James brings years of hands-on mechanical expertise to DEUTZ customers.

On his family’s mini-farm about 50kms south-east of Melbourne’s CBD, James Heys could often be found under the bonnet of a tractor or truck. Tinkering with engines was something that came naturally to James as he grew up learning everything he knew from his father.

“I was always helping Dad fix trucks and tractors and I still do that today on the farm. Now I also have my own project cars to work on, too,” says James.

When he left high school at 16, it was inevitable that James would start a mechanic’s apprenticeship and he spent 17 years completing that apprenticeship and then working for DEUTZ Australia dealer, LK Diesel in Braeside, Victoria.

James’s role in the field service team saw him travelling across the country to diagnose and fix any problems with machinery that was powered by DEUTZ engines.

“I’d spend weeks at remote mine sites – I travelled wherever there were DEUTZ engines. I was in the mines at Broken Hill every month,” says James.

“The challenge of working in the field was taking an educated guess at what was wrong with the machinery based on the information initially provided over the phone by the customer. I’d arrive with a bucketful of spare parts to fix what I hoped the fault was — I had quite a good strike rate when it came to making the right diagnosis.”

James averaged up to 70,000km a year on the road and worked 10-hour days. Eventually the travel wore him down and he was also keen to learn new skills. When he saw an advertisement for someone to join DEUTZ Australia’s Technical Product Support team, James applied and joined the business in January 2023.

“This role seemed like a natural progression for me and I wanted to take my career beyond being a mechanic,” says James.

“It’s my responsibility to help DEUTZ dealers with technical problems. I use my product experience to give them advice on how to solve a problem their customer is having with a machine. I give them ideas to help them diagnose the problem and get the machine going again as quickly as possible. I never know what query I will get when I pick up the phone.”

James is also called in to give a mechanic’s perspective on R&D projects.

“That is new for me and it’s interesting to be involved at a different level of product development. I bring the mechanic’s eye or the eye of the person who has to work on that machine out in the field,” he explains.

The new role has brought new skill development, such as learning more about the technical aspects of commissioning new engines, learning more about the spare parts side of the business and practicing his approach to customer service.

“Before I only dealt with machines!” says James.

Outside of work, James is avid snowboarder – Mount Buller and Cardrona Mountain in New Zealand are his favourite snowboarding destinations. He’s also a keen camper and spends time riding his dirtbikes and four wheel driving.

“If something involves action sports, I’m there!” he says.