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New Leader for AGS Business Practice Working Group

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Andrew Milne, Managing Director of Geotechnical Engineering and new Leader of the AGS Business Practice Working Group, gives an overview on his aims and ambitions for his upcoming term.

I’m delighted to have been chosen by the membership of the AGS as the new Leader of the Business Practice Working Group (BPWG). Thank you for your vote of confidence in me.
I am taking over the Leadership from John Talbot, who ran the BPWG for several years. During his tenure, the BPWG initiated some key changes to the way the AGS runs, which have hopefully set it up for the years ahead. I have been working with John for some of this time, and have witnessed his hard work and dedication to the wellbeing of the AGS and its membership. Well done, John. Please don’t go away – we still need you!

The BPWG is primarily concerned with the business practice of the AGS itself. As Leader of the BPWG, I report in to the Chairman of the AGS (in the Executive Council), and also to the AGS Senate. Whilst the AGS is a ‘not for profit’ organisation, like any commercial enterprise, it needs to thrive and survive. Over the medium and long term, it needs to bring in as much money as it spends, and a little bit more ‘for the rainy day’.

In the most recent update of the AGS Byelaws in 2015, we confirmed that there are three ‘Purposes’ or ‘Aims’ of the AGS, namely:
(a) to promote and enhance quality and safe practice within the geotechnical and geo-environmental industry;
(b) to provide opportunities for participation in its activities to all those in the wider geotechnical and geo-environmental industry;
(c) to give benefit to all of its participants.

In order to achieve any of these Aims, we have to be in touch with as many people as possible within the wider geotechnical and geo-environmental industry. The decision taken at the time of updating the Byelaws was that we wanted to be a ‘big-hearted’ organisation, open to ‘everyone’ in the industry, at all levels, rather than a ‘small-minded’ organisation, open only to a smaller ‘Elite’. There are arguments for both stances; we chose the former – you can’t be both!

In refreshing the Byelaws, we were very mindful to uphold the high standards required of being a ‘Practitioner Member’, and, furthermore, demanded that all levels of member, from Student Member to Honorary Member, confirmed (every year) that they ‘fully support the objectives and aims of the AGS, and agree to abide by its Code of Business Conduct’.
In consequence, the dominant task of the BPWG over the next few years is to get in touch with ‘everyone’ in the industry, and encourage them to be members of the AGS, at all levels. And once we are in touch with these people, we need to keep their attention by provide guidance, useful and interesting content, opportunities for participation, and ‘benefit’ in all senses. The AGS Administrator (Forum Court Associates Limited) has reorganised itself to this purpose, for which we are grateful.

The Business Plan for the AGS is set by the Executive Council, and is approved by the Senate. From this Business Plan, the BPWG draw up the Marketing Plan for the AGS. It identifies actions to be taken by certain AGS members, and by the Administrator.

In due course, when the AGS is in touch with many more people in the industry, and the number and range of Members (at all levels) has increased significantly, the intention is to review the subscription model. All organisations need to evolve and stay up-to-date and relevant. This exercise will not be straightforward, and all points of view will need to be listened to before decisions are made. Watch this space.

This article was featured in the May/June 2018 issue of the AGS Magazine, which can be viewed here