Sustainable business focus for Orange Sky leader

Published:

NOTE: This article is older than 12 months
Michael Duggan and family

An organisation that provides regular laundry and shower services for people experiencing homelessness has appointed a USC graduate to lead its operations around Australia and New Zealand. 

Orange Sky Australia appointed Michael Duggan as Chief Operating Officer to lead the organisation in 22 locations, involving over 2000 volunteers every week including a busy service on the Sunshine Coast. He is now based at the organisation’s headquarters in Brisbane. 

Dr Duggan, of Upper Kedron, completed a PhD at USC’s Sustainability Research Centre via remote study from Gladstone, and graduated in 2016.  Dr Duggan’s goal post-graduation was to transition from over 15 years of work in consulting and working as an operational and sustainability leader in the resources and energy sectors, to a role in the social impact focused, not-for-profit sector.

He was immediately impressed by the positive impact Orange Sky had made on the lives of thousands of vulnerable people and knew his sustainable and operational business skills could help expand the organisation. 

What started in 2014 as an idea to improve hygiene standards and restore dignity to people doing it tough had already evolved into a safe and supportive environment for those who often feel ignored or disconnected from the community.

“The organisation is built around the goal of positively connecting communities,” Dr Duggan said.

“The most important part of our work, more important than the washers and showers our volunteers provide, is that we travel around in our vans with six orange chairs and it is on these chairs that we connect through non-judgemental conversation with our friends on the street.”

“All Orange Sky employees go out on shifts and spend time connecting with friends, service providers and other stakeholders.”

Dr Duggan said shared employee values bound the team together strongly and helped them make collective decisions for success.

“A lot of strong, successful organisations these days are really considering their unique set of collective values and how that enhances the social capital of their organisation. It’s a fascinating space,” he said.

Dr Duggan chose to study at USC because it offered the closest personal and cultural fit to his values of sustainability and social responsibility, and he “just clicked” with his supervisors Professor Tim Smith and Associate Professor Dana Thomsen.

“In 2007 when I began, I wanted to be sure the fit was right. I spoke to different supervisors at different universities and USC was the one that really ticked all the boxes,” he said.

His thesis was called ‘Scaling up, scaling out, and scaling in: Facilitating effective Education for Sustainability through a Decentralised Global Network.

Dr Duggan, who is also a passionate trail runner and the current president of the Trail Running Association of Queensland, said completing a PhD over seven years while having a family and a full-time job was akin to running a 100km ultramarathon.

“It takes a level of discipline. You have to learn how to walk, because you can’t run up every mountain in a long race,” he said.

Originally from Canada, Dr Duggan moved to Brisbane in 1999 and met his now wife from Townsville. Their children are now seven and 10. 
 

 
Business Business & Economy Community University & TAFE
Social:   

University Of The Sunshine Coast : View Full Profile
90 Sippy Downs Drive, Sippy Downs
07 5430 1234
University Of The Sunshine Coast
Showing 10+ recent articles for this business
Hashtag yoga: Study into effects of Instagram images on women 24 November 2020 | A lack of diversity in social media depictions of yoga has prompted a USC researcher to begin a study into the effect this might have on women’s body image and participation in yoga. More information...
Study: Who’s stealing the spanner crabs? 25 November 2020 | A USC study will determine if sharks are wrongly getting a bad rap for taking a bite out of Australia’s commercial spanner crab industry. More information...
High-tech sandbox to help farmers, USC students visualise water flow on land 23 November 2020 | It’s colourful, tactile and full of sand, but this box built by a USC Civil Engineering Honours student is far from a children’s toy. More information...
USC leads research into stocks of popular eating fish 12 November 2020 | Recreational and commercial fishers are being asked to play their part in important marine research by keeping an eye out for mahi mahi off the southern Queensland coastline that are sporting long orange ribbon... More information...
Anthology shines light on Creative Writing graduate 16 November 2020 | A USC 2018 Master’s graduate has taken her fascination with lighthouses to the next level as both editor and contributor to a newly published anthology focused on her favourite subject. More information...
Business leader is Outstanding Alumnus for 2020 15 October 2020 | Colin Vale of Caloundra, who graduated with a Master of Business Administration from the University in 2010 while leading the Anitua Group on Lihir Island in PNG, was among four winners announced today. More information...
USC social media class trends at Aus/NZ awards 14 October 2020 | The likes and positive comments are flowing for USC’s Social Media degree program after it gained high recognition at the 2020 Australian and New Zealand Social Media Marketing Awards. More information...
83% bushfire survival of endangered macadamia: USC research 01 October 2020 | USC-led research in Bulburin National Park, between Bundaberg and Gladstone, has recorded 83 percent survival of the wild population of an endangered native macadamia nut plant, following the 2019-20 summer... More information...
Research finds new way to help frail older people 30 September 2020 | A $6.9 million global research project involving USC as the only Australian partner has developed a new monitoring and intervention system to slow or even reverse the progression of frailty among older adults. More information...
Blue carbon focus for ocean-loving world champion 24 September 2020 | The coronavirus pandemic may have upset world champion stand-up paddleboarder Brianna Orams’ plans to compete in the sport’s 2020 Euro Tour – but the USC Environmental Science student refuses to see it as a... More information...


comments powered by Disqus

All articles submitted by third parties or written by My Sunshine Coast come under our Disclaimer / Terms of Service