Industry icon John Holliday announces retirement
In the wake of more than 40 years devoted to the Cat® brand and unwavering support to a legion of Cat truck and engine customers, Caterpillar® truck engine specialist John Holliday will at the end of this year bring down the shutters on a career regarded by many as a pinnacle of professionalism and integrity.
Currently Caterpillar’s On-highway Truck Engine representative for Australia, New Zealand and Pacific markets, John has elected December 31, 2015, as his last day of service with Caterpillar.
“Sooner or later most careers come to this point but I can say with total conviction that I have had nothing less than a fascinating and hugely satisfying career with Caterpillar,” John said from his South Australia base soon after announcing the decision to retire.
“I’ve had the privilege of working with a great bunch of people and representing a great product. It doesn’t get any better than that.”
John’s early years were at the wheel of trucks before spending 18 years with South Australia Cat dealer Cavpower in a diverse range of roles which initially included machinery movements throughout South Australia and interstate. Forging a reputation for good customer relations and a strong appreciation for Cat product, he accepted an offer to join Caterpillar in February 1993 as Truck Area Manager for South Australia, Western Australia and the Northern Territory.
“I’ve always liked operating trucks and machinery,” he reflects, “and in many ways I believe that has been a major asset when it comes to understanding the needs and challenges of truck operators.”
Gifted with a quick smile, a bright sense of humour and a patient, conciliatory nature, John admits the truck industry was his ideal career platform.
“The truck engine business and road transport in general have always been at the core of my career and it has been a privilege to be Cat’s representative in this industry. But when it’s all boiled down, it’s the customers who have made it so special.
“Sure, it hasn’t always been easy but the levels of customer loyalty to Cat truck engines in particular are phenomenal. I never found it hard to share those same levels of passion and loyalty to the product and those customers.
“There have certainly been some amazing characters and yes, some good times and some not so good but at the end of the day I like to think I’ve given Cat and its customers my best shot.”
John Holliday. Cat to the core.
Among many career highlights, John cites his 2005 induction into the Australian National Road Transport Hall of Fame in Alice Springs as a distinct honour.
“That came at a time when there were almost no supplier representatives in the Hall of Fame so it was a proud and very humbling experience to be nominated and accepted,” he recalls.
Another highlight, John explains, is being involved in the evolution of many trucking businesses. “Working with the one-truck owner-drivers, the small family operations, has been especially satisfying,” he comments. “To be closely involved with some of these people, watching them work so hard and helping them build some very big operations is incredibly rewarding.
“It’s a great credit to them and our engines, and I’ve no doubt these are some of the reasons there’s so much loyalty to Cat.”
The arrival of Cat-branded trucks in 2010 has created an entirely new era for Cat in Australia, John emphasises. “The trucks are working well in a lot of different roles but there’s still immense potential for this product in our market,” he insists.
“The way I see it, if there’s a Cat under the hood it must be good.”
As for the future, more time with his wife Helen, a beach house on South Australia’s Yorke Peninsula and the forging of a close friendship with a fishing rod are all on the agenda. “I don’t intend to be bored,” he says with a typically broad grin.
“One thing’s for sure though. I’ll always bleed yellow.”