Positivity abounds at IICA Expo; plus a fond farewell to Julie Meynell

SICK sales engineer Kevin Zarczynski at the IICA Expo at Sydney's Marconi Club.

SICK sales engineer Kevin Zarczynski at the IICA Expo at Sydney's Marconi Club.

There was a positive vibe at the Sydney IICA Technology Expo that was held at the Marconi Club on October 31. With more than 65 exhibitors and 100 visitors on hand, most companies reported up to a 25 per cent increase in business for the year.

All the major players were there including the likes of SMC, Emerson, SICK, ifm, Schnieder Electric, burkert, Siemens, Treotham, Yokogawa, WIKA, Weidmuller, APS, Bosch plus a huge number of specialists in the process engineering field.

It is the last in a series of Expos put on by the IICA in 2018 and the upturn in industry is not lost on the association’s New South Wales chairman Peter Veron.

“Everybody is talking about a booming industry this year. They all have positive sales growth,” he said. “A lot of people are attributing it to housing, roads, as well as other government infrastructure projects. It’s not so much manufacturing that is expanding, it’s more infrastructure that’s causing the boom we are seeing. Also, the CNG and the GLNG plants in WA including the Wheatstone and Gorgon projects have generated a lot of business for flow measurement and pressure, temperature and other instrumentation parameters.

“We hope the industry keeps going the way it is going. This year was the best for growth in 10 years, since the last mining boom. This time around it’s more the mining production, not the expansion, that is helping fuel the industry. Last time it was all expansion that gave out a lot of work.”

On a sadder note, IICA Sydney branch manager, Julie Meynell, is leaving her post at the end of this year. Meynell has been with the IICA for just over 10 years where she has worked tirelessly behind the scenes including organising the association’s technology expos.

“It’s time for a change and to spend more time with my family,” said Meynell. And highlights of her time at the IICA? “[That] would be the regional shows once I was out there. Having the time away in some nice country towns, and having the group together as the IICA group, is really nice,” she said.

How has the industry changed since she first arrived on the scene?

“It has picked up over the past 10 years,” she said. “When I first started, there were a lot of key exhibitors had dropped off, but I have seen a real resurgence in the past couple of years. I’ve noticed the IICA really focuses on the networking side of things, which works for our members and our exhibitors and events. The industry is so niche yet it covers a broad range of industries, sometimes it’s hard as a non-engineer to get my head around it. It is male dominated, but that is changing, too.”

Veron said he is sad Meynell is leaving, but understands why.

“Julie has been the face of the IICA for the past decade and has been running the IICA events autonomously and has done a fantastic job. She is stepping down to spend more time with her family,” said Veron. “The role started out as three to four hours a week and now it has grown to 15 hours a week. Sometimes it can go up to 30 hours. We hope Julie all the best success wherever she goes and we’ll miss her as will the industry.”