IBIS Ireland – Interview with Brian Ross, steering group member

Brian Ross, Automotive Engineer Consultant, is one of our Steering Group members for IBIS Ireland 2019. Here we talk to Brian about his background and role in the steering group.

Please describe your background and current role in regard to the industry

I commenced my career in the Motor Industry as a Company Apprentice working for the Irish Distributor of BMC cars and Commercial vehicles and Datsun/Nissan cars. It was in the era when there was a motor assembly industry in Ireland with the objective to provide local employment in assembling vehicles from kits Completely Knocked Down/CKD. The bodies were built, painted and mechanical items and trim fitted. The Government allowed a percentage of Fully Built Up/FBUvehicles to be imported without additional duties and taxes. My path involved working in all areas of the company both technical and administrative and on completion of training, I became a Service Representative working within the main dealer network dealing with after sales technical and warranty matters. I subsequently changed employment and spent most of my career afterwards working for the Automobile Association as a Technical Engineer. The role included carrying out independent inspection of vehicles for the public and the motor trade; auditing quality standards in workshops and body shops and in the national car testing network. I was seconded to government agencies providing consultancy services in vehicle and machinery procurement. I currently provide personal technical consultancy services.

Why did you volunteer to be a steering group member?

I am Council member of The Institute of Automotive Engineer Assessors, and the Company that provide the secretariat services to the Institute are the publishers of Bodyshop magazine and are associated with IBIS. We liaise with IBIS and have provided some information and contacts in the Irish industry for previous IBIS Irish events. 

What are the greatest changes in the industry’s future and are we prepared to face them?

Environmental awareness and associated controls are dictating a fundamental change and influence in the design of vehicles and the after sales repair and servicing of vehicles. All this requires additional recruitment of apprentices and technicians and engineers and upskilling of technical education and qualifications for current employees. The cost of staff, modern workshop/body shop equipment and customer support place a burden of the financial viability of the retail bodyshop sector. Only those companies that are efficient and up to date with the latest technology will prosper.

Which of the speakers are you most looking forward to and why?

I would expect that all speakers are well versed and up to date in their particular field and relevant to the industry, be articulate in their presentation and assisted by audio visual effects.