At just 12 years old, truck-loving Charlotte Radeski knows her way around a gearbox and is already poised to one day take over her family’s successful earthmoving and heavy haulage business.
As her parents Mark and Emilia Radeski will tell you, Charlotte’s not your average 12-year-old. Her truck driving skills are already well beyond her years (off-road of course). She helps with servicing, greasing, hooking up and unhooking, unchaining, dropping landing legs and more.
“Charlotte’s very determined and thinks she can drive better than me,” said 41-year-old Mark. “She’s been interested since day dot and knows everything about the trucks. She always wants to come with me in the truck too.
“I started teaching her to drive when she was about 10 – once she was tall enough to do what she needs to and see over the windscreen. She started off learning in an old SAR, now she practices in a 2008 Kenworth T908. One day she’d like a T509 she says.”
As the saying goes, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Mark grew up on a cattle station in Alice Springs, before his family moved to a property in Wanganella, NSW. “And the older fellas would teach me to drive the trucks,” he said.
The family is now based in Hay, NSW. Mark started his business Radeski Earthmoving in 2002, at the age of 20. “I had just one piece of earthmoving gear, now I have loader buckets, compacters, tractor scrapers, rollers, graders, excavators, water scrapers and the trucks.”
Emilia added, “From one little tractor, we’ve grown the business through blood, sweat and tears. Charlotte is definitely taking after Mark – she’s just a beautiful kid. Her father is her idol, and she wants to be just like her dad.
“Charlotte has been driving tractors since she was around about seven-years-old – with someone of course. There’s still a hell of a lot for her to learn but she loves it. It’s second nature for her. She helps in our business every second she can and drives and tries everything. She’s a natural and isn’t afraid of hard work,” Emilia continued.
“Charlotte has two siblings with disabilities – her 22-year-old sister is legally blind and her 28-year-old brother has cerebral palsy. She has the most caring and kindest soul and even wanted to teach her sister to drive – she’s amazing.”
Radeski Earthmoving transports its earthmoving gear Australia-wide, towed by a fleet of five Kenworths: a T909, T908, T609, K200 and SAR. The company services the civil, agricultural, mining and commercial construction industries, and employs around 25 staff, including four drivers, with Mark often behind the wheel too.
“We move all our own equipment. I transport a lot of the equipment myself and Charlotte comes with me every chance we get. We do a lot of work into WA and have been bringing a lot of equipment into Kununurra recently. Our trucks don’t stop,” explained Mark.
“Charlotte’s a very enthusiastic person who loves what she does. She gets extremely upset when she can’t come in the truck with me. I think it’s pretty certain she’ll follow this path – she says that to me every day.
“When we’re unloading, she’ll have everything all unchained by the time I get around to the back of the truck. She’s very determined.”
Emilia says one of Charlotte’s favourite times of year is harvest time; and she gets super excited to jump in the tractor for Gargaro Ag, which is located just across the road from the family’s propery.
It’s fairly certain that Charlotte’s eagerness to learn, can-do attitude and passion will place her in good stead for a future career in the industry she loves most.
“One day she wants to take over the business – and she will,” said Emilia. “We could’ve sold our business a little while ago, but we won’t because we know Charlotte will one day carry it on.”
But for now, Charlotte’s happy being able to be involved in her family’s business and cannot wait until she’s old enough to get her truck licence.