CEOs from a group of Victorian fabrication companies enjoyed an evening of food, drink and networking on 21 April at Fedeles Restaurant in Melbourne, and they were joined by a very special guest: Aussie Paralympics hero Tim Disken.

Tim – or ‘Disko’ as he’s known to his mates – was born at just 24 weeks with cerebral palsy, and has had to contend with a number of ongoing health issues. In his early years he was hospitalised regularly, and was fed via a gastrostomy tube until the age of 17. Tim’s brain and his body movements have also been affected, with increased fatigue and stiffness as well as issues with brain/body communication. However, those setbacks have not deterred Tim from living life to the full. He completed secondary school and produces his own music.

Most importantly, he began learning to swim at the age of four, and began swimming competitively when he was 10. Numerous contests and medals followed, culminating in his selection for the Australian Paralympics team and the chance to represent his country at the Rio games last year. Tim came away with three medals, including gold in the 100-metre S9 freestyle. He’s also the current world record holder in the SB8 50-metre breaststroke short course.

Still only 20 years old, Tim is showing no sign of resting on his laurels. He’s already looking forward to representing Australia on home turf at the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast next year, and beyond that the 2020 Paralympics in Tokyo. Outside his competitive endeavours, his ambition is to give back to the organisations that helped him, with hopes to work in education support with children with special needs after his swimming career. His ultimate dream is work at Glenallen Special School in Glen Waverley, which had helped him so much in becoming who he is today – and which has now named its swimming pool the Tim Disken Pool.

The CEOs gathered at Fedeles heard Tim tell his story and discuss his plans for the future. They then agreed to sponsor Tim’s swimming career going forward as he prepares to defend his title in Tokyo.

The event was one of a series of CEO gatherings that AMTIL has been organising, where the heads of manufacturing businesses can meet up and discuss the issues affecting their businesses, opportunities going forward, and simply to catch up with old friends. It’s also a chance for them to give feedback to AMTIL and say what they want from their association.

“We’ve run a number of these events in Victoria and New South Wales now, and I think everyone involved has really appreciated it,” says Greg Chalker, AMTIL’s Corporate Services Manager. “We intend to roll them out nationwide going forward, with similar get-togethers happening in the other states over the coming months.”