RECENT CALLS at Council to continue funding the international affairs division with a larger slice of Members' subscriptions is good news for the ICE's first Vice President International, Brian Crossley, who is the visible result of the budget hike.
Using modern technology, Crossley is helping to co-ordinate the ICE's international role largely from home in Cheshire. E-mails concerning the ICE's multifarious international activities are currently networking their way around the globe . . . via Chester.
Since Council approved the Cawthra Commission recommendation that the Institution's international activity be increased, Crossley was appointed in November and has established himself as a new focal point for 15,000 members in 80 countries.
Crossley is particularly keen to support ICE's country representatives - the lone foot soldiers whose extensive groundwork promotes the Institution to academics and government. He is organising a meeting of all country reps in the UK and working with Whitwell on a country by country strategy to discern for the first time what emphasis should be placed where.
On his travels the VP International has been building membership bridges in Eastern Europe, ahead of Professor George Fleming's Presidential visit next year. In January Crossley judged an essay competition of students from the soon to be accredited Moscow State and Belgorad Universities. The three winners are at Great George Street this week to observe the ICE in action.
Crossley is also keen to capitalise on the massive potential for increasing membership following the recent Presidential visit to the Indian sub continent. As project manager of a Department for International Development (DFID) scheme to mentor and advise the Institution of Engineers Bangladesh over the past two years, he has gained experience of appropriate development. The scheme to help develop an indigenous engineering body is a prototype which has attracted the interest of the World Bank. Crossley has been paid by DFID to make quarterly two-week visits to Bangladesh to implement the programme.
He says: 'Our main objective was introduction of the concept of Continuing Professional Development. At the moment engineers graduate and may not receive another day's training throughout their career. With the help of training consultant Andrew Holloway, 100 local engineers are being trained up.'
Crossley also points to the development of a new library with 1,000 donated books and the training of clerks to operate a PC database which has replaced a leather bound register. But he is realistic about the progress made.
'Not all the recommendations have been followed but the IEB has just introduced mandatory CPD for Fellows, which is a start.'
Crossley's recent work has been a globe-trotting peak to nearly 40 years of service to the ICE which began by accident in 1960. He explains: 'I went along to an ICE graduates and students meeting with Alan Cockshaw. We were just there out of curiosity really. When we turned up we were told that we were to be drafted on to the committee.' The rest of course is history.
Crossley came up through the ranks to become a director at Alfred McAlpine, having started as an apprentice for a steel contractor. His career included a year in Dubai in the late 70s, where he established the United Arab Emirates branch.
Twenty years on, a world qualification for civil engineers is moving closer and Crossley is helping to gradually reposition the Institution towards becoming an international body centred in Britain rather than a British body with international members. He says: 'Most professional engineering bodies outside the Commonwealth are just learned societies. US and Canada, for example, have separate licensing bodies. With our experience in training engineers, ICE membership could become a passport to acceptance by authorities around the world.'