Winkless and Cowell’s vast contributions to industry recognised

Industry Recognition Awards

The HVIA Board bestows the Industry Recognition Award occasionally to honour lifetime achievements on behalf of the heavy vehicle industry.

Two recipients were recognised at HVIA’s 2022 Gala Awards Dinner held in Brisbane last week.

Recipient: Mr Max Winkless

Max Winkless spoke to HVIA’s Todd Hacking to accept the HVIA Industry Recognition Award.

Now ninety-four years old, Max Winkless started his career as a paperboy at the age of 10, fascinated by delivering products on his daily run.

After trying to serve in the armed forces and being rejected, Max became an interstate truck driver at seventeen. By 23 he was CEO of Antill Rangers – taking a small operation and leading it to be a listed entity. 

He was instrumental in the landmark Hughes and Vale case, which required a challenge of the Australian High Court to the British Privy Council – a decision that changed the trucking landscape. 

Between 1968 – 77 he was MD of Volvo Group Australia, instrumental in bringing the brand to Australia and setting up an Australian base – a facility, where I am informed is still the only facility in the world where Mack and Volvo and manufactured at the same facility. 

Upon ‘retirement’ from VGA in the 1970’s he established the Truck Centre WA licence and has been in the dealership ever since. 

A career spanning 84 years – there’s arguably no greater Australian heavy vehicle industry icon. 

Recipient: Ken Cowell

Ken Cowell (right) with HVIA President John Drake

Ken Cowell started his career in 1979 with a 6-week work placement at Volvo Trucks Australia and over the next 43 years, turned this placement into a career many of us have been touched by. 

Over a 30-year career with Volvo, he travelled the world, providing advice on Volvo models about to enter the Australian market. 

He was instrumental in working on the Volvo NH Road Train and even more instrumental in the XXL Volvo Globetrotter, which he wrote the product description for and designed every aspect fit for the Australian market. 

For the last 15 years, he has worked as a consultant providing specialist expertise to truck and trailer manufacturers in all aspects of their operations, but most notably as a PBS certifier. 

As impressive as these achievements are, it is nothing compared to his industry volunteer roles, including providing pro bono advice, support, wisdom and ideas to the Truck Industry Council, he was a founding representative.

Ken’s voluntary participation also includes the Australian Trucking Association where he has been a collaborator with long-time friend of their Chief Engineer Bob Woodward. 

At HVIA Ken has served as a Director for the last 5 years, and worked on the secretariat team for approximately twelve months.

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