General Secretary’s Report and President’s Column GENERAL SECRETARY’S REPORT

Dear Members Hello to all.

We have been working very hard, it is always very busy at this time of year, I have to invoice everyone for their


membership along with

invoicing the buyers guide. And at the same time last year’s accounts have to go to the accountants for them to prepare our accounts and to audit them. Please note, the buyers guide has changed so that advertisers will also be included on the website to replace the e-directory.

If you have not received your invoice for membership please let me know, this year many have been sent by email, which save time and money. But there are many members who have not given me an email address, so these have been sent by post, this method does cost the Institute much more, so if you can send me your email address, it does save me time and also saves the Institute money.

I would like thank those who have already paid their invoices, there were about 12 members who paid on the day I sent the invoices out. This shows that sage pay and emails are the best way there is for keeping the system working.

We are still to working on the conference and training day which this year is at Aston Hall. We have changed the venue because of several issues we had last year, Tankersley Manor was in the process of being sold during our conference/ training day. Our event was Wednesday and Thursday and the hotel came under new ownership on the Friday. Myself and some of the speakers stayed at the hotel from Tuesday night but we were not allowed to put any drinks or food on

the account we have, as the account was to be paid on the Friday, therefore to new owners.

Aston Hall is just off Junction 31 of the M1 and has new conference/wedding facilities, it also has a reputation for good food. I don’t think we will know how good it is until we try it, although we did use this venue about 10 years ago. We did have a council meeting at the venue in January and were shown round the venue, which all looked good. The one disadvantage is that Aston Hall has fewer hotel rooms so please book early.

We are organising a Dinner Dance to be held in November 2021 to celebrate our 60th year, I have booked all 75 of the hotel rooms for the Institute so again please book early because the jubilee ball we had to celebrate the 50th year was a huge success, so we are expecting that this event will be a complete sell out.

There will be an IRE golf day in early June, details are in this journal, again we need bookings as soon as possible. Everyone can play, individuals can enter or teams, we are returning to our usual venue this year, it will be soup and sandwiches on arrival, 18 holes of golf and then a meal, let’s hope we have some sunshine that day.

We have arranged for a sub-committee under our Senior Vice President Katy Moss to look at improving our communication with members, our website/journal and ways of interesting new members. The sub-committee has met twice and working with the results of our recent survey. If anyone has any ideas I would be very pleased to have your comments.

All the best Jayne Woodhead

General Secretary & Treasurer Institute of Refractories Engineers


Dear Members and Colleagues

It seems that business is generally in a healthy state even with the uncertainties of the “Great Trek” or Brexit as they call it over here in Europe.

The new website is up and running and we already had some input from readers about the things that were incorrect, such as spelling mistakes and references. It is great to get this feedback, your views and opinions are greatly valued!

I had the opportunity to visit a shutdown recently and had the full experience of the variety of activities, the masses of

March 2019 Issue

workers and the teams planning and executing all the tasks. It still amazes me how much is done in such a short time especially when I compare it to the builder we had in our home to do a few renovations. The stairs are not creaking anymore and that scored him a lot of points!

It made me think about project planning in general and the difficulties associated with it. Press too hard in the beginning and people lose their momentum at the end. Take it too relaxed and emotions get out of hand and inevitably targets are out of reach. Finding that sweet spot where quality, speed, safety and job satisfaction (I call it happiness) all come together, is most probably more of an art or intuition than a science. Progress is tracked to the extremities of details, and massive amounts of man hours are spent on gathering the information to produce the best of graphs. However, on site, the reality is very different from the nice air conditioned enclosure of the office.

On site the realities of the work environment have a direct ENGINEER THE REFRACTORIES 3

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