Top Truck - Mooloo Isuzu

Friday, July 20, 2018

Pride, passion and a standout performance

This month’s Top Truck award is fitting recognition of one man’s hard work and determination, turning his one-truck owner-driver operation into a major logistics organisation, built on relationships and meeting customer requirements. 

Les Harrison started his working career leaving school aged 15, to face the university of life and hard knocks. His first job was at the Horotiu Freezing Works where he stayed for 15 years. It was an opportunity to purchase a small truck from Davies Transport and run as an owner-driver for them that allowed Les to finally fulfil his childhood dream of driving trucks. After five years Les could see opportunities to pursue, so made the decision to go it alone.

Discussions with a local building supply company in 1999 led to Les acquiring their crane truck, and with the assistance of his eldest son, Mark, he began managing their client deliveries.

The best part of two decades later, Les Harrison Transport Group has evolved into an organisation with a team of hardworking individuals equipped with a modern fleet that includes all manner of crane trucks, container transporters, swing lifts, heavy haulage transporters, as well as curtainsiders, including this month’s Top Truck.

Photo: Mike Stephens loves the challenges and variety of the job, made all the better by the new ride.

Mike Stephens has been appointed driver of the big 9-axle H-plated Isuzu 530 CYJ. Mike is a man a lot like Les who has a passion for trucks and driving that goes back to childhood. Mike’s driving career started out with early mornings as a NZ Herald delivery van driver for Len Mason on Auckland’s North Shore. Len then offered Mike a step up helping him gain his class 2 licence, and from there moving on to a small 4x2 that handled magazine delivery duties. Wanting to try his hand at slightly bigger gear, Mike spent time with a couple of well-known Auckland earthmoving companies where he experienced 6x2 rigid tippers as well as tipulators. However, it was a miserable Auckland winter’s day when Mike decided he was over playing in the mud, and started investigating other opportunities.

This decision led him to the mighty Waikato and into the cab of a Volvo curtainside truck and trailer unit. After a year, and with change in the wind, Mike spent a day cold-calling Waikato-based transport companies. A call back from Les Harrison and a conversation between the two men had Mike in the driver’s seat near immediately. Now four years later Mike is loving the challenges and variety that he experiences on a daily basis as a driver at Les Harrison Transport. The big Isuzu is powered by the company ’s 15.6 litre 6WG1TCS motor rated at 395kW (530hp), matched to the MUX16 AMT.

“ There is never a dull day on the job here,” said Mike, “and I really enjoy the ability to get out of town and see the country, and the privilege of piloting this rig just makes it that much sweeter.”

About as sweet as a win on the paddock for the Mike’s mighty Mooloos we would think?