John Falder, managing director of Manchester-based HMG Paints, has been elected chairman of the vehicle refinish group of the British Coatings Federation, the trade association representing the £2.2bn UK paint, powder coatings and printing ink manufacturing industry.
In the run-up to 2007’s far-reaching EU revisions to environment protection and health and safety regulations – in particular the switch to waterborne based products – Falder will act as the industry spokesman for the UK’s vehicle paint companies.
“There’s plenty of important legislation on the horizon that will impact substantially on vehicle finishing and refinishing,” he says. “I plan to be closely involved, helping to establish better regulations, improve health and safety in the bodyshop environment and develop a practical approach to meeting the key legislative requirements.”
The BCF’s vehicle refinish group comprises manufacturers that supply £250m-worth of automotive coatings per year. Falder will be meeting the group within the next three to four weeks to formulate clear objectives, after which he will be representing their views in industry-wide meetings and external lobbying.
He’s well qualified. A graduate in chemistry and marine biology and Licentiate of the Royal Institute of Chemistry, Falder is the third generation of his family to head HMG Paints, an independent manufacturer that is celebrating its 75th anniversary.
He says he has a deep rooted professional interest in vehicle repair, having served his apprenticeship in bodyshops.
Falder has a personal interest, too: his main hobby is classic car restoration. The current project is a Model A Ford, and he recently completed a 10-year marathon return to glory of a 1933 Aston Martin Le Mans.
Environmental issues are also high on his priority list. The Honda Insight driver says the HMG policy is: “Safe and right first… and then everything else, including the commercial considerations.
“It’s our job to ensure our customers make money out of the products we generate, but we need to produce safe, useable products,” Falder adds.