A former investment banker and honours graduate in economics is applying his analytical and business development skills to a greenfield waste management project in Western Australia.
Rocky Zamin, formerly director, Metals and Mining Finance for Barclays Capital, has undergone a major career change, establishing an innovative construction and civil waste recycling facility in Perth's far northern suburb of Neerabup and he has ambitious plans for expansion.
It is far more than a passive investment for Rocky. He has cast off his Italian wool suit for workman's greens to own and operate the site with two full-time staff supported by a growing list of committed business associates, including Komatsu.
Rocky's company, Westralian Resources Solutions trading as Terra Verde, Italian for green earth has picked a niche in the expanding recycling market, providing a one-stop "drop-and-shop" solution for home builders and
contractors looking to manage the challenge of disposing of unwanted waste materials generated on their construction and building sites.
Contractors and builders are able to deposit waste material with Terra Verde, then backload with processed sand and aggregates, providing efficiencies in the same round trip.
Located on a 2.5-hectare site, Rocky started Terra Verde in late 2016 following an extensive evaluation of the appetite of several Perth councils to support it. It has since captured the imagination of businesses and town planners.
"There are perhaps only 20 suitable landfill and recycling opportunities in Perth, so to be able to secure one or even two is a rare asset," Rocky said.
"Wanneroo and Joondalup Councils are two of the fastest-growing in Western Australia and it was logical to position myself with them."
Logic is the cornerstone of Rocky's business philosophy. He describes himself as a "one-brand" man, preferring to develop long-term mutually beneficial relationships with a single business partner for each element of his business but only after extensive investigation.
For example, Rocky chose his equipment supplier after initially hiring plant to discover what did, and what didn't, work for him.
"I quickly honed my requirements down to price, reliability, and compatibility with all attachments, suitability on site, warranty, service agreements and the support of the supplier for my future plans," he said.
"I rejected a number of other leading suppliers, and chose Komatsu on the basis of its broad range and suitability for my requirements."
Rocky bought four new Komatsu machines PC55MR-3 and PC270LC-8 excavators and a WA430-6 wheel loader and WA200PZ-6 toolcarrier option and initiated a long-term business relationship with Komatsu's business
development manager, Lindsay Nelligan.
"The wheel loaders, for example, were a real find," he said.
"My hiring investigation had revealed how vulnerable wheel loader tyres are in close-encounter situations such as mine.
"So I specified flat-side walls, only to discover Komatsu had already anticipated this requirement at no additional cost. Lindsay gets it."
All attachments are factory-fitted and all service requirements for the first three years or 2000 hours carried out by Komatsu's own service technicians under its standard Komplimentary Maintenance package.
"This makes good economic sense," Rocky said. "I believe its false economy to have service on site by your own people. We strictly follow Komatsu guidelines including rigorous start-up procedures each day. All I ask of my top operators is that they treat their machines like they belong to their mum!"
Rocky foresees the Komatsu fleet having a relatively easy life at Terra Verde compared with what is generally accepted in waste recycling.
"The face of the industry is changing," he said. "It wasn't long ago that you could separate waste into three categories with sand and building materials making up around 45% each and non-recyclable rubbish the other 10%.
"Now they are split evenly, which means there's a lot more work in separating the rubbish."
Terra Verde, according to Rocky, has now effectively instituted phase one: the front-end of the business. The size of the site has so far allowed him to stockpile waste, but now the time has come to install reclaiming and crushing machinery to be purchased on the same principles as his Komatsu fleet.
In the future is a 20-hectare site, capable of accommodating the lessons Rocky has learned in establishing Terra Verde on a far greater scale.
"Recycling is a bad choice of words," he said. "The term re-use is much more appropriate. The more you can control the feed resource, the greater will be the quality of the re-usable end product and that is the key to success."