President’s Column

Being involved with the conference, I just have to mention that it is a whole new experience sitting on this side of the fence. A special thanks to everyone that contributed for making this possible again. I can assure you that I had far less to do with the success of this event and most of the credit should go to Jayne Woodhead for all her hard work with the arrangements (I am sure Dave had a lot to do with it as well although he tends to operate in the shadows).

My perception of the conference as an IRE event has to some degree changed a little bit. I think one tends to compare it with some of those major 3-4 day conferences or exhibitions, attracting hundreds or even thousands of people. These events are organised by large teams of professionals with the aim to make financial profits from it. The IRE has over the last 10 years, for certain, attracted between 40-100 people for its conference, being organised by a few volunteers with little aim to make money. Surely we don’t want to lose money, but the driver has certainly never been financial profits. Will this change? And maybe, the more relevant question is, should it change?

One morning in the car on my way to work, I listened to the top ten tips for marathon running; one of them being that if you haven’t enjoyed the race, you have not won it. You could be last, but if you enjoyed your race you have won it more than the person who came first and did not enjoy it! Maybe in my more mature state of life, where of course I have no chance of coming in first, I am starting to understand this concept better. To some extent I think the same applies to the IRE conference. It does bring

members together which is one of our aims as an Institute. Where better to catch up on what everyone has been up to during the year than at a conference. The only thing I believe could be better for members socialising is a dinner dance! However, for the conference we have presenters from outside our membership base who always enrich us with their knowledge. The training day also attracts a fair bit of interest and even though it is focussed on the younger generation, it is always a pleasure to welcome the older hands at this occasion. They are a valuable asset to the Institute and their experience needs sharing.

On that note, I hope that if you read this on the day of the conference, you have an excellent and enjoyable experience. For those who missed out on this year’s conference: well, all I can say is book it in your diary and take care you are not being robbed from a memorable experience amongst fellow friends!

Jan DuPlessis Theron President

Institute of Refractories Engineers


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November 2018 Issue

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