Reflections on a memorable 2019 IIMS London Conference

Mike Schwarz (right) welcomes Toastmaster, Richard Palmer, to 10/11 Carlton House Terrace

Great venues. Brilliant speaker content on a range of relevant surveying topics. Meeting old friends and colleagues. Excellent food and the odd beer or two. What’s not to like about an IIMS London Conference? OK so we had non stop rain and a train strike to contend with, but that did not put a dampener on proceedings! Judging by my email inbox, the event would seem to have been a great success not only for those who joined us in person, but also for our increasing number of online delegates who joined online from far afield via Zoom. If I have one regret it is simply that only 75 of our near 1,000 members were present and exposed to some wonderful and pertinent content.

These events are not easy to get right and they require detailed preparation. The IT is always a challenge – trust me I know! Making the right food choices is equally challenging. So my thanks to my colleagues who worked so hard behind the scenes to deliver this year’s Conference and AGM – also to the venue staff who looked after us so well and who often get forgotten. I must also say a big thank you to all those who came to speak for the benefit of members. If you were not present, free access to the video content is now available on the IIMS YouTube channel.

It would be wrong of me to single out any one presenter over another, so I won’t! I learnt something from each and every presentation. For example, Neale Rodrigues (Britannia P&I Club) reminded everyone of the importance of going back to basics. Nick Sloane showed us that anything is possible. Keith Chappell and Tom Montgomery taught us to be extra vigilant as far as cyber security is concerned. It is many years since the UK regulator, Maritime & Coastguard Agency, came to speak. So I was delighted to hear Bas Edmonds speak openly about the challenges the agency faces.

Dinner at 10/11 Carlton House Terrace (just a stone’s throw from Queen Elizabeth II’s residence) was splendid. A delightful venue in a magical setting proved to hit the right spot. The evening was much enjoyed by all. After dinner speaker, Capt Andrew Moll, MAIB Chief Executive, kept guests amused with his anecdotes. I was humbled and delighted by the warm welcome I received when I rose to speak. It was my absolute pleasure to announce two new Honorary Members and one new Honorary Fellow. President Capt Zarir Irani handed the awards to Peter Harris (Honorary Member), Carey Golesworthy (Honorary Member) and Capt Nick Sloane (Honorary Fellow).

The transcript of my dinner speech can be downloaded here: Dinner speech 2019

Our AGM went smoothly. In truth there was not a great deal to vote on this year. Ursula Smith asked why we had not yet had a female President. Good question and food for thought. Watch this space! I was delighted to be able to give a positive update on two items voted through at the 2018 AGM. I announced the Institute’s intention to acquire the freehold of Murrills House as our new permanent head office, all being well and good in Q1 2020. Furthermore, I was able to update members on our progress towards the Marine Surveying Practitioner accreditation scheme. Much more information coming on this exciting initiative soon.

Survey well.

Mike Schwarz

IIMS Chief Executive Officer



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