GCA AGM - Review
GCA Annual Conference 2010 Report
For those of you who didn’t hear about it, and I can’t believe there were many, yes it did happen, and for those of you who were sceptical about how and what you might gain from attending, I can only say you missed out on some inspiring presentations, world class market and product information, and an outstanding networking opportunity.
I know what you are still thinking, I bet half of the delegates were sleeping through the presentations and the other half were playing with their Blackberrys, iPhones or whatever technology you can fit into a hand held plastic box nowadays. I am pleased to say that the delegates, of which I was one of many, were informed, engaged and entertained throughout the day.
So now that you’re all eager to know what you missed out on, what can I tell you about the day itself. Keith Shepherd, acting as master of ceremonies, showed us all why, he really deserves the job of Deputy Chairman, his rapier wit and generous introductions were an event in themselves.
The Conference was given an exhilarating start by Heinz Roelle from WL Gore, whose presentation on Selling Gaskets in Europe – Trends and Challenges, gave an analysis of the economic trends within European countries, both from a macro and micro view point. The overview of changing customer expectations and technical requirements being experienced by companies such as WL Gore, will eventually cascade down to us all and need to be reacted to, now rather than ignored if we are to have thriving businesses.
Having roused the attendees we were then split into two groups. The lucky ones were further entertained by Semta and their guest from General Motors with a presentation on filling the Skills and Training gap that our industry sector is desperately in need of, the unlucky ones were forced and cajoled through a 45 minute tour of the stadium which apparently hosts quite a well known and occasionally successful rugby tournament as well as being the home of a football team which one or two people had heard off and apparently collect the odd trophy.
The morning was closed with break out presentations by J-Flex and Teadit / William Johnston and a final group presentation from Mark Norris from the Water Research Council. All three were insightful and informative on their products and services, and gave the audience the opportunity to question them in some detail.
The post lunch speaker is always a difficult role to fill and I can honestly say that Keith Tripp from James Walker was more than up to the challenge. His presentation on Trends and the Increasing need for Knowledge Management and Networking was delivered with passion for the subject and more than the odd spot of humour.
As with the mornings main speaker, the content of the presentation was current and enlightening, highlighting the need to look forward and not only understand the demands of our customers today, but also to anticipate the market trends and where possible, drive those market trends to our own benefit.
The afternoon was programmed to repeat the morning break out presentations and stadium tour. I myself was forced at this stage to endure the walk around the stadium, to soak up the atmosphere, to sit in the same seats and walk in the same foot steps of many of their legendary players, but I still can’t remember the name of the team, nor could I get any anecdotes about cricket.
Presentations by Mark Gaddes of Pera Innovation Ltd and Andy Rushton of J Allcock & Sons concluded what had, in my humble opinion, been a productive and educational day with the added bonus of networking with some of the principal individuals in our industry.
I should add that throughout the day we had plenty of time to discuss business, catch up on competitor and supplier activities, and meet colleagues and old friends. Many members both old and new took the opportunity to run display stands which provided further opportunities to discuss business, those exhibiting included, Global Cutting Technologies, W L Gore & Associates (UK) Ltd, Garlock PTM, William Johnston & Co Ltd & Teadit, J A Harrison & Co (Manchester) Ltd, AS Rubber & Plastics Limited, White Cross Rubber Products, J-Flex Rubber Products and Novus Sealing Ltd/Flexitallic.
I hope that everyone who took the opportunity to attend the event and run stands enjoyed the day and found it rewarding. My admiration and appreciation goes out to all of the speakers who volunteered, or were volunteered, and finally my thanks to those who organised the event and ran it with such efficiency on the day.
To those of you who didn’t make it I look forward to seeing you all at the next one.