MAIN TEST – Good Will Hauling

In Tests7 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineJune 20, 2018

Good Will Hauling

Like so many of us, 47-year-old Will Gundesen started life on a farm. They‘re a great place for young people to be introduced to both farming – obviously – and mechanical things. Will had more than a passing interest in trucks and machinery from an early age and when farming didn‘t prove viable on account of the family holding in Featherston being too small, it was always going to be something that internally combusts.

Photo: Grassroots values towards people and effort has got Will Gundesen to where he is today.

He started driving full time for local carrier Tony Olszewski when he was 21 on a 4×2 Foden doing a produce run, loading at Grenada in Wellington and delivering to Woolworths stores in the Wairarapa.

From the ‘You just don‘t know when a good deed will pay off‘ department, Will was in a line one day waiting to deliver when a Linfox Logistics driver, also waiting, appeared to be having trouble with his truck, unable to do his deliveries. If you‘ve spent any time with Will, what happened next will come as no surprise. Once he finished his own deliveries, Will hooked on to the Linfox trailer and delivered the other chap‘s load.

When, sometime later, Linfox Logistics took over the Woolworths Distribution contract for the lower North Island, Will was summoned to Linfox for a job interview. That‘s what hard work and an old school sense of community does for you.

Will worked at Linfox as a company driver for six and a half years. He started on a UD but when a heap of new Freightliner Century Class trucks started arriving he opted instead for an older T401 Kenworth that another driver stepped out of.

In 2002 the opportunity to go ownerdriver with the company came along and Will took a big breath, bought a low kilometre ex-Truck Rentals Volvo FH12, and got stuck in. “They were scary times, the start of it all when everything‘s on the line. You think, ‘man I hope this thing keeps going‘. I‘m used to it now and just deal with stuff as it comes along. “That Volvo took some getting used to. After the Kenworth, the cab rocked and rolled and carried on,” chuckled Will.

In 2003 he upgraded to what‘s now the ‘old girl‘. A brand new DAF XF95 6×4 tractor.

Photo: Will‘s first brand new truck, the XF95. She‘s done almost two million troublefree kilometres and has earned the brand its rightful place at the table.

People gave me stick about buying a 530hp truck for Palmy – Wellington, but it proved itself in the long run.” The DAF worked the Palmy – Wellington/Palmy – Wairarapa on double shift and things were going along well until a restructure in the end customer‘s business resulted in a reconfiguring of the supply runs. Will was now single-manning the truck and heading all over the country – Wellington, Wairarapa, Taranaki, Auckland, and the Bay of Plenty. It was a tough gig and things weren‘t stacking up as well.

Having carted out of Tegal‘s facility regularly over the years Will was made aware of the need for contractors at Foodstuffs. Unable to keep going as he was, in 2007 he left the ownerdriver position at Linfox, taking up a contractor‘s position at the big Kiwiowned cooperative. Since that stake in the ground decision Gundy Transport Ltd has grown steadily, taking on new opportunities within the relationship as they‘ve been offered. What it‘s meant is a staggered retirement for his old original DAF. “Every time I put her out to pasture a new run comes along and I have to get her back on the job. I think she‘s pretty much done this time though other than filling in for maintenance and that.” Today the Gundy Transport fleet consists of three cabover Kenworths and the two DAFs (the old and the new), all bar one working hard every day…and that ‘one‘ has earned her peace.

Photo: The latest big Dutchman in the Gundesen line-up.

Hard work and being such a genuine bloke has put Will where he is today. Wife Erin runs a dog grooming business, and daughter Shanelle, and stepdaughters Kerrie and Ashleigh, are all starting to make their own ways in the world…as yet no one appears to have diesel in the bloodstream and that doesn‘t bother Will in the slightest. “I love me Kenworths, always have, but these [DAF] are a bloody nice truck, I love them. You need to be happy. I like them all clean and looking right which can be hard in a double-shift operation. I don‘t bling them up to ‘be anything‘ or ‘say anything‘. It‘s just my thing. It goes back to being a kid and seeing all the Kenworths. I could have a fleet of plain trucks and be better off maybe, but this is just me. I have what I need in life, these trucks are my thing and make me happy…enjoying my working life.”

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