After a productive term, the Association of Fencing Industries’ CEO Ian Ripley will be retiring in September 2021.

Since taking up the CEO position, Ian has committed himself to developing the AFI and the ethos of promoting the safety, quality and professionalism of our fencing members. Always championing the industry and its strong performance as an employer and contributor to the economy, he recognises the wide range of work from contractors on site doing hard graft to manufacturers continual product development.

Despite a long career, it might surprise you to know that Ian landed in the industry by chance joining Tinsley Wire Industries in marketing then after being appointed as product manager decided to expand his fencing knowledge and get some installation training with Darlington Fencing (now Heras). With subsequent positions at timber manufacturers, gate suppliers and as an independent consultant this extensive 40 year experience has always been beneficial to members with queries on any aspect of fencing. There isn’t much he doesn’t know having witnessed fencing grow from timber to perimeter fencing systems and VRS, even the improvements in health & safety from when he was carrying 40kg bags around sites!
Prior to the merging of the associations, Ian was the first vice chair for the Fencing Contractors Association from a supplier company, but never quite made the dizzying heights of chair! Instead, after a brief retirement, Ian was appointed to Chief Executive Officer of the AFI in 2018 with some persuading from John Smith, who considered him expert on most types of fencing and well known and respected within the industry as a whole.

There has been no relaxing for our CEO over the years and Ian has been instrumental in driving action on the timber preservative issues. More recently he assisted with the forming of the new agricultural sub association and his 2018 research work across the full industry highlighted skills shortages and led to his focus on developing a new apprenticeship standard. The continued work on this to get it out to employers means Ian retires in September having achieved his goal of having the new fencing apprenticeship launched – AJS Training are ready to start welcoming the next generation of fencers and upskilling the hard workers we already have.
Long time friend and colleague Sally Green, AFI Training Adviser, knows how much Ian has put in the AFI. “Having worked with Ian “Rippers” for more years than I care to remember, his passion for the fencing industry has always shone through.

It has been a pleasure to work alongside him and have his support and advice, particularly with apprenticeships and sector schemes. I wish him well in his retirement.”
It has been this dedicated work over the last three years that has helped the association grow but with long term goals to benefit all members now set, Ian is ready to hand the responsibility over to ensure the fencing industry continues to be recognised at the highest level.

Ian will admit that all of his career achievements would not have been possible without the backing of his wife Marilyn. It was Marilyn who supported him through his formative years in fencing and as he covered all aspects of fencing from installations, marketing to management, which often included time away from home. He might argue this paid off when they always had the perfect garden fence. Cameron Glanvill, AFI Chairman, commented: “Ian will be very difficult to replace, his extensive knowledge and strong relationships across the industry developed over many years have been a real asset to the AFI. If you have had any contact with Ian no doubt you will want to wish him well which is possible through the AFI or in person at his last annual general meeting in September.”

The AFI board extends full gratitude to Ian, wishing him all the best for his retirement and the time he will have to spend with his children, Chris and Jamie, and continuing that guitar practice. There’s even talk of getting the band back together.

Everybody at Fencing News would like to thank you for your help over the years and we wish you all the best for the future.

Fencing News