Workshop legend celebrates 40 years in the game

Starting out as an apprentice and working his way up to his current management role, Wayne Murphy has just celebrated a career milestone – 40 years at the same company.

Murphy currently works as service manager at Patterson Cheney Isuzu, a busy dealership in greater Melbourne.

And it was there that Murphy got his first ever job, securing a motor mechanic apprenticeship at what was then called Patterson Cheney Trucks. The workshop was conveniently located just across the road from his house.

“I’m old school, I like the smell of fuel, the noise and the power,” said Murphy.

“I wanted to work on trucks because I could see there were a lot of interesting things going on at the time. They were a bit harder to deal with than cars, so the other apprentices weren’t that keen on working on them.”

From apprentice, he moved up into the role of foreman, and then assistant service manager before his current role of service manager – where he manages a team of 30 technicians and diesel mechanics.

Over the years, Murphy says the job has changed a great deal. “What we’re dealing with today is so technical with electrical components, computers, emissions to consider and diagnostic tools.

“When you’ve got a good product that speaks for itself, plus equipment and access to information that improves year on year, and you’ve got good support, then you can make smart decisions based around the package.”

Flashback to 1999, with Wayne Murphy in the role of senior service advisor – pictured with then service manager Peter Sherry. Image: Isuzu Trucks

Though there are still plenty of heritage models that roll into the workshop. “If one of our mechanics get something a little bit older, they know they are welcome in my office to ask for advice about the ins and out of the truck,” Murphy added.

With 40 years already under his belt, Murphy says he sees training the next generation of mechanics and technicians as a way of giving back to both the industry and the Patterson Cheney dealership which has supported him throughout the years.

“The industry has become a much friendlier place for all service technicians, regardless of their gender, culture, or race, which you can see right here on the floor at Patterson Cheney,” he said.

“We’re coming into a new generation of young technicians – I think our job here as service managers and role models is to give something back.”

And Murphy has no plans of any sort of career change any time soon.

“People ask me what’s next, do I want to go any higher, but I still believe there’s work to be done right here in my role as service manager,” he said.

“I am curious to see all the changes coming to the industry with alternate fuel sources and the introduction of Isuzu’s EV trucks.”

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