David Rowell, senior product marketing manager at NACCO Materials Handling Group, which incorporates the Yale brand, has been appointed as the new President of the British Industrial Truck Association (BITA).

Speaking about his appointment, David said: “After 40 years in materials handling and 8 years on the BITA management board, it’s a great honour for me to serve as President of the national trade association, to be able to give something back to the industry.

“Over my forthcoming two years in office the principal challenges will arise from new legislation and competition from the emerging markets.
Thankfully, our industry has demonstrated great resilience in the face of immense challenges over the past few years. Indeed according to official BITA statistics we have now recovered over 50 per cent of the business lost in the recession. The latest BITA Economic Forecast provides further strong evidence that our industry will continue growing through the rest of the year and into 2013.

“People now feel more optimistic about the future, but we must keep adding value for our customers. BITA is no exception and has already demonstrated an exceptional track record in developing meaningful initiatives that provide tangible benefits for members.

“The most outstanding development in the past year has undoubtedly been the BITA Academy at City of Bristol College. This fulfilled our initiative to counteract the ‘brain drain’ of retiring lift-truck engineers, by attracting and training top quality young engineers through our dedicated apprentice scheme. There are already 108 apprenticeships in place, with another 29 planned for later this year, demonstrating significant progress towards our annual target of 200.

“Whatever we do next, it’s important to find the right balance between new initiatives that respond to fresh challenges and the work we are already doing today.

“The perfect example of this is Consolidated Fork Truck Services (CFTS), a company that sets the industry standard for mandatory ‘Thorough Examination’ annual safety checks, and maintains a directory of companies accredited to provide this service to customers.  Since it was created in 2001 it has qualified over 300 service providers – 24 new companies have already joined in 2012.  CFTS is a joint venture between BITA and the Fork Lift Truck Association, which demonstrates how much benefit can be derived from meaningful collaboration.”

As a BITA Board member, David also sits on FEM-IT-MC the management committee for the industrial truck product group of the European federation, which gives the UK a voice at the highest level of our industry and allows members to have some influence upon future technical and trade issues.  It has its own panel of industry experts, largely volunteers from member companies who collectively agreed the ISO3691 which was vital to the introduction of the 2006 Machinery Directive.

David concludes: “Increasingly BITA serves as a rallying point for our industry. In 2010 we went ahead with IMHX in the face of a hostile economy and in doing so, sent out a strong signal to customers that we had confidence in the future of our industry.  This brave stance has been fully validated by the outstanding prospects for success at IMHX 2013, which will be the first show in many years to include full representation from our industry.

“For me, BITA’s mission of “lifting industry standards” is no longer only about technical and safety standards, but it is about working closely with other people who share our objectives. We can deliver increased members’ value, by continuing to produce sustainable initiatives that stand the test of time – as we have done throughout our history and I will continue to support new ideas in my next two years as BITA President.”

David (58) has been a BITA Board Member since 2004 in a number of roles, most recently representing BITA on the FEM Industrial Truck Management Committee through the British Materials Handling Federation. He is also currently serving in the Industrial Truck -Management Committee of FEM, in the capacity of 1st Vice President

From an industry perspective, David represents NMHG Europe on the Truck Suppliers Group. He is based in Scotland, but spends time working between the company’s UK head office in Fleet and other group facilities throughout Europe.

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