New EDA President To Continue Driving The Association’s Transformation


The Electrical Distributors’ Association (EDA) has announced its new president, Simon Barkes (above right), managing director of BEMCO, and the third member of his family to lead the Association’s board. Simon, who serves as president until March 2019, takes over the leadership of the 12-strong board from Tom Jones (above left), divisional director at Lockwell Electrical. Tom’s tenure as president (2015-2017) coincided with a significant growth for the EDA (120 new members joined from AWEBB and IBA, as well as 13 manufacturer affiliate members), and a major strategic review timed to coincide with the EDA’s 2014 centenary.

The EDA also confirmed the appointment of new board member Dave Huggin, managing director at EDS Electrical, representing the IBA buying group, who joined the EDA on 1st January 2017.

Simon, whose company BEMCO is the oldest independent EDA member and due to mark its membership centenary in 2019, says: “The EDA has made significant strides under Tom’s leadership. The Association works because of the energy and commitment of board members. They give their time in order to assist in the development of our collective interests.

“The EDA has a first class team to implement the board’s programme and I am sure that their hard work will make a significant contribution to ensuring the long term success of our route to market; serving the interests of both suppliers and professional installers.

“I believe that our members must work together as an industry to face the technological changes that the future will bring to our supply chain. Improved processes and the transfer of digital data will be key to the efficiency and success of the sector.

“The EDA is channelling its resources into helping make its members fit for the digital future and it has recently appointed a new project manager to promote use of the ETIM global product classification standard in the UK.”

Outgoing president Tom Jones commented on the areas that defined his presidency, saying: “When the EDA celebrated its centenary in 2014, the board undertook a strategy review and followed this up with a comprehensive piece of research – ‘What keeps you awake at night?’ – into the needs of its members. Armed with this intelligence it has embarked upon a series of changes to ensure the EDA has a pivotal position in the electrical installation supply chain for the foreseeable future.”

Tom, who was instrumental in evolving the EDA’s Education and Training offer, including championing the new Trailblazer apprenticeship standard for the sector, adds: “I am passionate about upskilling the industry. Over the last two years we’ve seen a 183% uplift in the number of apprentices start work in EDA member branches compared to the previous two years, and a 15% increase in take up of the City & Guilds accredited Specialist Product Knowledge Programme modules.

He concludes: “I hope too that my legacy will be improved communication, as it is vital for organisations up and down the supply chain to listen to one another’s concerns and to take the opportunity of working together to win projects and increase sales and margins.”

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