Retiring Lewis keeps finger in industry pie

30 Jul, 2003 10:00 PM
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WE haven¹t heard the last of firebrand Sandy Lewis, who last week retired as an official industry identity.

After 27 years consecutive years of providing a secretariat for the Farm Machinery Dealers Association of WA and 15 years as executive director of the WA Regional Manufacturers Association (WARM), Sandy will keep in touch with the industry as a consultant.

According to FMDA president Bill Boekeman, Sandy was ³recruited from parliament² where he served as an MLC.

As a former machinery dealer at Boyup Brook, Sandy was a natural to take on a role that demanded a good knowledge of politics and insight into the workings of a machinery dealer.

He soon developed a national association of machinery dealers and was instrumental in the formation of WARM.

Having seen a total change in the industry over the past 25 years with machinery dealers moving from ³grocers who sold machinery to high-powered, high-financed professionals², Sandy considers there is still plenty of excitement left in the industry.

Ironically, his biggest frustration at the helm of the farm mechanisation industry in WA was the political process.

He knew it well yet was unable to change it, especially during drought years when fast, coherent action was needed.

"Governments have always moved too slowly and that¹s what I want country towns to have a bigger say in what goes on,² he said.

"Before the FMDA, dealers had no voice. Now they are a voice and they are listened to by governments.

"The focus now is to encourage young people into the FMDA and to get young people to stay in country towns so they will have a voice.²

Politicians may be breathing a little easier now that Sandy has retired but they should be warned that the incoming secretary and FMDA, legal adviser John Picton-Warlow knows a thing or two about politics.

And really you shouldn¹t mess with a lawyer.

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