Powered access pays tribute to two pioneers of the industry

Denis Ashworth and Dan Kaplan

Tributes have been paid to two pioneers of the powered access rental industry, after Dan Kaplan and Denis Ashworth died within the past week. Both were previous recipients of Lifetime Achievement Awards bestowed by the International Powered Access Federation (IPAF), as part of previous years’ International Awards for Powered Access (IAPAs).

Denis Ashworth died on 28 February aged 97. A qualified engineer by trade, he joined the management of Simon in Dudley, West Midlands, in 1951. By 1953 he was overseeing the first of Simon Engineering’s aerial work platforms, and over the next few decades the company went on to increasingly focus on powered access, becoming the world’s leading aerial lift manufacturer, mainly through acquisitions.

In 1995, Ashworth was retained by IPAF as a technical director to represent the association in the development of the new European standards for aerial work platforms and was most instrumental in the drafting and eventually the harmonisation of the EN280 standard, a job which took years and was finally completed in 2004. He was made an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours of 1974 and received a Lifetime Achievement IAPA in 2009.

Fellow access industry veteran Kaplan, who died last week at the age of 78, was often referred to as the “father of the modern rental industry” and was best known for his time as president of Hertz Equipment Rental Corp, creating the first real national rental company in the US, which has gone on to be a truly global concern.

Lattery he worked as an industry consultant, helping rental companies around the world to become established in new territories, and to develop new models of doing business. Like Ashworth, he was named a recipient of the Lifetime Achievement IAPA by IPAF at the 2018 edition of the awards in Miami, USA.

Peter Douglas, CEO of IPAF, says: “It’s very sad to lose two such titanic figures in the realm of powered access rental; our sincerest condolences go out to their family, friends and former colleagues. In their own ways, both were absolutely instrumental in helping create the powered access industry as we know it today; having been blessed with extraordinary vision and the conviction to see that vision through to fruition.

“Perhaps what was most remarkable is that both devoted so much time and passion to sharing their incredible knowledge and experience to the benefit of the wider industry – it is hard to think of more deserving recipients of Lifetime Achievement IAPAs. Both men leave a substantial legacy for pioneering positive change in our industry, and here at IPAF we continue to strive to ensure their ethos lives on as we share safety knowledge and technical expertise for the benefit of all.”

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