Today we meet Daniel McNaulty, the Group Product Development Manager at MaxiTRANS, he is all about improving efficiencies for MaxiTRANS customers. He is based in Ballarat where he oversees all major project developments under the company brands of Freighter, Maxi-CUBE, Hamelex White, Lusty EMS, AZMEB, Trout River and Peki.
Now in his early 40s, Daniel’s career has developed with the company in Ballarat where he joined MaxiTRANS in 1998. His area of management now extends beyond the Ballarat facility to various engineering groups based in Ballarat, Carole Park in Queensland, New Zealand and in Melbourne.
“We assess the projects to make sure they stack up. I’ve got a small team here and between myself and the guys we work through them,” says Daniel.
Daniel and his crew manage projects as they are developed to meet market requirements or to introduce efficiencies in the production process.
“We are technically developing the product but also managing the products through to the commercialisation stage,” says Daniel.
His personal interests and company responsibilities are focused on the technical and engineering aspects across the company.
“I support the company projects in marketing and sales, procurement, and manufacturing,” says Daniel.
He and his team take a wide variety of projects from conception, development to commercialisation working with the product and marketing team to match the needs of the current market.
Daniel career began with MaxiTRANS after leaving High School and has encompassed his working life. He started an engineering degree after High School and commenced work with the company at the same time.
He kicked off with a casual position in the drawing office, ‘Just a drafty, that would have been the title of my first position, working one or two days a week.’
Showing aptitude for the job, his work soon led to a full-time role in engineering, drafting and designing trailers. Working full time with the company, Daniel completed his engineering degree externally, after hours.
He then moved into an industrial engineering role where he was offered the opportunity to develop the capability to “design bits and pieces” for the factory. Here Daniel developed a knowledge of the production process, designing and building production support equipment and processes such as lifting machinery, jigging, and ‘more efficient machinery to support the building of trailers in our factory’.
Following a few years on the manufacturing side, Daniel took on his first role in management as a site services manager. He was now in charge of a small group of industrial engineers and maintenance fitters responsible for the design and maintenance of all the processes within the Ballarat facility.
“I technically supported the factory from the maintenance point of view as well as designing, project managing and also servicing. I did that for five years,” says Daniel.
A promotion followed to the role of Engineering Manager where he supervised 25 engineers working on the company’s products. As the department grew, Daniel McNaulty found his attention being divided between product development and managing the engineering department.
With growth, MaxiTRANS split his role after four years and Daniel had the opportunity to focus on product engineering and development.
“I went off to the left to do more technical stuff, focusing on product development, which is where I am today,” says Daniel. “I get the satisfaction in making product easier to use, more efficient in payload or increasing longevity for our customers”.
With a passion for his work, the technology of product and engineering, Daniel is also very much the family man. Married with three children, the family lives in Ballarat. Daniel admits he’s very much a ‘farm boy’, coming off the family farm to work in MaxiTRANS at a young age.
“I came down here to Ballarat with no intention of staying. It was more to get a degree and go back to the farm,” says Daniel.
Life didn’t work out that way for Daniel, but you can’t take the country out of the boy. He spends time on the farm at weekends.
“Tinkering around the shed,” says Daniel. “I’ve got a couple of young boys and we like doing that type of thing, working outdoors and tinkering around, inventing and making bits and pieces. That’s what fills my time when I’m not at work or doing family stuff.”
Working with MaxiTRANS
Daniel believes working with MaxiTRANS gives him the chance to meet challenges that he says he loves.
“I get satisfaction out of creativity and driving to make something happen,” says Daniel. “Identifying a problem and creating a fix for it and following it through and seeing the end result. That’s what drives me.”
Looking back, he says while continually solving engineering challenges, the ‘big one’ was supervising the shutdown of the Ballarat factory for a major upgrade. The full refit was completed during a two-week period over Christmas.
“We worked very long days and pushed through and succeeded,” says Daniel.
And that delivers Daniel his major job satisfaction, “You know, coming up with solutions to customer’s problems and inventing or creating new solutions to make products work better or to be more efficient.”
Daniel says his own work history is a statement of confidence in working for MaxiTRANS and he says he would definitely recommend anyone with the passion and ability to look favourably on MaxiTRANS as an employer.
“People have plenty of opportunity to drive tangible results for the product and business and are looked after well within the company,” says Daniel.