AIE Executive Team

John De Margheriti

Chairman and CEO

John De Margheriti | Academy of Interactive Entertainment

John is a true entrepreneur, visionary and one of the most motivated and passionate people in the Australian game development industry. After co-founding his game studio Micro Forté Pty Ltd in 1985, John set out to establish a training institution that would specialise in supplying industry ready artists, programmers and developers for emerging creative digital industry.

John did this by establishing the Academy of Interactive Entertainment as the world’s first not for profit educator focused on game development education in 1996. The campus was strategically co-sited with his game studio with a unique work integrated learning model and has been producing top quality, industry ready graduates ever since!

Today, AIE has seven campuses in Canberra, Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide, Seattle, Lafayette and Online. The AIE is now the leading educator for game development, 3D animation and visual effects with its profits focused on its students and not shareholders.

John is also the founder and Chairman of Canberra Technology Park (CTP), the Australian Game Developers Conference (AGDC), and created and sold BigWorld Pty Ltd (the world’s leading Massively Multiplayer Online game middleware company).

John also brought together Australia’s game developers and founded the Game Developers Association of Australia (GDAA) at the inaugural AGDC in 1999, with AIE as its main financial backer until late 2005 when he resigned from the board to focus his energies on expanding BigWorld , the AIE, create coworking spaces for the growing games industry and build an incubator program for AIE’s graduates across Australia. In December 2005, John felt that AGDC was no longer needed as the GDAA had resources to run its own game development conference now know as GCAP. So that is how Australian the games industry was born !

Vicki De Margheriti

CEO

Vicki De Margheriti | Academy of Interactive Entertainment

Vicki has over 35 year’s experience managing companies and facilitating business and industry growth in the games development, 3D animation and visual FX industries. She is the CEO of the Academy of Interactive Entertainment Ltd (AIE) and has been involved in the operations and strategic planning of all of its business units, including Canberra Technology Park (CTP), AIE Incubator, Game Plus, Film Plus, as a Director and Co-founder since its inception.

Vicki is a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and has been a Director on the board of games studio Micro Forté and middleware developer BigWorld. Vicki believes in equipping people with the skills, knowledge and confidence to follow their dreams. She thrives on providing a fun, creative and motivating work environment that is conducive to learning and allowing staff and students to achieve their full potential.

Vicki has seen the AIE grow from a single classroom in partnership with CIT in 1996, to an international success with campuses in Canberra, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Seattle, Lafayette and Online. She looks forward to managing AIE’s future expansion plans and its ongoing contributions to facilitate industry growth in Australia and abroad.

David De Margheriti

Director and COO

David De Margheriti Director and COO | AIE

David has extensive experience in managing companies, particularly in the creative digital industries. David is the co-founder, Director and previous CEO of Dreamgate Studios, an award-winning mobile game development studio. He is also the founder and CEO of Game Plus, a specialised co-working space for game development studios, which is now Australia’s largest non-profit co-working space for game development studios in Australia. Additionally, he is a Director of Dems Entertainment, an Australian independent film production and finance company.

David holds a Bachelor of Commerce from the Australian National University and is a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

As the COO, David is responsible for ensuring organisational requirements are met and optimising the efficiency and effectiveness of the organisation in meeting its objectives.

Karin Thompson

CFO

Karin Thompson CFO | AIEKarin has over 30 years’ experience in financial and management accounting. She holds a Bachelor of Economics from ANU and is a member of the Chartered Accountants of Australia and New Zealand. She joined AIE in 2007 after working for various chartered accounting firms as a Manager and Senior Manager in Business Services.

Karin has been the CFO of AIE since 2009. This role includes overseeing the financial operations of AIE, including preparation of annual and quarterly financial statements and management of payroll, accounts receivable and accounts payable. She also assists the CEO in various aspects of corporate reporting and compliance.

Karin enjoys working with the Executive team to provide staff and learners the best possible experience and outcome.

