Boral driver wins national trucking award
One of Boral’s most respected truck drivers has been named the Australian Trucking Association’s National Professional Driver of the Year for 2018.
Barry Fitzgerald, a cement and fly ash tanker driver in NSW, was presented with the honour at an awards ceremony in Canberra on April 20.
The award recognises the outstanding performance of a professional truck driver, including driving skill, attitude and contribution to industry improvement.
Barry has contributed greatly to making Boral’s fleets and drivers safer, been a mentor and friend to many drivers and an excellent representative for them on safety and industrial committees.
During his acceptance speech Barry told the crowd he had been “blessed” to work for big companies such as Ansett, Kwikasair, TNT, Blue Circle and Boral, where he has been a safety committee member and a drivers’ representative.
“Boral are just 100 per cent on the safety and welfare of their drivers,” Barry said. “This is one of the proudest moments of my life”.
Barry started his career delivering fuel in 1971 for his future father-in-law who owned an Ampol service station in Cootamundra, NSW. He soon progressed through several companies transporting newspapers, meat, livestock and interstate freight. His ability and his ambition to drive big trucks led him to Blue Circle Cement in 1993, a company that Boral would later acquire.
Driving cement tankers requires specialised skills, managing the potentially dangerous processes of loading and unloading, the latter requiring the vessels to be pressurised.
Barry acquired these skills and also upgraded to a B-Double licence, immediately making the switch to the 60-tonne rigs and has been driving them ever since.
“In those days we had day- and night-shifts and the supervisor put me in a truck to do day-shift, partnered with a bloke called Rod Sellwood who did nights,” Barry said.
The successful enduring partnership that still exists is a reflection of their pride in their truck’s appearance, right down to painted tyres, clean windows and mirrors and spotless floor mats.
The partnership has survived eight prime movers. “We’ve done over three million kilometres in 25 years without a traffic ticket or a serious incident,” Barry said.
“Everything on the truck works – all the valves, hoses and cam locks – because we look after them. We have a strong sense of ownership.”
Boral Logistics NSW/ACT Supply Chain General Manager Victoria Sherwood says Barry is meticulous in his appearance and regards himself and his equipment as Boral’s face for customers and the community.
“Keeping cement tankers clean is a challenge since their natural environment is always potentially dusty, particularly at mobile concrete plants on construction or highway sites, but, Barry and his night shift driving partner have efficient routines for cleaning their equipment,” Victoria says.
She says Barry is mindful of the constant concentration required for driving heavy vehicles, including awareness of others such as pedestrians crossing the road while looking at their mobile phones and cars cutting in front of turning trucks.
“While we are driving our concentration is on these things. You cannot let up for even a second when you are driving such a large vehicle,” Barry says.
Victoria says Barry’s professionalism has shined through in the way he has elected to retire, recognising four years ago that his knowledge and input could be missed.
“This was particularly so of his role on the safety committee,” she says. “He personally selected a driver he thought had potential to replace him as a drivers’ representative and asked him to take over the safety and industrial roles.
“He has been a shining example of professionalism to his fellow drivers and he is respected by managers and drivers alike,” Victoria says.
Barry plans to retire later this year.
To find out about current positions at Boral, visit www.boral.com.au/careers