It has been my pleasure over the last few years to work with some extraordinary people who have contributed much to the ongoing success of the IULTCS. So, my first task is a pleasant one – on behalf of the IULTCS executive committee and our members, I would like to specifically thank Marc Folachier, John Williams and Jaume Cot for their distinguished contributions to our Union as they step down from their current positions within the IULTCS. 
During their tenure we have seen efficient operation and a visionary leadership that has resulted in greater outreach and expansion of the activities and role of the organisation.
Today, our industry faces challenges as complex as any in its history. Technology is at the core of the transformation process that turns a waste byproduct into a durable, useful and aesthetically pleasing article. The need for good science in leather-making to solve problems and stimulate improvements is critical if leather is to maintain its position as a highly valued, core component used by leading manufacturers of leather based articles.
The IULTCS is a community of ‘learned’ professionals whose interest and passion is leather. Sharing of knowledge and ideas is what helps solve problems and challenges us to new levels of excellence. IULTCS congresses are the leading global forums for technical and professional interchange. 
Acceptance of standard test methods facilitates global commerce. Focusing available resources on the research and training needs of the industry is important for our future. These are some of the goals and activities of the IULTCS and so I invite all of our members to:

  • attend and participate in upcoming IULTCS events, eg Brazil 2008, Beijing 2009
  • volunteer your skills on IULTCS commissions and working groups
  • visit our website to learn more about the Union and its activities
  • actively support your local professional leather association and its activities
  • find some way to contribute towards professional excellence in our industry and thereby the work of the Union.

Of course, there are confidences that need to be respected in any technical interchange, but the basic principle of sharing ideas and nurturing best practice is a ‘rising tide that lifts all boats’.  The active participation by our members in a politically neutral way is at the very heart of what the IULTCS stands for and how it seeks to accomplish its goals. My first priority for the Union moving forward is to ensure effective, efficient and solvent function of the organisation. A strong union is important for our members and a necessary pre-requisite if we are to fulfil any of our objectives. It is also important that we support the structures already in place and build on the initiatives laid out by predecessors. I believe that the IULTCS is on the right track to fulfil its mission of promoting professional excellence; I believe that the activities of the IULTCS add value to the global leather industry; and I believe that personal fulfilment comes from sharing time and talents on worthwhile causes. I welcome your active participation in the IULTCS organisation as we move ahead in 2008.
Elton Hurlow / Buckman Laboratories International INC, Memphis, TN 38108, USA.
Executive secretary/treasurer:
Dr Campbell Page / IULTCS Secretariat, c/o VESLIC, Postfach 505, CH-4016 Basel, Switzerland