Director’s Report

Rob Bartlett, BVAA CEO

Rob Bartlett (right) with Dave Martin (*‘It’s obvious he knows pretty much everything there is to know about valves’)
I was so excited by the opportunity to update members on the many developments at BVAA, my first draft of this report became so long, I had to make it a full-on article!

However, members might already be aware that Trade Association work is like no other. There’s a significant element of routine activities - the monthly, annual or indeed bi-annual events - entwined with a fair dose of ‘anything could happen in the next half hour!’

Our experienced BVAA team understand that assisting a member promptly is our top priority and usually overrides whatever else might be on today’s ‘to do’ list. Consequently, what we planned to start at 08.30am say, can commonly be deferred many hours, occasionally days, and that it still gets done in timely fashion, often out of normal hours, is a sign of the commitment of our wonderful Secretariat Team.

Added spice – indeed joy - comes from the sheer variety of our work. No two days are the same, and our challenges reflect the diversity of what we do, and indeed who we represent.

I am delighted that our new Chairman, Colin Findlay, has entered into his BVAA responsibilities with such gusto and enthusiasm, and especially welcome is his deep interest in what we are doing and his great wisdom he imparts in his guidance. A precious commodity and hugely appreciated.

Among our agreed priorities at the moment is to spread our Messages wider and further than ever before. Already there are clear successes with this, and we are already enjoying a much higher profile thanks to our ‘Stronger Together’ philosophy and associated PR strategy. Indeed, overtures are being made from far and wide now, and managing how we develop that interest will be just as important as generating it.

As CEO, financial stability remains my top priority. I go into detail elsewhere about how despite membership levels being sustained, subscriptions income is steadily dropping, year-on-year. Thus, we must constantly find other ways to fund ourselves. But an excessive (tax-inducing) surplus here is considered just as ‘bad’ as a loss. So, a fine balance is needed, and so finely balanced are our funds/initiatives, that a success or poor attendance at just a single activity has the potential to dictate which side of the breakeven point we fall. Being determined to deliver as much as possible within the subscription remains our goal, and only exacerbates the challenge of providing value for money and remaining financially secure.

Activities – such as desktop exhibitions – have been sustained at last year’s unprecedented levels, requiring us to have fulltime support on both Events (Ellie Davies), and our marketing function (Laura Martin). Such is their level of confidence and competence, it’s gratifying to see both our young new staffers give the impression of having been in position for years.

Barbra Homer continues to co-ordinate our Training activities with solid precision, and our General Manager Karen Webb continues to ensure that the BVAA secretariat and our interaction with members is a well-oiled machine. We must not forget the meticulous but unsung background work of Chris Griffin in our Accounts department.

Rob Boycott (Business Development) and Martin Greenhalgh (Technical) have continued to enhance their respective activities, with growing work-loads of their own. And we are but nothing without the dedicated support of our myriad of volunteer technical and commercial committee chairs and experts, supporters and members in general, not to say our Board who endeavour to represent members’ views to our executive body and steer our work.

Where are we now? Undeniably at our strongest position in our 80-year history.

I believe readers will conclude from our Accounts and this Review that we continue to be financially-robust and activity-rich Transposing the adverb with the noun there would be great!

But, we must ensure BVAA represents this industry for another 80 years, and a careful, measured, consultative approach - taking all our interest groups with us - has to be our métier.

Published in Valve User Magazine Issue 48

Winter 2019 // Issue 51
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