KEE Transport has had a transition period over the last six months, with changes in personnel within the office and driver group. With fresh new faces, we are focusing on improving systems, safety, customer services and building on existing business.
Hale Preston-Samson, KEE Transport Manager said, “We are happy to announce that we will be taking on new drivers here at KEE in the coming months. We have a very specialised work environment for the driver group, especially with some of the Perth metro requirements, where drivers’ knowledge needs to be of an incredibly high standard. Thanks to our driver supervisor and longest serving operator Rod MacGregor we have been able to upskill and train new employees in operating equipment for safe loading and unloading along Perth metro routes for site access.”
“Carting around Millions of Dollars”
After 36 years in the industry, Rod MacGregor (pictured) is one of the most respected truck drivers in WA. He is known as the ‘Asphalt Transport King’ and highly regarded in the industry for helping out his colleagues at the drop of a hat. “As a low-loader driver I’m carting around millions of dollars worth of machinery every single day, so I have to be on the ball from the get-go. I tell the men and women I train that it’s all about pre-planning. Knowing about your equipment and machinery and every possible obstacle along the way is crucial to a smooth delivery”.
Born in Parramatta, Sydney, Rod was brought up alongside two sisters. “I was really into my sports back then, I played Rugby League and Club Footie and represented my school- I even made Champion Boy three times, for field and track”. And the sporting gene has definitely rubbed off on his two youngest, with his daughter equalling Rod by winning School Champion three times and his son has been accepted at the Darling Range Sports Academy. Of his childhood he said; “As a kid I can remember cutting out pictures and posters of trucks from magazines and putting them up on my bedroom walls, so there must have been something that was drawing me to driving from an early age”.
“It was like arriving in Armageddon”
In 1992 Rod started working for Boral Asphalt as a loader operator in Townsville and after three months he joined their asphalt crew. “It was a real eye-opener” he said, “I started with another bloke who had been training in the army, but these conditions were even too much for a soldier. It was in the middle of summer in the middle of Cairns and the humidity just killed us- it was unbearable”. Two years later he was transferred to Perth to work on a re-opened gold mine.
“The drive over to the West was like arriving in Armageddon”, he joked, “we started in Cairns, down to the Gold Coast and across to Perth, with our three small kids and all of our worldly belongings crammed in the back of a Toyota Hi-Ace van and trailer. Unfortunately for us, it was the night of The Super Storm. There were huge trees strewn all over the roads and the 120kmph wind was so strong it kept knocking my van out of gear! When we arrived the whole of Perth was in complete darkness due to the power outage and nothing was open, so we had to spend an extra night in the van. Not the best of welcomes but the kids thought it was a great adventure”.
Roll on to 2004 and Rod started driving low loaders with Clayton and Damon. “We’d known Rod for a while and kept asking him to join us and eventually he cracked”, said Damon, “he was one of the original crew along with our dad”. Rod now drives a 600HP, FH16 Volvo with quad set up and we’ve estimated this highly experienced trucky has clocked up at least 1,700,000 kms during his lifetime.
Clayton acknowledges that Rod is a truly dedicated KEE man, “If I ring Rod up at 2am and ask him to do a job, he’ll just get on with it, no questions asked”, he said, “whilst his depth of transport knowledge is vast, he doesn’t put himself above others, he is a true team player”.
Words and pictures by Katharyn Quinn