The Structural Engineer > Archive > Volume 85 (2007) > Issues > Issue 19 > President's Address 2007: IStructE, our Centenary and beyond: Attract, Support, Enthuse
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President's Address 2007: IStructE, our Centenary and beyond: Attract, Support, Enthuse

To be standing in front of you all today is a great honour and I would like to thank you for placing your trust in me to be the 88th President of the Institution of Structural Engineers for the next 15 months. This a particular honour during our Centenary year. I stand here as someone with a rather different background to previous presidents. I studied engineering science rather than civil engineering; I run a small consultancy in Exeter, rather than a large household name consultancy; and I am female rather than male. I have the benefit of having had a broad education; I have worked in academia; for a local authority, for large, medium and small consultancies and I have set up and run my own business, firstly as a sole trader and then as a company; I have worked full and part time and combined work with raising a family. The only missing element is working for a contractor. This background has provided me with a broad insight into t he many strands of structural engineering and I think it will be very helpful during my time as President (Fig 1). Preparing a speech, such as this, gives time to reflect and to consider what is important in structural engineering and in IStructE. It provides a chance to consider the influences and the attractions of pursuing a career in structural engineering and it gives an opportunity to celebrate structural engineering. Many of us follow our careers, concentrating on the now and the future. We do not spend enough time looking back and considering what is important and learning from our own experience; this is my opportunity to do just that. While this may seem indulgent it is important to learn from the past to plan for the future. In addition to my personal reflections I have been chairing the strategy group of IStructE, which has considered the responses to the recent membership survey1. It has considered the deliberations of the Executive Board away day and has started developing a strategy to take us into our second century. I will outline the way forward on these issues. I pose the questions ‘what is IStructE for and why does the Institution exist?’ IStructE is a group of people who work in structural engineering and promote, for the public benefit, the art and science of structural engineering. Therefore, IStructE should attract the best people into the profession of structural engineering, encourage them to join IStructE and then keep them in the profession and in the Institution To do this we need to support and enthuse the membership. We need to Attract, Support, Enthuse (Fig 2). This sounds very simple, distilled into three words. The understanding and delivery is much more complicated and I will consider each of these elements in turn, interweaving my own experiences and thoughts, to illustrate various points in order to show how getting the support and enthusiasm right will attract the best people into the profession. Sarah Buck, BSc(Hons), CEng, FIStructE, MICE