From the ground up

Starting as an apprentice motor mechanic, Barry Noble has risen through the ranks over the years and describes the plethora of safety features in modern trucks as the biggest change during his time in the industry.

Barry Noble grew up on a farm near the small country town of Kyabram, 200 kilometres north of Melbourne.

Gaining a mechanical apprenticeship in 1979 with the local East End Garage – a dealer for International Harvester trucks, tractors and farm equipment, among others – Barry honed his skills on a wide variety of machinery and fondly remembers driving around to farms in the surrounding Goulburn Valley fixing balers during the spring baling season.

“I was with the company for 13 years including three years in sales in the mid-1980s when hire purchase was 24 per cent,” he says. “It was tough going and I quickly realised I was cut out for fixing and building machinery, rather than selling it.”

After finishing his time, Barry went on to become one of a small number of Victorian mechanics to be awarded an A Grade Automobile Engineers Certificate by the Victorian Automobile Chamber of Commerce.

“There were 22 in the class and I was one of two who achieved the required 85 per cent pass mark in each of the 13 subjects,” Barry recalls.

By 1994 he had moved to Sydney and took on the role of Assistant Service Manager with UD Trucks. A few years later he became National Service Manager and in 1999 added National Parts Manager to his portfolio.

Barry’s tenure with Hino began in 2001 initially as a Service Representative, followed by a stint in Training, Warranty and Technical Compliance. This evolved into a solely Compliance role with Barry being the intermediary between Hino Japan and the Federal Government’s transport compliance arm DOTARS.

“I haven’t significantly changed roles since,” Barry says, “although the workload has increased and I’m now also responsible for the demo fleet and compilation and updating of spec sheets.”

He is also involved with the Truck Industry Council and Heavy Vehicle Industry Australia, as well as participating in working groups with the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development, looking at the integration of new vehicle safety standards.

Speaking of which, Barry says the proliferation of safety features in trucks is by far the biggest change he’s seen in his time in the industry.

As for who he admires most in the industry, Barry mentions his original boss, the owner of Kyabram’s East End Garage, Campbell Thomson.

“He gave me a start as an apprentice and looked after me through some ups and downs while I worked for him. He gave me the best footing I could have had in the industry and without his help I wouldn’t be where I am today.”

Industry Icon
Made possible by Smedley’s Engineers, Industry Icon is a series dedicated to honouring the unsung heroes of the commercial road transport industry.

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