For this issue of Motion Control, we interviewed SAFPA’s new president, Manny Vieira, to get to know him a bit and find out about his plans for SAFPA.
Manny is no stranger to fluid power, having been in the industry since 1980, when he was first exposed to pneumatics. This was followed by a stint in another company from 1974 to 1980, followed by 32 years in hydraulics and pneumatics engineering. He is now with a leading international pneumatics company. So he has huge experience in the industry. In his spare time he likes to go mountain biking with his wife, Mary Anne, and they sometimes do race events individually or in a team.
He says that he has been the chairman of SAFPA before and served on a number of subcommittees. “I’ve been on the committee since Noah’s Ark,” he jokes. “I am now picking up the reins again and will be president for two years. We need new young committee members and the objective of my appointment is to groom younger members of the committee so they are ready to take the lead.”
Building capacity for the future.
He adds that SAFPA is keen to increase its membership. “So far we haven’t taken advantage of modern communications channels and one of our goals is to get younger people on board using social media,” he continues. “We would also like to see more recent university graduates entering our ranks.”
He explains that marketing is another important issue. SAFPA’s marketing drive in 2012 increased membership by 25%. Unfortunately, this is not sustainable, as SAFPA does not have the capacity to pay someone full-time to carry out this role, so marketing now falls on the whole committee. One of the things the committee is going to do is introduce SAFPA business cards to create a higher profile. Another of its strategies is to communicate quicker and council members already use a WhatsApp group to exchange news.
Education and training
Education has been number one on the agenda for 20 years and Manny describes how SAFPA has had some success of late. The training initiative to get the fluid power qualification off the ground is in a very positive position and everyone is hoping this will all come to fruition this year. Wessie van der Westuizen and Hugo van Niekerk have done a huge amount of work to make this happen. JFA² Technical Training Institution NPC has been appointed as training partner and has received accreditation from Merseta for the full suite of fluid power qualifications (Level 2 to Level 5). Half a dozen students are now going through the system and SAFPA hopes that they will come out of the college at the end of the year and be taken on by fluid power companies.
In addition, the British Fluid Power Association has improved and upgraded its hose safety training course and SAFPA is looking at using this to upgrade its own training material and offer a higher level course.
In good hands
“I am happy with the balance in SAFPA between the three sectors: pneumatics, hydraulics and hoses and fittings. We have a highly experienced committee and our challenge now is to pass the baton to our younger members,” he concludes.
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