This is the final column from me as the President of the Institute of Quarrying (IQ). During September I will be stepping down from the Board after nearly 20 years of active engagement with the Institute. It is a mixed-emotion experience as, on the one hand, after such a long period of participation it is sad to leave behind such a great organization. But, on the other hand, my colleagues and I have worked hard on the organizational governance to ensure there is an inflow of new enthusiasm and talent to maintain a freshness to the professional body, which is essential to its continuing relevance. I look on this latter point with a sense of pride that I was able to make a small, but lasting, contribution to the future of IQ.
I owe a great deal to the Institute for the professional development opportunities that it provided for me. I can say with certainty that I would not have been able to take on the senior industry roles that I have enjoyed had it not been for the wide-ranging experience provided by IQ at the same time as my work-based development. It enabled me to cram more learning across a wider range of issues into a smaller time frame than would have been possible from simply being employed. And this itself was enabled by my own enthusiasm to get involved to make a positive difference. It is often said that ‘you get out what you put in’. I assert this is entirely true with respect to our professional body.
Some of you will have heard me say that, ‘I learned everything I know about quarrying from IQ’. This is largely true, as I joined CAMAS in 1996 as an environmental studies graduate. Other than a small element of the ‘geology’ module where we glanced at ‘sand and gravel’, I knew nothing of quarry processes. The monthly West of England branch meetings at the Bath & County Club were invaluable in the development of my product and process understanding. The branch experience also provided opportunities for me to win awards for presentations, join the Committee, win the Branch Trophy and have a significant role in delivering the Millennium Conference in Bristol.
Showing some degree of enthusiasm also saw my placement on Council as a ‘Young Member’. In turn, this led to editing two editions of the Environmental Handbook, chairing the Education Committee, chairing the University of Derby Joint Council, working with others to reform the shape of the Institute, and being Deputy Chair, Chair and President.
I am not writing this as some self-eulogising narrative, but to illustrate the vast array of opportunities that are open to benefit yourself and others from participating in the ongoing nurturing and development of our Institute. Through taking part in these activities I have learned much about myself and how to be effective, often in groups of very senior and established people. I urge you to take part and make a difference because there are only benefits from doing so.
Finally, I would like to thank everyone I have worked with during my journey with IQ and wish the very best to those taking it to its next level. It’s been a blast!