Winners celebrated at HVIA National Awards

Winners have been announced across five categories at the 2023 HVIA National Awards, held in Brisbane last week.

Over 200 people attended the 2023 HVIA National Awards Gala Dinner last week, on Friday, November 24. Held at the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre, the night celebrated the heavy vehicle industry’s innovators, innovations and leaders, both current and emerging.

“Every year we’re honoured to witness more of our members’ extraordinary innovation and ingenuity being revealed,” said HVIA chief executive officer Todd Hacking.

“That is along with the joy it brings us to recognise some amazing young industry people at the start of what we expect to be a long and fulfilling career in the heavy industry.”

Here are the winners:

Product Innovation Award

The Drake Group subsidiary O’Phee Trailers took out the Product Innovation Award for its revolutionary ‘London’ Container Double Stack Super B-double skel trailer combination.

Equipped with an Australian-compliant load restraint system, this world-first trailer set can carry up to eight empty 20-foot containers at a time or four 40-foot containers – boosting productivity by 100 per cent over current existing Super B-double combinations in a single journey.

It is currently restricted to approved routes within the Port of Brisbane. However, O’Phee Trailers has had solid enquires from other operators and ports domestically and internationally that are interested in adopting the high-productivity trailer.

Other category finalists:

Lucidity Australia – Fuel Tanker Overfill Probe Junction Box

Base Air Global – Base Air Air Suspension System

Carmate Electronics – Mata7S Multi-Trailer TPMS

PT Blueboys – Coupling Connection Covers

Safety Innovation Award

Taking out the Safety Innovation Award was Yatala-based Base Air Global for its Base Air pressure-control system.

The system allows vehicles to operate between single- and dual-circuit air suspension as required, reducing vibration and improving load-share, freight damage, tyre-wear, fuel consumption, and Electronic Brake System intervention.

Installed into a vehicle’s existing air suspension, the system uses two custom height control valves (HCVs), one dual-pressure protection valve (DPPV), and air lines of equal length and diameter, are combined with unique ‘Crossflow’ technology.

The HCVs split a vehicle’s total number of air springs into two sets – one left and one right. Both sides are then connected, via a single ‘Crossflow’ line.

Special ports within each HCV manage airflow through this line, in response to a vehicle’s environment. On level ground, these ports are open, and the system operates as one circuit, with air evenly managed across both sets of springs.

However, if the vehicle leans more than 1.5 degrees left or right, these ports close, isolating the air either side. This creates two circuits, enabling the HCVs to determine what pressure is best for their respective set of springs.

Other category finalists:

Scully RSV – Scully RSV Pre-Start Inspection

Magnum Australia – Magnum Portable Fire-Fighting Module

National Transport Insurance – NTARC National Truck Accident Research Centre

SGESCO-MAX – MAX-SAFE SideView Pedestrian Protection Safety Solution

Carmate Electronics – Mata7S Multi-Trailer TPMS

Apprentice of the Year

Penske Australia’s Brayden Conaghan was awarded the national Apprentice of the Year title.

At the 2023 Brisbane Truck Show, Conaghan and a fellow apprentice won the Apprentice Challenge in record time – and became the only team ever to find the mystery fault.

One of Conaghan’s most impressive attributes is his integrity. He takes ownership of any request handed to him and steps up in times of need at a moment’s notice.

He’s a fantastic team player and knows the importance of teamwork in any environment. He also cares for his fellow work mates, customers, and the business.

Not only did Conaghan challenge himself in completing his apprenticeship ahead of schedule, he also tested himself in obtaining his recreational pilot’s licence at the same time.

His consistently demonstrates the highest level of technical aptitude in all aspects of the workplace, evidenced through the early completion of his apprenticeship and ability to work self-sufficiently and accurately on jobs. In addition, his ability to work under pressure is also notable.

Having now completed his apprenticeship, Conaghan plans to continue to learn and gain as much experience in his current role before progressing into a leadership role such as a leading hand or supervisor position.

Other category finalists:

Paris Maw – CMV Truck & Bus Albury Wodonga

Riley Watterson – Trucks on the Run

Ziyaz Unus – Iveco Group

Hayden Norup – Robuk Engineering

Joshua Wells – Royans Brisbane

Todd Shalders – CMV Truck & Bus

Peter Langworthy Future Leaders Award

Award winner Jason Cooper started his heavy vehicle mechanical apprenticeship in 2013 with Brown and Hurley, doing after-hours breakdown work as well as completing various Paccar technician training courses.

Once he completed his apprenticeship he continued attending training courses which earned him master technician status. In 2019 Cooper was promoted to leading hand where he manages the afternoon shift on a rotation basis.

In 2020 Cooper attended the Paccar Technician of the Year Awards as one of five finalists, finishing third in his first attempt. In 2021 he finished first, backing up his win with a second in 2022 and first in 2023.

In 2022 Jason attended the Brown and Hurley Future Leaders Program presented by the AIM Institute of QLD. He has since demonstrated exceptional leadership skills and mentoring of staff, including initiating training sessions and workshops for other mechanics to improve their technical skills. Jason has also implemented a system where mechanics have more autonomy in decision-making for routine repairs, boosting their confidence and morale.

His long-term career goal is to eventually run a dealership in a dealer principal role.

Community Leadership Award

Award winner Scully RSV this year proactively prioritised community leadership, commencing with its partnership with TIACS (This Is A Conversation Starter), a charity created to spread the message of mental health support for blue-collar and rural communities.

In November 2022, Scully RSV contacted food rescue charity, OzHarvest, offering vehicle support over the Christmas period. What began as a simple donation of refrigerated vehicles, grew to a formalised corporate partnership in August this year.

To further deepen community leadership, Scully RSV saw an opportunity to better service those from the Punjabi, Hindu and Urdu-speaking communities. A campaign was launched showcasing the team who speak these languages with sections of the Scully website in Punjabi, Hindu and Urdu. The site directs enquiries to the relevant team member in that language.

And in April 2023 Scully RSV chief executive officer Andrew McKenzie participated in a charity walk of the Larapinta Trail raising funds for parent company Redwood North’s charity, Melanoma Patients Australia. He raised the highest amount across the group and was awarded the right to nominate the next charity partner and fundraising initiative, which in 2024 will be TIACS.

Scully RSV also supports Fruit2Work, a social enterprise.

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