Max O’Brien

Max standing in front of 644 P-Tier Mid-Size Wheel Loader

Meet Max O'Brien

As he shares what it means to be the 2022 Australia & New Zealand C&F Service Technician of the Year Winner.

Cool head, no fuss technician wins Construction & Forestry Tech award

Max O'Brien was named the 2022 John Deere Construction & Forestry Service Technician of the Year, winning the title against five other finalists from Australia and New Zealand.

Max grew up in the Adelaide Hills and says he was always interested in the mechanics of heavy earthmoving machinery.

"I did a Certificate II in heavy vehicle maintenance at TAFE before I started my apprenticeship with Hitachi when they were the John Deere dealership, before RDO Equipment took over the business at the start of 2019," Max said.

"I worked as a field service mechanic with Hitachi then joined a CAT dealer for three months doing fly in, fly out service to Moomba, before returning to field service with RDO. We're lucky because we service the whole of South Australia for construction, whereas a lot of the other states have regional branches.

"I love being on the road and travelling through amazing places like the Flinders Ranges. Looking through the windscreen is a nice office!'

When he started his apprenticeship in 2013 the job was a mix of hands-on mechanical work and plugging a laptop in to find the fault and fix the machine. Throughout his career, he's prioritised learning new skills and investing in further training to be at the forefront of technology and innovation, as well as training others.

"Working in the only branch in the state means I'm pretty much all over the systems John Deere uses, and being able to use Service Advisor Remote and JDLink to its full potential to help customers who are thousands of kilometres away is great," he said.

"I try to build a relationship with customers by listening carefully to find out exactly what they need, and that applies whether they're a small owner-operator business running one machine or a large-scale contracting venture with an expanding fleet."

South Australia Goyder Regional Council workshop manager, Luke Anning is responsible for a depot full of John Deere road building machines and knows the value of a knowledgeable and efficient service technician.

"It's rare to find someone of Max's age with the ability to problem-solve, repair and maintain equipment to the standard that he does. His no fuss and no stress attitude towards any task is unbelievable. Nothing ever seems to be too hard or complex for him," Luke said.

Judges said Max excelled in the hands-on testing at John Deere's Crestmead workshop in Brisbane. He enjoyed the experience of meeting other techs and being challenged in workshop scenarios.

"Being named a finalist was huge for me as it was recognition of my hard work," Max said.

"I've never been a part of anything quite like the awards before, so it was all new and exciting. And I feel proud to have won, because I know just how hard all the technicians work to help operators get the most out of their machines."