Mention road transport in the NSW regional city of Wagga Wagga, and one name instantly comes to mind – Ron Crouch Transport. Managing Director, Geoff Crouch, in his second term as President of leading industry association, NatRoad, has firm views on the future of trucking in this country and the importance of trucks and transport to the community of Wagga Wagga and centres across the country.
Geoff is the first to expound with fervour the role road transport plays to anybody who will listen, but it wasn’t too long back he had no real intention of becoming an active participant in trucking at all, taking various roles in other industries prior to joining the successful family based business in Wagga.
The company was established by his parents Ron and Beverley Crouch in 1978, starting with one truck and a single client, growing to what today is a sizable regional carrying business held in high regard by both clients and the community, and while Geoff has had an impact on that growth, it was originally far from his mind.
“I had no real interest in becoming involved in the business,” Geoff tells. “I could see opportunities in other fields and in other areas and decided to pursue them. I worked in retail and banking in Sydney, but I guess it was inevitable transport would attract me, whether I realised it or not. I moved back to Wagga in 1989 and started a taxi truck business running to Canberra. I built it up over six years before selling it and then joining my parents as Operations Manager in the family company.
“I might have been reluctant to go into transport originally, but today there is no better industry, it is one I love and am committed to, a complete turnaround from where I thought I would be,” Geoff smiles.
Geoff has gone into it boots and all and if you look at his involvement in the trucking industry, he became Managing Director of Ron Crouch Transport in 1999, has been a NatRoad Director since 2007, active participant of the NSW Road Freight Industry Council, Trustee Director of the Transport Industry Superannuation Fund, member of the Australian Trucking Association General Council, President of the Wagga Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Deputy Chair of the Wagga Wagga Business Advisory Council – not bad for a bloke with no intention of taking a road transport career path.
As one can imagine, the various roles he has undertaken are extremely time consuming and take him away from the growing transport business, but Geoff remains focussed on the company and while his activities keep him busy, he would not have it any other way.
“These are all important to the way we and others in transport do business and I feel it has all been worthwhile. So too is the position as President of NatRoad. Being President has been a wonderful experience with a number of challenges, for today and into the future,” he says.
“I am extremely fortunate to have excellent people around me with a common goal to better the industry as a whole. These people are committed to the industry with a wealth of experience that cannot be understated. NatRoad is made up of grass roots operators who are extremely well versed in trucking and the issues that face us all every day, knowledge that allows us to present a factual case when addressing all areas of concern to the industry. Wonderful people working for a wonderful industry.
“NatRoad is fortunate to have Chris Melham on board as CEO who also has a great wealth of experience and knowledge. From day one Chris jumped feet first into the important issues, undertaking an enormous amount to work to bring himself up to speed and he has been extremely impressive in his actions. Chris is now an expert on HTML and the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator and is forging ahead gaining knowledge in all areas,” Geoff tells.
“I must also mention Chris’ predecessor Bernie Belacic, who did an enormous amount of work for the industry and NatRoad. Bernie is one of those people who gives his all to transport and he is owed a big thanks.”
But while Geoff recognises the work done by Bernie Belacic, Chris Melham and the NatRoad Board of Directors, he points out the strength of any association is its membership.
“Membership is the base of any association and in the case of our industry, each of our members makes a contribution to Australian road transport as a whole. Their support at our workshops and conference gives us even more experience and continues to help us learn more about their businesses paving the way to achieving improved viability and efficiency across the board, which delivers great benefits,” he says.
Working for success in transport is what Geoff is committed to and heading a company servicing a big regional area gives him more than ample exposure to all issues facing industry people, so he is acutely aware of the challenges facing trucking operators on a daily basis.
Ron Crouch Transport is a company servicing all capital cities on the eastern seaboard as well as Canberra and Adelaide, with a carefully selected group of agents in other centres to provide national transport specialising in general and dangerous goods cartage, while expanding warehouse facilities and growing customer services.
All administration is based in Wagga Wagga, with all pickups co-ordinated through head office, ensuring a seamless operation providing a high degree customer satisfaction through the efforts of a committed team. The company is acutely aware of fluctuations in demand experienced by its client base and has structured its activities accordingly to meet these requirements.
“Our industry is all about service and people in this business go out of their way to do the very best for customers. We are no different to any other business, there are challenges to be faced and we must be able to address those to ensure clients receive the service they require. After all we are partners in their businesses and it is vital everybody works together to achieve success,” Geoff says.
As a hands-on operator, Geoff keeps track of all sectors of company activities and retains personal relationships with an extensive list of customers, committed to them as much as he is to the trucking industry.
“Our customers are like those in the industry, good people to deal with and very focused on the future,” he says.