Dr John Chappell is the CEO of Scitech. His job is to lead, oversee and manage all aspects of Scitech, including strategy, day to day management and delivering on Scitech’s mission of increasing awareness, interest, capability and participation by all Western Australians in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. He understands that every successful organisation is built on a team of passionate, dedicated and talented people, with one important aim, to create an environment where talent can be nurtured and people can be successful.
With a doctorate in chemistry from the University of Queensland, the early part of John’s career was as a research chemist in the resources sector which led to metal refining process improvements and development of new nickel and cobalt products for the rechargeable battery industry. He transitioned quickly into senior positions due to his leadership abilities, before taking up at senior role in 2011 with the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS). John became AIMS Chief Operating Officer in 2018 and during his time was responsible for securing new funding, improving organisational safety, developing crucial stakeholder relationships within Government and corporate sectors and delivering organisational and financial success.
John’s passion for science is why he views it as a way of life rather than a vocation and brings scientific thinking to his leadership approach.
As a kid, John had a home chemistry kit, complete with a methylated spirit Bunsen burner. His favourite “experiment” was to sprinkle different chemicals into the flame. One morning he ignited a teaspoon of elemental sulphur, which created a pungent smelling, toxic gas and fire that was difficult to put out. Thankfully no damage was caused, but it was stories like these which inspired John to study science. He was also quick to learn that chemistry kits are best used under supervision.