Jim Guild, winner of the SAIW Gold Medal Award for 2016, is one of the most deserving Gold Medal winners in the Institute’s history. This highly successful organisation owes its current status and achievements almost entirely to his inimitable, charismatic and professional management.
When he took office in 2000, the SAIW was a small organisation with no international recognition for its courses. It was struggling financially and was fully reliant on sponsorship for its income.
When Jim Guild left in 2015, not only had it become the leading welding training organisation on the African continent with its courses recognised internationally, but it had also become financially self-sufficient, largely through a doubling of its training population.
Guild says that his tenure at the Institute can be described as “steady progress”. The fact, however, is that it is more apt to describe his achievements as massive. These include:
In 2001, the SAIW becomes a Regional Designated Centre of the African Regional Cooperative Agreement for Research, Development and Training related to Nuclear Science and Technology.
In 2003, the SAIW becomes an Authorised National Body of the International Institute of Welding.
In 2005 the Young Welder of the Year competition is established and soon becomes the premier welding competition in South Africa.
In 2006, permanent representation of the Institute is established in Cape Town and Durban.
In 2006 and 2012, the SAIW hosts the IIW Regional Congress with speakers and experts from all over the world in attendance. SAIW also celebrated its 60th Anniversary by holding an Anniversary Conference in 2008, which included a number of well known international speakers in the field of welding.
In 2008 the SAIW is accredited by the IIW as an Authorised National Body for Company Certification enabling it to certify fabricators to the ISO 3834 standard.
The Institute expanded significantly in 2010 when under Jim’s leadership an additional building was built with extra office space and a state of the art multi-purpose auditorium. The inside of the existing building also underwent a major refurbishment, modernising the Institute.
Between 2011 and 2013, SAIW started an ambitious project to begin a material testing laboratory. This initiative expanded the services of the Institute to include testing of welds and the laboratory was equipped with state of the art metallurgical and mechanical testing equipment.
“Jim has had a long association with the Institute, both as Executive Director and prior to that. His relationship with the SAIW started in the 1980s when he was involved in the establishing of the welding inspector programme as well as with the activities of SAIW Council. During this time Jim established many excellent relationships thanks to his warm and likeable character,” said current Executive Director, Sean Blake
“Jim’s achievements were based on sheer hard work and his professional work management style. During my association with the Institute, his reputation was well established. He is well known in many circles both locally and internationally. Many of the speakers at SAIW Conferences visited South Africa on Jim’s personal invitation and he went to great lengths to make them feel at home here,” Blake remembers.
He was also well respected at the IIW where he was chair of IAB Group B from 2004 to 2011 and Chairman of IAB from 2015, a position he still holds today. One aspect that characterises Jim Guild’s success in the IIW is his ability to deal with difficult situations. “He listens to all sides of the story and develops solutions that are acceptable to all parties, whilst always upholding the principles of the IIW,” Blake adds.
Jim Guild’s undoubted successes are based on impeccable business acumen and leadership traits. SAIW grew many fold in the 15 years that he was at the helm.
“SAIW, the Welding Industry and IIW have much to thank Jim for, including the hard work that he put in over the years and the numerous SAIW and IIW successes that he delivered. Jim, tonight we honour your achievements and celebrate with you,” Blake concludes.