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New team set to deliver the communications message


THE PLANNED radical restructuring of the ICE's approach to communications and the regions is now in operation, putting the emphasis firmly on transparency, unity and delivery.

Two divisions - communications and regional operations - have been brought together with the primary aim of offering an improved, business-like service for both its members and those it seeks to influence.

The initiative has been driven by new vice president for communications Colin Clinton, who in 2004 will become the Institution's youngest ever president.

'Until now there has been a total lack of visibility about what the communications centre is, ' said Clinton. 'Now is the time to be visible.

According to Clinton, 'to deliver the Institution into the next 50 or 100 years you need two things. The first is a good communications set up and the second is a strong local association network. This new structure is all about delivering a fundamental step change.'

Clinton will head the new structure in a non-executive role and will also chair a corporate communications group which will work on strategy and policy.

Day to day delivery will be the responsibility of director for corporate communications and regional operations, Julien Parrott (see box).

Clinton brings a proven track record in communications. As chairman of ICE Midlands association he was instrumental in a pioneering link between the Midlands association and radio station Heart FM (NCE 21 October 1999).

He has also been spreading the ICE message into eastern Europe and prompted formation of the Midlands Hungarian Branch in 1999.

And as head of communications in consultant Arup's infrastructure division, Clinton is passionate about letting people do what they do best: 'We have a young and vibrant team. They now have specific roles in tune with their strengths, they all have goals and targets and they are working together to deliver them.

'The communications group will be free to stop talking and to start doing some blue sky thinking, ' he said.

The same attitude is embedded in ICE President Mark Whitby's plans to raise the level of debate in ICE Council (NCE 8 November) and is one that Clinton is determined to pursue in his year as president in 2004.

'The Council needs to move away from the process and the administration of the Institution, ' Clinton explained. 'It needs to be much more strategic with a modern thinking and forward planning agenda.'

Clinton's high emphasis on the next generation is prevalent in his thinking on communications.

'We must show civil engineering as being fun, rewarding and a stunningly worthwhile career.

We need to get closer to employers and provide more relevant and state of the art support.

'Tied to that is a need to empower the young people, the next generation of the Institution. We have to be serious about encouraging young people at schools and university, and to date we have not been focused enough on this, ' said Clinton.

Clinton already has plans for engaging the younger members.

'On many Institution groups and boards the majority of the members needs to be under 35. They may not have all the experience, but they will have different and more relevant questions to ask.'

Another early task will be to cut through the ICE's traditional vertical structure so that the work of the ICE's engineering boards meets with a much wider audience.

'At the moment everyone is operating in their own individual divisions, sending out their own information but with little visible co-ordination. We need to introduce some horizontal into the vertical, ' said Clinton.

The Institution may not be a business in the accepted sense, 'but it still has to be run in a more business-like manner', he says.

The team

Delivery of ICE communications policies will be the responsibility of director Julien Parrott, with a team of managers empowered to drive their individual areas of responsibility.

They will work alongside the ICE's three executive secretaries and regional liaison officers to ensure the regions have a firm role to play in delivering ICE policy.

Julien Parrott Director Role: Day to day running of division History:

Joined ICE one year ago from the Institute of Building Control as chief executive.

Previous roles have included director of business operations at the Construction Industry Council.

Contact: (020) 7665 2107.

Neal Weston External relations manager Role:

Parliamentary events and lobbying, European Affairs, liaison with executive secretaries, Construction Industry Council and Engineering and Technology Board History: BA in history (Liverpool University). Joined ICE from the Liberal Democrats where he was manager of Charles Kennedy's general election tour.

John Hilsdon Media manager Role: Media releases, press launches, liaison with engineering boards and vice presidents.

Marianne Jones Events and web manager Role:

Exhibitions and events, liaison with local association development officers, corporate web manager.

History: BA in English literature and history, currently studying towards an MSc in marketing. Prior to ICE was marketing assistant for contractor ERDC Group.

Contact: (020) 7665 2079 marianne. jones@ice. org. uk Claire Sanders Publications design and education manager Role:

Publications, education and training, liaison with professional development History: MA in german and history (Glasgow University). Joined ICE from Edelman Public Relations.

Contact: (020) 7665 2108 claire. sanders@ice. org. uk

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