Meet the team at Transwest

Our staff are dedicated to giving our clients the best possible service. Staff are hand picked from the industry and over 90% of our staff have been with Transwest for more than 10 years.

Management Team

Sam Sofi
CEO & Founder

Founder, licensee and managing director of Trans-West since 1979, Sam has worked in the insurance industry for over 30 years. Now the holder of an Advanced Diploma of Financial Services, he commenced as an agent with AMP Life, later progressing to a general insurance broker. The many current clients who have used our services since our inception and have grown from small businesses to successful corporate companies are a testament to Sam’s dedication and service.

Pieter Versluis
General Manager

Pieter has been with Trans West since early 1989. As general manager, he oversees all client communications including renewal reviews and presentations. He has extensive experience in claims management, which supports our clients in the most difficult of times. A graduate of the University of New South Wales, Pieter holds an Advanced Diploma of Financial Services, is a Senior Associate of the Australian Insurance Institute and is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, and has a significant background in management and sports administration.

Sandra Connolly
Assistant General Manager

Sandra has been involved in the insurance industry since 1989, when she held various specialist positions within Workers Compensation Scheme, and took on the workers compensation portfolio at Trans-West in 2000. Over a number of years, Sandra’s continued development of the services provided to our workers compensation clients led to an opportunity to expand her role with general insurance broking. Sandra’s qualifications include Advanced Diploma of Financial Services and Human Resources and Diploma of Human Resources Management and, with a background in training and development, she also provides support with the coordination of training and compliance.

Account Managers

Megan Henry
Account Manager

Megan joined the Trans-West team in 2010, bringing with her 12 years of insurance experience. She currently holds a Bachelor of Science (Environmental), Certificate IV Business Management and a Diploma of Financial Services (Broking). Megan maintains a portfolio of general insurance clients from varied occupational backgrounds.

Colin Jessop
Senior Account Manager

Colin is a long-term employee of Trans-West, being a member of the team for over 10 years. He has 40 years of insurance experience; 30 years in the capacity of an underwriter and 10 years as a general insurance broker. Holding a Diploma in Financial Services (Broking), Colin is an integral part of our plant and machinery team and his vast experience is respected by his clients and peers.

Adam Kitson
Account Manager

Adam Kitson has been involved in the insurance industry for over 18 years. Adam has previously been employed with a large multinational insurance broker where he worked on a large portfolio of multi-national and local clients involved in a myriad of industries including but not limited to media, infrastructure, mining and education. During this time Adam progressed from an assistant broker to holding a senior position within the firm. Adam has qualified and been admitted as a Senior Associate to the Australian and New Zealand Institute of Insurance and Finance and has a Diploma of Financial Services (Insurance Broking). Before starting within the insurance industry Adam completed a Bachelor of Psychology (Science) degree at the University of Newcastle.

Marcelo Lage
Workers Compensation

Marcelo joined Trans-West in 2013 and is part of our workers compensation team. Marcelo has 25 years plus experience in the financial services industry which includes several years in workers compensation. In his previous role as a Service Manager with QBE Insurance Ltd, Marcelo was responsible for leading a team of 10 staff, managing complex claims for small, medium and large clients. Marcelo brings extensive workers compensation claims management knowledge and experience, which is invaluable to our firm.

Jane Laybutt
Account Manager & Motor Sports

Jane’s insurance background spans over 20 years, and she has recently rejoined the Trans-West team. With extensive experience in all areas of insurance, Jane provides the technical support her clients require when making decisions regarding their insurance program. Her areas of expertise extend to motorsport, manufacturing and retail risks. She currently holds a Diploma in Financial Services (Broking) and is a Senior Associate of ANZIFF.

Natasha Manuel
Account Manager

Natasha has been involved with insurance for over 25 years with 15 in broking and 10 with an insurer. She has been apart of the Trans-West team since August, 2008. With extensive experience in all areas of insurance she provides the technical support her clients require when making decisions regarding their insurance program. She manages a range of clients in various occupations in construction, manufacturing, retail and warehousing. She currently holds a Diploma in Financial Services (Broking).

Jenny Mladineo
Account Manager

Jenny has been an Account Manager with Trans-West since 2000. She has been involved in the insurance broking industry over the course of her career, which spans 30 years. Her qualifications include Diploma Financial Services (Broking) and Certificate III in Business, and is also a Senior Associate of ANZIIF. Jenny’s areas of expertise include managing clients in industries such as manufacturing, construction and warehousing. Her focus in working with her clients is to  understand their needs, to deliver  personalised and  reliable  insurance solutions and to building strong and  long-term relationships.

Karen Tuxford
Account Manager

Karen joined Trans-West in 1999. She has been involved in the insurance industry since 1991 and became a part of the broking industry in 1995. Karen’s extensive portfolio includes clients whose business activities include construction, manufacturing, fresh food and printing. We credit our success in the builders warranty area to Karen’s hard work and determination, and many of our construction clients have benefited as a direct result of her expertise and contacts in this area. Karen holds a Diploma of Financial Services (Broking).

