A reflection on 2019 by IOM3 CEO

1 Dec 2019

When I came into my role just over a year ago, I knew already that 2019 would be a big year for IOM3, and so it proved to be.

Alongside our normal day-to-day activities, the Trustees, volunteers and employees of IOM3 have:

  • Inaugurated the first woman President of IOM3, Professor Serena Best
  • Had a year-long celebration of the 150th anniversary of the founding of our oldest national constituent part, the Iron and Steel Institute in 1869
  • After 10 years of debate, finally implemented important changes to modernise our governance and decision-making, and
  • Started a major digital transformation project in order to be in a position to deliver the kind of service our members will expect in the future.

The common thread throughout the year was the celebration of our 150th anniversary. Things got off to a great start with our event on the actual anniversary day on 25 February, when a workshop involving a cross-section of members developed thoughts on the future shape of a professional body in 2069 and Professor Serena Best gave her inaugural speech. A strong programme of 150th anniversary events then followed, with highlights including our bumper May issue of Materials World, a well-attended Bessemer Lecture and Gala and Premier Awards at the Science Museum in July, the very successful International Rubber Conference in September and our hosting of the final of the Young Persons’ World Lecture Competition in October. Our affiliated local societies were also involved, including an extremely well run 150th event in Hong Kong. The 150th anniversary theme ends with the Future Materials conference on 17 December, where, with early career and younger members, we look forward to the future of materials, minerals and mining over the coming decades. Our normal strong events programme also continued, covering topics such as ceramics, clay technology, adhesion, fire safety, mine tailings management, resource efficiency and steel alloys, to name but a few. And we had a few innovations, not least the #WarrenStreetWindow, displaying some visually arresting aspects of the IOM3 story over the course of the year.

In August, we received the assent of the Privy Council to amend our bye-laws to create the new Executive Board and the Advisory Council. The former will be the Trustees of the Institute, with responsibility for overseeing its work and holding me and my team to account. The latter exists to advise the Trustees on strategic issues relevant to our members. During September and October, we ran the elections to the Advisory Council, with over 60 members volunteering to stand in the 15 seats representing the regions and grades of IOM3, to join the 20 seats representing technical communities and the President, Vice-Presidents and Honorary Treasurer of the Institute. The Advisory Council had its first meeting on 5 November and, in line with the new rules, elected two of its number to become Trustee members of the Executive Board alongside the core Presidential team and the Chairs of the main IOM3 Boards. These changes will enable us to be much more agile in our decision-making, while retaining a strong member input to our overall strategy.

Also in August, work started on Project Optimus – the 18-month process first to replace our existing membership database and then to revamp our website and extend and enhance our digital offering, enabling us to provide the kind of personalised, easy-access experience our members expect. The first phase of the work is mostly internal - though you will notice a change if you log in to your member account after January - but we expect more changes to happen in the latter part of 2020.

In some ways a challenging year, 2019 has also been immensely rewarding for my team and for me, and I am very grateful to them all for their help. As always, of course, we could not have done it without the help and support of our members and volunteers, so a very big thanks to you all too.

Finally, I wish you a very happy festive season and I look forward to continuing the IOM3 journey with you in 2020 and beyond!

Colin Church, CEO