Neil Boyd

Head of School Sydney and Director of Marketing

Neil Boyd | Academy of Interactive EntertainmentNeil Boyd has a distinguished career in education with AIE and in the NSW public education sector. Neil, a graduate of Sydney University, joined AIE In 2001 teaching the Diploma of Computer Game Development (Art). As Senior Teacher, Neil led the Game Development course, supported AIE's teaching and learning as well as creating new curriculum and resources. This included developing and delivering AIE's first online courses in 2004 along with writing and managing the accreditation of AIE's Advanced Diploma of Professional Game Development in 2006.

Neil became Canberra Head of School in 2006 and established the Sydney campus in November 2008.  As Head of School Sydney, Neil continued to coordinate animation and game art curriculum and managed AIE's national marketing efforts. Neil established AIE's Incubator Program to support the growth of Indie games and animation studios in January 2012.

In 2012, Neil took up the position of Director of Business Development and Marketing to support and further grow the Academy within Australia and internationally.

Neil has also worked as a freelance graphic artist, web developer and game designer and produced games and animation for AIIA, University of Canberra, RAAF, and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Neil has been involved on various boards, including the Game Developers Association of Australia and is an active participant in various state and federal digital media programs.

Lea Michael

Head of School Canberra and Online

Lea Michael Head of School Canberra and Online | AIE

Lea has over 16 years of campus management and educational resource management experience, specialising in Online adaption and facilitation of all levels of courses.

As AIE evolved from a single campus in Canberra to several campuses across Australia, Lea ensured all programming courses were successfully duplicated across to each new campus, maintaining resources and training staff as they joined the teams.

After taking on opening an Online delivery focussed campus for AIE in 2012, Lea has sustained its growth over the years and has facilitated the training of AIE staff across all Campuses to adapt to Online delivery. With the ability to adapt quickly, project manage and focus when challenges arise, Lea manages two very different campuses and sets of staff simultaneously.

Since achieving the top 2% in her classes and gaining a Vice Chancellors award during her Bachelor of Science, Majoring in Computer Science, Lea has continued to maintain her programming and project management passion through contract and personal projects.

Laurie Costabile

Head of School Melbourne

Laurie Costabile | Academy of Interactive EntertainmentLaurie is experienced in all aspects of Educational Management and Leadership with expertise in Information Technology, Computer Science and training implementation. He has influenced curriculum development in the private and public sectors with particular focus on emerging industry trends.

Graduating from Victoria and Melbourne Universities, Laurie worked as a Analyst Programmer with various organisations and was heavily involved in creative industries within the music arena. With over 20 years experience in education, training and the tertiary sector, Laurie has gained extensive knowledge at choice Universities like RMIT, Swinburne, Melbourne, Central Queensland and Victoria Universities occupying various positions such as Head of school of a very large and progressive Business School, an Associate Director of TAFE, Head of a Business IT Department, a Director of VET Programs and as a Senior Manager of Teaching and Learning.

Laurie has also captained a leading privately owned registered training organisation developing strategies and innovative programs in conjunction with industry, international partners and government stake holders. Laurie’s other strengths lie in driving compliance, performance management, developing infrastructure strategies, systems development and organisational structures that embrace future educational and industry trends.

Laurie also takes a leading role in a number of external planning and development working parties and committees developing programs for a variety of leading corporations.

Ann-Maree Davies

Head of School Adelaide

Ann Maree | Head of School AdelaideAfter completing a Degree in Computer Science with a Major in Pure Math, Ann-Maree started teaching Information Technology for TAFESA while completing a Graduate Diploma in Secondary Education. After moving into a teaching role at a prestigious Secondary college in Adelaide, Ann-Maree began her career with AIE in 2012 as a VETiS teacher, delivering the Certificate courses.

After seeing the work being delivered on campus by some of her former students, Ann-Maree joined the Adelaide Campus in 2016 as the Deputy Head of School. Being an avid gamer and seeing the value of real pathways in the sector, this seemed to be a natural progression to work in an amazing industry but maintaining the strong connection with students.

Ann-Maree recently became the Head of School and is eager to continue to grow the Adelaide Campus in the quality of its students education and providing them opportunities in their chosen field of expertise.

