workplace.

Contact Michelle on 0401 014 619 or

Maycon Gripp, Research Consultant

Maycon is a Research Consultant with 15+ years’ experience crossing multiple industries, including hospitality, telecommunications, and textile.  His expertise is in statistical analytics, business development, database development and management, inventory control, feasibility studies and project management.  Assisting many organisations to better understand their business, Maycon provides significant statistical and analytical advice to the DWS consulting team.

Hands on experience in business administration, and a substantial involvement with hospitality chains throughout Queensland, has given Maycon a practical insight into the operation of the hospitality industry which he finds insightful when applying his academic knowledge to business. Maycon’s qualifications include a Bachelor of Business and tertiary qualifications in Marketing and International Trade.|

Contact Maycon on 0428 212 043 or

Nicholas Edds, Senior Consultant

Nicholas is a Consultant with 10+ years’ experience across a number of departments including National Sales & Accounts Management, Human Resources, Operations, Procurement and Supply Chain within national and multinational companies involved in hospitality, franchising and manufacturing sectors. His expertise lies in collating and analysing quantitative and qualitative data to identify areas of improvement and collaborating with stakeholders to deliver measurable business outcomes through the development and implementation of business strategies, policy and procedure framework, financial analysis, and project management.

Having worked across a variety of disciplines and industries and prior experience in leading high performing business units, Nicholas has given rounded and considered business insights when applying his Bachelor of Business to assist business in achieving their short, medium and long-term strategic business goals.

Contact Nicholas on 0487 765 499 or

Karen Miles, Projects Manager

Karen has been with DWS for over eighteen years, learning all aspects of the business by working in a variety of roles including Executive PA, Office Manager, Consultant and Training Administration Manager.  Over the years she has been involved in research and analysis in major DWS projects specialising in liquor and gaming licencing, community impact assessments, strategic and operational plans and reviews, mystery shopping and various research projects.

Previously Karen worked in an accountancy firm for over 13 years where she supported the accountancy team, starting as an Office Trainee and working up to Office Manager.  Karen’s skills and experience in analysing data were gained during her time at the Irish Tourist Board where she was involved with the administration of tourism grants.

Contact Karen on 3878 9355 or

Rebecca Carter, Group Marketing Manager & Specialist Consultant

An innovative and insightful Marketing and Brand Manager, Rebecca brings over 15 years’ experience to DWS Hospitality Specialists having worked over a broad range of industries including finance, retail, publishing, hospitality and leisure.

Her expertise is in the technical, conceptual, and content development of marketing strategies. With experience in both national and local area marketing for both venues and business, Rebecca brings a deep understanding of end-to-end marketing, market conditions and customer demands.

Contact Rebecca on 0407 464 303 or

The DWS Team are looking forward to working with our clients both current and new in 2021. For general enquiries please contact us 07 3878 9355

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