20 years of memories – FLA reflects

Ann Hofmans
Wednesday, 8 July 2020 ( #982 )
This month, my colleagues and I are celebrating 20 years of Forkliftaction and we are very proud to be here. We thought it would be nice to share some memories in our blog and so I asked my colleagues to come up with their favourites. We always enjoy coming together to celebrate a birthday, a New Year or the end of a successful financial year. Sometimes, we enjoy a bit of action when we party and have had a go at lawn bowls or mini-golf. But, as you do in Australia, a BBQ, a picnic or a nice "drop" in a restaurant will bring us together for a catch-up. Rodger's life stories, Lyn's cheeky comments, Patrick's dance moves - there is always enough personality there to spark a laugh. We'll be sure to share some highlights from our anniversary party!
The memories I cherish most are the ones that celebrate the success of our team. There are the great memories of feeling connected and valued by the industry when venturing out to tradeshows worldwide. The most notable one here is maybe that moment at a CeMAT show a number of years ago when I was tapped on the shoulder while walking through the aisles by the president of one of the biggest forklift manufacturers who wanted to make sure I would make time for a meeting with him. And there are also the heart-warming memories of these times when our team pulled together to accomplish something new and exciting in response to a significant or unexpected event. The most recent experience that filled me with immense joy was when we put together the Virtual Expo for our advertisers who saw their long anticipated presence at this year's Logimat cancelled only days before the start of the show due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Within days, and with everyone in our team on task, we came up with the idea and executed it. Seeing the magnitude of our achievements when working together made me immensely proud of my team.
Here are some lovely memories by some of my colleagues: ALLAN LEIBOWITZ, editor I don't know if Michael Leu will still remember, but in 2000, he placed a very small text ad in the Saturday Courier-Mail looking for a journalist. I was planning to leave Business Queensland and sent in an application. A few days later, Michael called me and outlined his vision for an emailed newsletter about forklifts. To be honest, I was very sceptical about the plan and dubious about the chances of it getting off the ground, given Michael's lack of publishing experience and I went on to other projects and publications. Turns out Michael didn't need media experience - and in fact, his "clean slate" approach, combined with his understanding of the market, were far more valuable than a background in publishing. As they say in the classics, who is laughing now!!
One of the stand-out memories for me was CeMAT 2016, when almost the entire Forkliftaction team travelled to Hannover. It was my first time at CeMAT in Germany, although I had attended a previous show in Shanghai with Patrick, and what an eye-opener it was! The highlight was meeting some of the industry leaders with whom I had only previously had email exchanges and getting to know them as personalities, not just as company representatives. Of course, having a stand opposite TVH meant there was never a dull moment. Between the Belgian waffles and the rivers of Stella Artois, the TVH stand was in constant party mode - which presented some challenges for my interview schedule. But those were all forgiven at the end of the day when the Forkliftaction crew got to sample what we had watched over the previous hours.
I have been on the jury of the International Forklift and Intralogistics Solution of the Year (IFOY) for the past few years, and my annual judging trip to Hannover has been another highlight. The gatherings are not only an opportunity to see the latest equipment first-hand, but also to meet with industry leaders and logistics journalists from around the world. I have also been able to combine my jury duties with visits to forklift factories in Germany and Ireland, providing new insights into the philosophies and practices associated with some of the leading companies. RODGER LAMB, digital advertising manager
My time with Forkliftaction started when I took on a three-week research assignment in 2000 and it turned into a 20-year commitment - an Odyssey (a long wandering or voyage usually marked by many changes of fortune). I had found a quality product with a highly valuable purpose and good people to work with and then I think I stayed because of the challenge. Building a news service is a challenge and selling advertising across the globe is one of the hardest challenges I can think of. What are my favourite times? I always loved jigsaws and I think the research part for the first 18 months was the best time for me - 24/7 for 18 months, isolated in my home office focused on building a database. In that time, it felt like I talked to every person in the world who had ever seen a forklift. Then I moved from research to 'building a client base'. The biggest challenge came with chasing advertising dollars during the GFC (Global Financial Crisis).
The fun times came with travel, many times across the globe to CeMAT in Hannover, each time with a big team; to NEC in Columbia, Ohio with Damian Tomlinson and Joe Bretherton; Promat in Chicago; IMHX in the UK and particularly to the first CeMAT in Shanghai with Patrick Chin. And each time I would leave the exhibitions enthused with the opportunities created and the people I met. And each time, after I learned to take a break after these trips, I would travel solo to different parts of the world to visit factories, meet interesting people and seek some rest in places of interest including Sweden, London, Croatia, Machu Picchu, Peru, Bolivia, Chile, Germany, Belgium, France, Canada, Hong Kong, etc.
PATRICK CHIN, digital advertising manager One of my unforgettable memories was in 2006 when I visited CeMAT for the first time in Shanghai, China. Rodger and I were in charge of the Forkliftaction booth. I had just joined FLA less than two months previously. I was amazed to learn that every single visitor who visited our booth was a registered Forkliftaction member - even visitors from North America and Europe. I felt very proud of Forkliftaction being so well established and I felt this would certainly help me develop the China market. Forkliftaction is not just a unique industry platform, it is an industry recognized brand name! ROSIE CLIFFORD, marketing manager To me, what stands out is the feeling of working in a team of supportive and generous individuals who are always ready to lend a hand or share a joke. I enjoy catching up with the team every Thursday for our team meetings and the banter as we catch up. I also enjoy collaborating on projects like the launch of our new website last year. I liked the constant back and forth of putting together the marketing collateral to support the launch - a tweak here and a nip there and then the feeling of satisfaction when everything comes together as a finished product. At Forkliftaction, there is always something new happening, a new feature for the website being worked on, which means there is always something different to get my head around. Working within a small team, my job is varied and creative. I have the freedom to try new ideas and approaches and see how they go, for which I am grateful.
JOLIE BOOTH, digital advertising manager One of my favourite memories is when I first started at Forkliftaction and got to travel to Chicago for ProMat. Seeing the enormity of the show and all the amazing technology that's being used by the industry was so exciting! I got to meet so many really knowledgeable and super-friendly people in the materials handling industry. Also getting to see some of Chicago was a fantastic added bonus as I had never been before. MARIA BENDAYAN, digital advertising manager Working remotely and on another continent, I really cherish the rare times I get to work with my colleagues face-to-face. My induction into Forkliftaction included a visit from Ann to my home in Malaga, and many hours spent getting to know her as I learned about the business and the industry.
While all my colleagues keep in touch and make me feel like part of the team, it was an enormous pleasure working with Ann and Allan at last year's IMHX show in Birmingham and not only did I get to enjoy their company and some lovely meals, but I also got to shake hands and kiss (yes, until a few months ago, we did that!) so many contacts who had only been voices on the phone or names at the end of an email. Hopefully, we will be talking together in person again soon. Do you have any memories of time spent with Forkliftaction that you would like to share? We'd love to hear it Join the forum thread or drop us a line. MORE HAPPY MEMORIES FROM THE FORKLIFTACTION TEAM