57th FEIBP Congress: Brush Expert Report

Over his past two years in office, Evert Zuiddam, President of the FEIBP, and his board of Directors have worked hard on the project of ‘Repositioning the European Association’; bringing it up to date with a new website and more focus on establishing relationships within the membership. The bright future that he envisaged was well under way with a very much more relaxed atmosphere at this fabulous venue in the southern part of Puglia.

The first evening’s welcome cocktail was part of the new concept held on the first floor large balcony overlooking the terrace where, after dinner, all were entertained by local folk dancers.

The first day’s Business Session was opened by Evert Zuiddam, outgoing President of the FEIBP.  He offered a warm welcome to all delegates, the regular attendees, the new members and especially to the American visitors to the congress. He thanked profusely Susanna Cavazza of SIT Soc Italiana Tecnospazzole SpA, announcing that she and her family ‘did a great job’ in organising this Congress to the resounding applause of the appreciative audience.

Maurizio Civiero, of Penneli Tigre, President of Assospazzole, welcomed all to Italy and stated that the well-organised Congress bears testimony to the strength of character of the Italian membership and, that under the support of the FEIBP, Assospazzole will continue to support its members, many of whom are strongly motivated family businesses.

Mark Fultz of Abtex Corp, President of the American Brush Manufacturers Association (ABMA), thanked the FEIBP for their kind welcome to him and his wife and the 8 American company members that attended. He has been involved in the ABMA for over 22 years and has always had good feedback from others regarding the wonderful European congresses they had attended. He announced that in 2017 the ABMA will be 100 years old and that, although not a long time in European terms, it is an immensely important milestone to the ABMA.  He officially invited all members to come to the special Convention that will be held in Orlando, Florida during 22nd – 25th March 2017.

Daniel Strowitzki of Freiburg Wirtschaft Touristik und Messe, the organisers of Interbrush, gave a brief explanation of the small changes for Interbrush 2016, the major 4 yearly brush component and machinery exhibition for the brush industry. They will hold a Brush Museum in the old town of Freiburg incorporating many brushes from the French exhibition held in Paris in 2014 to mark its 150th anniversary, as well as many German brushes. This will run before, during and after Interbrush and will be open to the public.

There will be a reception for the Opening night of the Museum on 26th April, at 6pm. All exhibitors are invited to attend.

The new tram route has now been finished and will take passengers from the centre of town right to the Messe entrance. In addition to this new facility, the price of the tram ticket will be included in the visitor ticket price can be used for the surrounding countryside free of any further charge.

Fons Ceelaert, the FEIBP’s General Manager, gave the results of the previous year’s price index survey.  This index gives insight to the general cost/price per product based on the responses from members of the paint brush, technical brush and household brush sectors. Although the indexes were interesting to a point, he asked for more contributions to the analysis in order that a better review may be shown next year.

He discussed the findings of the Working Group that was formed to improve communications within the Association under the project named “Repositioning the European Association”, and introduced the 5 people who had for the past year been looking at and improving the FEIBP website.  They consisted of 3 young minds and 2 with experience, he said, in order to offer the best solution for the future.  The 5 being Simone Lorrilliere (Brosserie Brenet, France), Peter Langenegger (Ebnat, Switzerland), Alessandro Acquaderni (S.I.T, Italy), Evert Zuiddam (Rizz, Netherlands) and Fons Ceelart for the FEIBP.

The new website offers a creative site with explanation pages in 4 languages. There is comprehensive information on members, their products and where they are placed in Europe with a map as well as their written contact details. The page entitled “Brushpedia” offers explanations on the huge amount of brushes that are used daily and input is requested of the membership to add to this list and to offer explanations as to their use and benefit over other applications in order to show the world the full extent of tools and implements the industry offers.  The new site will increase and improve with added data as the membership gets used to working through it. It is at the moment, however, still a work in progress.

The Innovation Award nominees were then given a platform to explain the attributes of their new and exciting products.

Dr Markus Weishaupt of the Weissman group of consultants presented his seminar entitled “The DNA of Successful Family Businesses”.  As many of the delegates in the hall were from family enterprises, it was an apt and interesting talk. He announced that, surprisingly, 75% of businesses were family owned employing 50% of the work force and that the GDP generated by family businesses amounted to 45% of the total. He further stressed that in the USA, 80 – 90% of companies were family-owned!  He mentioned the differences in employing family members and non-family members and discussed the ways to integrate both. His talk was received by a very appreciative audience who offered many interesting opinions.

After, lunch the Professional Hygiene, Paint Brush and Technical Brush Working Groups gathered and were well attended. More information relating to the operations of these Working Groups is available via the FEIBP website (www.eurobrush.com).

The partners were well catered for with a ‘making pasta’ morning when all partners got involved in making the local pasta shape by hand! Later that evening, we started our meal with the same local pasta that the partners had previously made. These were served in two sauces, one sauce made from turnip tops and the other made with tomatoes, which was enjoyed by all. A small recipe card was placed on each plate for us to try it again at home.

FEIBP 2015 Image Gallery
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The ‘new’ Brush Forum opened the Friday session with a vibrant 3 hour period during which many discussions were held at the stands placed around the room as well as over coffee outside. This proved to be very successful and will continue in future congresses.