Amit Oberoi

AIE Marketing Manager / COO & Co Founder - Games Plus

Amit Oberoi Marketing Manager | AIEAmit has extensive experience in business development, operations and optimisation. Amit is the Co-Founder and Chief Operations Officer for Game Plus, a national co-working space for Game Developers. Additionally, Amit is the Marketing Manager for AIE.

Amit holds a Bachelor of Commerce from The University of Canberra and is a member of The Australian Institute of Company Directors.

As the Marketing Manager for AIE, Amit is responsible for the day to day delivery of the marketing and student recruitment strategy. In addition to his responsibilities at AIE, Amit also oversee’s the daily operations at Game Plus and is primarily focused on overseeing the implementation of new-cowering spaces and innovative business strategy.

Casey Gregory

Manager, Planning and Implementation

Casey Gregory Manager Planning and Implementation | AIECasey has over 18 years event management and executive administration experience. She works within AIE’s executive leadership team to help facilitate the efficient operation and successful implementation of business goals, strategic plans and projects.

Casey originally joined AIE in 2002 as an events co-ordinator in AIE’s events division. She worked primarily on the Australian Game Developer’s Conference (AGDC), an annual conference, tradeshow, academic summit and networking event focusing on the future of games technology, development and design. She also worked on the Canberra Games Festival, a community event that focused on the art, identity and culture of games.

From 2005 to 2012, Casey was employed by Micro Forté Pty Ltd (MF) as John De Margheriti’s Executive Assistant. She played a key organisational support role during his time as concurrent CEO of MF Games Studio; its’ subsidiary, middleware developer BigWorld Pty Ltd; and Executive Chairman of AIE. After BigWorld was acquired in 2012 by Russian based Wargaming.net, makers of the hugely successful World of Tanks, Casey returned to AIE in a newly created projects-based role.

Qualifications

  • B. Tourism Management (Major: Public Relations)
  • Cert IV TAA

Jacqueline McKay

National Facilities Manager

Jacqueline McKay | Academy of Interactive EntertainmentJacqueline has over 13 years’ experience in Project and Property Management within Australia, United States, New Zealand and Asia.

Jacqueline heads up the National Property Team and ensures all of the AIE campus environments are compliant, safe & healthy for the student, staff & visitors. In addition to the Campuses, Jacqueline manages the Canberra Technology Park which houses the National AIE team and works closely alongside the CEO’s to ‘build’ the vision of AIE.

As the National Facilities Manager, Jacqueline is responsible for seeking new Campus locations, fitting out the new space and working with both internal and external parties to create a turn-key solution for AIE.

Previous to joining AIE, Jacqueline worked for Cushman & Wakefield and was contracted to DFAT. Jacqueline was based in Singapore & managed Australian Government owned & leased properties throughout Asia.

Alexandra Mannell

Deputy Head of School Sydney

Alexandra Mannell Deputy Head of School Sydney Campus | AIEAlexandra joined AIE in 2018 as the Deputy Head of School - Sydney, returning to the harbour city after a number of years working in Melbourne. Alexandra has over 15 years of vocational education and RTO management experience with a demonstrated history of leadership in the VET sector across a wide range of industries including hospitality, general construction and plumbing. Alexandra holds a Bachelor of Adult and Vocational Education and a Master of Education, specialising in workplace learning.

Alexandra's skills lie in training resource development and delivery, RTO compliance, project management and VET team development; her passion lies in working with and encouraging all learners to develop the skills and knowledge they need to achieve their goals and fulfil their potential.

Since joining the AIE team Alexandra has managed to resist the temptation to become a gamer but she has certainly developed a new found appreciation for the technical skill, creativity and hard work that goes into making amazing games and films.

