Article Business Practice

John Talbot; Honorary Life Member of the AGS

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John Talbot, one of the AGS’s longer serving members, is stepping down as Leader of the Business Practice Working Group in April 2018, following 12 years of service to the committee, the last three of which he was its Leader.

Having been a member of the AGS for over 28 years, John has been closely involved for the last 5 years with the updating of AGS governance, which involved producing a huge volume of documents. Here, we look at John’s history within the AGS and some of his contributions and changes he’s helped to make for the industry:

• 2006: became a member of the Business Practice Working Group
• 2011-12: drafted the AGS Code of Business Conduct
• 2013: drafted new Membership Bye-laws, with the assistance of Diane Jennings
• 2013-2014: developed a new and rational model for the AGS annual subscriptions
• 2014: appointed an Honorary Life Member of the AGS in recognition of his sustained contributions to AGS matters
• 2015: drafted the new AGS bye-laws in collaboration with Andrew Milne, which generated;
o the removal of the Executive Committee and the introduction of the AGS Senate in its place 2016
o the introduction of the AGS Executive Council 2016
o new membership categories and production of the associated revised and additional membership application forms 2016
• 2015-2017: drafted the new Articles of Association with Johanna Jennings
• 2015-2018: Chairman/Leader of the Business Practice Working Group
• 2015-2018: revived liaison with AGS Hong Kong
• 2016: drafted the AGS Complaints Procedure
• 2016: instigated registration of AGS for tax relief on members’ subscriptions
• 2016: wrote the Terms of Reference & modus operandi for most of the AGS’ Working Groups, committees and panels, based on the newly instated bye-laws
• 2017: presented with the first Senate Award in recognition of his further contributions to modernising the governance of AGS

We spoke to John before his biannual trip to Hong Kong, when he hopes to be talking to AGS HK, in continuation of our liaison with them, and managed to extract the following snippet:

“I suppose that the greatest challenge during my 12-year membership of the BPWG has been the updating of the Association’s governance. The review of the AGS and its future direction that took place in 2012-15, enabled the production of completely new Bye-laws in collaboration with Andrew Mine. These led to the need to rewrite the Articles of Association (with Johanna Jennings) to ensure that the two documents were mutually aligned.

Sitting quietly, researching and bashing a keyboard to draft these documents, with their concomitant revisions, changes of thought and amendments, was as nothing when compared to the prospect of putting both the Bye-laws and the new Articles to the vote at successive AGMs. All sorts of possible nightmare scenarios were envisaged, of argumentative – even vitriolic – ‘discussions’ that might potentially happen. This impacted adversely not only on those of us who had written the drafts, but on the entire membership of both the Business Practice Working Group and the Executive Committee where a very considerable amount of fingernail biting resulted. However, in the event and to our immense relief, we were given a very easy ride by the AGS Members at the AGMs, when the two governing documents were voted for acceptance, effectively without quibble – huge sighs of relief all round, not to mention profound thanks to the AGM attendees for their positive support!”

John is also the current Vice-President Chartership of the Geological Society and Chair if its Professional Accreditation Chartership Committees. In his ‘spare time’ he is a Director and Trustee of the Wey & Arun Canal Trust, dedicated to restoring a 19th century derelict canal in Surrey and West Sussex.

This article was featured in the March/April 2018 issue of the AGS Magazine, which can be viewed here.