David Wil­son, An­gela Baw­den and Jim Pear­son were an­nounced as award re­cip­i­ents dur­ing the 2018 NatRoad con­fer­ence in north Queens­land.

Owner Driver - - Contents #309 - Greg Bush writes

Owner-op­er­a­tor David Wil­son takes out the 2018 NatRoad Pro­fes­sional Driver of the Year award

AFRONT PAGE STORY that ap­peared in the July 2017 edi­tion of Owner//Driver has helped pro­pel David Wil­son into be­ing nom­i­nated, and then win­ning the 2018 NatRoad Pro­fes­sional Driver of the Year award. Wil­son re­ceived his award dur­ing the gala din­ner at the NatRoad an­nual con­fer­ence, which this year was held on Queens­land’s Hamil­ton Is­land on Au­gust 31 and Septem­ber 1. The two other win­ners on the night were An­gela Baw­den, of SRV Road Freight Ser­vices, and Jim Pear­son Trans­port man­ag­ing direc­tor Jim Pear­son. Baw­den took home the award for 2018 Youth Em­ployee of the Year while Pear­son was handed the pres­ti­gious Ted Pick­er­ing Me­mo­rial Award. The awards were spon­sored by Na­tional Trans­port In­sur­ance (NTI).

Wil­son, who has 20 years of safe truck driv­ing ex­pe­ri­ence be­hind him, is the owner of DJ Cool Freight, based in Pam­bula on the New South Wales south coast.

That front page Owner//Driver story last July gave a sum­mary of the alarm­ing sta­tis­tics pub­lished in the 2017 Ma­jor Ac­ci­dent In­ves­ti­ga­tion Re­port. The re­port, re­leased by Na­tional Trans­port In­sur­ance’s Na­tional Truck Ac­ci­dent Re­search Cen­tre, high­lighted the large num­ber of young fe­male driv­ers, many un­der the age of 21, who were in­volved in fa­tal multi-ve­hi­cle in­ci­dents with heavy ve­hi­cles.

“That mo­ti­vated me to then ob­vi­ously take this out to the schools, which we got en­dorse­ment from the NSW High­way Pa­trol to push the mes­sage,” Wil­son tells Owner//Driver.

His aim was to ed­u­cate stu­dents who were ei­ther about to or had re­cently ob­tained their li­cence.

“It was a hands-on ex­pe­ri­ence for the kids. We parked cars around blind spots of the truck so that they could ac­tu­ally sit in the truck and un­der­stand what a driver sees day-to-day out his mir­rors, down the truck, in the front of the truck and be­side the truck.”

Wil­son had first taken an in­ter­est in trucks as a three yearold. He be­gan a diesel me­chanic ap­pren­tice­ship at age 15 be­fore quickly go­ing for his heavy rigid li­cence. For the past eight years he has run his own busi­ness, man­ag­ing a sev­en­truck fleet, as well as 11 staff. How­ever, he still en­joys get­ting be­hind the wheel him­self.

“We mainly run Western Stars and Freight­lin­ers, and typ­i­cally just from home, Mel­bourne, Syd­ney and also Bris­bane,” Wil­son ex­plains. “Most of our car­ry­ing is fresh fish and oys­ters out of the south coast, al­though we do gen­eral freight back to the area, and var­i­ous goods.”

Wil­son says it was his first at­ten­dance at a NatRoad con­fer­ence. “Be­ing a small owner-op­er­a­tor, I’ve just never had the op­por­tu­nity to get away to come to an event like this. We haven’t had a hol­i­day in two and a half years, so we’ve in­cor­po­rated it into a few days off as well.”

Dur­ing her ac­cep­tance speech, Baw­den, who is the com­pli­ance and fleet of­fi­cer at SRV Road Freight, thanked SRV’s Mel Cos­grove, adding that: “I couldn’t ask for a bet­ter boss. And thank you Er­rol Cos­grove for men­tor­ing me and for sup­port through­out my em­ploy­ment at SRV.”

Pear­son, whose fa­ther Jim Pear­son se­nior started the busi­ness in the early 1970s, was caught by sur­prise when his name was called as the win­ner of the Ted Pick­er­ing Me­mo­rial Award. With more than 40 years’ ex­pe­ri­ence in the trans­port in­dus­try, Pear­son was handed the man­age­ment and op­er­a­tions role in the com­pany in 1999, tak­ing over the busi­ness com­pletely in 2007.

Jim Pear­son Trans­port has a fleet of 230 prime movers, 400

trail­ers and 480 em­ploy­ees. But it hasn’t al­ways been smooth sail­ing, as he ex­plained dur­ing his ac­cep­tance speech: “We went through the school of hard knocks for a lot of years and we learnt a lot of lessons. I think it’s one of those in­dus­tries that you’ve got to keep plug­ging away at,” he says. “You do some good things, you get a snow­ball go­ing in the right di­rec­tion. If you do some bad things, the snow­ball will go in the wrong di­rec­tion. Over the years we’ve just tried to con­cen­trate on things that will make a bit of a dif­fer­ence.

“I’d like thank NatRoad. It’s been a great as­so­ci­a­tion, it’s been a great event, and I’m proud to be part of it.”

“... it’s one of those in­dus­tries

that you’ve got to keep plug­ging away at.”

Be­low: David Wil­son and wife An­nette Wil­son at the NatRoad gala din­ner af­ter re­ceiv­ing the 2018 NatRoad Pro­fes­sional Driver of the Year awardOp­po­site be­low L to R: Jim Pear­son gives his ac­cep­tance speech af­ter re­ceiv­ing the Ted Pick­er­ing Me­mo­rial Award; An­gela Baw­den with her Youth Em­ployee award along­side NatRoad pres­i­dent Al­lan Thorn­ley and NTI gen­eral man­ager Mike Ed­monds

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