GAI - Moving Forwards To A Brighter Future.
The GAI’s AGM and Conference took place in May 2012 on a theme of moving forward to the future. The event brought together AIs and manufacturers at the Forest of Arden Hotel in the beautiful Warwickshire countryside for a programme of business and leisure activities as well as the formal proceedings of the AGM.The Laidlaw Interiors Group were a key sponsor of the event.
The GAI's AGM formed the first part of proceedings. Phil Newson of Allgood was re-elected for a second year as President with John Jefferies of Laidlaw Interiors Group as Vice President and David Stacey of DORMA UK as Treasurer. The rest of the Executive Committee was also voted into place.
In his President’s address, Phil acknowledged that the market is still extremely tough for the construction industry in general and ironmongery in particular. Despite this, and a challenging budget forecast for the GAI, 2011-12 had been more successful than expected with membership numbers marginally up, better than expected revenue from Education, improved credit control, and savings on HO expenses and marketing. Phil outlined some of the developments coming up in the next 12 months including a drive to increase membership overseas and the Fire Door Inspection Scheme (FDIS).
The Chairmen of the various GAI committees also made their reports to Conference:
- Paul Duggan outlined the work the Technical Committee is doing on upcoming standards and the Construction Products Regulations, plus improved ways of communicating these important messages to members and the wider market.
- Shafiq Sharif, Chair of the Marketing Committee talked about new procedures and structure for the committee and plans for marketing in 2012-13 including a concerted push to communicate with markets outside the UK.
- This was Andy Fitzgerald’s first AGM as Chair of the Education Committee. The 2011-12 academic year was very successful for the GAI and Andy was able to report very pleasing enrolment figures for this year as well. Andy and his fellow committee members have been working hard on a root and branch review of the GAI education programme. Full details of its findings will be announced next year but the aim is to continue the modernisation of the programme and offer students more options for courses.
- IAI National Chairman Andy Matthews made a passionate case for the Institute and described some of the highlights of the previous year and plans for the future. This includes the planned launch of an Institute branch in Hong Kong in November 2012.
After the business of the AGM, there was a programme of keynote speakers. Simon Storer, Communications and External Affairs Director at the Construction Products Association (CPA) outlined the role of his organisation and the ways in which GAI members can access its wealth of economic and political information and resources. The outlook for the construction industry, the CPA believes, is not very bright in the short term with the sector set to shrink by 2.9% in 2012 and to stagnate in 2013. But if information is power, then the CPA’s impressive economic data and forecasting will prove a valuable resource for AIs and manufacturers alike.
The second speaker was Paul Wilkinson of pwcom.co.uk, a social media specialist. He urged the GAI delegates to get up to date with social media channels and use them to promote and build their businesses. Paul pointed out that the AI industry is woefully under-represented on social networks and gave invaluable pointers on how to take the first steps onto web 2.0