Michael Forbes


Michael Forbes is a Fire Investigator attached to the Fire Investigation and Research Unit of Fire & Rescue New South Wales, with responsbilities to research and investigate the cause of specified fires to reduce the impact of fire on the community and to provide expert evidence for legal proceedings.

Michael has held the position of President since 2014.

Alexander Visotin

Senior Vice President

Alexander is the laboratory manager at GKA Investigations Group, a private fire investigation firm based in Sydney. He is involved in all aspects of fire investigation, from scene examination to laboratory analysis and research. Alexander has presented his research at symposia around Australia and has published original research articles in the Australian Journal of Forensic Sciences.

Alexander has held the position of Senior Vice President since 2017, Merchandise Officer since 2018, and Webmaster since 2016.

Barry Sutherland

Junior Vice President

Barry has held the position of Junior Vice President since 2017.

Robert McKay


Robert (Bob) McKay is the managing director of McKay Investigation & Forensic Services. Whilst the company's primary focus is on heavy vehicle collision, fire and theft claims, they also receive instructions in dust diseases and liability claims. Robert performs forensic fire examinations of heavy vehicles, plant & equipment and prepares expert opinion reports. Robert is an IAAI-certified Fire Investigation Technician.

Robert has held the position of Secretary since 2016.

Taylor Pallaton


Taylor is a semi-retired criminalist, fire investigator, profiler, and has worked in the fire and other industries for over 30 years. Taylor has graduated with Honours in Criminology from the Universities of Western Sydney & Newcastle, as well as studied Law.  Taylor has also studied other relevant courses in Australia and the USA. Taylor has presented and written a number of papers and lectures from Arson Profiling to Crime Presentation to Business Crime. Taylor has been involved with a number of Committee roles over the years including legal, compliance, and accounting.

Taylor has held the position of Treasurer since 2006.

Mark Pellegrino

Education Officer

Mark is a Senior Forensic Fire Examiner at GKA Investigations Group, a private fire investigation firm based in Sydney. Mark has examined over 700 fires involving structures, motor vehicles, machinery, and watercraft. Mark incorporates his commercial and residential building knowledge, car enthusiast background, and forensic science qualifications into his fire examinations, and provides origin and cause determinations for the insurance industry and related stakeholders such as Police and the Coroner.

Mark has held the position of Education Officer since 2018.

Stephen Apps

Committee Member

Stephen retired from Fire & Rescue NSW in 2015 after thirteen years in the Fire Investigation and Research Unit. He now works in a private capacity as a fire scene consultant.

Mark Hamilton

Committee Member

Mark Hamilton is a Detective for the New South Wales Police Force with 20 years experience. He currently works in the Property Crime Squad - Arson Unit and has been involved in the investigation of numerous fire investigations (structural and bushfire) including the Quakers Hill Nursing Home fire in 2011, the  Rozelle convenience fire in 2014 and the Warrambungle National Park Bushfire in 2013. Mark holds a Bachelor of Policing qualification and recently completed his Master of Arts (Fire Investigation) at CSU.

Sonia Scott

Committee Member

Sonia is currently a Fire Investigator with Fire Forensics Pty Ltd providing origin and cause determinations for the insurance industry and other relevant stakeholders. She was previously a Crime Scene Officer within Fingerprint Operations and Evidence Recovery Unit at NSW Police Force Forensic Evidence and Technical Services Command, a Director of the Australian Institute of Forensic Fire Investigation Pty Ltd, and for a number of years, she was a Casual Academic at the University of Technology Sydney teaching a range of chemistry and forensic science subjects.

Wayne Schweickle

Committee Member

Vicky Thavapalan

Committee Member


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