Ever wondered how some people started and what led them to where they are now? This month we asked some of the team at Expressway Spares to share their journey.
Geoff Fowler – National Operations Manager Wauchope NSW (49 years of service)
I started with Expressway Spares in 1975 working as a yardman. 12 months later I moved into the dismantling section where we wrecked out used trucks and earthmoving equipment for parts and components. In 1977, I moved into the workshop where I spent my days repairing customer machines and refurbishing parts and components for sale. As the company was still very small, I was involved in a broad range of roles.
In the 1980s I started in purchasing and I also had the opportunity to upskill, completing a parts interpreter apprenticeship. During this time computers also entered our lives, and I assisted with their introduction. In the 1990s, with our customer base growing into larger contractors and mining companies I was involved in gaining the company’s accreditation for Quality Assurance.
Early 2000’s saw me gain the role I still hold today as National Operation Manager, which includes overseeing warehouse operations, major machine purchasing and inventory pricing plus many other aspects of the business. I feel humble to have been involved in so many changes and growth within Expressway Spares.
Rob Baker – Operations Manager Mt Thorley NSW (5 years of service)
After completing my Plant Mechanic apprenticeship in Barraba at an asbestos mine, and still alive to tell the story, I moved to Singleton in early 1983 to work with Waugh and Josephson. I have seen massive changes take place in mining during my 40 years in the Valley, from the increase in machinery size to the number of mines operating. In 1983 we would have had maybe half a dozen field service guys to look after Caterpillar in this area.
Fast forward to the present day and everyone’s biggest problem is finding enough staff needed for the massive mining fleet we work with each day. The biggest improvement by far has been the change in safety culture and training in the industry. Inductions, isolation, risk assessments and competency-based training are the standouts. At one time you would just roll up to site not inducted, get told what your job was and the instructions, “let me know when it’s fixed”.
There are a lot of great people in this industry, and I have been fortunate to cross paths with many and form lasting friendships. A career in mining never looked like an option in a little country town, but glad I went down this path and wouldn’t have it any other way.
Rod Hall – Operations Manager Mackay QLD (10 years of service)
In 1980, I started with OEM HDAL in southeast Qld before upping sticks and moving to Alice Springs in the NT to work on the gas pipeline Mereenie to Darwin and South Stuart Highway to Adelaide. Then in 1987, it was over to Darwin, still with HDAL, to provide product support for mining customers in the top end.
1988 saw me on the front of the 785 (1 of 5 trucks) headed to the barge for Groote Eylandt as there was no low loader large enough to carry it. A connection with the NT Minister for Transport arranged a once off permit to drive on the road and I was the spotter for low electrical wires. In 1990, I made the move back to Qld with HDAL, setting up a Branch in Dysart. Then it was off to Indonesia with Trakindo to work on maintenance contract at Batu Hijau for 5 years before back to the Mackay area with HDAL.
In 2011, I moved to Mongolia with Wagner Asia Equipment and experienced minus 40 temperatures in the Gobi Desert. In 2013, I finally settled down and started with Expressway Spares in Mackay. It’s now been 44 years working in the Caterpillar world and I have enjoyed every bit of it.
Anthony Smith – Branch Manager, Gunnedah NSW (2 years of service)
Over 20 years ago I left school at the end of year 10 and started a building course at Tafe. After a year I knew building wasn’t for me and I began a heavy vehicle automotive apprenticeship with Cummins Diesel in Tamworth and was awarded apprentice of year on completion. I spent 5 years working with Cummins in Tamworth, 2 years in Brisbane and 1 year in Mudgee as a diesel mechanic and field service technician.
I then moved back to Tamworth where I spent 10 years working as a heavy vehicle mechanic in the mines at Werris Creek and Muswellbrook. Having a young family, I decided to change my career path and move into sales in 2017 at Brown and Hurley. From there I took on a role at Komatsu Gunnedah before landing where I am today at Expressway Spares Gunnedah.
I was able to build my knowledge in sales and customer relations over the past 7 years which earned me the role as Branch Manager 2 years ago. I thoroughly enjoy leading the team to build and develop the Gunnedah Branch by ensuring our customers’ needs and requirements are met.