As one of Newcastle Airport’s terminal operations coordinators (TOC), Tim Zorzi is a “problem fixer”, managing its daily routine and inevitable operational flare-ups.
Zorzi was promoted internally; he first drove the airport shuttle bus, carried out Work Safety Officer tasks, and screened checked baggage. “I wanted to multi-skill and learn everything… I’d volunteer to do just about anything.”
His career really took off when he applied this thirst for perpetual learning to a Certificate III in Aviation (Ground Operations and Service), coordinated by the Australian Airports Association under the National Workforce Development Fund, with help from the Transport and Logistics Industry Skills Council.
The training exposed him to valuable interaction with an industry trainer and others in the same field of work. Recently promoted to be one of three Terminal Operations Coordinators, Zorzi’s primary duties are to lead and coordinate the Duty Officers and perform all functions of the Terminal Coordination Centre.
His career really took off when he applied this thirst for perpetual learning to a Certificate III in Aviation.
On any day, a myriad of incidents might occur, each requiring prioritisation and action. The ability to delegate is essential. “The other day I had seven things go off at once,” Zorzi says, “so you’ve got to prioritise what you want, put everyone else on hold, and go with the priority.”
The key, he says, is “situational awareness” – being aware of what is going on and anticipating certain things – and the ability to remain calm under pressure while following procedure. He highly rates logic and pragmatism as well.
Aviation is in his DNA: his maternal grandfather, Flt Lt George William Andrews, flew a Spitfire in World War II under ‘Churchill’s Own’ RAF 615 Squadron. Zorzi joined the Air Training Corps as a teen; then gained a private pilot’s licence, though he fears heights, despite seeking them out as an amateur mountaineer.
He suspects his penchant for model aeroplanes helped secure the job, and loves heavy metal music, so the roar of jets carrying 1.2 million passengers in and out of the airport annually is music to his ears.
While retiring to a chalet in the Dolomites, where his father’s family is from, is his ultimate dream, Zorzi feels lucky to be working in aviation in Newcastle.
“The most enigmatic, funniest, likeable and dependable people you’d ever meet, you will meet in this industry,” he says. “You never know where it will take you.”
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