Meet Tom Ray

Fullsizerender 1
About the Author

Tom with his wife Megan and their three children Samuel, Abigail and Joe

Like many good things, it started over a meal.

AHA Managing Director Tom Ray and CEO Perry Cross got talking about how a more appropriately designed and built home, might be life changing for Perry.

Perry discovered the NDIS had a fund for specialist disability accommodation (SDA) and an intrigued Tom offered help to build him his first independent home.

Fast forward a few years, some false starts, some lost sleep and a lot of engagement and learning, and Tom and Perry had another meal together – this time on the balcony of Perry’s new NDIS-approved apartment in Broadbeach.

It was then that they, along with two of their long-time school friends, home builders Tim Douglas and Jason Doerr, decided to help others through the same journey to home independence. Having just been through it themselves, they knew it wasn’t easy so wanted to share their newly acquired knowledge with others looking for the same supported living opportunities and thus, AHA was born.

We caught up with Tom to find out more about what makes him tick.

Q: What does it mean to you to be involved in Accessible Homes Australia?

I’ve undertaken a number of different commercial and philanthropic roles in my near 30 year working career, however establishing Accessible Homes Australia has been an opportunity to combine work with real human purpose and do something that I can truly feel proud of for the life changing outcomes it generates.

Q: What is a memorable moment for you at AHA?

I have many memorable moments – the first time Perry, Tim, Jason, and I gathered to celebrate in Perry’s new SDA home in Broadbeach was a big one. Having finally completed the challenging task of building Perry’s first accessible home and planting the seed of what ultimately became AHA was a very satisfying and exciting moment.

The day Brianna joined us – our first team member. I felt like we’d taken a huge step towards becoming a real organisation and fulfilling Perry’s dream of offering home solutions to more people like him.

And every time I meet with any of our tenants and hear them tell me what they’ve been doing in their day-to-day lives – things that would not have been possible before they moved into their SDA home.

Img 6298 Effects

Tom enjoying a drink with Courtney Cross, Thierry Lavirotte and Jon Drew on the balcony of Perry's SDA home in Broadbeach on the Gold Coast.

Q: What would you like people to know about AHA?

Designing and building accessible homes is only a small part of what we do. We aim to facilitate great care, support and enablement in our home environments – however that might actually look for each of our individual tenants.

We also actively provide feedback, collaboration when asked, and generally remain engaged with our colleagues at the National Disability Insurance Agency to play our part in ensuring the NDIS is here to support Australians for future generations by creating homes and environments that offer the scheme value and sustainability.

Q: What is your favourite part of the job?

Working each day towards creating home environments that change lives by taking away stress, uncertainty and hardship, and providing safety, community, engagement and opportunity.

Working with long-time friends is special and something I don’t take for granted. I am also surrounded by people who inspire me through their tenacity and resilience, and I am lucky enough to call them colleagues, tenants and friends.

Img 7397

Four mates from school and the four directors of AHA, (left to right) Jason Doerr, Perry Cross, Tom Ray and Tim Douglas with the 2022 Australian Disability Service Awards winners trophy for Best Accommodation Provider.

Q: What gets you up in the morning?

My wife and I have three, young busy children who are fully engaged in early morning sport, school and after school activities. We’re nearly always up before sunrise and out the door to something – netball, rowing, music practice, football.

I’m definitely a morning person. I like to work quietly on things nice and early before emails come in and the phone starts ringing.

My day is mostly spent talking and meeting with people, until in the late afternoons when I take an hour for exercise – a bike ride, a run, a surf or kiteboarding, followed by dinner with the family and an early night so I can get up the next morning to do it all again!

Share this great article
Accessible Homes Australia

Share This

Select your desired option below to share a direct link to this page