Nathan Ross addressing the crowd at Ventia's Reconciliation Action Plan launch at our Cremorne office.

A wealth of life experience and love of a good yarn eventually led Nathan to Ventia where he’s now helping build the indigenous economy and enrich the lives of First Nations people, families and communities.  

For Ventia’s Nathan Ross, wealth means more than just dollars. It’s about building up his community in a way that lives on, setting up a legacy for generations of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to come.

Nathan, a Wakka Wakka & Wulgurukaba man living on Dharug Ngurra land in Western Sydney, is a proud husband and dad to three kids - two boys and a girl aged 17, 14, and 11. His journey has been diverse, starting with a decade in the Australian Navy as an electronic weapons technician. Post-navy life led him through roles with companies like Broadspectrum Australia, Leighton Contractors, Chevron, and Transport for NSW.

Sport was Nathan’s thing growing up, especially rugby. But after a stint at UNSW studying Sports Science, he realised it wasn’t his path. Following his father’s footsteps, he enlisted in the navy.

In the navy, Nathan worked with everything from communication gear to navigation equipment, eventually specialising in electronic weapons aboard patrol boats like HMAS Fremantle and HMAS Warrnambool, in addition to Landing Ship HMAS Tobruk and HMAS Westralia. His service included supporting Australia’s mission in East Timor.

Life took a turn when, now married, a rugby injury coincided with his soon-to-be fatherhood, nudging him out of the navy and into a role with Broadspectrum. His knack for people management soon saw him in senior safety roles across Australia, from Perth to Gladstone and MacKay mines to being a FIFO Marine Safety Manager off the North West Shelf, and finally back to Sydney running his own consultancy.

A casual yarn with an old mate landed him a position with Ventia, despite not actively job hunting.

Pictured: Byron Davis General Manager - Indigenous Affairs (R) and Nathan Ross Indigenous Affairs Manager (L).

Since 2023, Nathan says “I’ve been pouring my energy into Ventia, leveraging my passion for my people and culture to boost opportunities for Aboriginal businesses by strengthening Ventia’s supply chain through diversity, with a focus on breaking the cycle of economic disparity among Indigenous Australians.”

It's not just about money; it's about bolstering the social economy - education, culture, health, and resilience

“These can rewrite the narrative of neglect that First Nations communities still struggle with.”

Nathan points out that “since colonisation, Indigenous people have been denied opportunities to build wealth. Over the years, many have had jobs such as stockmen, paid in food and shelter, which didn’t pave the way for generational prosperity."

"But it’s more than financial," he continues, "for the stolen generations, they’ve had their identity stolen. Many do not have family trees to refer back to or stories passed down to them from grandparents or parents. There’s nothing to connect them with their heritage and help them understand why they are the way they are and more deeply how their story started”.

“I see Ventia as part of the solution but acknowledge we're just a piece of the puzzle."

Events like NAIDOC Week, with this year's theme Keep the fire burning. Blak loud and proud, are crucial in rallying awareness and understanding among Australians to make a lasting difference

Members of Team Ventia pictured at Karratha High School for our Reconciliation Action Plan launch.

Nathan says he’s proud to work for a company that was the first essential services organisation to launch a RAP in 2009 and one that is aiming to deliver 6% indigenous participation across the business. Currently Ventia spends $122 million with First Nations businesses annually. But he says that it’s not where you start, it’s where you finish. 

“I encourage everyone to help keep the fire burning this NAIDOC week.  Read a book about First Nations culture, take a history walk, listen to a TED talk   get involved in some of the NAIDOC Week events  or have a yarn with an indigenous elder, mate or colleague and ask them about how they feel.”

Together as a company and broader community, with people at the heart of our success, Nathan believes we can all contribute to strengthen belonging and build lasting wealth for Indigenous people and their families.