Chairman’s Report

Proud of our Past, Developing our Future

David Millar, Outgoing Chairman

As I drew toward the end of my three-year tour as the BVAA Chairman, I was very surprised to learn that I had also been on the BVAA’s Board for 15 years. I concluded that my retirement from the Chair at the autumn 2017 AGM should therefore coincide with stepping down from the Board, to give other members a chance to lead this fine association.

To say the BVAA has changed over that time would be a terrific understatement. In 2002, ‘BVAMA’ as it was then called was struggling financially and was perhaps too focussed on its past, not its future. We offered remarkably little to our members and without change, I’ve no doubt ‘BVAMA’ would have died.

The changes undertaken by the new-look BVAA from 2003 onwards, and the breadth of the offering to our membership today, is simply astonishing in comparison. We are a strong, healthy, fiscally stable, and substantially larger association offering a diverse range of products to our broad church of members. We do have to cater for all tastes, so our ‘smorgasbord’ approach allows members to pick and choose those services that best fit them.

Not every service will appeal to every member, but our approach does mean there is something for everyone.

Our membership has been growing impressively throughout, but latterly our industry has suffered from a largely oil-price generated bare patch, plus a wave of inter-company consolidation. Active recruitment has kept our membership buoyant however, and our services developed despite the fiscal challenges such a dip brings.

More recently our new BD Group has been actively developing business opportunities for our members, as evidenced by a record 6 desktops events with customers in the latter part of 2017, and with many more slated. My own company (Heap & Partners) also landed our largest order in our 150-year history, thanks to a sales lead that was sent out by the BVAA to all its members.

When I took the chair, BVAA had committed to a Ł200k mortgage to buy our HQ. Today, thanks a series of early repayments, this is already down to Ł128k. This gives us access to a first-class facility, security of tenure and a substantial asset should we hit hard times again.

I have also been particularly pleased to support the hugely successful BVAA Future Leader’s Programme (FLP), helping to develop the stars of tomorrow for our industry. The fathers of the FLP are my successor as Chair, Colin Findlay, his new vice Chair Tim Guest, supported of course by our Director, Rob Bartlett. Evidence, were it needed, that the Association remains in good hands.

On which, I must not past on the baton without thanking Rob and his team, who work wonders on a tight budget at the Secretariat. They are the ones that have delivered this success year-on-year. I’m pleased to say they are backed by a fantastic Board and I know the future is assured.

Published in Valve User Magazine Issue 44


Autumn 2018 // Issue 46
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