Industry icon honoured for years of service to trucking

Ron Finemore was the recipient of the Don Watson Memorial Award at the Foundation Sponsor’s Gala Dinner held at the conclusion of the Trucking Australia 2023 conference on the Sunshine Coast late last month.

The Don Watson Memorial Award is presented to an individual in recognition of them having given conspicuous service to the Australian trucking industry.

Finemore is the executive chairman of Ron Finemore Transport and has over 60 years’ experience in the Australian trucking industry.

He was previously the executive chairman of Finemore Holdings, one of Australia’s leading transport logistics management companies. The business, which was sold to Toll Holdings in 2001, had been built from the ground up by Finemore and his people over the previous 40 years.

In 2004, Ron Finemore Transport was established by Finemore, following his acquisition of Wodonga-based company Lewington’s Transport. In 2005, Smith’s Transport in Orange was also purchased.

The company now operates with a fleet of more than 290 prime movers, and over 700 pieces of trailing equipment, travelling over 70 million kilometres annually, and employs over 900 people.

The Don Watson Memorial Award recognises Finemore as a leading transport and logistics professional and also as a champion of industry professionalism, innovation and safety.

In his introduction to the announcement of the winner of the award, past-ATA chair Dennis Robertson spoke of the immeasurable time Finemore has given to help better the road transport industry as well as providing general financial support and the use of his staff and facilities.

“They always strive to find the most efficient and safest way to do the job and are always developing new equipment which is acknowledged globally as world’s best,” said Robertson before inviting Finemore to the stage to receive his award from Lyndon Watson, the son of Don and Noelene Watson.

Added Finemore: “Everything I’ve tried to do for the industry has been for the people, and the community.

“The great people who work in the industry, and my passion has been to see people that have started in the industry with me in various categories, be successful.”

Finemore is particularly passionate about improving the efficiency and effectiveness of fatigue management policies and systems for the industry and was a presenter on that subject earlier in the conference.

“I wasn’t here at this conference other than to enhance the safety of the industry for the community of Australia,” he said.

“It’s a battle to try to get the bureaucrats to understand that people in our industry are only there for the good of the whole community.

“The very large majority of our people are absolutely great people, as is the case in every part of society. Unfortunately, the trucking industry is not recognised for the job we do, even though for the last three years people have woken up to what we do. But most people would prefer not to see the trucks on the road and unfortunately they can’t do without us.

“The great job that everybody here does isn’t necessarily appreciated, but it is recognised.”

Known for his hands-on, down-to-earth approach by his staff and industry colleagues, Finemore and his team constantly strive to deliver improved safety, productivity, profitability and return on investment.

“I’ve been very, very lucky,” he concluded. “I’ve been in this industry 62 years, I had my first truck before I had a licence, and I hope to be here for a few years more.”

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