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Our shared values - leadership,  innovation and integrity. We collaborate with the best expertise - researchers, academics, statisticians, farmers & innovators...Dr Rod Polkinghorne OAM

Our Team

Dr Rod Polkinghorne OAM
Founder and Principal

Rod is an outstanding industry visionary and leader as recognised in multiple awards including an Order of Australia medal for services to the beef industry and Honorary Doctorate from Murdoch University. He is a pioneer of the Australian feedlot industry,  a leading innovator in the Australian dairy industry with marketing of specialty ultra-filtered milk and intensive production and a leader of consumer based beef grading research for over 20 years.

Ms Judy Philpott 

Judy has extensive experience at both on farm and research level working primarily in the field of eating quality research over the last 20 years including co-ordination of major projects, establishment and management of database functions, data management, field work, co-ordination of teams and project delivery and reporting.Prior to this as a foundation member of the MSA research team in 1995 she managed all the MSA database functions. 

Dr Garth Tarr 

Garth is a lecturer in Statistics and Data Science at the University of Sydney. He has a PhD in Mathematical Statistics specialising in robust statistics and model selection, both of which are ideal matches for working with high-dimensional, complex data resulting from agricultural experiments. He is the statistical and methodological advisor on Meat Standards Australia Pathways Committee.

Dr Holly Cuthbertson

Holly is one of Birkenwood’s newest team members. She has a Doctorate in Animal Health and Welfare and a Degree in Animal and Veterinary Bioscience. Holly’s Doctorate investigated the potential use of infrared thermography to detect stress in cattle and determine the effect on overall eating quality in beef. Beyond Holly’s study of interest, she is also an accredited MSA grader, had training as an Animal Welfare Auditor, completed a Beef Specification course and is also competent in statistical analysis. Holly’s is passionate about enhancing and promoting the beef industry across the entire supply chain and brings an exciting new perspective to the Birkenwood team.

Dr Alix Neveu

Alix was raised on a farm family with suckler cows in the center of France near Clermont-Ferrand, she completed her Bachelor degree at Amiens in 2016. Alix became interested in meat processing and meat quality. This led to Alix completing a 6 months internship in Australia where she participated in a wide range of research and general activities. Alix went on to study for a further 3 years at the Agricultural University of Toulouse completing a higher degree, ingénieur agronome, while working for a beef processor as a Project Manager. Alix is also an accredited grader and is working on the  international projects in beef eating quality.

Pam Seccombe.jpg
Pam Seccombe

Pam is an experienced marketing consultant, executive coach & facilitator. She teams with clients to maximise their business success by developing and leveraging their branding – through her three part model of  “the total customer experience”; the brand promise, the customer experience or “moments of truth” and customer dialogue - and the absolute necessity to have consistency across all three. She also works to create a culture of performance, accountability and service. Her career spans senior customer-focused marketing roles across a variety of industries and companies including Apple Computer and Microsoft in the ICT sector.  Pam’s qualifications include a bachelor’s Degree in commerce (Marketing) from University of NSW and a graduate of the Apple Computer Senior General Management program from INSEAD, Fontainebleau, France.

Professor Ray Watson


Retired Professor of Mathematics and Statistics at the University of Melbourne – a renowned statistician of international standing and responsible for all MSA statistical analysis and development of the MSA Prediction model.

Mary Rooke

Consumer Testing

Mary is a biochemist who has also worked in MSA research since 1988. She has a particular interest in the conduct of consumer panels, development of protocols, and analysis of results. he has been activiely involved in abattoir based activity including process survey work with emphasis in pH and temperature relationships.

Professor John Thompson

Meat Science

A leading Australian meat scientist recently retired from the University of New England, John has been actively involved in MSA research and application since 1996 and was a key scientist in the Beef Cooperative Research Centre (CRC). 

Full Profile

Stuart Hume

IT Specialist

Stuart is an IT specialist who was the principal software developer and manager of the Australian NLIS electronic animal ID and movement database. He spent time in the UK developing an electronic livestock identification system and is the developer of the Birkenwood software system. Full Profile

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