Keith, who spent 25 years at the helm of OATA, was presented the OATA’s Lifetime Achievement Award, at the AQUA 2017 show dinner by Dr David Pool.
Keith was recruited at the beginning of the 90s to help set up and run a new trade association, originally called OFI UK, to tackle a number of big issues facing the industry at that time.
Renamed OATA in 1997, Keith took the organisation from strength to strength, raising standards and awareness over a quarter of a century.
Before joining OATA Keith established the first full time courses anywhere in the world covering ornamental fish husbandry at Sparsholt Agriculture College and, while there, he also established the National Aquatic Training centre. Many of the students from these courses, and the predecessor YTS scheme he taught, still work in the industry and occupy senior positions within it.
“Keith richly deserves this award after spending more than two decades defending and promoting this industry,” said OATA CEO Dominic Whitmee.
“I’ve discovered in my short time as chief executive that, for such a small team, OATA punches well above its weight and is very well-known and well-regarded by Government officials and influential organisations. That’s all down to Keith’s tenacity and commitment. The fact that our members – and indeed all companies that work within the ornamental aquatic industry – are still doing business is in part down to Keith’s efforts on their behalf.”
“I’m very honoured to receive this award,” said Keith, “but I would also pay tribute to the support I’ve had from members and the Board of Directors over the years which has been invaluable. I must also make special mention, and express sincere thanks to, all those who have worked with me in the OATA office – it really has been a team effort not a one man show!
“I’ve also had the pleasure to work with some great trade body colleagues from across the world. Working as a team with them enabled us all to achieve an enormous amount together for the industry globally,” he added.