While studying mechanical engineering in Melbourne, Adam Ritzinger planned to eventually enter the automotive industry.
He had already completed placements with General Motors Holden and one of Ford’s local suppliers. Adam loved the hands-on nature of the work and felt his career choice made perfect sense – the intersection between complex technical problems and real-world applications.
However, it was at this point, he says, that the local automotive industry began to show signs of decline. So, he steered towards the trucking industry instead.
“I honestly didn’t know much about the trucking industry at the time, but my grandfather was a tip truck driver, and being a typical engineer, I loved heavy equipment,” Adam says. “My graduate role was as a heavy vehicle research engineer at the Australian Road Research Board (ARRB). We undertook the technical research that would guide state and federal policies on truck and trailer size and weight.”
His next mission was to convince regulators in Germany to increase the size and weight restrictions of truck and trailer combinations.
“I did a 12-month secondment to the Federal Highway Research Institute, which is basically the German equivalent of ARRB, located near Cologne,” he says. “I had the highest level of youthful enthusiasm and confidence possible that I could convince them to adopt B-triples and road trains. Unfortunately, European Union politics got in the way of that one, but it was an incredible learning opportunity nonetheless.”
Adam returned to Australia and joined an engineering firm, continuing to explore new horizons for the industry. One of his major projects during that time was field testing to investigate the dynamic impacts on truck and trailer combinations held together only by safety chains, in the event of a pin coupling failing.
Adam later joined international axle, suspension and coupling manufacturer, SAF-Holland, where he worked to bring several unique safety and productivity innovations to the Australian market in his role as Engineering Manager. To further round out his expertise, he also spent a few years at Australia’s largest fleet operator, Toll Group, and its recent offshoot, Team Global Express, in regulatory compliance management roles.
Adam has since moved to Heavy Vehicle Industry Australia (HVIA), taking up the role of Chief Technical Officer which sees him responsible for looking after all of the technical concerns of HVIA’s member organisations, and both leading and contributing to HVIA’s advocacy activities.
“I see my current role as a combination of everything I’ve done up to now, as I can continue to drive positive regulatory change, stretch the limits for the industry, and push the boundaries in ways that will benefit all of our members,” he says. “It’s the perfect place for me, and a dream come true.”
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.
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