While Mario Colosimo is now known as SAF-Holland’s Managing Director, he has taken quite the journey to get to where he is today.
After his first job at Fruehauf Trailers, he moved to Tieman Industries in 1988 to undertake a new role as Chief Engineer. He then moved on to BPW Transpec where he spent the following 24 years as Product Centre Manager in the Trailer Equipment Division. Here, he reported directly to the Managing Director in a wide-ranging role encompassing commercial, operational and technical responsibilities.
Mario later transitioned to MaxiTRANS as General Manager of the Freighter products in 2013 and then to a similar role at Byrne Trailers in 2017. In 2020, he arrived home at SAF-Holland.
Although his arrival in the transport industry may have been unexpected, Mario is glad it happened.
“I couldn’t imagine being anywhere else,” he says. “Since I started at Fruehauf Trailers after completing my Mechanical Engineering degree in the mid ‘80s, I’ve really felt at home. I’ve been involved with industry associations for almost all of my career – and that’s been really fulfilling.
“Keeping in contact with customers, competitors and other players in the industry has been absolutely fantastic. It’s a great industry to be in.”
Five weeks into Mario’s new position at SAF-Holland, the Covid pandemic arrived. This saw him spend the most of his first two years at the company working from home. Nevertheless, Mario says it’s been quite the ride.
“We have great products and we have good people out there dealing with customers,” he says. “I think that’s very important. You have to maintain good relationships with all of your customers. As far as the products go, you have to make sure your products are the right ones for what they need. That’s a very important part of the whole exercise.
“We work on the product portfolio to make sure it is 100 per cent right, and if it isn’t, we fix it. That’s the key.”
Along with several major contributions which have led to changes in rules and regulations, Mario also played a significant part in the introduction of Electronic Braking Systems and trailer disc brakes in Australia during the early 2000s.
This, and his work with industry associations, led his recognition in 2010 where he received the Don Watson Memorial Award from the Australian Trucking Association (ATA) for his ‘conspicuous service to the Australian trucking industry’.
His favourite part of all his jobs, though, has been the people.
“The most important thing is the people,” he says. “By large, there are great people in the industry all the way through. Some of them become lifelong friends, so that’s the beauty of the industry. That’s not just the people you work with, but customers, suppliers – the whole lot.”
With much to look forward to on the horizon, Mario says the next step is to keep having fun.
“Make sure you’re having fun all the way through, that’s what it’s about,” he says. “And that’s with the whole team here. There’s always pressure on you at work to perform and meet targets, but at the end of the day, as long as you do the right thing, do things properly and have fun on the way through, that’s what it’s all about. And you can do that in this industry, it’s full of good people.”
Made possible by Smedley’s Engineers, Industry Innovators is a series dedicated to honouring the individuals who are transforming the commercial road transport industry.
Founded in 1931, Smedley’s Engineers is a specialised Australian engineering firm providing services in automotive & heavy vehicle engineering, infrastructure & civil engineering and general & mechanical engineering.
Visit the Smedley’s Engineers website here.