Industry veteran, road transport pioneer and CRT Group boss Colin Rees has been named the Personality of the Year.
Rees was recognised Saturday night in front of a packed Crown Palladium at the 32nd Australian Freight Industry Awards.
For over 60 years Rees and his family have developed a number of innovative transport businesses across bulk haulage, timber transport, taxi trucks and also the Ettamogah Rail Hub.
Among those he thanked was ARTSA’s Rob Perkins.
“Everybody needs a good sidekick particularly in the transport industry to keep you focused and to be there when you need somebody to support you,” said Rees.
“You do have highs and lows in any business,” he said.
Rees, who turned 75 the week prior, said the industry had been good to him after more than 50 years before acknowledging the support from his wife.
“You can’t do this without a good backstop. I’ve certainly had that in Val,” he said to cheers.
“Transport can be pretty tough on relationships but through it all Val has been there supporting me doing the things that need to be done to get you through,” he said.
Following a three year hiatus, nearly 700 people gathered to celebrate the achievements of transport operator and supplier companies and individuals across a range of categories.
Surpassing a record number of nominations lodged in 2020 – when the Awards were presented virtually – over 60 nominations were submitted this year from small, medium and large operators from all over Australia.
Other winners include Cara Spencer from the Alex Fraser Group for the Female Leadership Award; Claudia Jennings, Linfox, for the Young Achiever of the Year Award; SEA Electric for the Sustainable Environment Award; Knorr Bremse Australia, for the Application of Technology Award; Wettenhalls, for Best Practice Safety Award; and Qube Bulk, for the Investment in People Award.
“It was a pleasure to host dignitaries from state and federal governments, along with VTA life members, councillors and hundreds of VTA members and transport industry operators and suppliers, who were keen to get together for a night of celebration unlike any other in our industry,” said VTA CEO Peter Anderson.
“Every one of our winners and finalists should be proud of their accomplishments, and particularly that they were achieved during a time of great challenge and uncertainty in people’s professional and personal lives.
“Their endurance, commitment and effort are reflective of every transport worker that has stood up and served our communities over the past three years, and it was terrific to recognise that in person at our awards presentation.”
Anderson also thanked guests for their hard work and tenacity in serving the Australian community during the pandemic.
“In front of our largest audience for over two years, it would be remiss not to acknowledge the women and men of the Australian transport industry who have worked so tirelessly during such difficult conditions,” he said.
“To our members, operators and their staff, industry suppliers and all the businesses in the supply chain that kept our country moving, thank you for your service, your endurance, commitment, and effort, and for delivering to the people of Australia no matter the challenge,” said Anderson.