Profile: TDX CEO Colm Hamrogue

By: Ed, Photography by: Supplied

Deals on Wheels met with the new CEO of TDX to gain insight into the person who will be heading up one of NZ's largest equipment and product supply brands

If you’re anything like me, sometimes it’s not the actual job that a person does that’s fascinating but the backstory of how they got to that position in the first place.

Newly appointed CEO Colm Hamrogue of TDX is one example of a person who came from humble upbringings in Ireland to head up the well-respected Kiwi-owned business.

Newly appointed CEO at TDX: Colm Hamrogue

Just to bring you up to speed, TDX is the new brand and company name of what was TransDiesel, a transition done to align better with the wide scope of services and products the business now provides.

Chances are that the two mates who rebuilt their first engine in a shared UK flat would not have envisaged the behemoth their oil-stained hands would spawn, with Mike McKessar being appointed as CEO in 2007 and, more recently, Colm in 2022—both big decisions for the business.

Tullaghan to Christchurch

TDX represents some of the most well-known industry brands in the world

It’s a long way for the son of a transport company owner from the small coastal village of Tullaghan in Ireland to Christchurch, New Zealand, but that’s what the life journey of TDX’s recently appointed CEO Colm Hamrogue has delivered for him so far.

"I don’t come from much at all," says Colm. "My father had a small transport business, and I used to drive for him when I was at university, so I grew up around trucks and equipment, which I love."

Hit and run

The Volvo CE marquee is marketed in NZ

Colm’s career path came about after he was the teenage victim of a hit-and-run incident that left him in recovery for some 12 months. While that might sound like a strange way of deciding on a career, prior to being injured, Colm was lined up to follow his passion for the water and was studying nautical science but could not complete it due to his injuries.
Tullaghan is located near Bundoran town, which was rated in 2012 by National Geographic as one of the 20 top surf towns.

It also has an RNLI (Royal National Lifeboat Institution) lifeboat station, where Colm volunteered for a number of years, so his passion for a nautical career is understandable.

"I was suffering quite badly and struggling mentally. One day, my mother said to me that it was terrible what happened to me, but I can either get on with my life or can be sitting in a pub in 10 years’ time, looking at the bottom of a glass, telling someone my tale of woe," says Colm.

Taking onboard his mum’s advice, Colm changed paths and went on to complete an Honours Degree in Strategic Management and a Masters Degree in Public Affairs, majoring in Communications.

"I was the first in my house to graduate with a degree," he says.

The career path

Two of the company founders Alister McLaughlin and Steve Wooff

While at university, a road safety campaign he ran gained the attention and subsequent employment in the motorsport industry. This, in turn, opened a door for him a couple of years later (2008) with Gulf Oil in marketing and communications.

At that time, Gulf Oil was being marketed in New Zealand by CRT and Colm then secured a position with the co-operative as their chief operating officer (COO), moving Down Under permanently in 2012.

The subsequent merging of CRT and Farmlands in 2013 saw Colm take on the COO role for the expanded business, before moving across as the group general manager, transport for HW Richardson Group.

"I loved working for Richardson’s. Some people think that it’s just one big conglomerate, but there are 40 or so different companies there, each with its own culture and ways of doing things. They’re good people. I keep Bill Richardson’s top tips for business beside my desk," says Colm.

Attracted to the role

TDX distributes Shell Oil products in NZ

The latest career step for Colm is his role as CEO for TDX, and for someone who was probably only just born when the company founders kicked off their business, he has a lot of responsibility on his shoulders.

"I like gear and customers; it’s something I was born into. I see my role as something of a troubleshooter and trying to remove barriers to enable our people and customers to thrive," says Colm.

One of the reasons Colm says he was attracted to the role with TDX was the quality of the Board and the owners were good people to work with, some of which he experienced when working for HW Richardson Group as a TDX customer.

"The two founders, Alister and Steve, are still the majority shareholders, and you won’t get more passionate people. I also enjoy dealing with customers and staff—I get to do that every day, which is brilliant," he says.

Getting the job done

Responding quickly to customer requirements is key to TDX

Getting things done at TDX also resonates with Colm as does the lack of red tape. He says, "What we try to avoid is corporate culture. I’m new here but am trying to learn as much about the business as possible, which is why you’ll see a pair of overalls hanging on my door. You will also see the company owners mucking in with the staff when things need to be done, and this type of behaviour speaks volumes about the business and its culture," says Colm.

"One thing I’ve always known with TDX is that they get the job done, do what they say they’re gonna do, and they look after their staff."

Be nice on the way up

Staying grounded when in a key leadership role is important to Colm, and he recounts the advice of his father when he was starting to climb the career ladder.

"When you’re on the way up, always be nice because it’s a long, hard, cold lonely road on the way down," says Colm. And there’s another well-heeded piece of advice from his dad: "If you don’t answer the phone, you don’t eat."

Ability to respond

The TDX rebuild centre

Like any supply-based business, TDX is feeling the constraints of a slow supply chain, with prices increasing frequently.

"One of my key roles is to help increase our responsiveness, which means understanding what product we need ahead of time and being strategic with how we carry out business. Our ability to respond promptly to customers’ requests is what will ensure we remain in a strong position," says Colm.

Strength of people

The strength of the business is the resilience of the people working in it, and TDX has recently applied a staff-wide investment with wage and salary increases.

"If we don’t have good people, then we don’t have a business. Their passion and depth of their knowledge never cease to amaze me. It’s tough to survive financially at the moment, so we’ve put our money where our mouth is to support staff," says Colm.

"TDX has world-leading products and one of the best teams I’ve been involved with. New Zealand is my country now, and my wife and daughter, who was born in Invercargill incidentally, genuinely love it here. I’m looking forward to staying connected and bringing more to the industry."

For more information, visit

Find new and used heavy machinery for sale in NZ

Keep up to date in the industry by signing up to Deals on Wheels' free newsletter or liking us on Facebook