James Bulinksi Eulogy: 29 April 2022
Good morning everybody. My name is Andrew Grant and it is my privilege and honour to present this Eulogy today.
Firstly on behalf of all of my work colleagues, let me express my love and sorrow to Grace, Aymon and Josh and to your broader family.
I first met James in 2006 some 16 years ago when he was recruited to join CO2 Australia as Innovation Manager. We were a young company with ambitious plans to establish a world class carbon project development company.
Initially James was apprehensive about taking on the new role. He was risk averse and needed to be convinced that the business would be viable. Nonetheless I was able to convince him to jump ship and join our new enterprise which he did.
James quickly impressed me with his intellect, work ethic, professionalism and expertise. He became a core member of the leadership team and was promoted to become a Director of the Company.
James was integral to the success of CO2 Australia and established the respect and regard by all those who interacted with him including independent experts, scientists, auditors, regulators, policy officials and legal advisors.
James was highly regarded by the Board of CO2 Group and became the technical and scientific leader and backbone of the company.
James led world class practical research and pioneered many aspects of the emerging carbon project development market of much of which we now take for granted.
James established a diverse and highly skilled team of technical experts and ran an incredibly high performing group.
James accomplished many fine things at CO2 Australia including a major study on the value of the Tasmanian Forestry Estate for carbon on behalf of the Tasmanian Government -a place dear to his heart. I am yet to see a body of work as complex and ground breaking as this.
As we all know, James had a great sense of humour. One of my fondest memories was travelling to Canberra with James as I had to present to a Senate Committee chaired by Barnaby Joyce on carbon forestry. James sat next to me and in the heat of the battle between Barnaby and I, James who had been quiet during the whole hearing slipped me a note. I thought you beauty he is going to give me a winning point and I can nail Barnaby. The note read “Would you like a glass of water?” which is borrowed from the great Australian movie – the Castle when Daryl’s lawyer Denis Denuto passes a note to his Barrister whilst he is presenting to the High Court on challenging the Constitution. I almost lost it there and then with the giggles. We laughed a lot later on.
James was famous in the office at CO2 Australia as our field work extended to all parts of regional Australia for everyone except for James. James’s preferred habitat was the inner city cafes of Melbourne and we nicknamed that the Bulinski line being the outermost boundary of James’s travel zone.
At CO2 Australia we shared James’s joys and pains. A major relationship breakup, the loss of his mother, his new found love and future wife Grace, the sorrow associated with the loss of their twins and the joy of his new children.
When James committed himself to a task, no obstacle was too big. For example, despite the fact that he was a not much of a runner he decided that he would take up running. That soon became a 10 kilometre goal, then a half marathon and much to our surprise a full marathon which of course he completed.
James was deeply respected by all. He was a tough and demanding manager and ran a tight ship. Those who worked for him were incredibly loyal to James and they produced outstanding work.
James and I worked hand in glove for over 8 years at CO2 Australia and upon my departure, James was promoted to CEO. A fine recognition of his talent and professional expertise.
James and I kept in close contact and I had the honour to be his professional referee for the role of CEO, CitySmart. This resulted in James and family relocating from Melbourne to Brisbane and the challenge of a new job and a new industry.
James revelled in his new role and enjoyed the challenges of a local government with a strong community purpose. He would remind me on a regular basis how much better the climate was in Brisbane compared to Melbourne. Sometimes too often particularly in the heart of a Melbourne winter.
When TEM sought to expand its carbon project development business in Australia, building on the great work by Stuart MacLeod, I could think of no one better suited for the role of CEO. To my great delight, James accepted the role and quickly committed to the tasks with tremendous professionalism and focus. I have no doubt that our success in establishing this business is due to the excellence, drive and completion skills of James.
I have worked with many many people across my career and have interacted with wide variety scientists of international standing. James stands head and shoulders on top of this group.
He was someone that only knew one way and that was any product that left his desk had to meet the highest possible professional standards and not once did I ever experience anything short of this degree of excellence.
I have very fond memories of working with James including many funny times. James had a great sense of humour and loved to laugh particularly at his own jokes!
He was a man of integrity, trust, fun, love and excellence.
He was not without his demons however and life had served him many difficult challenges.
As a botanist it is incumbent of me to describe James in terms of our native flora – a tree. One of my favourite timbers is Desert Gidgee. A slow growing incredibly hard native wattle that is found throughout the inner regions of Australia. It is truly beautiful timber, and when worked with hand tools is hard as nails and beautiful to hold. To me that is James.
I will miss him greatly. He will always be my first pick on my team and he leaves behind an extraordinary family and an outstanding professional legacy.