Thursday, July 2, 2009

2010 Annual Conference, DIT Symposium, and Veolia Transport

Met over a working lunch today to debrief with John Jordan and Sean Keohane, both of the Midlands Region, on our recent annual conference in Tullamore - what worked, what didn't work, if we could do it again what would we do better, etc.

Also with us were Kevin Murray and Jim Robertson, from the Cork region and next year's hosts, together with John Power and Fionnuala Kilbane. We put a lot of ideas on to the table on how next year's conference can be even better - how should we engage the sectors, divisions and societies in the conference ? How should we engage more proactively with the national media ? Did our sponsors get sufficient value and how can we increase this ? Does the format of the conference work, could it be improved ? How about the duration ? How can we encourage greater participation ? What can we do for student members, and currently un-employed members ?

We're distilling many ideas at the moment, and will solidify these in the coming weeks - feel free to post a comment here if you've any specific suggestions.

I then spent the afternoon sitting in on the Engineering in Context conference, at Clyde Road, and hosted by DIT. I am speaking at the conference tomorrow afternoon. The conference is promoting a book of the same name, which arose from a European-American research project launched in Colorado in April 2008, and exploring the various contexts (societal, environmental, fiscal, regulatory...) in which engineering takes place.

It was interesting and stimulating to hear a presentation from a metaphysicist, Prof. Peter Simons, Chair of Moral Philosophy at TCD; followed by a presentation on the influence of science fiction on engineering by Prof. Joe Pitt from Virginia Tech! More to follow tomorrow, and good for the intellect!

Finished up this evening accepting, on behalf of Engineers Ireland, a kind invitation from Liam Connellan, ex-President and Chairman of Veolia Transport in Ireland, to a reception and dinner hosted at TCD for 200 of the top management from Veolia Transport worldwide, including their global CEO Cyrille du Peloux. A pleasant evening, a chance to revisit investor relations policies from my days at IONA, and to discuss the Ryanair business model over dinner!

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