NZ Truck & Driver News

 
Trev’s rollercoaster 30 years

Trev’s rollercoaster 30 years

NZ Truck & Driver News

 February 2021   

It seems appropriate that a fun side project that longtime trailer manufacturer Trevor Jackson is working on is…a rollercoaster!

Building it in his own backyard at home in Pahiatua. Why? “Because I can! I’m in an industry that has welders and steel and pipe rollers, so why not make use of it.”

And why is it relevant, as the 66-year-old starts his 31st year of running Jackson Enterprises?

Because, as he reckons, “if you’ve been in the transport industry for a while you’ll undoubtedly have experienced your share of ups and downs.” 

That’s certainly something of how the last three decades of Jackson Enterprises have been – with a succession of highs and lows….good times and bad.

Jackson says happily that he and his team started off well – earning a reputation for designing and building innovative, quality trailers and truck bodies.

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It seems appropriate that a fun side project that longtime trailer manufacturer Trevor Jackson is working on is…a rollercoaster!

Building it in his own backyard at home in Pahiatua. Why? “Because I can! I’m in an industry that has welders and steel and pipe rollers, so why not make use of it.”

And why is it relevant, as the 66-year-old starts his 31st year of running Jackson Enterprises?

Because, as he reckons, “if you’ve been in the transport industry for a while you’ll undoubtedly have experienced your share of ups and downs.” 

That’s certainly something of how the last three decades of Jackson Enterprises have been – with a succession of highs and lows….good times and bad.

Jackson says happily that he and his team started off well – earning a reputation for designing and building innovative, quality trailers and truck bodies.

“We led the way for a number of years as far as the bling thing goes. Back in the early days we were putting lights under toolboxes and lights around the draw beams – so drivers could see what they were doing – adding bits of stainless here, there and everywhere, to make their trucks look more attractive.

“Whereas the opposition basically gave you what you paid for: You got something that was everyday, run-of-the-mill.” 

He says his company started the trend for internal tiedowns on stock trucks: “Once upon a time you used to see the J-hooks down the side of the crate – all looking messy and horrible. We started bolting them through the floor on the inside.” 

And, he adds: “We modelled up and manufactured our own effluent valves. We’ve sold thousands of those things – even to other body manufacturers.”

Over the years he reckons the company has built “just over 1000 trailers. If you talk about truck bodies, you can add probably another 1700, 1800 to that!”

Standouts that come to mind include – “back in the early days – the chipboard carriers for Winstones: Big quads that were over-width and had rolling up curtains, because the drivers weren’t allowed outside of their cabs. And we did a 250-tonne transporter for the Stockton (coal) mine.”

On the other hand, there’ve been the lows: Like business associates “that didn’t work out.” 

Almost disastrous was a downturn in the economy – and the industry – back in the early 2000s, “when the government didn’t know what length of vehicles or what weights were allowed out on the road – they didn’t know what they wanted to do with trucks!

“We basically went from about 36 staff, down to about 12! That was just about close the doors and never come back again time! That was really bad, but all of us in the transport and manufacturing industry went through it.”

But celebrating the good times seems more Jackson’s style – as his family, staff and customers will be aware: “You can’t build your ship without your staff and what I’ve found in the past is that the whole country has been lacking transport shows – so my philosophy is to bring my customers to me. 

“We celebrated our 25th with about 400 people. And now we’ve just celebrated our 30th. ” That party late last year saw hundreds of guests hosted at the Tui Brewery in Mangatainoka, with Kiwi motor racing star Greg Murphy MCing (Jackson is an avowed V8 Supercars fan). 

Starting 2021, Jackson’s optimistic: “2020 will probably be a year that many would like to forget, but the prospects and our order books for 2021 are absolutely amazing.”

And he’s got the fun challenge of  that rollercoaster: “When you look at the design and what work’s gone into getting it to operate properly, there’s a lot of physics and a lot of trial and error as well. It’s a great engineering feat because it’s something that’s not powered by anything and it’s got to find its way home. I enjoy building something like that. 

“There’s going to be a lot of smiling kids when it’s finished – and even adults. And I hope it’s going to be of interest to a lot of people down the track.”  


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