Remembering Jennifer Bates

Jennifer Bates, a much-loved BZE volunteer, was killed in a tragic accident on 14 December.

Jen was a long-standing BZE supporter who started volunteering with us three years ago. Earlier this year she became coordinator of BZE Team Newcastle, helping it become one of our most active national teams. As coordinator, Jen organised two very successful launch events, and only last week was arranging other speaking opportunities for BZE.

BZE’s Acting CEO, Michael Lord, said:

“We have been deeply moved by the many tributes we have received from Jen’s friends and admirers. We are very grateful to Jen for all her hard work to make a difference in the community and in the wider world. All of us at BZE will miss her greatly. Our thoughts and deepest sympathy go out to Jen’s husband Jordi, family and friends”.

Jen was a trained architect and a senior project manager for NSW Public Works Advisory.

In that role she helped to reduce the government’s environmental footprint, proposing and implementing emissions reduction initiatives for new buildings. Her colleagues saw her as a shining star dedicated to public service, and last year she was presented with a Women in Building Recognition Award by the Master Builders Association.

Despite their immense grief Jen’s family have already begun to consider her legacy, and asked BZE to dedicate our existing crowdfunding campaign to Jen. We are extremely honoured by this request and by the opportunity to contribute to Jen’s legacy through this work.


Since Jen’s death there has been an outpouring of grief and reflection with articles in newspapers throughout Australia, and many posts on Facebook and Twitter.

John Shiel, fellow BZE Newcastle volunteer, said:

“Jen will be remembered for her gentle ways of attracting like-minded souls to make things happen. She made a big impact in the BZE movement in the last nine months, organising two report launches, a stall at the Living Smart Festival and the electric vehicle symposium at the Electric Vehicle Festival by the University’s Tom Farrell Institute for the Environment. Jen organised events with a minimum of fuss, spreading the load with the help of her large network of friends.”

Drew Varnum, Jen’s manager at NSW Public Works Advisory, said:

“Jen was a damn good public servant – enthusiastic, honest and hard-working, a young leader who paid attention to details others might not think important. She was also always looking for ways to reduce the government’s environmental footprint, whether it be on the projects she managed or within the government properties and leases that we occupied. 

“On a personal note, Jen was a wonderful young lady. She had a beautiful, sensitive soul but a grit and determination to get things done. She loved to have a laugh and had a wicked sense of humour. She was unassuming, selfless to a tee, but with boundless enthusiasm and passion to be involved in our projects, in our office teams, in our social activities, and in her community. In general, she wanted to make a difference to the world around her – with her beloved husband Jordi by her side.”

Steven Bygrave, former CEO of BZE, said:

“Jen was an amazing human being who was passionate about saving the planet and helping others. We met at a conference before she went to Bhutan and on her return volunteered to help BZE. This soon lead to her leading the BZE Newcastle volunteer team. Jen’s energy, enthusiasm and passion was the reason Newcastle had packed audiences for BZE’s launches of both the Renewable Energy Superpower plan and the Electric Vehicles Report. She was extremely caring and kind, looking out for others and never one to grab the spotlight. She was always thinking of ways to get zero carbon solutions implemented. After one of our launches she arranged a teleconference between her employer, NSW Public Works Advisory, and BZE to discuss a rollout of solar PV. Jen’s passing is a huge loss to her friends and family and to the planet.”

This is the SunCrowd-Climate Action Newcastle (CAN) joint venture battery bulk buy deal launch -Jen announced the bulk buy at the Newcastle Renewable Energy Superpower launch and helped co-promote in the local media – it was one of the first bulk-buy deals ever, and went on to be hugely successful!


Here is Jen MC’ing at the fantastic Newcastle Renewable Energy Superpower launch which successfully brought together PV solar supplier HCB Solar, Engineers Australia, 2 politicians, academics and the community.


The Newcastle RESP panel photo shows: Dr Bonnie McBain from University of Newcastle, Maryanne Cantwell the General Manager of HCB Solar, Tim de Grauw the Newcastle President of Engineers Australia, Professor Paul Dastoor from University of Newcastle, Dr John Mackenzie a political candidate for the Greens, Sharon Claydon the Federal Member for Newcastle, and Dr Stephen Bygrave.



By | 2016-12-20T16:22:40+00:00 19 Dec 2016|Team Member|Comments Off on Remembering Jennifer Bates