In 1961, MAPEL (UK) decided to expand their operations into South Africa and Australia. John Hay (senior) moved to South Africa with his family to head up this venture. In 1964, John Hay (junior) joined his father's company (as he described it) as a very junior trainee. This was his introduction to the fascinating world of cathodic protection (CP).
In 1965, MAPEL wanted John (senior) to move elsewhere as the South African operation was running smoothly. However, the lure of Africa was too great and John decided to stay in South Africa. Through a management buy-out, Cortec was born. John (junior) moved with the new company. Over the ensuing years, John (junior) acquired a shareholding and eventually took over the company when his father retired.
In the early nineteen eighty's, project demands led to the formation of a joint venture between Cortec and their major competition. The result was Associated Corrosion Engineering. (ACE) This venture was so successful that the joint venture was formalized into a new company. This company dominated the CP market as the major supplier of materials and equipment as well as the installation of CP systems. ACE was also responsible for much innovation and standardization in the industry. In 1995, the company split, setting up anode manufacture and earthing materials as separate operations. John continued as the driving force with ACE, now re-branded as ACE (Contracting) to reflect their primary activity. In 2000 the company was restructured through a management buy-out, and in 2005, a black empowerment partner was brought on board. Throughout this time, John remained active in the management of the company and is currently executive manager responsible primarily for water pipelines and major tenders.
Under John's leadership, ACE and ACE(Contracting) has been involved in most of the major CP contracts in South Africa over the last 30-odd years. They remain a significant player in the development and manufacture of CP materials and equipment, thereby reducing South Africa's dependence on imported technology. In fact, South Africa's CP industry is a world leader in many respects.
John Hay has become a household name in the South African CP Industry with 46 years of unbroken service to the cathodic protection industry in South Africa.