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Vale John Howell – Transport refrigeration pioneer

A man who played a major role in the foundation and business development of transport refrigeration in Australia, John Howell, died on 7 May, 2018, age 79.

Beginning his association with Thermo King in the late 1960s or early 1970s working for the Email company, John became the leader and general manager of the Thermo King division of Transpec Ltd. He remained as the one key personality in the business from the international perspective for some 20 years or more until the change of Thermo King dealer arrangements in September 1993.

John was a hard-working and enthusiastic advocate for Thermo King products even beyond his tenure with the Thermo King dealership under Transpec Ltd. He had moved to a consulting role and employment with prominent customers such as Lindsay Transport.

He maintained contacts with the industry throughout the rest of his life, most notably through the Refrigerated Warehouse and Transport Association.

‘John was a man of great stature both physically and metaphorically and there will be many old hands scattered around the industry today that owe a lot to John Howell for his mentoring in their early careers, none more so than myself,’ said Peter Lawrence, Technical Director ANZ for Thermo King.

Peter said John died peacefully only a week after being diagnosed with recurrent infection leading to Septicemia.

Here’s John in an earlier picture that Peter found, published in Transpec’s Australian Up-Front newsletter in December 1992. In this picture, John (right) was presenting an appreciation plaque to the outgoing Thermo King International Regional Sales Manager Mike Yestrumsky.