Thacker's takes on AWD Group

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Thacker s Dieci delivery Justin, left, and Grant are the Bendigo, central Victoria region APSA dealer for Dieci Telehandlers, part of the AWD Group in Australia Thacker s Dieci delivery
Thanckers Trucks Engineering Brothers Grant, left, and Justin Thacker partnered their mechanical and engineering expertise to form Thacker’s Trucks and Engineering Thanckers Trucks Engineering
Thackers Dieci specifications Grant checks the specs of a machine to make sure it fits a customer's needs Thackers Dieci specifications
Thacker s Dieci Agri Plus 40 7 delivery Justin and Grant load an Agri Plus 40.7 for delivery to a customer after the 2015 Elmore Field days Thacker s Dieci Agri Plus 40 7 delivery
Thacker s staff Left to right, Thacker's mechanic Peter, serviceman Mick, Justin and Grant Thacker s staff

Thacker's Trucks and Engineering in Bendigo has become a fully fledged AWD Group dealership offering a full range of products and services

Justin Thacker always knew he wanted to be a diesel mechanic.

He and his brother Grant are partners in a business they formed together in Long Gully Bendigo, Thacker’s Trucks and Engineering.

The brothers come from farming families on both maternal and paternal sides.

"Our grandparents both farmed before moving into the sales side of farm machinery," Justin says.

"Mum’s parents farmed near Healesville and eventually opened a workshop/dealership selling John Deere and second hand farm machinery.

"Dad’s parents share farmed in the Quambatook district before starting a workshop in the township and taking on a Twin City tractor dealership."

Farm machinery lifestyle

Spending his first years of life in the Victorian region of Quambatook meant Justin and Grant lived with farm machinery before they even knew what it was.

"My first memories are spending time travelling around the district with my dad delivering fuel to farms," Justin says.

"I also developed an interest in collecting vintage farm machinery and appreciating the history of farming."

Feeling fortunate to have gained an apprenticeship while still at school, Justin completed the trade and decided to head north to Darwin where he worked for Stacey Fleet Management, a company with a military contract.

"In Darwin the work was varied including earthmoving, mining, military and farming," he recalls.

"It was in this role that I was first introduced to telehandlers. I returned to Bendigo and worked for a local quarry before starting my own onsite diesel mechanic business in 2002."

Justin enjoyed spending his first three years working independently in business travelling around local farms and industry, but by 2005 his workload was getting too much for just one person, so it was apparent he needed a workshop and an employee.

A business is born

"Both came to fruition at this time and in 2009 my brother Grant joined the business as a partner," Justin says.

"Grant previously had an on-site engineering business and we decided to merge the two and Thacker’s Trucks and Engineering was born."

Thacker’s is a rental, part and service dealer for CMV Mack, UD trucks and AWD Group, which incorporates Dieci Telehandlers and Rough Terrain Plant Hire.

"We’ve continued our workshop and onsite service and repairs," Justin says.

"And we also offer general metal fabrication and engineering which includes an array of attachments for the Dieci and Rough Terrain Plant Hire range."

Given Thacker’s is a family-based business, Justin asserts his team works hard to focus on providing excellent workmanship as a differentiator in the market.

"We have worked incredibly hard to build our business and strive every day to deliver the best possible service to our customers," he says.

"We are also willing to take on complex and difficult work and enjoy the challenge.

"We are committed to working closely with industry to provide solutions, services and products.

"We make a commitment to our customers and are sure to follow through until the end."

Enter AWD Group

Prior to its rebrand, telehandler and capital goods manufacturer Dieci was leasing products to a local poultry farm and required an APSA (Authorised Parts and Service Agent) dealer in the area to provide service for its machines.

Dion Gray of Gray’s Tilt Tray Hire, a long-term business associate who was transporting the machines, suggested Thacker’s Trucks to AWD, then Dieci.

Contact was made and Justin says he and Grant were impressed with Dieci, its products and approach to service.

The rest, as they say, is history.

"Thacker’s Trucks has acquired two ongoing government contracts in the past 12 months," Justin says of the thriving business.

"We have been become an agent for Rough Terrain Plant Hire [AWD Group] and recently embarked on the journey of being a dealership for AWD Group’s new product line as well as its Dieci telehandler range."

Though it’s still too early to reveal what the new range will comprise, Justin says one of the goals of the AWD Group is to add more complementary products.

"Thacker’s will have access to these. It will be a key part of the growth of the market in regional Victoria," he says.

"We started as an APSA getting to know the company and its products well and developed to represent and provide hire machines for Rough Terrain Plant Hire."

Thacker’s has finally become a fully-fledged dealership offering the full range of AWD Group products and services and we’re looking forward to the challenges ahead.

Of the future he adds, "Grant and I have a tribe of little Thacker’s and maybe one day they will want to join Thacker’s Trucks and continue our vision.

"We are excited to be part of the changes happening at AWD Group and to be associated with a company that has such excellent back-up and support which enables us to pass this on to our customers."

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