Jono Lowien started out his career as an apprentice driving road trains in Darwin, which put him in excellent stead for a career behind the wheel.
And it’s because of his ongoing efforts in the transport industry, he won Best on Ground in the 2019 National Transport Insurance Faces of Transport competition.
While the 26-year-old isn’t driving road trains in Darwin anymore, he remains a proud truckie, running tankers for United Petroleum from his hometown of Toowoomba, Queensland.
Jono’s love of trucks started in Toowoomba when he worked at a Caltex service station and received the incentive to earn his truck license after being assigned the task of driving a 10-ton rigid, delivering oil drums and supplies around the local area.
From there, his mindset was to go the whole hog, and earn his multi-combination rating, which he achieved by spending weekends with the crew from Caltex, running jobs out west in B-doubles whenever the opportunity became available.
When the chance to fill in a two-month long contract in the Northern Territory came along, Jono eagerly hit the road. It was this contract that fuelled Jono’s love for the road, jumping at the chance to take a more permanent opportunity when it presented itself.
As far as initiations go, learning the ropes in the far north at the age of 21 proved to be a massive adventure.
“It was very much an eye opener; it was probably two of the best years of my life to be honest… sometimes I think I’d like to go back!” exclaimed Jono.
“It was amazing learning some of the road train stuff up there, a lot of the work we did with them was around town, pretty much into the heart of the city, with cruise ships… it just blows your mind, that you can go into the heart of Darwin with a road train, there’s no other capital city that I know where you can do that!”
Upon his return to Toowoomba Jono landed his current gig with United. These days he typically runs B-double configurations, with 95 percent of his time supplying a combination of regional farms, transport companies, the brand’s own depots and other fuel resellers.
A normal week will see Jono cover ground as far and wide as Charleville and Cunnamulla, which provides for a stunning backdrop.
“I think my favourite drive is down the Moonee Highway from St George to Cunnamulla,” said Jono.
“Usually there’s not much traffic around, it’s a nice scenic drive, just nice open road.”
For Jono, winning the Best on Ground award came as a complete surprise.
“(Winning the award) was good, I saw it as my way of paying back those who took the time to train me and to get me to where I am now, people taking a chance on me, especially when I went to Darwin, I had very little driving experience, going up there I was thrown straight into the B-Double, I thought I was going there to drive a rigid…”
While still young by typical MC driver standards, his apprenticeship served under more experienced mentors has put him in good standing to be respected in his chosen field.
Jono sees no reason why other new drivers can’t forge a career in transport, so long as they are prepared to earn it.
“I think the older drivers see it as a good thing with the younger guys getting into it and having a go… but I will say, I think there is a perception out there that young guys don’t want to have a go, they want to laze around and not do the hard yards, whereas I was always taught that you’ve got to do the hard yards to get to where you want to be,” said Jono.