There’s not too many people who can say they spent their teenage years working at NASA, but Noel Crowe can.
Noel is currently the director of his family business, Berrima Bridge Horticulture, but his career path started off on a very different one.
At 18 years of age, Noel landed his first job as a technician at the NASA space tracking station outside of Canberra.
This was during the initial pioneering phase of the launch and control of scientific and communications satellites which Noel received a citation from NASA USA for his contribution to the project.
Noel said this position required him to operate satellite tracking equipment, in particular, the 26-metre dish antenna.
“I loved working with the pioneering of space exploration and the first communication satellites,” he said.
“I worked mostly with technicians from the UK who we could all have jokes with and I enjoyed socialising with them back in Canberra.”
Noel said having colleagues he could socialise with became handy on those days he found himself stuck at work.
“We had to cross flooded creeks at times and were sometimes stranded at the tracking station due to these floods,” he said.
“The road was mostly unsealed and got very slippery in wet weather and there was always the problems of kangaroos and wombats to contend with.”
Noel walked away with a new set of skills which prepared himself for a long, successful career.
“The job taught me to be methodical, logical and resourceful which has helped me over the years,” he said.
Following his departure from NASA, he joined the Australian Public Service Department of Health at the, then, largest computer complex in the Southern Hemisphere.
He contributed to the setting up and operating of the national health scheme, Medicare.
The hard worker didn’t stop there – he went on to manage the country Victorian operations of MediAction, a financial services business to the Medical and Dental Profession based at Bendigo, Victoria.
Noel was offered an opportunity to travel to the Middle East where he took up a position as a project manager for a commercial construction company, an international commodities agent in oil and coal resources and then support management of a private hospital in Bahrain.
The man of many skills is now the director of Berrima Bridge Horticulture where he offers garden consultancy and services.
It’s a 5am rise on most days for him – he drives from South-West Sydney to his garden project sites in the Highlands then returns home in the afternoon to work at his drawing board.
Noel said the early starts are worth it though.
“I am again able to do what I love – being outside amongst gardens and being self-employed,” Noel said.
The only downside for him is that there isn’t enough daylight at this time of year.