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QBIC annual conference crowns award winners and recognises industry stalwarts

QBIC has rewarded its leading operators and suppliers at the Bus Stop Gala Dinner annual awards while also recognising a special milestone for a Queensland bus industry icon

The Queensland Bus Industry Council (QBIC) has held its 24th annual conference in the Gold Coast over the weekend, with award winners and industry achievers recognised.

Under the theme ‘Embracing Transformation: Navigating the Era of Change’, the conference underscored the industry’s readiness to adapt to evolving dynamics, whether it be shifts in the political landscape or accelerated zero-emissions bus manufacturing.

Image: Bus Stop Sales

The culmination of the QBIC Conference was marked by the prestigious Bus Stop Sales Gala Dinner annual awards ceremony to honour those within the industry.

On top of Translink’s Queensland bus driver of the year awards, QBIC handed out seven of its own awards to worthy recipients at the gala dinner event hosted and sponsored by Bus Stop Sales.

The Manmeet Sharma Perpetual Professional Driver Award went to Transport for Brisbane’s Juliana Campbell, while the Outstanding Contribution Award went to Frank Oliveri.

Image: QBIC

Kangaroo Bus Lines took home the Outstanding Employer Award, while the Environmental & Innovation Award went to Tropic Wings Cairns Tour & Charters.

The Aaron Pitt and Lleyton Barlett Perpetual Apprentice of the Year award went to both Max Kelly from Polleys Coaches and Emerald Coaches’ Ethan Bran.

Kaylee Clark from Clarks Logan City Bus Service won big, taking home the Achiever of the Year award.

In the final award for the Bus Stop night, Scania Australia won the Supplier of the Year award.

“This award endorses our efforts on behalf of our customers in Queensland over many years,” Scania Bus and Power Solutions sales director Julian Gurney says.

“Our Queensland account manager Brian Thompson has built up a substantial customer base through his hard work, industry knowledge and innate understanding of exactly what we as a chassis and complete bus and coach supplier need to do to win over customers.

Image: QBIC

“Our approach has always been to provide a complete ownership solution that looks after the customer from the ordering of the vehicle throughout the ownership process and this has been warmly welcomed across the state and across the spectrum of bus owners and operators. We thank QBIC for this recognition. It will inspire us to go further for our customers in the years ahead.”

Brian Thompson has been the Scania Queensland account manager for buses and coaches for more than 10 years and has built up a substantial network of customers in that time, from family run operations to national fleet operators.

“We are gratified to have been recognised by our industry peers, especially given the impact of the COVID years that really hit the industry hard. We strove to support our customers during the lockdowns and the absence of inbound tourism, while at the same time working towards a number of solutions to assist in the reduction of exhaust emissions,” Thompson says.

“Scania’s holistic approach to the bus industry, cradle-to-the-grave if you like, means that we’re able to assist at all stages of the ownership cycle, and critically, we think it is our desire to understand our customer’s business and supply a tailored solution that has been the key to our success.

Image: QBIC

“We have introduced two ideally suited Scania school and charter bus solutions, the ready-built Scania-Higer A30 and the Scania Touring into the market, which has been the right product at the right time.

“Our one-stop ownership programme means customers can have confidence in total operating economy, driver training, Scania Finance packages, as well as our repair and maintenance contracts, relieving them of the need to run their own workshops.”

Following the Bus Stop Dinner awards, QBIC extended recognition to operators who have demonstrated milestone service, with Transdev Queensland, Crystal Brook Coaches, Wickhams Bus Service and Glenda Eckel Charleville being recognised for milestones ranging from 20 to 40 years.

The crowning moment came when QBIC presented a 50-year service award to Mt Gravatt Bus Service and its original and current owner Del Cole. Presented by Barry Bonnicha on behalf of QBIC members, Cole received a standing ovation from nearly 300 attendees.

QBIC now turns its eyes to its 2025 conference in Cairns.

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