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OCCA President's Blog

OCCA President Peter Stanton blogs about OCCA — the past, present and future of the association.

Memorable Dates for Science

If you are a fan of Google Doodles then the past few days have been dedicated to Science. Have a look at the following link for interest:  https://www.google.com/doodles

12th March 1838 – Sir William Henry Perkin’s 180th Birthday

14th March  1988 – 30th Anniversary of Pi day (3.14159), if you look at the Doodle closely you will see an image of Albert Einstein who was born on 14th March 1879. Sadly Stephen Hawking has died today ironically on Einstein’s birthday – I hope they both “gravitate together” somewhere in the Universe we perhaps know as heaven. We have lost a brilliant mind today but his legacy will remain as infinite as Pi.

Incidentally Sir William Henry Perkin was the father of Fredrick Mollwo Perkin who was OCCA’s first President. I have entered 15th April into my calendar to celebrate Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci’s Birthday of 1452. Leanardo is OCCA’s figurehead.

All the above were remarkable men and each has changed the world we live in profoundly.

Looking forward – Present and Future

Welcome to issue One of our Centenary year in which I am going to concentrate on the Present and the Future. Our past 100 years have shaped our culture and the way we work. Although I am very proud of our heritage I feel we have been slow to adapt and change to keep pace with the global changes of the past 20 years. There has been a shift from relatively static, socialised economies to more dynamic enterprise-oriented economies that now shape our own socio-economic challenges. OCCA Council, under my guidance as President, have been implementing significant changes in the way we run OCCA so that it is more relevant to current times. Some of the changes have been merely process and 18 months after initial implementation the results are now starting to show fruit.

The first improvements to process have been to centralise our accounts and membership management. Now that we have data into our second year of change we can start to analyse the metrics and form a strategy for the future. We are in essence building a Road-Map for the next 10 years. Our first priority was to address the membership decline and to create a “back-office” to allow for better control of our existing membership. Our Cloud-based accounting system now invoices ALL members and so far 81% have paid their subscriptions. Reminders are now automated but our data for some members is not up to date and I would ask all members to log into the “Members Area” of our website and self update their details, in particular their email address. With GDPR looming, with an enforcement date of 25th May 2018, this will in a way help to address our data that we hold on behalf of our members. We will be writing to each member in due course.

I am very pleased to announce that as part of our centralisation policy we have closed the UK section bank accounts and we are giving the Section Treasurers electronic access to the OCCA Central current account to help run small scale section events with main events being administered by our central management team. This has proved most successful with the recent Burns Super and Manchester Seminar.

We have set a date for our 56th AGM, Friday 22nd June 2018 and I will present a full breakdown of the demographics of our UK membership and hopefully be in a position to report on our progress regarding our Overseas Divisions which I have made mention of in my online blog. Clearly one of the main formalities of our AGM is to present the findings of our audit of 2017, which is well underway currently, this brings me nicely on to the changes we have implemented in our accounting procedures. All expenditure is being carefully analysed with a view to making efficiencies and reinvesting to give better member benefits. Our two biggest cost centres are Administration and Publications. If we can improve the quality of service and reduce our expenditure we can reinvest in Marketing and PR to drive OCCA forward over the next 10 years, a complex matrix but very achievable.

The main event of our Centenary year is Surfex 2018 which is sold out and we are opening up an expansion area for sale to exhibitors. Surfex is the UK’s domestic showcase for our industry and is of prime importance for the future of OCCA. The revenue generated from Surfex is re-invested into securing the future of OCCA as an Internationally recognised Technical Organisation. I feel that the future will see further collaborations if we are to maintain our position and grow our exhibition in the post Brexit era.

We have decided to run a separate Technical Conference and resurrect Surcon for our centenary. This will be a high calibre academic conference at The University of Leeds 12-13 September 2018.

The future is looking bright for 2018 and I will make way for my blog to Richard Gilkes, MD Surfex Ltd for our next issue so that he may tell you the exciting news on Surfex.

