Since completing a mechanical engineering degree in 1997, Kevin Johnston has succeeded in a variety of engineering related roles with a number of truck manufacturers. His current role is Product and Pricing Manager with Hino Australia.
You’ll never hear Kevin Johnston blowing his own trumpet. On the contrary, when in work mode he is invariably found diligently and thoughtfully carrying out his duties, drawing on a wealth of knowledge and experience amassed over more than two decades working in the industry.
“After I graduated as a mechanical engineer I applied for an engineering position with Kenworth at Bayswater (Vic) in 1998,” he begins. “I didn’t get the gig so I took a position working on the production line fitting mufflers to Kenworth trucks. I did that for close to 12 months and then joined International Trucks at Dandenong as a Project Engineer developing truck components. That was just prior to Iveco taking over International and I worked there for 10 years.”
A good chunk of Kevin’s time at Iveco involved product planning, working with Iveco’s then Senior Product Planning Manager Colin White, which he describes as a great learning experience.
“I’ve always had a passion for achieving the best outcomes in whatever project I work on and Colin had a similar outlook so we worked well together and I learnt a lot from him. After Colin left Iveco I essentially stepped into his shoes and was responsible for product planning across the entire Iveco range.”
Kevin’s appreciation for the tutelage he received from Colin White is borne out by his desire to pass on the knowledge he has accumulated to the new generation of engineering graduates entering the industry.
As for the biggest change he’s seen in the industry, Kevin says the development of emissions reduction technology has been prolific over the last two decades.
“Emissions have been the number one driver of step changes in my time in the industry,” he explains. A new engine requires new electronic controls and a larger radiator requires a new cab design, everything radiates out from the engine.”
After leaving Iveco, Kevin did a stint with Mitsubishi-Fuso which he says was another steep learning curve as he had not previously worked with Japanese trucks.
This stood him in good stead for his current role with Hino Australia. With the recent local release of the ground-breaking Hino 500 Series Standard Cab range, Kevin’s expertise has once again come to the fore as the company seeks to increase its market share in this vital segment.
Made possible by Smedley’s Engineers. Industry Icon is a series dedicated to honouring the unsung heroes of the commercial road transport industry.