Risen through the ranks

Starting out as an apprentice diesel mechanic, Renzo Barone embarked on a road transport journey that led to his current position as Territory Manager – Truck with truck axle and suspension specialist Meritor – a company he has been with for 28 years.

Renzo Barone grew up on his family’s citrus and grape farm at Griffith. After completing fourth form at high school at age 16 in 1979, Renzo was offered an apprenticeship with quarry and concrete batching plant operator Farley & Lewers, which in the 1970s had the highly successful “think pink” advertising slogan.

“I was part of a small mechanical workshop in Griffith that looked after the concrete agitator and aggregate trucks as well as the earthmoving and crushing plant involved in the quarry side of the business,” Renzo says. “The agitators were International ACCO C1800 and Diamond T and REO trucks, while the aggregate trucks were Mercedes-Benz 1418.”

The wide variety of equipment he repaired gave Renzo a very well-rounded apprenticeship and he stayed with the company a further six years before leaving to work for a local tractor and truck repair outfit that was also a sub-agent for Detroit Diesel and Cummins engines.

“Coincidentally it was called Renzo’s Motors and I worked there for a couple of years which gave me extensive experience with truck engines,” Renzo says. “My original intention was to complete a mechanical apprenticeship, get some experience and then return to the farm. But fate had other ideas.”

He landed a job as a mechanic at Shepherd Ford at Belconnen in Canberra which was a Ford and Volvo truck as well as Ford car dealership.

“I eventually became Foreman and ultimately Service Manager of the truck workshop there,” Renzo says.

It was during this time that Renzo met Mal Grumond from Rockwell who eventually offered him a job in the company’s Field Operations Group based at Sunshine in Melbourne.

“This was a big deal for me because I was getting further and further away from the farm,” Renzo says.

His appointment with Rockwell in November 1992 was the start of a career that has spanned almost 28 years to date, with a couple of title changes along the way.

“My title when I first started was Sales Engineer which meant I was mainly engaged in customer service and support,” Renzo says.

“Then I was Manager of Field Sales & Service from 1999 to September 2019, at which point my title changed to Territory Manager – Truck.

“When I first started Mal Grumond took me under his wing and we did quite a bit of travelling to New Zealand to look after customers over there.”

Renzo describes his early years with Rockwell as similar to doing a trade – learning along the way.

“I was focussed on the steer and drive axles as well as transmissions and clutches, along with Rockwell six-rod suspension,” he says.

In 1997 Rockwell International changed the name of its truck component company to Meritor and in 2000 Meritor merged with Arvin Industries to form Arvin Meritor.

“It’s been an amazing journey for me,” Renzo says. “This year Meritor is celebrating 50 years in Australia, which is a great milestone for the company.”

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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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