AGM 2016 and AVEX 2017 Ballot

On 29th September 2016, we held our Annual General Meeting and AVEX 2017 Ballot at the NEC in Birmingham and it was a great success.

David Ward started the day off with his Chairman’s welcome. He discussed the AVA’s strategy for 2016 and all the key events that had happened over the last 12 months including the start of the AVEX cycle for 2017 and the introduction of the new £1 coin and £5 and £10 notes. He also spoke about the issues that challenge our industry such as the proposed sugar tax and the concerns about the environmental impact of paper cups. Roger Williams, who is the Treasurer for the AVA, followed this with a discussion about the current financial situation of the association and an insight into our future situation. Members had the opportunity to express their concerns, to which the board were able to answer all questions and take feedback on board.

Jonathan Hart, the Chief Executive, was the next to speak and he expanded on the points previously made by David Ward about the proposed sugar tax, new legal tender and plans for the future to bring in more benefits for our members such as the new Electrical Training Programme. Jonathan also had the honour of unveiling our new website that we had been working on for a long time. We are very proud of it and we hope that our members benefit from this sleek, easy to use platform. The next speaker of the day was Neil Thomas who is on the Membership and Events Committee. He had the pleasure of welcoming our new members so far for 2016 and then spoke about how we intend to increase membership and improve our retention rate for 2017. He announced that there is consideration to be given to widening out our membership to include chewing gum, sanitary products and more. He reviewed the regional meetings and golf days that have happened so far this year and announced the venue for the Christmas Luncheon which will be One Whitehall Place. We also took on board feedback that the events should be expanded to appeal to more members.

Next on the agenda was Tony Smith who discussed AVEX 2017. He informed the room about the plans that were underway and the new changes for this year including a change in the branding. Additionally, he gave an update from the EVA and spoke about how European countries are working together to tackle challenges to our industry. Jason Boull followed this with the Technical Committee report. He spoke about the issues faced by changes in government legislation and environmental issues. He also showed members where on the new website they can access technical resources. His main point of discussion was the Engineers’ Competence Course that we have been running this year. It has been a resounding success and we will be continuing it next year with a rise in the course cost in summer 2017. For more information, email Rosie Mills at Rosie.Mills@the-ava.com

Adrian Pratt continued the meeting with a report from the Cup Committee. He gave a report on the year’s activity including working with the EU Circular Economy and maintaining close links with like-minded associations. A key point was the environmental issue of plastic and paper cups and how they are ensuring that all manufacturers meet all of their obligations now and in the future. The meeting finished with a talk from Steve Collins who is in charge of the AVA Quality Scheme. 71 audits had been carried out before the event and Steve informed members about the main issues that he had found whilst auditing. He also spoke about the process that is underway to update the AVA Quality Scheme to incorporate the relevant parts of the new ISO 2015 standard.

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After lunch we had an “In Conversation” session with Ray Stubbs. Boasting a successful career in sports journalism, Ray is Chief Football Reporter for BT Sport having previously worked for the BBC and ESPN. He was happy to answer any question fired at him by Jonathan or any of the members of the audience and he did so with wit and humour and demonstrated his extensive knowledge of British sport.

Ray then drew all the Ballot numbers and members who attended the Ballot had the opportunity to secure the best stand spaces for the lowest possible price. With prices starting from just £189 per square metre, members could save up to £30 per square metre off the standard square metre price. It’s exciting to get the build up to AVEX 2017 truly underway at the Ballot where AVA members got the opportunity to secure stand space starting from the equivalent daily rate of £94.50 per square metre.

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Overall it was an interesting day for all members and the day ran smoothly and with a very positive atmosphere.  Jonathan Hart said: “It was fantastic to bring the industry together in one place to reflect on what has been an action-packed year for the market and the economy”.  After the great feedback that we received on the day, we are looking forward to AVEX 2017 and hope to see many of our members there.