Photo by IPAF
Ipaf Ben Hirst And Julie Houston Smyth

IPAF Adds Two Access Industry Veterans to its Board

Dec. 16, 2019
Two new members have been added to the board of the International Powered Access Federation – Ben Hirst and Julie Houston Smyth – joining Riwal CEO Pedro Torres who was added this past summer.

Two new members have been added to the board of the International Powered Access Federation – Ben Hirst and Julie Houston Smyth – joining Riwal CEO Pedro Torres who was added this past summer.

Houston Smyth is a director of LOLEX Ltd., and Hirst is managing director of Horizon Platforms. The additions bring the number of people on IPAF’s board to 10.

“With almost 1,500 members around the world now, IPAF is truly an international organization,” said Norty Turner, IPAF president. “We warmly welcome Ben, Julie and Pedro to the board, as each brings valuable knowledge and experience that will greatly benefit the Federation as we plot our course for the next several years and beyond. All of them are powered access specialists, with their own unique expertise of the sector garnered over years of working in the industry. Each has been involved with IPAF, dedicating their time and expertise to the cause for many years now, and we will benefit even further from their acumen as they will be part of setting the direction and strategy of IPAF as board members.”

Hirst is the founder and managing director of Horizon Platforms, based in Wakefield, West Yorkshire, and has been actively involved with the UK Country Council, of which he is currently vice-chair, and various working groups for a number of years. During that time, Hirst helped IPAF develop its robust standards of safety and technical guidance and assisted in the implementation of the UKCC’s decision to mandate IPAF Rental+ minimum standards for all U.K. hire members between 2018 and September of this year.

“I’ve been involved with IPAF for more than a decade now; it’s an incredibly worthwhile organization helping make our industry safer and ensuring people go home safely at the end of the day after operating MEWPs or MCWPs to work at height,” said Hirst. “When the chance came to step up and become a member of the IPAF board, it was a real honor. I look forward to working with my energetic and enthusiastic colleagues to further the Federation’s aims and ambitions, especially in providing insight into the challenges faced by SME providers of access services.”

Houston Smyth has 25 years of industry experience in powered access as a director of Highway Plant Co. Ltd. in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Earlier this year she embarked on a new venture, LOLEX Ltd., a specialist independent service, maintenance and consultancy firm. In addition to her involvement in IPAF UK Country Council and the International, Council for the past nine years she was chair of the IPAF Irish Council. She steered it from its original formation of a few members to a fully elected and constituted 12-person body representing all members in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

“It is a real honor to have been offered this opportunity,” Houston Smyth said. “I’m excited to be joining the board of the federation and look forward to making a difference in the future of the wider powered access industry. I hope that every IPAF member – particularly the smaller companies – will feel they are represented on this board.”