Graham Newman

Graham Newman

President
I started out joining BOC in their graduate recruitment program as an engineer designing and making gas cylinders. Somehow after only two years I ended up as the engineer responsible for the manufacture of gas cartridges, at the time, making over 5000 per day, seven days a week. How things change!!

I set up my own business making low pressure aluminium gas cylinders in 1987. Over the years we have diversified, but our core business is still, cylinder manufacture.

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I joined the BFC in 1987. Prior to that, in 1982, I had been asked to join the British Standards technical committees responsible for gas cylinders and fire extinguishers as a technical expert. So when I joined the BFC, I was happy to represent the BFC on these committees in this role.

I was voted onto the Council (as it was then, now Board) in 1987. I have worked with some very knowledgeable and delightful people over the last 31 years and have met some real characters.

I was honoured to be nominated and subsequently elected President of the BFC in 2004 and have spent a lot of time in this post promoting the BFC and its members in a variety of forums.

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Gary McDowell

Gary McDowell

Chairman
It is an honour for me to be asked by the Board of Directors to take on the role of Chairman. My company ABC MacIntosh has been a member of BFC for 16 years and I have been on the BFC Council since 2006, having been Vice Chairman to Colin Rhodes, Roger Chamberlain and Tom Brookes. In the years I have been involved with the BFC Board I can say with some confidence that those who have sat on the Board and contributed to the management of this organisation over many years have made a significant difference to the BFC’s professional standing in our industry.

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Many of you know, my background is based in chemistry and engineering rather than servicing of extinguishers and alarms. This gives me something of a unique perspective of our members and the services and goods they supply and feel this allows me to have a more impartial and non-conflicting view of the issues our members deal with on a day to day basis.

My focus as Chairman in the years ahead is to ensure that the BFC maintains its high profile in the industry for delivering high quality third part accredited training, not only to its members but to other organisations and companies that can benefit from this organisation’s expertise, skills and knowledge to help improve and enhance the services they provide to their customers.

In terms of the BFC’s on going development, it is essential that we as an organisation continue to influence change in the industry to ensure that the Standards and Guidelines we all use are both appropriate and meaningful for our members and those who require our services.

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Mark Palmer

Mark Palmer

Vice Chairman
I came into the fire industry in 1996. It’s the best thing I could have done work wise.

I learnt the hard way- cold calling, booking in service visits followed by extinguisher sales.

It’s important, as always, to do things in that order. In fact, the training at Nu Swift in those days was excellent. It also taught me to uphold prices and not sell equipment as if it were a discount store. Prices for extinguishers have certainly come tumbling down particularly with the internet changing the way many buy.

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In the early 2000’s I started field training for new starters across the UK- I really enjoyed meeting new people- full of energy and often slightly nervous- just the way it should be!

The Fire Safety Order 2005 changed everything. The legislation makes perfect sense to me and one I wanted to be involved in. I hooked on to a couple of IFE registered assessors. Reading and attending courses, even now is the way to go.

Fire Risk Assessments make up the core of our small family run business I started in 2004. Key things to remember with FRA’s include:

  • Only do jobs you are totally confident with
  • Get it right the first time
  • Refer to guidance always
  • Attend courses/ get qualified
  • Keep learning
  • Be careful who you use for external work

Fire Training also dovetails nicely with Fire Risk Assessment, so we complete lots of training too.

Every day is different – I’ve seen the good, bad and downright ugly premises!

It’s a great industry to be involved in – The BFC is a well run organisation that supports fire companies – there’s some great people part of the organisation.

One thing is for sure, complacency must never be part of our industry with the recent Grenfell disaster still fresh in our minds.

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Mart Rogers

Mart Rogers

Treasurer
Fernando Rei

Fernando Rei

Board Member
Alex Brindle

Alex Brindle

Board Member
Lee Richards

Lee Richards

Board Member