NEW ICE DIRECTOR of the regions Julien Parrott has announced a bold action plan.
'I am here to give the Institution back to its members, ' said Parrott. 'People talk about the Institution and its members in different breaths. We need to change that.'
Parrott belives that the ICE's status in political circles is well founded: 'The fact that the ICE is recognised as the national authority on issues relating to civil engineering is demonstrated again and again, ' he said.
'The recent call from government for the ICE to a establish a commission into flooding is an example.
'But the fear is that this is based too much on an historical understanding of the ICE, rather than a modern appreciation of its relevance to society.'
Parrott sees this as a real concern: 'We are sometimes seen as obstructive to change - highly paid guardians of a bygone age.
'Of course, the staff are forward thinking and the work that is done in One Great George Street is relevant in addressing the big issues facing civilisation today, ' he added. 'But we have not been very good at communicating these facts.'
Parrott's major role will be to support to the work of local associations, which he sees as having a vital role to play in the future of the Institution.
'We understand that it is through the local associations that most members have their contact with the Institution. It is here that the focus must be achieved, ' he said.
From 1987 to 1994 Parrott worked with the now defunct government construction agency PSA, before moving to the Construction Industry Council.
One of his many achievements at the CIC was to be the first secretary of the CIC's equal opportunities task force.
In July 1999 he joined the Institute of Building Control as chief executive and guided it to a successful merger with the building surveying division of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors in December that year.
These contacts with umbrella organisations will be used to good effect at the ICE, as it continues its quest for better professional relationships with other engineering organisations.