Events Best Series

The Business Excellence Series in the Tropics ('Best') is brought to you by James Cook University.


Featuring guest speakers Nic Marchesi & Lucas Patchett

Tuesday 24 October 2017
6:15am to 8:30am 
Ballroom, The Ville Resort & Casino, Townsville


At the age of 20, best mates Nic Marchesi and Lucas Patchett built a free mobile laundry in their old van to help the homeless. Orange Sky began in October 2014 and since then, this world-first idea has rapidly expanded to 14 locations across Australia.

Run by more than 950 volunteers, the custom-fitted vans with two commercial washing machines and two dryers service 142 locations and wash more than 6,000 kgs of laundry every week for their homeless friends. More importantly, Orange Sky facilitates over 1300 hours of volunteering and conversations each week.

In January 2016, Nic and Lucas were honoured as the first ever dual recipients of the Young Australian of the Year Award. They have also been named QLD Young Achievers of the Year, and finalists for the Telstra Business Awards, AIM Leadership Excellence Awards and Brisbane Young Entrepreneur of the Year Awards.

Join Nic and Lucas over breakfast as they share their inspiring journey into social entrepreneurship. Learn how to grow an idea into a reality through innovation, creativity and passion for a cause.

JCU is proud to support Orange Sky Laundry and will be donating $5 from every ticket sold towards a new hybrid service for Townsville.

This event is proudly sponsored by:

About 'Best'

'Best' features a series of presentations by prominent community, industry and government leaders who share their knowledge and experience on a range of topical themes, issues, challenges and trends.

Best' engages a high calibre of speakers, recognized both nationally and internationally. 'Best' provides a unique opportunity for business networking and keeps you up to date with the latest developments at JCU.

Who attends 'Best'?

These events are always well attended by prominent regional business leaders, high ranking Defense personnel, regional political and public figures and interested members of the general public, business community and education sector.

Features and format

Each 'Best' event is held over breakfast and features a keynote presentation, followed by a panel discussion with the guest speaker and local industry leaders. 'Best' events are held twice a year in Townsville with events held around May/June and October/November each year.

Previous speakers


  • Holly Ransom - CEO, Emergent


  • Mia Freedman - Co-founder of Mamamia Women's Network
  • Lieutenant General David Morrison AO - Australian of the Year 2016


  • The Hon. Tim Fischer AC - Former Australian Deputy Prime Minister
  • Ita Buttrose - Australian journalist, businesswoman, television personality and author


  • Kristina Keneally - former Australian politician
  • Phil Ruthven - founder and director of IBISWorld, an international corporation providing online business information, forecasting and strategic services


  • Jeff Kennett - former Australian politician who was the 43rd Premier of Victoria and a current media commentator
  • Tom Potter - founder of pizza chain Eagle Boys


  • Bob Ansett - founded the Budget Rent A Car System


For more information about 'Best' please contact the JCU Events team by emailing

*James Cook University reserves the right to alter venue locations without notice.