30 years ago I recall sitting apprehensively just before the start of the CM examination. I was worn out having lugged sports bags full of structural references half way around London. I was too anxious to conceive of anything beyond the next 7 hours and had no inkling that my examination desk might lead eventually to this lectern. I had no idea where my chartered career would take me, or the support I would find in being a member of this Institution, the friends that I would make and the honour that my peers would bestow on me in electing me the 90th President of this august Institution.
In this address I want to explore how we can become more 'outward facing', by examining our relationship with others and the opportunities that arise within change. Potential recipients and beneficiaries will include disconnected members, other professional groups, and society as a whole. Some opportunities are of the here and now, whereas others relate to an extended time frame, hence the second part of my title - looking beyond the immediate. In exploring a number of opportunities, I hope to fulfil my Vice Presidental election manifesto pledges, which related to concerns about Eurocodes, mandatory reporting of CPD and raising status. But before looking at these, as some scene setting, I wish to share with you a unit of time, a concise definition and three observations.
I started 40 years ago as a chainman working for John Laing in a gap year before going to the University of Leeds to read Architectural Engineering. With the 30 years from my exam, my career to date comprises 4 decades, 3 of which have been as a chartered structural engineer. Consequently, I am adopting a decade as my unit of time within this address. Decades can be particularly apt when looking forward.
Norman Train, BSc(Eng),CEng, FIStructE, FICE, FCIArb