Current PIA President Ron Astall provided his recollections on some of the seminars staged by APMA/PIA over the years:

DSC_0104“In the 1980s, APMA Council suggested that the Technical Committee organise some pump industry seminars and conferences. The first one I recall was a seminar on Nett Positive Suction Head (NPSH). We had some excellent high level papers for presentation but the committee decided that we needed an introductory presentation outlining the basic theory. An awkward silence followed whilst they looked at me. This led to my first ever public speaking experience. It is indeed true that public speaking can be one of the greatest fears known to mankind. Those who know me know I have trouble shutting up, but at that time I was terrified, had hot and cold sweats, the shakes and despite around twenty rehearsals I was not travelling very well until I saw Bob Hancock nodding and smiling supportively in the front row. This gave me the confidence to continue. The NPSH seminar was good value and was repeated in most capital cities.

“With Council’s input, in 1984 we helped put together a very large and successful pump industry conference and exhibition at the Lakeside Hotel in Canberra. During the planning phase, we scheduled a Technical Committee meeting in Canberra to check out the venue. I travelled there with Indeng Pump Divisions General Manager, David McLeish, who was APMA President at that time.

“When checking into the hotel, David and I were accidentally given each other’s room keys. We did not realise the mistake until my wife rang me only to have David answer the phone in ‘my’ room. He deftly switched the call to my actual room and no harm was done. Of course in the subsequent meeting he made a great deal of capital out of it; claiming all sorts of women were ringing me in his room. I countered by remarking that a woman rang me in his room as well; “asking about the weather…she wanted to know if the coast was clear”. This conference was also my first meeting with Keith Sanders, who has been a fabulous APMA and PIA colleague over the years.

“The actual conference ran for several days and involved towing our display in a heavily loaded unbraked tandem trailer up from Melbourne in pouring rain.

When we arrived David Macpherson was taking bets on whether the young bloke would be able to back the trailer into the hotel car park. He lost. This was a very successful event. Sadly, now we do not seem to be able to generate sufficient interest to support this size conference and exhibition.

“Later, we developed a pump trouble shooting seminar which was repeated in every state except Tasmania, and also later in New Zealand and also in abbreviated form in Singapore few times; in conjunction with the ‘Pumps & Systems’ expos. During one of these (in 1996 as I recall), we all went out for a chilli crab meal. I do hope John Link no longer has the photographs.

“We are finding that interest in some of our PIA seminars is again improving; particularly with the Energy Efficiency theme and our Resources Industry themed Seminars in Perth and Brisbane, but attendances are still patchy at times. I think budgets are now much tighter.”

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