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2012 National Trucking Industry Award winners announced

21 May 2012

The Australian Trucking Association has honoured Australia’s top truck driver and other leading industry figures in the 2012 National Trucking Industry Awards.

The awards were presented at the ATA Foundation Sponsors Gala Dinner at the Rosehill Gardens Event Centre in Parramatta on Friday.

The 2012 National Trucking Industry Award Winners are

Outstanding Contribution to the Australian Trucking Industry
Tony McGrath – McGrath Newcastle, Carrington, NSW

National Professional Driver of the Year
William Watson – Wettenhalls, Colac, VIC

Highway Guardian Award for an act of heroism by a professional driver
Tim Chellas – Linfox Linehaul, Parkes, NSW

National Trucking Industry Woman of the Year
Rosalind (Roz) Shaw – Hawkins Transport, Wynnum, QLD

Training Excellence Award
Star Track Pty Ltd – Nationwide

TruckSafe John Kelly Memorial Award for excellence in the TruckSafe program
Cleary Bros Pty Ltd, Port Kembla, NSW

Don Watson Memorial Award for conspicuous achievement in furthering the industry’s objectives
Not awarded as the recipient could not be in attendance.

The National Professional Driver of the Year, William Watson, said the award represented a lot of blood, sweat and tears over the years, and thanked his wife Helen for all her support over that time.

“Next month, I’ve got 54 years up. Transport’s a hard game – you have two good days in a week, you’re doing well. But looking back, if I had my time over, I’d do it all again,” Mr Watson said.

The winner of the Highway Guardian Award was Tim Chellas, who discovered during his obligatory pre-trip check that his in-cab fire extinguisher was faulty. He replaced the extinguisher, and one month later used it to save a fellow truck driver’s life as his B-double rolled and began to burn.

While Tim said he had just done what anyone would do, Warren Kaeding, Linfox National Compliance Manager, said that the award was a triumph for both Tim and Linfox’s compliance program.

“If Tim had not completed the pre-trip check that is obligatory through our membership in the TruckSafe Industry Accreditation program, we would be telling the horror story of a man burned to death in his cab, not of Tim’s heroic rescue.”

The Outstanding Contribution to the Australian Trucking Industry Award went to Tony McGrath of McGrath Newcastle.

An important player in the organisation of the Newcastle and Hunter Region Road Transport Awareness day since its inception in 1994, Tony also contributes to his community and industry through his constant support of the Road Ahead road safety program, the TruckSafe industry accreditation program, and is a member of the ATA NSW policy council.

“The industry has been my whole life since I left school. It’s all I’ve ever done and all I’ve wanted to do. The industry has been very kind to me, and tonight’s award makes me a pretty proud truckie,” he said.

The winner of the National Trucking Industry Woman of the Year Award, Roz Shaw, said it was wonderful to be recognised for what she has done in the industry.

“To get this award is a very humbling experience. The transport industry is an amazing industry that’s undersold to the rest of society,” she said.

The Training Excellence Award went to Star Track Pty Ltd, with the development of its national induction training strategy. Saviour Grech, Training Co-ordinator, accepted the award on behalf of the company.

“I do think that training is the key for any company to be successful in moving forward. This award is recognition of how hard we strive to improve the quality of our personnel,” Mr Grech said.

The TruckSafe John Kelly Memorial Award went to Cleary Bros Pty Ltd, based in Port Kembla, NSW. Steve Crandell, Transport Manager, and Les Lipinski, Maintenance Manager, were thrilled to accept the award.

“This award is everything, everything we’ve worked to achieve. John was a driving force to get us into the TruckSafe program to begin with,” Mr Crandell said.

“TruckSafe is making a real difference for putting out for tenders, and we’re building from strength to strength.”

Mr Lipinski added, “I’m proud to have safe trucks on our roads, that’s what it’s all about.”

The winner of the Don Watson Memorial Award was not announced on the night, as the unknowing recipient could not be present. It will be announced later in the year when the presentation can occur.

The National Trucking Industry Awards are sponsored by ATA Foundation Sponsors BP Australia, NTI and Volvo Group Australia; Continental Tyres; Cummins South Pacific; DECA Training; Austbrokers AEI Transport; and Castrol.        


