You might have expected that the recession would have meant real problems for the Trade Shows. Yet the need to know what is happening and to get this knowledge first hand has forced the key players in the leather industry to keep travelling. It was thus in Shanghai and no less in Bologna for Lineapelle. Certainly in Bologna the first and last days were quieter but no one complained that we met and the meetings were all good.
It was one of the best shows for the BSLT. With the BSLT/UON brand strong and a lot happening after a busy summer centenary Lynn Margetts from the alumni office arranged a small party on the middle day at the Star Hotel Excelsior just opposite the station. Designed as a place for alumni and friends to drop by after dinner on the way to the station or to dinner it worked exceptionally well and was very well attended. The Master of the Leathersellers Company, Mr. Charles Barrow, was in Bologna and attended to have a conversation with all those present. As a “Barrow, Hepburn and Gale” Barrow he reminded us of the strong British history of tanning and it world wide dominance in older times.
Indeed the day before Dr. Mark Wilkinson and Dr. Jeffry Guthrie-Strachan travelled with the Master and Clerk to Arzignano for an extensive day of visits in the education, tanning, tanning machinery, and environmental treatments. Mauro Magnaguagno of the TFL Academy put together this busy day with Jeffry and of course our good friend Antonio Galiotto put his customary passion into the increasingly important aspect of what modern machinery can do for the leather industry. An intensive day of industrial tourism; but an excellent opportunity to cement relationships in Northern Italy.
Students and the Future
One excellent aspect of this visit, and indeed in Bologna as well, was the presence of current students. We have not seen much of current students on our travels in previous years and it is certainly something we must hope can continue.
Meanwhile back at the office we have the lobby and classrooms updated to match the tannery improvements. While long term plans are still evolving the next phase of the tannery – the finishing – is in final planning.
So at the same time as a lot is happening in the industry a lot is happening also at the BSLT and in many ways the two are very much in harmony, as the courses and research evolve steadily to meet industry requirements. The development of a more biologically based industry, with greater involvement in turning its wastes into assets, and much more properly understood innovation all allied to the needs of increasingly time deficient executives.
While the industry, especially furniture and auto, has felt the recession it has been less than we feared. But it has got everyone steeled to make significant changes to develop a much stronger future.
24 October 2009