The incoming chairman of the Construction and Mining Equipment Suppliers’ Association (CONMESA), Calvin Fennell, has walked a long path before taking over the reins of the association, and trusts his diverse experience will give him insight to guide the industry in challenging times.
Fennell plans to use his experience gained through his career in civil engineering, plant hire and equipment sales, as well as stints as an entrepreneur, to give balance to the association and work closely with stakeholders of all sizes and descriptions.
CONMESA has a small, but important membership that includes the suppliers of equipment to industries that are instrumental in shaping both our environment and our economy. It is a mouthpiece for the industry to ensure fair treatment of members and a level playing field among lawmakers and within the industries served by its members.
Fennell is a civil engineering technician by trade and qualified at Natal Technikon during the 1980s with Savage and Lovemore. He later moved to Botswana with Panda Plant doing civil and then to Equipment Sales and Services, which was the dealer for Bell Equipment in the area at the time.
During 2005 he moved back to South Africa where he bought and ran his own vehicle service centre. With the global recession of 2008 he sold up his business and once again followed his passion back into equipment in Tanzania on contract to MACS. In 2010 he came back to South Africa where he joined Eqstra. In 2015 he joined Wirtgen where he now holds the position of Business Development Manager.
“I have been involved with construction equipment my whole career from end user to supplier and enjoy the complete process from identifying the right application of equipment and the value that this adds to any operation, be it construction or mining production. Over the years it has become a very specialised industry with customers realising that to ensure economic operations you require the right machine for the job,” he says.
“This means that the equipment requires specialised support from professional people and companies which is really what sets CONMESA members apart. These are reputable and established brands that are household names in the industries they serve and who continue to invest back into the industry and in the country with new innovations, products and services,” he adds.
In South Africa there is a broad band of companies covering a broad product range and CONMESA gives them a unified voice. Where necessary it will also lobby to overcome challenges that negatively impact or may be harmful to the industry as a whole and try to address common problems within the industry.
“We remain mindful of anti-competitive behaviour, but do need to work together with stakeholders, including government, to ensure the right equipment is available for large-scale projects and initiatives when required. As OEMs we can also add value to engineering companies and contractors and want to expand our interactions with professional bodies to foster easy communications between our members and other industry bodies, as well as companies and interest groups. There are world-class products and new innovations coming to market on a regular basis, which, when applied to the right project can impact the bottom line not only for the contractor but also for the customer both private and public,” says Fennell.