Tom Cour­tice

Alpine Observer - - News -

What is your job? I am the di­rec­tor of a com­pany called West Ben­bow Con­sult­ing. I con­sult in trans­port / ur­ban plan­ning. Cur­rently I’m work­ing for Port Phillip Coun­cil in Mel­bourne on a 10-year trans­port strat­egy for the area.

Is that some­thing you al­ways wanted to do?

I started in ar­chi­tec­ture. I moved from Ho­bart to study at Syd­ney Uni­ver­sity, but I didn’t com­plete the course. It was a very chal­leng­ing de­gree for an 18-year-old who was more in­ter­ested in par­ty­ing and earn­ing a liv­ing. I dropped out and went to work for var­i­ous out­door re­tail com­pa­nies like Paddy Pallin. I joined the army in 1998 to get some train­ing in man­age­ment and lead­er­ship. I’m still a ma­jor in an en­gi­neer­ing reg­i­ment in Ring­wood. Shortly af­ter join­ing the army I moved to Mel­bourne be­cause most of my friends were there. I didn’t like the at­mos­phere in Syd­ney so much – you need a lot of money to live there and Mel­bourne was more wel­com­ing.

I de­cided to study ur­ban plan­ning. I was more in­ter­ested in the city-scale than the build­ing-scale, and the com­mu­nity rather than the in­di­vid­ual as­pect. While I was still at uni I got a job with a con­sult­ing com­pany in Rich­mond. It was pretty ter­ri­ble but in hind­sight a use­ful ex­pe­ri­ence. Af­ter that I went to work for the State Gov­ern­ment in the De­part­ment of Sus­tain­abil­ity and En­vi­ron­ment. I worked for the gov­ern­ment for five or six years then went to a traf­fic and trans­port en­gi­neer­ing com­pany, GTA Con­sul­tants, and cre­ated a strate­gic trans­port plan­ning team there. It was all about the big­ger is­sues – about what com­mu­ni­ties want. I moved to Port Phillip Coun­cil in 2015.

How did you come to be in the val­ley?

My wife and I wanted to get away from the city and try work­ing on the land a bit. I moved from be­ing full-time staff to ca­sual and cut down to two days a fort­night. I did the same with my army work. Two days in the of­fice and lots of re­mote work.

What do you love about the job?

I think it’s some­thing where I can re­ally add value, and I find that re­ward­ing. I feel I have a dif­fer­ent ap­proach from oth­ers in the job be­cause I’m not from an en­gi­neer­ing back­ground. I think I form a bridge be­tween the pol­i­cy­mak­ers and the peo­ple on the ground.

What do you do in your spare time?

I spend time on the farm: slash­ing, mow­ing and look­ing af­ter the an­i­mals. I en­joy be­ing a bit freer. Life in the city was very oned­i­men­sional, and now I have more choice about what I am do­ing.

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