NTDA – Over 80 Years and Still Going Strong
Beginning by quipping that he didn’t mean to lie at last year’s event when he said the 2008 dinner was to be his last, NTDA chairman Peter Gaster opened this year’s chairman’s speech by explaining that the his chairmanship has been extended while he completes a review of NTDA’s future. Kwik-Fit’s David White, who will succeed Gaster as chairman, is set to take over when the select group of NTDA members has been consulting with have completed their recommendations.
The current chairman was keen to point out the association’s history and strengths: “Our association has been in existence for over 80 years and, in tyre industry terms, is the oldest surviving association and is still going strong! The main themes of any proposed changes are based upon the strength and weakness or pros and cons of our association.”
This was a reference to the association’s recent moves to resist “integration with other organisations.” However, “we would view any trade association that wanted to affiliate or even join the NTDA with an open mind and on its merit,” he added. This means that NTDA will maintain its office in Aylesbury with the ongoing support of its director and staff for the “foreseeable future.”
Having been involved in the NTDA for over 30 years, Gaster spoke of the value the association brings to the industry: “I do not propose to bang on about the benefits of being a member, as I hope that when you individually consider these benefits you will come to realise how important your membership is to you. We are still consulting over wide ranging changes to our structure and these will discussed by council in the coming months.”
Among the ideas being put forward are a review of representation on the council to provide seats to companies and individuals who have shown commitment to the NTDA and have enthusiasm to develop the association, not just because of the number of depots per company. Other suggestions include: developing supplier membership and giving more direct involvement in structure and possibly council; organising topic led seminars and event driven meetings throughout the country as opposed to the specific eight NTDA regions which may change or even replace the current regional structure.
Gaster also spoke of NTDA’s lobbying efforts as one of the most important aspects of NTDA’s work: “This year we have had discussions at ministerial level on consumer standards within our sector, we have maintained a close working relationship with relevant departments on scrap tyre disposal and we have been successful in lobbying, with others, for a delay in s-marking legislation which has probably saved some of our members tens of thousands of pounds.”
Revealing that association considered postponing this year’s dinner and awards due to the economic climate, Gaster spoke of ECI International’s decision to postpone Brityrex as “a sensible course of action”:
“It would be remiss of me not to mention the economic climate as this has and will impact on us all…one of the casualties this year has been Brityex…Given that the Motor Show and the CV show were also cancelled, it would have been folly to go ahead this year with all the uncertainty around us. However, I am confident that this will be a major event in 2010 and we will see a better and bigger Brityrex, all the signs so far confirm this.”