One for the Boys

Following my earlier Blog on International Women’s Day I also found that it is National Pie Week 🙂

Surface Coatings International – Digital Version

We are in the final stages of production of Issue 101.1 which is our February/March 2018 edition. As soon as we have a final proof we will publish it to members digitally as it goes to print. For reference the last issue 100.6 can be found using the following link:


Happy reading


One Hundred Years on.

Today is International Womens Day and this has got me thinking about some of the momentous events leading up to OCCA’s 100 Year anniversary. Here is an excerpt from Wikipedia regarding IWD:

“International Women’s Day (IWD) is celebrated on March 8 every year. It commemorates the movement for women’s rights.

While the first observance of a Women’s Day was held on February 28, 1909 in New York, March 8 was suggested by the 1910 International Woman’s Conference to become an “International Woman’s Day.” After women gained suffrage in Soviet Russia in 1917, March 8 became a national holiday there. The day was then predominantly celebrated by the socialist movement and communist countries until it was adopted in 1975 by the United Nations”.

OCCA was formed in May 1918 only a couple of months after The Representation of the People Act of 1918 got Royal assent.  This allowed Women over the age of 30 with property of £5 or more the right to vote. We have come a long way since then having two Female Prime Ministers and a Lady President of OCCA.  The top five posts in Great Britain are currently held by Females, The Queen, Prime Minister, Home Secretary, Scottish First Minister and Met Office Commissioner. However, I believe we have not come far enough and analysis of the metrics of OCCA Membership show that only 11% of our UK Members are Female.

I thought today would be a good time to reach out to our Female Members to consider the idea of forming a group of Female Ambassadors of OCCA. I am not generally in favour of Positive Discrimination but I think this is an initiative of great importance. We have some formidable Lady Members of OCCA who have great motivation and direction, the problem is that their voice is not heard  in an arena that is just not diverse enough. OCCA is undergoing some major Changes and we have a marketing plan to engage more with our members and a campaign to increase our UK Membership, this would be an excellent opportunity to address our Gender Diversity in OCCA.

Part of our plan is to address some of the problems we have with Overseas Divisions which were set-up in the 1960’s. This was over half a century ago and the world has changed considerably with Corporate Governance being of major concern albeit The Laws of Fiduciary have not changed a great deal. However the ways in which we interact and communicate have changed immeasurably. We are looking at ways of setting up an Umbrella Organisation by selling IP Licences to both existing Overseas Divisions and total New World areas with current Mega Trends, a good example of this is India.

I look forward to starting this initiative and maybe we could push the idea on our OCCA Stand 624 at Surfex 2018,  May 22-23 at The Ricoh Arena, Coventry.


OCCA AGM – Save the Day

Dear Member

Please save the day for:

Friday 22nd June 2018 – 56th AGM

The 56th AGM will be held at Salford University, Media City, Salford Quays. (provisional) and our Marketing Team will send formal notice and details of venue, timings and associated activities.


SCI Issue 100.6

Dear OCCA Member,

I am preparing my blog for the upcoming issue of SCI. This issue will mark the start of a very momentous year in OCCA’s history. We are now in our Centenary Year and I will be announcing some of the upcoming events celebrating our 100th year along with some of the initiatives we are making to communicate these events. I will also be summarising the financial position of 2017.

Continue reading “SCI Issue 100.6”

Merry Christmas and a Prosperous New Year from OCCA

Dear OCCA Member,

It is already that time of year again, it seems the blink of an eye and the year has passed by. Team OCCA is winding down for a well earned Festive rest following a very busy year implementing change. I hope that some of the changes will start to pull-through in the New Year which I am sure you all know by now is our Centenary Year.

Continue reading “Merry Christmas and a Prosperous New Year from OCCA”

OCCA Winter Ball

This year’s Winter Ball was held at The Old Swan Hotel, Harrogate, Friday 17th November 2017 which was made famous by Agatha Christie and her mysterious disappearance.

Continue reading “OCCA Winter Ball”

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