Doug Rawlings offers his final thoughts as EWPA’s outgoing President
Hire & Rental Magazine talks to Doug Rawlings about his time as Elevating Work Platform Association President.
1. What did you want to achieve when you came in as President?
I didn’t put my hand up for President to change the world, but I thought I could continue the great work that had been done by the EWPA and the Board by supporting the industry through expert guidance and resources. There were a few bumpy moments during my time, but I think the Association board came through that period with dignity and purpose.
2. What were you biggest challenges as president?
Initially when I accepted the role, the EWPA board was in a position of being ‘on top’ of issues within the industry. We had many guidance documents and training packages that assisted operators, renters, and rental companies. But then we had some unfortunate accidents in South Australia involving scissor lifts, which changed the focus of the EWPA. Because of these incidents, the Association needed to assist members because the country’s biggest contractor had insisted that we slow machines down on all their sites. That caused operational issues with some machines, and with those issues came additional costs to meet these demands as well as frustration for our OEM, rental members and operators. Some of that frustration was directed unfairly at the EWPA, who worked tirelessly on a suitable outcome.
Then came the topic of Secondary Guarding for scissor lift controls. We continue to work on this in the form of a guidance document; the situation is so fluid, and we need to send the correct message to all stakeholders.
3. What has been your proudest achievement in your time as president?
I am proud each time I think of the un-rewarded efforts that our Board carry out for the best interests of the EWPA industry.
During my tenure we developed and signed off on an agreement with the International Powered Access Federation (IPAF) to combine our skills and resources respect and support each identity for the benefit of our industry here and overseas.
We are only just beginning to work out how we can be of assistance to each other for the combined improvement of the EWP industry but look forward to being able to fast track some projects with combined resources available.
I am also always proud of our balance sheet where we have been able to generate income to cover operational costs and have enough to be able to assist Members in a time of need.
Lastly, I was proud to cement our 5-year strategy, which we began work on in 2018. Now we have a 2022 to 2027 strategy to commence, which will keep the board focused on our longer-term goals.
4. What would you like to see the EWPA doing more of in the future?
I would like us to be able to conduct more training. Training is the key to safety and efficiency and that is what we all should be striving for in our business.
5. How important do you think the EWPA is to Industry?
I believe if any business owns or rents a mobile elevating work platform, they should be aware of the EWPA and the support it brings. We are the ‘go to’ organisation for the industry. We are a one stop shop for training,compliance and operations and we are well-resourced with a deep expertise pool, willing to assist members and non-members for the advancement and safety of the EWP industry. The EWPA is a conduit for anyone looking for advice, knowledge, and guidance within Australia concerning Elevating Work Platforms and their safe, proper operation.
6. What is your favourite memory from the presidency?
Some of my favourite moments were spent post-Board meetings ‘chewing the fat’ with very experienced industry identities, learning about how different businesses operate to achieve the same goals. Those industry identities over the years included Bernie Kiekebosch, Phil Newby, Dave Single, Ross Hogan and many more past and current board members.
What perhaps gave me great satisfaction was seeing the Dave Single Award presented to some very worthy winners including John Glover, Peter Davis and Tim Nuttall. Dave Single was a mentor and friend and I owe him so much for the way he mentored me when I was a young man making my way in the industry. I hope we could all show that side of selflessness and encouragement to others in the industry, as it would enhance our experiences.