Chairman's Welcome 2012-13

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Welcome to the 2012-2013 session of activities which myself and the Birmingham Network hope you will find both interesting and informative. On behalf of the committee and membership at large, I would like to take this opportunity to express my sincerest thanks to Mr Robert Diprose, our departing Chairman, for his invaluable contribution to leading the committee over the past two years. He ensured the smooth delivery of an extremely interesting and varied programme over the 2010-2012 calendars. Fortunately for us, Robert’s involvement with the network has not ceased and he will be continuing to support the committee locally, with event preparation and delivery, and regionally in his capacity as incoming Chair of the West Midlands Area Forum. We wish him every success in his new role.

I would also like to take the opportunity to thank the active members of the network who have given of their time to organise, coordinate, support and deliver highly successful events, either directly for the Birmingham committee or for the wider IET. During 2012 we unfortunately had to accept the resignation of two key members of the committee due to their relocation as a result of career commitments, however, we wish Isuru and Antonia all the very best in their future professional endeavours. Following a number of recruitment pushes we have subsequently gained the services of three additional volunteers to boost the committee numbers and we hope that Mak, Mohammed and Ivan enjoy their time working with us.

Continuing on from the success of the programme of events during the 2011-2012 period, the committee remain focussed on the delivery of high quality, professional and stimulating events for all our members. However, during this incoming period I want to make sure we continue to deliver on the commitment set out by our past Chairman, to reflect the importance of young professionals to the future of engineering in our region, and thereby continue to promote a minimum of three YP specific events during each programme calendar.

With all this in mind the committee have been working hard to deliver a wide-ranging session of events as well as accommodating a few new ideas. As a taster, this year sees Birmingham, for the first time host a new format of ‘Engineers Question Time’, an event which follows the same format as the hugely popular BBC ‘Question Time’ albeit with a local and engineering flavour. For those who are looking to augment their career prospects, then we have two fantastic life skills events for you to attend. ‘Leading and developing successful teams’ and ‘Effective Change Management’ should be interesting for current and prospective team managers. Finally this year sees the re-introduction of a Christmas lecture whose purpose is to inform and entertain. As a result we have selected a topic which looks at the growth of computer generated graphics and their application in computer game technology. In order to help the Birmingham Network deliver all of our events we have secured the participation of some of the Midlands foremost experts in their selected fields. These events should be seen firsthand and your continued support helps us promote the Birmingham Network positively and effectively.

In Robert’s address last year, he correctly noted that our region was still suffering with the ‘hangover’ of the recent global economic crisis and that the engineering community had its fair share of casualties as a result. Robert had a premonition that read thus,”... and although fiscal shocks are still occurring there is a consensus view that a form of stability is returning; although growth is likely to be muted for a year or so yet. It is therefore key for future success that the foundations which have been established in this period of recovery are maintained. Such that when innovation can again move to the front of engineering practice it is this geographical region which leads the field.” I think it only fair to say that his thoughts were right on the money, so to speak, and the Government’s decision to create Enterprise Zones in our region has kick started that recovery. Blue chip stalwarts of the Midlands have committed to huge inward investment spearheaded by Jaguar Land Rover in both Castle Bromwich and Wolverhampton, BMW investing further in its Hams Hall engine production facility and MG establishing its design house once again in Birmingham to name but a few.

Let’s hope the commitments that we give to our current young professional engineers today, stands them in good stead to take on the challenges of their futures and prepare them to uphold the legacy of the Midlands as a centre of engineering excellence. Please do attend as many events as you can. The committee organises events for you, the member, and we want to put on events that you want to attend. An increased attendance at events not only increases the profile and effectiveness of the network, but also helps secure the funding going forward, ensuring we remain a dynamic, relevant network.

Once again, let me welcome you all to the 2012-2013 programme of events. I wish you all every success and happiness in the coming year and hope to see you in person at some of the forthcoming events.

Kind Regards,

Gary McElroy
Chairman, IET Birmingham Network
Blog IET Birmingham Network 06/10/2014

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