David Nolan pictured in high-vis vest

From labourer to Major Events Coordinator, David Nolan is a great example of what opportunities are available to you even when sticking to one industry.

David has worked in the roads industry for 45 years, spending almost 40 years with RMS* prior to joining VBA at the start of the contract in 2014. 

David says he started out as a washing machine mechanic, but a desire for a change saw him take the role as a labourer with RMS in June 1974 (which at the time was known as the Department of Main Roads). 

A few different roles at RMS, including plant operator and works supervisor and a period of time with the Olympic Roads and Traffic Authority during the Sydney Olympics, eventually saw him move into the signage and events team. 

In 2009, David made the Australia Day Honours List, receiving the Public Service Medal for "outstanding public service, particularly with the Roads and Traffic Authority of New South Wales".

Signposting events Sydney wide

His current role as the Major Events Coordinator is the culmination of years of hard work and experience.

Until this year with the current event restrictions, we were looking after signage for around 150 events a year,' David says. Around 90% of those are in and around the city.

The skill and reliability of David and his team have seen them take on events outside the Sydney South network, up to 20-a-year and as far afield as Newcastle in the north and Wollongong in the south. 

"New Year's Eve is traditionally the biggest event of the year," David explains. "We do around 3,000 minor signs, which are the smaller ones that go on existing signposts, and around 1500 major signs for that event. That includes in and around the city, and in locations like Chatswood north of the city."

Other events they manage include the annual Mardi Gras festival, Vivid, various Australia Day celebrations and Chinese New Year. They've also done special one-off events, like the Invictus Games at which Prince Harry was a VIP guest. 

"When there are high profile people at events, there's often a requirement for additional signage for things like clearways around the hotel they're staying at," says David. 

The Traffic Management Centre (TMC) is officially the client when it comes to events. They manage the relationship with local councils for location of signage and permissions and send the orders through to David and the team.

Going above and beyond

Aside from events around Sydney, the team also coordinate all the regulatory signage within our network such as clearway and no stopping signs, which if damaged must be fixed within 24 hours of defect identification. 

Crucially, David and his team have helped build a more accurate database of signage assets over the past six years, ensuring the client has a better understanding of the variety and volume of signage on the network that needs to be maintained. 

David's contributions regularly receive customer feedback and thanks including from the Director of Sydney Maintenance, David Fishburn:

Nice work David - it was positively commented today by the ED John Hardwick on the level of responsiveness on this whole event.

Maintenance Manager Rob Zrilic says he is impressed with David's dedication and the way he continues to deliver such great work after 45 years. 

"David is a true gentleman, and well respected in the industry," Rob says. "It's always great to see the positive feedback that comes through from the client following another successful event. David deserves every word of it!"

*Throughout David's career, the roads authority started out as the Department of Main Roads, then through a merger became the Roads & Traffic Authority, followed by in 2011 becoming Roads and Maritime Services after amalgamating with NSW Maritime. Most recently, RMS joined Transport for NSW.