Hall of Fame Inductee 2016
Don’s passion for vehicles has seen him go from a mechanic to a successful transport business owner.
He grew up around the Kaipara Flats in rural Northland attending school at Mahurangi College at Warkworth, but he was more interested in trucks. He spent all his time at the Franicevich’s, who operated a fleet of International Harvester trucks. Mate Franicevich helped him get an apprenticeship as a mechanic at International Harvester Co. in Auckland at just 15 years old. This was when he was introduced to Kenworths and took an opportunity as a Kenworth dealer for Dalhoff and King.
In 1971 he moved on to selling Komatsu machines and Nissan trucks in Auckland.
In 1973 Don married and bought a truck in the same year. He really wanted to finally have his own truck, so he purchased a Commer TS3 with a friend and used it to cart phosphate. Unfortunately, the truck didn’t work out as he realised he was much better suited as a mechanic, fixing the Commer most nights.
In 1974 he sold the Commer and bought a 1974 Valiant ute. With this ute he contracted his skills out to NZ Steel. When they changed their transport methods, he saw it as an opportunity and overcame adversity to become the biggest Scania dealer of the day. That was the beginning of his business Trucks & Trailers Ltd, which now employs over 90 staff over three branches. Another opportunity came in 1991 when Cable Price dropped Mercedes Benz. He saw that Trucks & Trailers Ltd became Mercedes Benz dealers.
Trucks & Trailers Ltd focuses more on the after-sales side of business, which reflects this man’s passion for mechanics and customer service.
Don is still the Director of Trucks and Trailers Ltd and Heavy Trucks Ltd, allowing him to keep up to date with all transport matters and as he says ‘the great people involved.’