Julian Wilson’s final say!

After more than 27 years as Field Manager and then Sector Manager, Inspection, Julian Wilson has decided to hang up the clipboard. 

“I’ve always found that what NATA stood for – community confidence in inspection and testing information and supporting the national interest for a safe, efficient and productive economy – always resonated strongly with me.”

Julian came to NATA from Overall Forge, where he was a Process Metallurgist, and joined NATA’s Mechanical / NDT group in mid 1994.  After only a few years’ experience he was assigned to support NISIT, the accreditation body in Papua New Guinea, and did assessment tours to PNG between 1996 and 2002 covering a wide range of testing facilities and providing in-country development support.

Julian became involved in Inspection assessments around 2000 and was appointed Field Manager in 2002. While in that role the program grew from 40 accreditations to (currently) 190, with staff numbers growing from 1.5 full-time equivalent to almost seven. 

Inspection accreditation now touches many industries, and Julian became actively involved in building stakeholders, facility and assessor contacts essential to an effective conformity scheme.

Industries and schemes touched included:

  • The inspection (rather than the testing) of offshore containers
  • Inspection of explosion-protected electrical equipment and explosion-protected diesel engine systems during periodic overhaul
  • Fabrication and in-service inspection of pressure equipment
  • Modelling of beam-spread from mobile-phone base stations for occupational safety
  • In-field inspections of certified seed crops
  • Periodic inspection of medical care equipment
  • Inspection of sampling activities for bulk commodities such as minerals and grains
  • Inspection supporting occupational hygiene, hazardous materials surveys and environmental health engagements.

A key part of Julian’s approach has been to “close the loop,” to ensure the wider industry was informed of the issues and outcomes from assessments – and to ensure that the accredited facilities were abreast of any prospective changes. In most industries where the disciplines associated with accreditation were unfamiliar, facilities showed a 10-fold reduction in findings between initial assessment and when assessments became “routine” – and this progress was communicated back to the industries.

 Julian also tried to “close the loop” through participating in Standards Committees, particularly in the pressure and explosion-protected electrical equipment industries, and in industry groups including the Australian Institute for the Certification of Inspection Personnel (AICIP), the ANZEx Schemes and the RF-Assessors group of the Mobile Carriers Forum.  He is spoken at many professional gatherings and workshops on the impact and implementation of Inspection accreditation. 

As the APLAC community included Inspection accreditation in the Mutual Recognition Arrangements, Julian was a workshop co-presenter at five APLAC Inspection Workshops, supported the early ILAC Joint Working Group on Inspection meetings and served as an APAC Inspection Evaluator and Lead Evaluator.  Julian was also in the Australian delegation to ISO for the 2012 revision of ISO/IEC 17020.  Somehow along the way Julian found time for additional master’s degrees in Management and Economics – with his thesis on the economics of conformity assessment.

At his retirement tea, Julian said “It has been a great trip, a real pleasure to work alongside so many experts, our volunteer assessors and NATA’s staff, towards those goals.  It was the team that allowed me to be involved and I owe them a deep thank you for their support. 

It’s time for a renewed leadership of the Inspection group and I wish NATA all the best in the years to come – hoping for another 75 successful years!”