The FEIBP General Assembly followed the Brush Forum with the reports on raw materials. For synthetic filaments, Andrew McIlroy of Hahl Filaments; bristle, Reinhold Hoerz of DKSH, vegetable fibres, Urte Rietdorf of Friedrich Platt; steel, Holger Kruse of Gustav Wolf and fine hair was reported by Mark Samuel of Mark Samuel Trading Ltd but read out by Fons in his absence. Transcripts of these reports are available on the FEIBP Congress website

The announcement was made for the results of the Innovation Awards and a commemorative plate was presented to Dieter and Juergen Lessmann as winners and certificates awarded to the runners up.  Second place went to Nespoli with their RollMatic paint roller and a very close third went to Ebnat with the ŰX Superbroom.  Smart Filaments AG were 4th. Information about each of the nominated products can be found in the Industry News pages of www.brushexpert.com

Andrew McIlroy announced to the delegates the retirement after Interbrush 2016 of a dear friend and colleague well known in the industry since 1988; Günter Mückenfuss of Hahl Filaments.  This was received with loud applause culminating in a standing ovation.  A presentation was made by Thorsten Stollberg and received by a very touched and emotional Günter.

Andrea Acquaderni was called upon as FEIBP Treasurer to examine the finances of the Association which show a good position and outlined the fact that this year’s congress was very economical and the amount set aside for the website was within budget.

Fons then thanked the 5 for the new website and asked all delegates to participate in making it an added asset for the membership. He restated the benefits of the defined vision to represent the strong and active Association for the industry with the 10 points as previously circulated, regarding the reasons to be a member. He was happy to announce that the congress welcomed 25 more delegates than last year.

He thanked the Italian association Assospazzole and particularly the Acquaderni family for providing such a well organised, interesting and entertaining congress. Again the delegates gave a standing ovation for Susanna and family as all were impressed with the fantastic changes this year had brought.

Finally, Fons thanked Evert Zuiddam, the outgoing President for his 2 years in office and his open minded approach and for being instrumental within the working group for the new website and presented him with a token of appreciation from the board. He presented the new board: Thorsten Stollberg, President, Peter Langenegger, vice-President, Evert Zuiddam, past-President and Andrea Acquaderni, Treasurer.

Thorsten Stollberg, new President of the FEIBP thanked the board for his appointment and said that his father was the original President of the FEIBP in the 1980’s and now it gives him great honour and pleasure to be this year’s President.  He said that his father always said that when you attend a Congress there is always the need to take something home and in this instant it will be Lambrusco!

Joking aside, Thorsten was pleased to announce that in 2017 the congress will be held in Leipzig during 7th – 9th September. This gave him the ideal opening to announce next year’s congress from 8th – 10th September in Edinburgh, Scotland. On the day preceding the Congress there will be a golf tournament at St Andrews for those golfers in the group. Please see the article in the Industry News pages of www.brushexpert.com for more details.

Philip Coward arrived on the podium wearing a Scottish tartan cap and gave a wonderful presentation of Edinburgh, its beauty, its history and naturally its attributes – mainly whiskey! The Congress will be run in the same relaxed and open atmosphere as this year, though unfortunately the weather in Scotland will not be as hot but will be just as convivial. Philip requested that on the Gala dinner night some Scottish tartan might be worn!

The second companions’ trip was to the southernmost tip of Puglia to Capo Santa Maria de Leuca where they visited the sparkling grottos; Squirt Grotto and Lake Grotto by boat. Here they swam in the clear waters of the Adriatic Sea. After the obligatory aperitif they went on to Finibus Terrae, the highest point of the area where they visited the sanctuary, enjoyed the beautiful panorama and saw the crossing of the two seas, the Ionian and the Adriatic.

Following lunch all delegates were invited to join in the team building activities, the first being a dragon boat race!  Due to the friendly atmosphere, a great deal of members were willing to join in and in fact they had to restrict the teams to 20 each boat for the dragon boat race.  Needless to say that due to a rise in the sand bank and maybe also to the fact that the 20 had just had lunch, the boat to set off first went straight under, breaking the fire-breathing dragon figurehead and spilling all oarsmen/women into the sea! The second boat fared no better and overturned before even setting off due to their profound laughter at the demise of the first boat and the anxiety to beat them. All members survived without injury and with lots of backslapping and recapping of the adventure they all set off sopping wet back to the hotel park to continue the games.

The football tournament and the blind volley ball tournaments were equally hilarious with some very clever footwork by many in the football games with Pierre Simler being the outstanding goalie that would have been worthy of a place in the French football team!

The volley ball was blind due to a large sheet being hung over the net so each team could not see their opponent’s moves which made for more hilarity.  They went on to finish the afternoon with water polo.

After the exuberant events of the afternoon, the delegates met at the beautifully decorated balcony room for the Gala dinner.  This year, due to the hot weather, many were happy to be without ties and jackets. However, the occasion was not diminished in any way especially with the fantastic entertainment. Two opera singers serenaded us throughout the evening singing popular arias from well-known operas. It was a perfect way to finish a superb Congress.

For those who could stay on during Saturday, there was a coach trip and guided tour arranged to Lecce the ancient city in the middle of the southern region of Puglia.  The interesting tour took us around the old city streets looking at the porticos with their ornate balconies. The humour of the city dwellers showed in the many different figures shown holding up the balconies and also the gargoyles of the churches.  We met up for the trip home after a short break and the opportunity to buy some of the local savoury pastries and naturally to sample the ice cream.

Everyone agreed that this year was a resounding success due to the many changes such as; a relaxed dress code for meetings, receptions and even the Gala dinner, a holiday venue, team building events and the Suppliers Display having its own dedicated morning that proved very popular indeed and lastly, the opportunity for each innovation nominee to offer an explanation of their products.  All barriers were down and many new relationships were formed.

For more information on the European national associations and the FEIBP please visit www.eurobrush.com

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