Outstanding Contribution to the Australian Trucking Industry
Award sponsors: BP Australia, NTI and Volvo Group Australia

Tony McGrath – McGrath Newcastle
Carrington, NSW

Tony founded McGrath Newcastle in 1983, and it is now one of the largest family owned and operated transport and distribution business in Newcastle. In addition to his business achievements, Tony has been closely involved with the organisation of the Newcastle and Hunter Region Road Transport Awareness Day since it began in 1994. Since then, the day has raised more than a million dollars for the Westpac Rescue Helicopter service. Tony is a strong supporter of the ATA’s road safety and industry exhibition, the Road Ahead, and has arranged for it to visit a number of schools in the Hunter region. A director of the TruckSafe industry accreditation program and a member of the ATA NSW policy council, Tony has showed great dedication to improving the safety and professionalism of the industry and raising its profile. In 2011, ATA NSW awarded Tony its inaugural Outstanding Contribution award.

National Professional Driver of the Year
Award sponsors: BP Australia, NTI and Volvo Group Australia

William Watson – Wettenhalls
Colac, VIC

William is a true professional and elder statesman of the industry. He has worked for the Wettenhalls Group for the last 37 years, and has recorded more than 50 years of accident-free driving. He is an enormously skilled and experienced semitrailer and B-double driver, and is always willing to teach the next generation of drivers about the industry. His customer service is outstanding; the presentation of his vehicle is always immaculate. William won the NTI NatRoad Professional Driver of the Year Award in 2011.

Trucking Industry Woman of the Year
Award sponsor: Cummins South Pacific

Rosalind (Roz) Shaw – Hawkins Transport
Wynnum, QLD

Roz began her career in the transport industry in 1981, when she joined Hawkins Transport as a Girl Friday. In 1997, she was appointed as the CEO of the company, which she has transformed into a diversified organisation operating Hawkins Road Transport, Moreton Island Adventures, Hawkins Fuels and the Port of Brisbane truck stop/truck wash. Roz is a member of the Brisbane Lord Mayor’s Economic Steering Committee, the Queensland Transport and Logistics Workforce Advisory Group and the board of the Queensland Trucking Association. In 2011, she was awarded the QTA’s inaugural Trucking Woman of the Year Award.

Highway Guardian Award for an act of heroism by a professional truck driver
Award sponsor: Continental Tyres Australia

Tim Chellas – Linfox Linehaul
Parkes, NSW

Tim was stationary at a set of temporary traffic lights near Peak Hill on the Newell Highway in June 2011, with three other vehicles behind him. A B-double driver failed to slow down and slammed into the back of the queue. The B-double careered off the road and started to burn, with its driver trapped inside. Tim immediately called emergency services and used his onboard fire extinguisher to put out the flames, which unquestionably saved the B-double driver’s life. Tim was only able to do this, however, because of his attention to detail a month earlier. During a routine check of his truck, he decided to open the plastic bag containing his fire extinguisher rather than just confirming it was secure. When he opened the bag, he found the extinguisher’s trigger mechanism had detached from the tank, making it useless. He replaced the fire extinguisher – and was able to save the driver’s life as a result.
Training Excellence Award
Award sponsor: DECA Training

Star Track Pty Ltd

With more than 3,000 vehicles and trailers, and delivering more than 1.2 million parcels a week, Star Track provides a wide range of transport and logistics solutions nationwide. Star Track has recently developed a National Induction Training Strategy, ensuring that all employees Australia-wide receive the same induction program. This induction program runs over a 10 day period with alternating theory and practical sessions, ensuring that employees are able to put training procedures into practice. All Star Track drivers are enrolled into a Certificate III of Driving Operations on the commencement of their employment, and can then progress into further training over time.

TruckSafe John Kelly Memorial Award to recognise excellence in the TruckSafe program
Award sponsor: Austbrokers AEI Transport

Cleary Bros Pty Ltd
Port Kembla, NSW

Cleary Bros is a family owned company that specialises in a broad range of construction industry services, including concrete, transport, quarrying, civil engineering and waste management. Its Transport Division consists of more than 150 heavy duty trucks and has been TruckSafe accredited since 1998, with an outstanding level of safety and highly positive audit reports. Cleary Bros excels in its field, and won the 2011 Building and Construction Award at the Origin Energy Illawarra Business Awards.