Les Boulton, one of the ACA’s ‘legends’, has decided to transition into semi-retirement and close his consultancy business, Les Boulton and Associates, to spend more time with his family after more than 40 years as a corrosion scientist and consultant.

Les began his career as a science teacher in 1967 after gaining an MSc and a Dip. Ed in Auckland. He then went on to lecture in Chemistry at the Auckland Institute of Technology (as it was then known) from 1969 to 1980. Between 1980-1985 he worked as a Corrosion Scientist for DSIR Auckland Industrial Division, leaving there briefly to work as a corrosion consultant for Grayson Group and then returning a year later to DSIR to work as a Research Scientist from 1986-1992. Les then became a project manager at Industrial Research Ltd before opening his own consultancy in 1995, focussing on materials and corrosion engineering, and carrying out hundreds of investigations, and corrosion training for industry. This has included being the NZ consultant for the international Nickel Institute and being an active member of the NZ Stainless Steel Development Association for over 20 years.

Les co-authored the revision of Fundamentals of Metallic Corrosion and its Prevention with Graham Wright, and has taught many corrosion-related courses to assist people to obtain their ACA Corrosion Technician/Technologist qualification. He has been a regular attendee and presenter to the ACA’s annual conferences with around 80 publications to his name including four booklets.

Les thanking Ian MacLeod after his presentation in Auckland

Les joined the ACA in 1972 and ever since has been involved with the Auckland Division and NZ Branch Committees. He was the Branch Education Officer for many years, was Secretary of the NZ Branch in 1976-8, the NZ President 1978-80, and in recent times been the Editor/Publisher of the monthly Branch Bulletin.

Les has also served in many Australasian ACA leadership roles. He was Australasian President 1989-90, was involved in organising four ACA conferences in New Zealand (including as  Technical Convenor in 1984 and 1990, and as Conference Chairman in 2000). Les was on the ACA Operations Committee (the predecessor to the Board today) from 1989 to 1998 and until recently was a member of the ACA Awards Committee.

Les has received many ACA awards include the ACA Corrosion Medal in 1993, when Les was also the P.F. Thomson Memorial Lecturer, and Life Membership of the Association in 1998. Along the way, he won the Marshall Fordham Best Research Paper Award in 1986 and the David Whitby Best Review paper in 1989. If there was an award to be won, Les achieved it with panache.

Les at the 2019 International Symposium with Guest Speakers Rob Melchers and Roger Francis

In 2019, Les was honoured as one of ACA’s six senior experts at the international symposium Advances in Corrosion Science and Corrosion Engineering held in Melbourne. No doubt, even if now formally semi-retired (as he has threatened to become for several years), Les will continue to provide informal guidance to our members from his vast experience for many years to come. On top of this compendium of achievements, which show extraordinary commitment to corrosion mitigation and management, Les has a very infectious personality and his winning smile would brighten up any committee meeting. He has always been a generous giver.

Compiled by Willie Mandeno with contributions from John Duncan and Ian MacLeod


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