AGS Members Day is always an enjoyable and informative event, which manages to balance the AGS governance issues with topical presentations form invited speakers. Biannually, Members Day also sees the formal election and taking up of office for the incoming chairman. This year I took over from Seamus Lefroy-Brooks, whose two year tenure seems to have flown by! I would like to take this opportunity on behalf of both the AGS committee and the wider membership, to thank Seamus for all the hard work he has put in. For the Chairperson there is a lot of unseen work that goes on behind the scenes, in order to ensure that both main committee and the various subcommittees function effectively.
As a trade organisation, the AGS has a duty to its membership, to keep a weather eye on a variety of issues that might impact on the membership. Because the AGS successfully represents contractors, consultants, laboratories as well as suppliers, the range of issues is broad and includes technical, health and safety and commercial ones to name but a few.
During periods of economic downturn, it would be easy to sacrifice some of the aims of the AGS, ie to promote best practice and to provide guidance for members. I am pleased to say however that under the stewardship of the last two Chairmen (Seamus and Ken Marsh), this has not been allowed to happen, and now as the industry faces a period of relative economic buoyancy, the key will be to look afresh at issues that face the industry.
As I said at Members Day, I am particularly keen to ensure that the AGS becomes relevant and accessible to the whole geo-environmental community. By this I mean that we need to engage with students, graduates and young company employees as well as those companies and individuals who have been members for a number of years. We must better disseminate the great pool of knowledge and experience that sits with the AGS committee and subcommittee members, and make it available to all.
The redesigned website will play a key part in this process, as will better marketing of the AGS throughout the industry. We will be looking at the accessibility of AGS publications and guidance notes etc, to see how we can better get information out to those practitioners who need it. The committee has also received approaches from overseas organisations wishing to follow the AGS ‘model’ and this is something we will look at. It says a lot about the AGS, when comparable industry sectors in other countries think that our ‘model’ as a trade organisation is worth adopting!
So in summary there will be no let-up in the work that the AGS does on behalf of members. As we strive to make the AGS a better knowledge centre, we will be canvassing thoughts from members to ensure that we address issues that are of concern and that are relevant to very day geo-environmental practice. I am looking forward to working with both committee members as well as the membership at large over the next two years.
Chairman of the AGS