BCI ‘centenary celebrations go “down a storm”

BCI ‘centenary celebrations go “down a storm”

BCI ‘centenary celebrations go “down a storm” 1024 654 Batteries International

May 3, 2024: As a balmy evening sun set over Fort Lauderdale, the 100th BCI Convention’s gala party was in full swing.

It was Tuesday night, with one just morning left of the conference to go, and all everybody could talk about was what a resounding success this year’s special centennial meet-up had been.

“I thought the BCI conference in San Diego some 10 years ago couldn’t be beaten,” one delegate mused. “But this one has really set the bar. It’s gone down a storm!”

It wasn’t hard to see why. In his opening statement the day before Hal Hawk had revealed that the gala reception had gone ‘a tad’ over budget.

“We’ve been planning this very special occasion for three years and we went a little bit over,” he said. “Phone calls were made. I didn’t threaten purgatory or anything like that, but people from the Centennial Leadership Circle contributed.

“We raised $670,000 by passing the hat around to help pay for the party.”

Stretched along the ocean front terrace of the Marriot Fort Lauderdale Harbor Beach Resort & Spa, friends and colleagues relaxed and let their hair down. In the background the iconic tunes of 90s rock band, the Gin Blossoms, played — not a bad headliner for a group that had have sold over 10 million records and remain one of the most in-demand live artists from that period.

Live food stations serving barbecued Argentinian meats, paella and seafood were interspersed with fully stocked bars churning out cocktails — a particular favourite Batteries International staff discovered (for research purposes only), were the coconut Mojitos.

In fact, they were first introduced to these at the pre-conference opening reception on the Sunday night, held in the hotel’s Ocean Ballroom.

Sponsored by BCI supplier members, delegates were treated to cocktails, canapes and tacos as they reunited for the 124thannual convention.

Particularly impressive was The Walk of Memories installation which displayed the rich history of BCI and the industry’s amazing story told over a 100 year timeline. Delegates were also given a historical hard-backed book as a takeaway commemoration of this significant event.

But, of course, it wasn’t all about the partying. As 800 delegates – a record number – came together for this once-in-a-century BCI celebration, it was at the forefront of everybody’s minds that 100 years ago, 25 firms did the same thing, meeting for the first time at a hotel in Niagara Falls, to make a pledge to lobby government and help electrical and battery firms achieve some sort of standardization across the US.

Today, there was a powerful, over-arching feeling amongst everyone there to tribute these industry forefathers while, at the same time, looking ahead to an exciting future for the lead battery industry.

In his opening speech to delegates, president and CEO of East Penn, Chris Pruitt echoed this, saying: “This year will be especially memorable. Not just as a reflection of our successes but also the lessons that teach us to keep moving forward.”

And kicking off the welcome statements, Hammond CEO, Terry Murphy said: “There’s a renaissance for the lead battery industry.  We’re on the cusp of something really big. BCI is well positioned for next 100 years and we look forward to the journey!”

Roger Miksad, head of BCI, picked up the baton, saying: “We’ve been planning this very special occasion for three years to mark a century of advocacy and community in this industry. Standing here today is one of the most fabulous feelings in the world.”

By the end of a momentous four days at the 124th BCI convention, there wasn’t one delegate who could disagree.