Frank Farfalla

Deputy Head of School Melbourne

Frank Farfalla Deputy Head of School Melbourne | AIEFrank Farfalla is an experienced educator and has been working in the Victorian Education system since the mid-90s. After working at various Registered Training Organisations and completing a Master of Science in Computer Science in 2000, Frank took a position with RMIT University as a teacher, moving quickly to a management position. In 2003, Frank was awarded the ‘RMIT Business Teaching Award’ in the categories of ‘Student Centred Teaching’ and ‘outstanding contributions to Student Centred Learning’, after being nominated by his students. Frank joined the AIE family in 2015 bringing the same passion for student centred learning and education to his role.

Albert Einstein once said, “Education is not the learning of facts, but the training of the mind to think”. Frank believes that the responsibility of education is to connect with student in such a way to trigger the inspiration which encourages students to think for themselves and to become hungry to learn.

In the Games and VFX creative industries, where practical skills are highly valued, Frank strives, together with his staff, to provide an educational environment where creative individuals can come together to learn, be inspired and achieve their dreams.

Grahame Dickson

Deputy Head of School Canberra

Grahame Dickson Deputy Head of School | AIEGrahame has been involved in ACT education and training since 1982. His extensive experience in both private and public education settings have resulted in a diverse range of teaching and management skills having been developed.

Recognised as being an innovative educator he is passionate about the introduction of emerging technologies into curriculum offerings and has been at the forefront of developing courses to provide students with foundation skills in evolving digital arts sectors.

His career pathway led to the position of Executive Teacher for Technology as well as Trade Training Centre Manager before he joined the AIE in 2012. Grahame’s roles in the AIE executive team have changed during this time with his latest position being focused on student management for both Canberra and Online campuses.

Erin Mann

Deputy Head of School Adelaide

Erin Mann is an experienced educator with background in secondary education, teaching in South Australia and the United Kingdom. Erin has a Master of Education with a focus on mental health and wellbeing. Erin started her career at AIE in 2020 as the Deputy Head of School, working closely with students to support learning, engagement and wellbeing.

Erin is committed to providing students with opportunities to develop their passion and skills, developing industry pathways and advocating for the positive mental health and wellbeing of the AIE Community.

Catherine Drinkwater

Financial Controller

Catherine Drinkwater Financial Controller | AIECatherine has over 15 years’ experience in financial and management accounting in areas as diverse as mining, information technology and the retail sector. Catherine holds a Bachelor of Commerce from Curtin Business School and is member of Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand.

Catherine joined AIE in 2011 as a part time accountant after returning from overseas. Since 2017, Catherine has been AIE’s financial controller. In this role, not only is she involved in the day to day management of all finance and accounting operations, she also supports the Chief Financial Officer in compliance and statutory reporting.

For Catherine, a highlight of her role is engaging with many aspects of AIE from the Executive team to administrative staff at all AIE campuses.

Jyoti Singh

Administration Team Leader (AIE) and Exec Support to CEO

Jyoti Singh Administration Team Leader (AIE) and Exec Support to CEO | AIEJyoti has 13 years of experience in academic administration management within the vocational and higher education sectors in Australia. Her experience includes leading academic administration teams, process development and change implementation in line with educational governance and regulatory requirements.

Jyoti combines her experience with a Master of Education, BSc (Honours) and a Certificate IV in Training and Assessment.

Jyoti is passionate about people and educational organisations achieving their best. She firmly believes that a unified, fun-loving team can negotiate any terrain! She joined AIE in July 2020 and looks forward to contributing to the organisation.

Nick Brucher

Service Desk & Support - Team Leader

Nick Brucher Service Desk & Support Team Leader | AIENick has 15 years’ Information Technology experience across a range of industries including Internet companies, Real Estate and Managed Information Technology Service Providers. Nick is the Service Desk and Support Team Lead for the Academy of Interactive Entertainment Ltd (AIE) and is involved in the day-to-day technical operations and contributes towards the strategic planning of the internal Information Technology department.

Nick believes businesses should focus on delivering their core products and services whilst receiving a seamless and integrated technology experience. Nick enjoys providing a structured and friendly work environment that is conducive to staff being able to achieve their full technical potential.

Nick joined AIE in July 2020 and looks forward to contributing towards AIE’s growth plans, now and in to the future.