This award is presented to members who are considered to have made an exceptional contribution to the industry. This year the award is presented to Mr Rui Dias.
Rui, born in Beira, Mozambique in March 1963 is the youngest of three siblings born to Manuel Dias and Beatriz Dias, who coincidentally worked in the coreshop of a foundry. Rui’s father Manuel, originally from Portugal, relocated the family first to Mozambique and then to South Africa in 1965 when Rui was only two years old. His formative schooling years were spent at The Hill High School in the south of Johannesburg before Rui went on to complete his tertiary studies at UNISA in 1991, majoring in governance and accounting. Rui then became an Associated member of the South African Institute of Chartered Secretaries, Administrators and Governance.
Rui Dias has been working in the South African foundry industry since 1995 when he joined his late brother Luis’ company Endeco, a foundry equipment design and manufacturing company, where he has been the financial director. Rui subsequently negotiated a successful Joint Venture agreement in 2014 with international company Omega Foundry Machinery. The company changed its name to Endeco Omega Foundry Machinery (Pty) Ltd.
At the time there were sceptics of the JV agreement but the vast majority in the foundry industry welcomed the new development. The JV merger between local foundry equipment manufacturing company Endeco and UK-based Omega Foundry Machinery brought together two companies that have an established record locally and worldwide, with over 60 years in combined experience in manufacturing and supplying foundry equipment.
The JV resulted in an injection of international technology into the local company and the transfer of this technology into the South African foundry industry. Rui was appointed the MD of the local entity. The subsequent sale of Omega Foundry Machinery in 2018 to internationally recognised Japan-based foundry equipment manufacturer Sinto, that has foundry related manufacturing plants around the world - has further enhanced the prospects of technology transfer into the South African foundry industry.
However, being part of an organisation that supplies the foundry industry Rui, along with his late brother Luis and nephew Victor have had a great influence as to how and when the local foundry industry embraces investment in new technologies. Their knowledge of foundry processes and foundry layout have helped many foundries in South Africa, both big and small, achieve results that they did not expect.
Rui has also served on the committee of the SAIF for a number of years as treasurer. In the early and mid 2000s Rui was directly responsible, in his position as treasurer of the SAIF for growing the reserves of the SAIF, which later assisted in the appointment of the SAIF’s first CEO in 2010. This subsequently led to the implementation of the foundry training programmes, which have become widely recognised in the South African foundry industry.
Rui has also been an integral part of turning the SAIF golf day into an event that is not to be missed by members and their guests.
Rui was recognised for his contribution and dedication to the SAIF when he was awarded Honorary Membership of the SAIF in 2009.
Rui has probably not missed an SAIF AGM or Awards evening since he first entered the industry in 1995 and became a member of the SAIF. His integrity and wisdom are always recognised at these meetings with his objective support for the South African foundry industry, not to mention his astute interpretation of the financials because of his accounting background. Rui has strong ethical values and corporate governance principles, often creating robust debate at the SAIF AGMs, but always with an objective standpoint. Some would attend the AGM just to listen to Rui put the council members, or more recently the Directors of the SAIF to task.
As a result, Rui is recognised by many in the foundry industry in South Africa and his advice is sought after by SAIF members and others in the foundry industry. Besides his contribution to the foundry industry, Rui regards his biggest achievement in life as that of his marriage to his wife and best friend Alana in 1987.