Auswide Transport Solutions recently presented its driver of the year with a brand-new Kenworth K200 Big Cab as a reward.
Michelle Evans-Mcleod joined Auswide Transport Solutions in June last year after moving to Australia in 2007 and working with subcontractors for Mainfreight and Chem Couriers since 2015.
Last Monday, she was recognised as Auswide Transport Solutions’ driver of the year.
“It was a bit of a surprise, actually,” Evans-Mcleod told Prime Mover.
“I’ve never had anything like that before in my life. I didn’t know we even had it, and I suppose it’s a massive pat on the back, especially when it’s announced on social media.
“They didn’t warn me either, they did it quietly.”
The new Kenworth, fitted with a microwave, TV, and all available modern conveniences, was part of an order which consisted of units 279 and 280 for the fleet.
Fitted with a Cummins X15 600-horsepower engine, the unit is rated to 110 tonnes.
Auswide Transport Solutions CEO, Tom Pausic, told Prime Mover that one of these vehicles was always going to go to Evans-Mcleod. Together with General Manager, Gabby Singh, he planned to present her with the driver of the year award when the prime movers arrived.
Unlike other communal vehicles in the fleet which are shared among drivers, though, the prime mover will solely belong to Evans-Mcleod.
Choosing Evans-Mcleod as the recipient of the new Kenworth and driver of the year award, Pausic said, was a given.
“Soon after coming onboard, she quite clearly demonstrated absolutely everything we needed from a professional driver, and she quickly ranked as one of our best,” he told Prime Mover.
“I’ve seen what she can do firsthand, and I’m confident of her skillset and her ability.
“Michelle quickly understood the path we were heading towards with our customer-first and safety approach and now is a stand-out in those areas.
“She’s simply an exceptionally professional driver and leader and a product of our drive for excellence.”
Due to his confidence in Evans-Mcleod’s ability, Pausic has positioned her in a large project with four other drivers to run quad combinations between Adelaide and Darwin in the coming weeks.
“I’ve got her with tier one clients because I know the work will get done,” he said.
“She has excelled in every area – I can’t think of anything professionally that would preclude her. No non-conformances (NCRs), no breaches, cleanliness of vehicle is second to none and her timeliness and punctuality is exceptional.
“The way she handles herself with clients and other staff members is above and beyond.”
The new Kenworth has been on the road with Evans-Mcleod since it arrived last Monday.
According to her, it has already completed a round trip from Melbourne to Adelaide via Sydney, as well as an Adelaide to Melbourne freight task too.
The unit is now doing a Mildura changeover on its way up to Sydney and onto Melbourne via Adelaide.
Even prior to receiving the new Kenworth, Evans-Mcleod had thoroughly enjoyed working at Auswide Transport Solutions.
“It’s been awesome,” she said.
“I can honestly say it’s been the best company I’ve ever worked for in Australia.”
Her favourite part of the job, she said, is being her own boss, to a degree.
“I enjoy the support – I get told what trailer numbers I’ve got, where I’m going and what customer I’m coming out of. Then I get left to do my job, and we have 24/7 operations in case there are any issues,” she said.
“It sounds horrible, but an office environment is not for me.
“At the end of the day, we get to see the country and listen to music.”