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ITA plans to expand global presence: Paddock

Keywords: Tags  titanium, International Titanium Association, ITA, Titanium Europe, Brett Paddock, Frank Haflich

LOS ANGELES — With its first overseas conference in 15 years slated for 2013, the International Titanium Association (ITA) is looking to live up to its name and build its brand as a worldwide organization.

"We’re really trying to implement the strategic objective of making the ITA more international," said Brett Paddock, who was elected association president at the ITA’s annual conference in Atlanta in October. He wants the ITA to be seen as "an international organization that happens to be based in the United States"

To support this goal, ITA is sponsoring a Titanium Europe conference and exhibition in Hamburg, Germany, from March 5 to 7, the first time the association has hosted a major gathering outside the United States since 1998, when it held its annual meeting in Monaco.

The Hamburg meeting is being billed by the ITA as a "platform specifically focused on European-oriented topics." It will include a tour of the Hamburg facility of Toulouse, France-based Airbus SAS, the main rival of Chicago-based aerospace giant Boeing Co. and, along with Boeing, one of the world’s major titanium consumers.

Paddock said the response to the Hamburg meeting has been strong so far, noting that exhibit space for the European event sold out at the Atlanta conference. While the ITA’s fall conference is perhaps the global industry’s most high-profile event, Paddock would like to see an offshore conference also held on a regular basis.

"The idea is to be able to maintain a secondary international conference annually," he said.

Unlike titanium associations in many other countries, whose primary role is to collect national trade and market statistics, the ITA has been seen increasingly as a forum for addressing the industry’s issues and developing applications on a worldwide basis. More than a third of the association’s 228 members are from outside the United States, and Paddock said the organization is looking to grow its global presence even further.

Paddock, who is president and chief executive officer of Rockaway, N.J.-based distributor Titanium Industries Inc., said that strong backlogs reported by major commercial aircraft builders such as Boeing and Airbus, as well as the titanium industry’s capacity increases in recent years, has helped smooth out some of the extreme fluctuations that have plagued the industry in the past.

"The long-term forecast for the industry is strong," said Paddock, noting that one of the main historic challenges for ITA members has been managing cyclicality. "We’re going to base our decisions at ITA on that forecast."

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