I have heard the comment passed that no one really knows what the SAIMC council is doing or who they are. Well, let,s start where the buck stops. To introduce myself, David Howcroft, MD of Instrotech, also majority shareholder and Director of Digital Process Measurement, Instrotech (Australia), Instrotech Properties and just for fun, Buffelsdrift Hiking Trails. Matriculated at Roosevelt High School Johannesburg in 1959, then ATC3 in Industrial Electronics and Instrument Technology at Witwatersrand Technical College when it was still in Eloff Street. I spent a year with H.Rohloff, the original, then 17 with Process Control Instruments learning about Engineering from Gus Tilch and how to make money from "Old Man Nitschmann". In those days PCI had most of the European Agencies such as H&B, E&H, Camille Bauer, Krohne, Degussa, Bauer and lots more. The last eight years at PCI was as Director and head of the Process Control Department. In 1978, when sold to Malbak, PCI employed 250 people. I did not agree with the beancounter philosophy of the new owners and left in 1981 to form Instrotech.
Somewhere in between, when Elvis was King, I teamed up with a life-long friend, Franz Boshoff and went motor rallying. He won his first SA Navigators Championship with me in 1969 and we won the International Volta Sul du Save in 1970. I went back to work and he carried on to win the SA Championship ten times with various other drivers. DPM was formed in 1989 with the late Peter Krause, a good friend and partner and excellent electronic designer. DPM is now one of South Africa's leading manufacturers of process control equipment, exporting about 25% of its production to Europe and Australia. And Buffelsdrift Hiking Trails you may ask? Well, nowadays I take time out on weekends to get away to the Elands River near Rust der Winter, North of Pretoria, to enjoy the animals, birds, trees and tranquillity.
What a wonderful exhibition this turned out to be. I think that I was roped into the Council about 18 months ago because of my experience with exhibitions in the past. I started up the idea ofSAIMC teaming up with a professional exhibition organiser in the late 70s when we had shows at Milner Park. Last year John Immelman, Eric Carter, Ken Baker and myself decided to make the Electrex 2000 the premier instrument exhibition in South Africa. Luckily Jo Melville of TML Reed had the same idea. Between us we put in hundreds of hours thinking up ideas, promoting the exhibition to exhibitors and then to the potential visitors. Ideas that worked well included the ‘Factory of the Future' where people could see and discuss various instrumentation bus systems, the concept of an opening day with the business class lounge sponsored by Yokogawa followed by a really good party with food and drinks kindly sponsored by Siemens. "Dave's Dancing Girls" sponsored by TML Reed were the highlight getting a boisterous encore to repeat their Lord of the Dance. The sponsored combis worked well except for one that went missing; you can't win them all! Apologies for those inconvenienced. A special word of thanks to Graeme Bell of Technews and Irene Blythe of Electron for all the exposure they afforded us.
For a three day exhibition we had 2820 quality visitors of which 240 were SAIMC members. I am not sure how many exhibitors were members but this shows that there is a potential to increase our membership tenfold! At the SAIMC stand manned by Council Member John Crossland and Mike Marshal, the new Executive Officer, lots of prospective new members were filling in forms. I noticed an abundance of SAIMC Patron signs up on the stands; maybe some companies have realised that the Patron Membership fees are less than the 10% discount on the Electrex floor space.
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