Professionalism at Pambula

By: Tamara Whitsed

Dave Wilson, who operates DJ Coolfreight out of Pambula, NSW, is keen on educating young motorists on sharing the road with trucks.

DJ Coolfreight Director Dave Wilson instigated a truck awareness program for local schools. Photo by NatRoad

NatRoad’s 2018 Professional Driver of the Year believes professionalism is an attitude.

"Just have a bit of pride in what you do and not just see it as a job but actually as a career and a lifestyle, and actually try to create a better attitude in the industry," says DJ Coolfreight Director, Dave Wilson.

Based in Pambula on the New South Wales south coast, DJ Coolfreight runs a mixed fleet of seven trucks and employs 18 people.

Annie Wilson works in the office, operates a forklift and drives trucks when required. Photo by Tamara Whitsed.

Dave worries that young car drivers don’t know how to share the road with trucks. He acted on this concern by initiating a truck awareness program at local schools. This hands-on approach to improving road safety in his region contributed to his award.

"[Students] walk around the truck, and they actually feel and see the size of the truck, and we explain to them about stopping distances," Dave says.

"We also place vehicles around the truck in positions to demonstrate blind spots, and then the kids are actually one-by-one all invited to sit up in one of our trucks and they can actually see what we see over the bonnet, down the left-hand side and out the mirrors, and actually get a bit more of a perspective of how hard it is to actually see them on the roads."

Dave completed a diesel mechanic apprenticeship when he left school, and was driving a semi-trailer by the time he was 19. After gaining experience as a driver and manager, he bought his own truck in January 2008.

"We started off as a refrigerated transport company but have diversified into pretty much nearly everything – flat tops, tautliners, dry freight, general freight … anything."

Dave’s wife Annie Wilson is a versatile member of the team. You might find her working in the office, operating a forklift, or making deliveries in their 2.5 tonne Hino tray truck.

Read our full story in the January 2019 issue of Owner//Driver.

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