Industry Icon: Bob Martin – A man of many talents

Smedley's Industry Icons

Bob Martin is the National Training Manager at JOST Australia. He has been employed by JOST since 2001, having served as the company’s Brisbane Branch Manager for 18 years and then in 2019 moving into the newly formed National Training Manager role.

Bob Martin left school at the age of 15 and secured an apprenticeship as a motor mechanic. “I served my time at a small country garage and worked on a wide variety of equipment, from cars and light commercials to rigid trucks, tractors and earthmoving equipment,” Bob says. “After completing my apprenticeship, I spent a number of years working in new car dealerships in Brisbane.”

The year 1989 marked Bob’s first foray into the heavy commercial vehicle industry, when he secured a position as a truck driver/mechanic, operating a rigid tipper towing a three-axle dog trailer.

“I found myself off work for three months due to a work injury and was forced to look at other job avenues in a bid to return to the workforce,” he says. “That’s when I started making enquiries about becoming a TAFE teacher.

Bob secured a position as a TAFE tutor in 1992 and subsequently gained entry into Griffith University as a mature age student, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in adult and vocational teaching in 1995.

“In the mid ‘90s the TAFE system in Queensland was poorly funded, so when I heard about a technical sales role at BPW Transpec in 1995 I successfully applied and worked there for six years, during which time I continued with my studies and obtained a Diploma of Management,” Bob says. “Then a position came up with JOST Australia, as the Brisbane Branch Manager, so I applied and was successful and started working at JOST in 2001. I was responsible for running the branch and maintaining product sales across QLD, NT and PNG. In the last 12 months, I returned to TAFE studies part time and graduated with a Certificate IV in Training and Assessment.”

In 2004, Bob was invited to join the Commercial Vehicle Industry Association of Queensland (CVIAQ) Board of Directors, going on to serve as Vice President for two years, under the watchful eye of Rob Brown, and then President for six years presiding over three Brisbane Truck Shows. Bob oversaw the transition of the CVIAQ to a national association, the HVIA, where Bob served as the first HVIA President.

As for the biggest changes or developments he’s seen, Bob cites the introduction of B-doubles and Performance-Based Standards (PBS) designs as providing huge efficiency gains for operators.

More specifically on JOST components, Bob says the basic design of the fifth wheel has changed very little over the last 30-40 years, with the main advances seen in the introduction of sensor technology to alert the driver of a mis-couple.

Bob has great admiration for many in the industry, in particular those from whom he has been fortunate to learn.

“I do owe a debt of gratitude to David Sinclair, formerly of BPW Transpec, who saw something in me and gave me a start in the heavy commercial vehicle industry,” Bob says. “I also admire family-owned companies that have prospered and grown into very successful enterprises. There are often very interesting stories behind their humble beginnings.”


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