Since its formation 51-years ago, only seven men had been accorded the highest honour from the Boating Industry Association (BIA) of NSW, that of Life Membership.
That illustrious seven now comprises nine following the association naming two of the industry’s most respected identities as its newest Life Members in the forms of Doug Olding and Richard Pym.
They join the previous members so honoured, the late Robert Greaves, the late Malcolm Smith, Peter Hunt, Bill Aldritt, High Shanks, Bob Basham and Ian McAndrew.
I’ve been privileged to know all nine men, and I can state without fear of contradiction that the newest additions will have the full support of all those in the boating industry, not only in NSW, but Australia-wide.
Presenting the honours at the recent Sydney International Boat Show, BIA President Darren Vaux called it 'an honour' to present such prestigious awards to such deserving recipients.
He recalled a quote from 1991 made by Life Member Peter Hunt as he stepped down from his term as President.
Peter said; 'An association such as the BIA is often a combination of a commercial enterprise, a social club and a political body in the widest sense of the term. 'It requires political nous and business acumen as many associations control substantial related businesses. 'Above all, it needs people who can speak for their industry and be involved.'
'When Peter Hunt said that, he really hit the point fair and square,' Darren Vaux declared.
'The NSW boating industry has been very fortunate indeed in having people who, in addition to managing their businesses, find time to give something back to their fellow members and get involved.
'This terrific and vital industry has been incredibly fortunate in having individuals who do not hesitate to come forward and take whatever steps they deemed necessary to protect and enhance our industry.
'We have been fortunate to have attracted dedicated directors over a long period of time allowing the BIA to have a stable and professional board which, with its proactive membership has led to a respected representative association.
'Life Membership is the highest honour an association can bestow on a person.
'It recognises outstanding service to the association and to the industry.
'It recognises commitment, dedication, enthusiasm, leadership, involvement and a willingness to assist where needed in a broad range of challenges that an industry can face,' he added.
Mr Vaux said it was a high honour for him to announce that that Doug Olding becomes the association’s eighth Life Member and Richard Pym the ninth.
'We honour two men who have made an extremely valuable contribution to the association and to the industry it serves over a very long period of time,' he said.
'Both Doug and Richard have served as directors of the BIA for more than 20-years; they both have along history and a love of all things boating.
'Doug and Richard have been long-standing members of the association and have served it well in their roles as dedicated directors.
'It is to their credit that over this period they have been involved in all the association’s major activities, establishing operating principles and procedures and taking on issues that have confronted the industry.
'They have generously give on their time and energy to present the recreational boating industry to the community at large.'
Doug Olding, his wife Chris and their two children have had a life-long love affair with boating.
A qualified chartered accountant, a Fellow of the Institute of Company Directors and a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Management, Doug Olding has been closely involved wit the boating industry since 1975.
In that year he joined Teleflex Morse and six-years later was named its managing director.
Doug was elected Treasurer of the association in 1991 and would go on to handle that vital role for the next 15-years.
In 2006 he was elected to the Presidency where he served for five years; a retired from the demanding role in May, but still serves on the board for the next 12 months as Immediate Past President.
He was also very much 'hands-on' in assisting BIA personnel with accounting problems, many of which eventually led to the efficient systems used by the association today.
In his final annual report, Doug wrote that 'I have been fortunate to have had selfless colleagues united and determined to protect and develop the recreational boating industry…….'
However, Darren Vaux was quick to interject; 'Doug, it is our members and our industry who have been the fortunate ones, fortunate to have had your guidance and involvement.'
Richard Elsworthy Pym, to give him his full 'handle' was born into the boating industry.
Following a family tradition, the eldest son has been named after the father and this is a tradition dating back to 1809 and a Richard Elsworthy Pym then serving in the Royal Navy.
It was Richard’s dad, Richard (better known as Dick) Elsworthy Pym who established a company named Pathfinder Caravans some 60-plus years ago.
In 1958 Dick Pym teamed up with Peter Hunt and the pair talked their way into the Sydney Motor Show exhibiting caravans and boats.
Later the pair was instrumental in the establishment of stand-alone boat show; shortly after, Dick Pym established the company that would become Pathfinder Boatland which, at one stage, boasted five branches.
When Dick retired, Richard become manager of the company and later re-named it
Pathfinder Marine when he moved from trailer boats into larger craft, taking on a number of prestigious Australian and US franchises.
Richard has been a respected member of the BIA for more than 38-years, serving as a director and office bearer for many of them.
Like Doug Olding, he was blessed with a supportive wife in Gillian Pym and with their three children the family enjoyed the boating lifestyle and their involvement in the Pathfinder operations.
Away form the industry, two of Richard Pym’s other passions are cricket and baseball.
He has the honour also of being Captain of the BIA’s President’s XI, but we promised we would not reveal his win-loss record at this stage.
Life Membership is certainly the highest honour the BIA can bestow, and in these two cases very well deserved.
If I may, I’d like to give each a further, well, honour is not quite the right word, let me simply say that both are ‘Top Blokes.:
Heartiest congratulations to you both.