SAIMC: From the president's desk
March 2013, SAIMC
It is indeed a privilege for me to lead such an important organisation in the current South African landscape. The SAIMC has a rich history which needs to be preserved and built upon. I must thank our immediate past-president, Johan Maartens, for his inspirational leadership over the past two years. Johan has skilfully managed to balance the competing needs of the new, younger generation of SAIMC members who want to modernise the organisation, with those of the more experienced members who are more comfortable with the organisation as they have known it over the past 55 years.
Being a member of the younger group, and having worked with Johan over the past two years, has given me an appreciation for the fine balancing act that the role of president requires. Hence although there will be changes during this coming year, these will be done with due respect to the organisation’s heritage.
The primary objective of my tenure as president is to continue to provide added value to our members. In this regard, we have therefore revamped the website to provide more functionality and certain aspects of the website will be reserved for members in good standing only. An example of this is recordings of our various technology evenings, which will in future be made available on the website to members who could not attend the meeting. This is in response to requests from members who have work or family commitments that preclude them from attending these valuable sessions. There will also be functionality that will enable members to get their CPD points after viewing the recording. The website is currently in beta testing and we will provide further information about its exciting features once all testing is complete. Watch this space.
Furthermore, we are aware that our administration is not always up-to-date, as there are a number of members whose contact details change on a regular basis. We have also identified a problem with the allocation of payments, particularly when companies pay on behalf of the member and the references are not always clear. In order to address these challenges, we will be employing a full-time secretary in 2013 and this person will also be the administrator of our new website. The secretary will be available to members, branches and council during normal working hours to assist with all manner of administrative tasks. The position is expected to be advertised during the course of March 2013. We hope that this change will make your interaction with the SAIMC much more rewarding.
We will also be holding a Bosberaad/Imbizo in the next month or two. The objective of this gathering is to get input from key-stakeholders as to the role we as the SAIMC can play in education, industry, society, our country as a whole, and beyond. Leaders in industry (end-users, vendors etc), academia and other interested parties, such as ECSA, will be invited to attend this important event. The output of the meeting will be a five-year plan for the SAIMC, to which future presidents will subscribe. Each year, part of the plan will be prioritised and executed. Council will have its objectives determined by this annual plan and the branch objectives will be aligned with that of council so that we all ‘pull in the same direction’. We will then measure our achievement of objectives at the AGM where members will decide if we, as council and branches, have passed or failed! In this way the SAIMC will build momentum and thereby increase our value add to our various categories of members.
The Imbizo/Bosberaad will also inform the re-branding process which we are currently investigating. We are all aware of the famous quote by Greek philosopher Heraclitus: ‘The only thing that is constant is change’. Hence in this ever-changing world every organisation has to continually reinvent itself to remain relevant and hence survive. This is the purpose of the rebranding process: to ensure that we are providing our current and future members with the best possible service and have an image that is attractive to our current members and is also fresh and hip enough to attract new young members. The SAIMC membership base is currently skewed towards the more experienced member and we need to attract the future young leaders of our industry now, so we can mentor and groom them for the responsibilities they will inherit from the current generation of senior engineers.
This year, we will also be intensifying our support for the branches both financially and otherwise. The branches are closest to our members and hence our main mechanism to service our members. Activities in the pipeline include workshops, CPD training and of course more site visits and golf days.
In brief, these are our plans for the year and I hereby invite all interested parties who want to assist the SAIMC on this journey to mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org with their constructive ideas.
Finally, members, please make every effort to have your opinion heard at the AGM on 27 March, either by attending or by submitting a proxy form via your branch chairman. We really appreciate your input!