FUW’s new managing director Alan Davies says his new role is… Too good an opportunity to be missed
I WAS absolutely delighted to be invited to join the FUW as managing director and I really look forward to working for and with many of you in the coming years. I know from experience that wherever you go in Wales, people will ask you “where are you from?” Well: I was born in London, but I have strong family ties to Wales. Both my parents come from farming families in Ceredigion and despite living in London, we never lost our links to Wales and I attended the Welsh school in London until I was about 11. My early career was in the Army but after 18 years of travelling the world and having had an enjoyable career I decided that, with the arrival of children, family priorities had changed and that a permanent home in Wales was essential. For the last 20-plus years Cardiff has been my home and as a result the boys have had their education in Wales and I’ve had a chance to work in a number of growth businesses in and around south Wales. My main business experience is as a manager of change for businesses that either want to grow or get back on track and I’ve also a lot of experience in managing relations with government, mainly for big companies in Wales. Most recently I’ve worked on developing new programmes that have helped in developing innovative arrangements between businesses and the Welsh Government, with my own long term goal of making Wales a stronger nation economically. So the opportunity to be here in Wales, to work in Welsh, to be able to influence Welsh Government policy and represent an important cause was far too good an opportunity to miss. I’m now coming to the end of my first month here, but was lucky enough to spend some time with the FUW before Christmas to help get the background that I need to make plans for the future. And after a month in the job I can say that there is a lot to do to support the vision of the founders of the union those 60 years ago. But we are already moving in the right direction. I’ve been lucky enough to inherit a great, and I really mean great, bunch of staff, with a wonderful mix of age and experience along with the drive and enthusiasm that youth provides. I am also really grateful for the very positive support I am receiving from the presidential team and all members of The F&O committee. Without a true team effort we won’t deliver any change successfully. Externally, we’ve got clear priorities for communication in our Welsh Assembly election manifesto. We are also now pressing Welsh Government for greater clarity on what could happen after the EU referendum if the “No” campaign is successful. We all know where we stand if we stay “in”, but the “out” campaign is completely unclear and as a result there are significant risks to our industry if we don’t get some facts out there for wider discussion. My short term plans include visits to all our county offices to meet members and get feedback as widely as possible. I would also welcome any feedback from members on what you think we need to be doing. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org and if you’ve any suggestions on how we might improve Y Tir I would love to hear those ideas as well. The immediate aim is to make the FUW more effective in what we do and more efficient in the way we do it, so that we can focus on creating positive change. We need to adopt technology in many areas and I ask you to help us by providing us with email addresses so that we can communicate with you more easily and cheaply. Whilst I recognise the value that Y Tir offers, there will be times when we will need to inform you of developments or get feedback from you more frequently than a monthly publication allows. Our industry faces big challenges, but through focused and consistent communication I am confident that we can play a significant part in influencing our future. As the only union with the authority to fully create policy in Wales, tailored for Welsh agriculture it is my hope that we will play an increasingly important role in driving the change we want and need in order to create a sustainable rural economy throughout Wales. This must be a team effort and we must all work together for the benefit of our sector and also for Wales. I look forward to meeting with, speaking to and working for, and with, you all in the months and years to come.