Not only is the International Powered Access Federation (IPAF) an important non-profit organization that shares best practices and improves the safety of powered access worldwide, it’s also a community that serves as the voice of the industry. IPAF represents the diverse interests of manufacturers, distributors, users, rental and training companies. Here are a few of the reasons to get involved with this influential, thought-provoking and, yes, fun association.
IPAF offers incredible networking opportunities in the powered access and mast climbing work platform (MCWP) industries. Not only are the industry’s most influential people members, but they attend events and conferences where you can approach them in a relaxed environment and share your thoughts. You can also discuss ideas and concerns with your peers and make new contacts. “ARA focuses on rental, AEM focuses on manufacturers, but IPAF brings everyone in the industry together,” says Tony Groat the North America manager for IPAF. And have you ever wanted to get some free publicity for your company? The industry’s top magazine editors attend many of the IPAF events and conferences. Introduce yourself! You may just end up with a feature length story on your business in a top magazine, for free.
Did you know that IPAF is the world leader in aerial operator training? IPAF offers both e-learning web-based training as well as an in-person, instructor-led training program which goes beyond the typical train-the-trainer. IPAF has trained over one million operators worldwide since 1983 and there are over 650,000 active PAL cards around the globe today. “Our training program is unique,” says Groat. “Our mission is to offer a program based on integrity for compliant training, regardless of where, when or how it’s delivered. Trained operators receive a picture identification PAL card as recognized evidence of standard compliant training.”
Voice of the industry
IPAF serves as the core of the industry. When you become a member and attend events, you start learning more and sharing more of your own ideas, which drive the shape of the industry. IPAF also works directly on developing the standards and the regulations surrounding the safe and effective operation of equipment. Its conferences and networking events bring all the “who’s who” together, allowing speakers to share topics on the most pressing industry issues and new ideas. You can attend events or speak at a conference, win an award, or even join a regional or international council. IPAF is a community, and you are able to shape the evolution of the industry’s future.
Resource for standards change
IPAF pulls together technical experts in the industry to provide benefits and forward movement to all industry stakeholders. This organization is heavily involved in the development and promotion of the new ANSI and CSA standard changes. “Because the standards are changing, everyone has questions. We are fluent with the standards and are a great resource to help provide some answers about what’s going on,” says Groat. You can learn more about the key changes to ANSI and CSA standards by downloading an excellent white paper. If you would like to be involved with future standards changes, there are many opportunities to do so with IPAF.
International and local
IPAF is international in reach but local in focus. Its international reach brings a broader and more diverse perspective to the North American industry. The Summit and IAPA conference, for example, is held every year and is attended by people from the global access industry. In 2018 it will be held in Miami. “These events afford you the opportunity to talk honestly and openly with other companies that are your peers but not your competitors because they don’t operate in the same country,” says Groat. Perhaps someone from the United Kingdom has a different approach to a problem you’ve been trying to solve. Or a Dutch manufacturer is trying something new that you haven’t considered. IPAF brings people together from all over the world, which will broaden your understanding of the aerial industry. And locally IPAF offers regional conferences so you can focus on local issues and ideas here at home.
View the embedded image gallery online at:
North American presence
IPAF was founded in the United Kingdom in 1983, and has been present in North America since 2003. IPAF’s North American membership is made up of the industry’s diverse stakeholders: top manufacturers, rental companies, dealers, users and trainers. IPAF also offers 38 training centers located throughout the United States, with four of those in Canada.
For many reasons, companies can be limited on the upward mobility of their employees. Promotions just don’t come around very often. But the ability to attend IPAF’s events and network with the industry’s VIPs offers a rich opportunity to show that you value your employees and want to invest in their professional growth. Not only can employees gain a deeper understanding and bring it back home to apply to your company, but they can make important connections which can benefit your bottom line. “One of our goals for IPAF is to extend beyond the managerial level. We’d love to see some ‘boots on the ground’ employees get involved, as well as members from departments like HR, product management, marketing and engineering. It makes our association that much more diverse and beneficial,” says Teresa Kee, director of field safety for United Rentals and the current IPAF North American council chair. “Some opportunities don’t even require leaving the office. Your employees can join one of IPAF’s many free webinars on a variety of topics throughout the year.”
Excellent opportunities and diversity, especially for women
IPAF offers excellent opportunities for all members of the aerial access industry. You can grow your career and foster new business simultaneously. And if you are a woman, IPAF is a fantastic organization to join. Women make up a small percentage of the aerial industry, and with an association where you are exposed to so many influencers you are more likely to be remembered and make your mark. “IPAF presented me with the opportunity to be on an influential industry council and have speaking opportunities,” says Kee.
Affordable annual fee
IPAF’s annual membership fee won’t break your bank. The $825 annual fee gives you access to experts and information on topics important to the aerial industry and discounts on networking events and conferences. How much do you pay per hour when you get expert advice? IPAF can provide a great ROI with expertise focused on a core business segment – powered access equipment. Plus, it’s a non-profit, so you will be contributing to a great cause.
Last, but certainly not least, IPAF is a social experience. Its networking events often have a theme and partnering with KHL for conferences and awards ceremonies will bring you evenings of entertainment. Ask any attendee about Kevin O’Shea’s legendary award banquet roasts, or Skyjack president Brad Boehler’s outlandish outfits. Maybe head out with the karaoke faction to sing in some exotic locale like Miami or Toronto or Warsaw or Shanghai. You don’t even have to sing – you can laugh at the singers instead. IPAF events are about catching up with familiar faces outside of a tradeshow environment. “IPAF goes beyond the show atmosphere because it brings everyone together for a time where we can focus as a group on the industry, and build relationships with each other. It all comes down to people, and the access industry has some of the best,” says Groat.