The Slovak Rubber Conference 2004
T&A attended the 15th Slovak Rubber Conference to find out what made it so popular with the delegates.As rubber conferences go the topics of conversation can be a source of stunned amazement to the layperson. The idea that people gather from across the continent, or indeed the globe, to discuss the rubber industry is beyond their understanding.
If you tell them that the conference is in Paris or Hamburg, they smile knowingly. They understand, they believe, that it is a couple of days of high living on company expenses under the guise of a trade conference. Tell them that the event is in Puchov, in the Slovak Republic and their knowing smile turns to sheer incredulity.
Where, they ask, is Puchov? And why would anyone go there?The where is Slovakia, close to the Czech border and the home of Matador. As to why anyone would go there, that may be because the Slovak Rubber Conference is an event of growing interest. The fact that some 200 delegates paid for the privilege of attending suggests that the event has a value beyond a night out sampling Parisian or Hamburg nightlife.
Delegates came largely from Eastern Europe and the CIS, but also from the UK, Italy, Finland, Netherlands, Germany and doubtless several other nations.More than one delegate told T&A that the background of the event was of interest. It was generated by the Slovak Rubber Institute supported by Matador.
The conference, although a flag flying exercise by Matador, was less commercialised than most others and the emphasis is on technology and business developments rather than an extended sales event – though needless to say some of the presenters and delegates had indeed something to sell. That lack of commercialism left delegates free to discuss the subject matter, make contacts and seek out technological partnerships, rather than face a barrage of sales talk from commission paid representatives. Indeed, one presenter made a rather obvious sales pitch that was greeted with some dismay by the organisers – this was not what they has intended, though inevitably commercialism will penetrate any successful event.
The conference was opened by Stefan Rosina Jnr, who has stepped into the position of President of Matador upon the retiral of his father, Stephan Rosina Snr. He highlighted and thanked the delegates for their support of the 15th Slovak Rubber Conference. An event, he said, that represented a coming together of experts from the rubber industry with a growing global importance.
It was relevant that this was the penultimate conference prior to European Union entry and he touched on the positive and negative impacts of EU entry both to Slovakia and to other states about to join the EU. “Most of the effects will be positive,” he felt assured, “There would be an access to markets, to technology and the reduction of trade barriers.” For the Conference he could envisage it reaching a wider audience once Slovakia was a member of a wider European Union.
This should give the conference an even greater stance in the rubber industry.”The negative effect though was one that posed a real threat to the industries of the new states. It made acquisition by larger foreign investors more of a possibility, but more immediately it could create a flow of qualified engineers to the West – drawn there by higher salaries, better conditions and a higher living standard.