Many Past Presidents have said to me that the year flies by and how right they are. One month in since our Annual Meeting on 25 May 2023 and so much has happened. There is so much we need to achieve this year, but at the forefront are ensuring we:
- launch, communicate, engage, and consult on our new strategy,
- develop longer-term three-year business plans to enable the strategy,
- align our employee organisation and resources to support delivery, and
- progress our headquarters programme.
The highlight so far must have been the launch of our new strategy at my Presidential Address on 7 June. It was lovely to welcome so many people to One Birdcage Walk. Members, employees, family, and friends packed out the lecture theatre, with hundreds viewing via the live stream online. The strategy sets us on a course to become a global, inclusive, and digitally enabled engineering community, and it’s been a real pleasure engaging with members, employees, our stakeholders, and the public to discuss and receive feedback on our plans for our exciting future. It was also great to see Nigel Hirst, IChemE President, talk about very similar themes including collaboration and partnership at his Presidential Address the following week at the Royal Society of Chemistry.
On 16 June, IMechE’s Automobile Division launched a new prestige award, the Richard Parry-Jones Memorial Medal, to recognise outstanding technical achievement in automotive engineering. Richard Parry-Jones, who was a Fellow of the Institution, is best remembered for bringing a new, much higher standard of vehicle dynamics to Ford’s European cars, starting with the Mondeo in 1993, progressing through the line up to the 1998 Ford Focus, which redefined the industry for vehicles of its class. This new medal was unveiled by Automobile Division Chair Andrew Fraser, at an event at One Birdcage Walk attended by Tim Slatter, Chair of Ford in Britain and Dr Graham Hoare, Chair of the UK Automotive Council. Applications for the award are now open, with a closing deadline of 30 September 2023.
On 22 June, I chaired my first Trustee Board meeting welcoming new Trustees and taking everyone through induction training. As usual we reviewed our performance against the business plan and financial targets, and also reviewed our collective skills assessment which we can then use to target particular skill sets when we recruit our Ordinary Member Trustee casual vacancy or indeed decide to co-opt other Trustees to bring additional specific specialist expertise, thus increasing the diversity of our team.
We also reviewed the latest progress to set up the programme to decide the future of our Birdcage Walk headquarters, and I hope you have seen the latest information we have released in our Annual Report.
Decisions made by the board included approving modifications to our Nominations Committee terms of reference and agreeing areas for Council support and advice in 2023, including:
- Analysing and reviewing why members join, leave, or don’t join, building on the relevance to members work done previously.
- Supporting the review and improvement of our management systems and processes, including transparent and easy access to IMechE governance documentation.
- Advice on the potential to generate incremental income to support our long-term financial resilience.
- Support with consulting the membership on our newly published strategy, raising awareness and providing feedback.
And finally, it has been a joy to either contribute to or hear about some high profile events in the latest few weeks, starting with the official opening of the Engineers Gallery at the Science Museum in London. The gallery is dedicated to world-changing engineering innovations and the diverse and fascinating range of people behind them, featuring the stories of 60 engineers from a broad range of industries, including farming, fashion, robotics and medicine, highlighting their motivations, thought processes and day-to-day work.
This was followed quickly by our Railway and Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) student Challenge competitions. Both events were spectacular with many people highlighting the noticeable advancement of technical competence and readiness of the students taking part in teams from all over the planet. Congratulations to the overall Railway Challenge winners, the PUTrain team from the Poznań University of Technology, and to the UAS Challenge overall winners, the ATA team from the Istanbul Technical University. Hugh thanks to all of the competitors, volunteers, members and employees that make these events so special.
I hope you find the above to be of interest and your feedback is always welcome. You can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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Giles Hartill BEng MSc CEng FIMechE