Harry Voutos
Workers Compensation

Harry has been with Trans-West since 2008. He has extensive background experience in all aspects of workers compensation. The support and expertise Harry brings to our workers compensation division allows our clients to make informed decisions about the management of any premium or claims-related issues. Harry brings a wealth of over 25 years’ industry experience.

Assistant Account Managers

Sandra Barrett
Assistant Account Manager/ PA to General Manager

Sandra has been with Trans-West since 2009 and has brought a diversity of skills to our organisation. Her qualifications include a Certificate III Insurance Broking and Certificate III in Business Administration. Sandra has also taken on the role of onsite software technical support, and her expertise in the office is highly sought-after, making her a valued member of the Trans-West Team.

Elisa Carter
Assistant Account Manager

Elisa joined the Trans-West team in 2007. She has held various roles including being a part of our friendly team of receptionists, claims, accounts support and more recently supporting our SME area in packaged business. Elisa brings experience in retail insurance products. Elisa holds a Cert III in Broking.



Angela Christodoulides
Assistant Account Manager

Angela’s insurance background spans some 20 years and she has been with Trans-West since 1995, working with many types of accounts ranging from small business to large corporate clients. Angela has extensive knowledge in all aspects of insurance, which she implements by working closely with Bernard on our corporate clientele. Angela currently holds a Certificate III in Financial Services (Broking) and her knowledge and contacts within the broking industry is second to none.

Lidia Cochrane
Assistant Account Manager

Lidia comes to Trans-west with over 30 years service in the Insurance Broking Industry. She holds a Diploma of Financial Services (Insurance Broking) and is admitted as an Associate to the Australian and New Zealand Institute of Insurance and Finance. Lidia has extensive experience in all areas of Insurance and delivers personalised and reliable insurance solutions to her clients.

Carolyn Enderwick
Assistant Account Manager

Carolyn joined Trans-West in 2013, after working in the New Zealand broking industry for seven years servicing corporate accounts with a strong focus on a claims and travel. More recently, she worked in a claims role supporting New Zealand’s biggest insurer. Carolyn holds a Certificate IV in General Insurance Broking and a Bachelor of Management Studies with Honours from Waikato University in Hamilton, New Zealand.

Andrew Gaudry
Assistant Account Manager & HBCF

Andrew has been with Trans-West since 2005 and has become a specialist in builder’s warranty. Andrew works alongside Donna Avery and together they have a specialty for executing all work at a top level. His experience spans over 10 years, during which he has gained Certificate III in Financial Services (Broking).

Maria Minasi
Assistant Account Manager

Maria has been a part of the Trans-West family since 1990 and has had opportunity to work in many areas, including small business, assisting our accounts department, reception, CTP green slips, landlords scheme and real estate. She holds a Certificate III in Financial Services (Broking). Maria’s expertise in many facets of our business is highly valued.

Alexis Murden
Assistant Account Manager

Alexis has over 22 years’ experience in the insurance industry, starting her career in broking with Trans-West in February 2004. Alexis has held roles in our corporate division supporting senior account managers in all aspects of program management for client industries, including warehousing, manufacturing and construction. She is now an integral member of our SME division where she manages a vast range of current clients and new business client opportunities, drawing on her broad knowledge and experience. Alexis values building strong relationships with our clients.

Lynette Stoker
Assistant Account Manager

Lynette joined Trans-West in 2017. Lynette comes from a long banking background and holds a Certificate III in Financial Services. Lynette has brought her excellent customer service skills to Trans-West, and while she initially started as part of our friendly Reception & CTP Insurance Team, her expertise and knowledge has allowed her to move into the SME area, where she now looks after Householders and Landlords.

Reception & Administration

Jamie Cantrell
IT Manager

Jamie joined the Tran-West team in 2014 and brings over 15 years of IT Experience to the office. He is a vital member of the team and is always providing technical guidance to our staff.

Maree Cleary

Maree also joined us in 2007 and forms part of our friendly team of receptionists. In addition to managing a hectic switchboard, her role also includes sale of CTP greenslips. Maree has experience in corporate insurance roles, which is greatly benefits our business.

Judy Gonzalez

Judy joined Trans-West in 2009 and forms part of our friendly team of receptionists. As well as managing the busy switchboard, Judy also handles the sale of CTP greenslips, and has experience in both retail and corporate roles,  which is valuable to our business.



Financial Services

Brett Abikhair

Brett has over 30 years of experience in the finance industry and has completed the highest level of accreditation and education the industry has to offer. Over this time, Brett has helped his clients maximise their superannuation through tax-effective retirement planning and to protect their businesses through business succession planning. From personal experience, Brett understands the importance of safeguarding businesses as well as their families and offers a range of business and personal insurances that assist the continuance of their business in the future and help ensure that their loved ones are looked after.