Hall of Fame Inductee 2018
Comer Board was born in Huntly in 1955. His family had roots in farming, but a long obsession with trucks would pave a way for a future career in the industry.
After completing school in the Onewhero District of North Waikato, Comer spent his early career operating trucks and machinery in a supervisory role in Australia’s open cast mines. This was lucrative for him and upon his return to New Zealand, he became an owner/operator with Trailways. Followed by time spent selling trailers and trailer components with Fruehauf and Road Haul, there was a natural move into selling North American trucks.
Along with his wife Robyn, they formed their first company in the mid-90’s called Central Pacific International. Based at Mount Maunganui, they became a local International dealer under IVECO Australia. At the time IVECO represented New Zealand through a supply and distribution agreement with Navistar International Corp. But it wasn’t long before Comer soon realised that the New Zealand client base were wanting different options and lighter tare weights, something the American built products offered rather than Australian built Internationals.
In 1997 and driven by customer demand, Central Pacific International secured the importer, distribution and dealer agreement for International Trucks and Parts from Navistar beating out a major industry rival. To differentiate from the Australian assembled product, the company rebranded to become Intertruck Distributors NZ Ltd.
By 2004 business was trading well. With the company having worked hard to restore the confidence and trust in the International brand, and in close collaboration with Navistar, Intertruck commenced a pilot test programme for the assembly of International Trucks for the New Zealand market. In the same year, they established a R&D division around designing and manufacturing tailored trucks for the New Zealand market.
In 2006, after consultation with Navistar, Comer made the bold decision to invest into a 35,000-square foot, purpose built Truck Assembly plant separate to their current site. The site had 2 bake ovens for paint work and an engineering division to complement the vehicle assembly. This was a key initiative to manufacture and assemble custom built trucks in line with NZ’s complex transport legislation and meeting customer’s unique requirements. Some notable achievements include, in 2006, the design and build of NZ’s first twin steer conventional, in 2008, to design and install EURO 4 followed in 2012 EURO 5 Emission standards in the popular 9800-series truck. This passed the Cummins USA IQA (Installation Quality Audit), an exact and precise achievement to be met by any OEM standards. Cummins recognise Intertruck’s achievement as the best presented installation they had ever approved. Quickly reacting to VDAM axle group changes, in 2015, Comer steered his team in redesigning the 9800 to the new 9870, becoming a set-forward axle model.
Further cementing Intertruck’s reputation as a proven leader in the International Trucks network, they were awarded distribution rights of the prestigious LONESTAR model truck. The only country outside of North and Latin America to do so. And only in 2017, Intertruck secured the rights as the first global distributer to build the popular US model range, the ProStar, outside of North America.
Further expansion and growth continue for the company having established a network of 24 Dealer and Service providers throughout the country. With his wife Robyn working alongside him as Company Director and administrating the companies finance portfolio, the company has grown and continues to grow from its humble beginnings in 1995.