So it has been an emotional and mentally draining week, but one which will linger long in my mind and one that I will look back at with great pleasure and pride. I am referring of course to the IIMS London Conference 2015 that took place on Monday and Tuesday of this week.
To put on an event of this scale takes many months of meticulous planning and preparation. I am grateful to those around me who supported and helped me thus ensuring we were able to deliver a great outcome for the sponsors (DGS Marine Group, Constellation Marine Services and Britannia Maritime Security) and the delegates who attended. Add in the fact that we are catering for a truly international audience; and the need to appeal equally to small craft as well as commercial ship surveyors. I believe we got it about right!
I am grateful to all those (and there have been many) who have taken to Twitter, LinkedIn, or simply written to me and communicated verbally to say how much they enjoyed the Conference and Dinner. It really does mean a great deal.
The venue was great. The IT and presentations all worked. Speakers stuck to time. The Lloyd’s tour was (I am told by those who went on it) was a real education.
Just a quick word about the Conference Dinner onboard HMS Belfast too. I felt privileged to have done the research to enable me to write the citation for the Lifetime Achievement Award that was given to Jeffrey Casciani-Wood. It gave me the chance to really learn much more about the man himself and what he has given to the marine industry over 70 years. But to see him come forward to humbly accept this honour as the dinner guests rose to their feet in applause as one brought a lump to my throat as I am sure it did to everyone else too.
Thanks to Capt Andy Winbow, who spoke eloquently about IMO and its work and relevance to an every changing maritime world. Of course It would be churlish of me not to mention my old chum, Peter Hancock, who had the unenviable task of brining the evening to a close by as the ‘funny man’. I knew he was nervous, but how wonderfully he rose to the challenge with relish. Within moments the audience was with him and he milked it as he rightly should have done too!
So that’s it for another year. The plans now start for next year’s conference, a most special one as IIMS turns 25 years old and we celebrate our silver jubilee.