A lifetime in the horticultural industry, championing the macadamia industry in particular, was the chosen path for 1963 Queensland Diploma of Horticulture graduate, Russell Stephenson.

At the completion of his studies at QAC, Russell gained a Bachelor of Agricultural Science from UQ St Lucia in 1968, to be followed in 1974 by a PhD for research into soybeans.

Since then, he has moved seamlessly between academic life, Government and industry research, as well as the more applied discipline of extension and liaison with industry.

Much of this work has been during his tenure at the Maroochy Horticultural Research Station, where today he is the senior principal horticulturist practising his skills in management, teamwork and multi-disciplinary research and development.

Russell has also had broad experience in the national and international sphere of horticultural production working with, and visiting people from the Philippines, India, Sri Lanka, South Africa, Hawaii, Fiji, Costa Rica, Brazil and Pacific Island communities.

Some of this work has involved the promotion of macadamia production in countries such as Fiji, Hawaii, South Africa and Malawi.

Overseas postings saw him take up the position of Post Doctoral Fellow at the University of Georgia in the US and later as a lecturer and Dean of Agriculture at the University of Papua New Guinea, and subsequently appointed an Honorary Professor of South China Agricultural University.

His broad experience and major achievements are ably backed by his contribution to community and society, which included service in Army Reserve attaining the rank of major and commander of A Company 9RQR which earned him the Army Reserve Force Medal.

Russell has also had a long term involvement with the Nambour State School and High School P&C Committees, as well as the local pony club.
His long term involvement in the Rotary Club of Nambour saw him chair the Rotary Youth Exchange program in 1999–2001 and 2008– 2011, as well as chairing the Rotary Interact program for school children in 2011–2012.