Inexperience no obstacle for LRTAV award winner

By: Tamara Whitsed, Video by: Tamara Whitsed


Eighteen months after loading his first stock crate, Brady Fitzpatrick has accepted the LRTAV 2018 Young Driver Award.

 

For many years Graeme Thomas was reluctant to employ drivers without stock-handling experience.

"I always had the theory that you couldn’t teach someone stock sense," says Thomas who operates Thomas Transport from Campbells Forest near Bendigo, Victoria.

"You could teach them to drive and you could teach them to work, but you can’t teach them to handle stock."

But his theory changed in 2016 when he employed Brady Fitzpatrick who adjusted to livestock carrying so quickly that he was awarded the Livestock and Rural Transporters Association of Victoria (LRTAV) 2018 Young Driver Award in August.

"He’s got no rural background at all but he’s certainly picked it up and learned how to handle stock," says Thomas who is also impressed with Fitzpatrick’s business and communication skills.

Graeme Thomas (left) and Brady Fitzpatrick. Photo by Tamara Whitsed.

Fitzpatrick, 35, says he was ‘chuffed’ when Thomas nominated him for the award: "The win was a bonus on top of that. I suppose it's a little bit of a reward for effort."

He drives a 2013 Kenworth K200 and in an average week he might cart sheep and cattle to regional saleyards, wool to Melbourne and pigs to South Australia.

Fitzpatrick didn’t grow up around trucks or livestock. Instead he worked as a builder for his parents’ business. But after eight years he felt like a career change and started driving earthmoving trucks.

He carted his first load of stock in March 2017 when he moved to Thomas Transport.

(From left) David Ryan from Griffiths Goodall Insurance Brokers with finalist Luke Ewing, runner-up Devin Lafranchi, winner Brady Fitzpatrick and LRTAV Vice President John Beer.

Fitzpatrick admits he was ‘pretty green’ when he started carting livestock. "Graeme taught me a lot about different aspects of the job. Having a willingness to learn about it and ask questions, I think, goes a long way."

Luke Ewing from TGR Transport and Devin Lafranchi from IG & J Dance Livestock Transport also made the Young Driver finals. Lafranchi was announced runner-up.

Read the fully story in the October 2018 issue of Owner//Driver.

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