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Industry stalwart retires after almost 70 years

After a long career dedicated to trucking, Wakefield Trucks co-founder Brian Umpherston has announced his retirement.

He has been in the industry for seven decades – with six of those spent representing the Western Star/White brand.

Starting his career as a fitter and turner after working on the family farm, he quickly enhanced his education to include high-speed diesel engines and broadened his skills to work on cars, trucks, and tractors before becoming a service manager and then moving into White sales at OG Roberts.

After taking the reins at OG Roberts’ White Truck & Farm Machinery dealership in Adelaide, Umpherston then co-founded Wakefield Trucks with business partner Dennis Dobie in 1978.

A stalwart within South Australia’s trucking industry, Umpherston and his team sold and supported a portfolio that included the MAN Truck & Bus and Dennis Eagle brands in addition to his first love, Western Star Trucks.

“I have seen first-hand Brian’s passion for Western Star and his dedication to his customers,” said Randall Seymore, president at Penske Australia and New Zealand.

“From the predecessor White brand to the latest Stars, Brian is an ardent supporter of our range of tough Stars that are built on a renowned American heritage. He understands the devotion of Star enthusiasts as he is one himself.

“On behalf of Penske Australia, I thank Brian for all his hard work and congratulate him on all his achievements over the years.

“While South Australian customers are in great hands with Colin Umpherston and the team at Wakefield Trucks, there’s no one quite like Brian and we wish him the best.”

A quiet achiever, part of Umpherston’s legacy will be the lasting impact he’s made on the generations that follow him at Wakefield Trucks.

“My father has always felt an obligation to impart his knowledge on younger people, teaching that the correct way was the only way,” said Colin Umpherston, dealer principal at Wakefield Trucks.

“Customer focussed, he prioritises the delivery of a high level of service and support and his accolades over the years recognise this focus.

“He won Western Star Sales Dealer of the Year in 1999, a Chairman’s Award in 2006, Penske Dealer of the Year in 2018, a South Australian Road Transport Industry Legend Award in 2019, and multiple other Western Star parts and service awards.

“From humble beginnings to today, Brian has rightfully earned a reputation over the years for setting a high standard across all areas of the business of which he will always be extremely proud, as will I.”

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