In Short Story May 2021, International, May 20213 MinutesBy Dave McCoidJune 28, 2021

The name AWE McNicol is a long-standing and respected primary industry brand in the Wairarapa, historically focussed on the cartage of wool for its owners, the Primary Wool Co-Operative. The transport arm of the business was purchased by Warren Brausch and business associate Steve Young some 11 years ago. At the time, 75% of the ledger was wool cartage, but in the succeeding years, the business has diversified its product portfolio, and today wool comprises just under 50%. With Warren running the general arm, the Central Log Transport operation,based in Napier, works to spread the business’ risk and is run by son Zac. The unit works for Harvest Logistics, servicing New Zealand Forest Managers plantations.

The business is truly a family affair, with Zac’s mum, Donna, assigned the log- businesses administration requirements. Youngest sister Courtney works part-time, overseeing the company’s health and safety requirements and taking on administration in the general- freight operations.

“I’ve been here for about half the time we’ve owned it,” says Zac.

“Before that, I was working in Western Australia. I enjoy trucking; it’s interesting with lots of variation, and I enjoy the mix – management, operations, driving, and being a builder by trade. I like turning my hand to a bit of the maintenance, too.”

The fleet’s a mixed bag, with 10 curtain-side units, a drop-sider, and the three log trucks – soon to be four. There’s a healthy representation from New Zealand’s home-assembled International product, with a couple of 9870s in the general arm of the business.

“We aim for 30 tonnes on the non-log trucks, and the International product allows that. Others not so.

It’s always a reassuring sign when the boss knows where the steering wheel is at 1am. Zac Brausch runs the family’s CLT operation and is certainly ‘that guy’.

“The reality is that as the business grows, I’m tied up more and more in the running of it all – that’s life, I guess,” says Zac, with a smile. “Like many operators, finding capable drivers is always an issue, and we’re really lucky to have Jarrod and Farran in the log arm. They’re doing a superb job for us.

“There’s an opportunity to grow the log division without doubt, but we need the people. If you’re out there and want to be part of a tight team in a lovely part of the country, give me a call. Oh, and if you’d like a crack at a varied and interesting operations role, we can accommodate that too.

“Never miss an opportunity,” he says with a grin as he turns back toward the waiting ProStar.