Americas Community Volunteer Conference

22 October 2012
IET Communications team
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Americas CVC 2012

A group discussion at the IET's recent Americas Community Volunteer Conference.

Third event in CVC series sees IET volunteers gather in Calgary.

Following successful Community Volunteer Conferences (CVCs) for the IET’s South Asia and EMEA regions, the three-day Americas CVC took place in Calgary from Friday 14 September.

The weekend event started with a meeting of the IET’s Americas Communities Committee, which demonstrated the strength of the IET volunteer base in this region. Steve Mustard has now retired as chair of the Communities Committee, with Drew Noble beginning his term on 1 October.

Saturday 15 September saw the Present Around the World (PATW) final for the region, with over 50 people in attendance. Drew Noble took the opportunity in his introduction to pass on the latest news on the IET Strategy for the 21st Century, which led to a lively Q&A overseen by Drew and Steve Perry, head of sectors and communities for the IET.

The 10 PATW finalists, all enthusiastic IET Young Professionals (YPs), then delivered their presentations, with topics ranging from parallel processors to urban vertical farming units. Drew Noble said: “The quality of not only the content, but the presentation styles, was fantastic, giving the judges an extremely difficult task to select one winner.”  Mike DuVall of the University of Calgary was ultimately named the regional winner for his excellent presentation on the role the protein group titin performs in muscle contraction.

For the afternoon, the Young Professional Regional Committee, led by Alyssa Randall, organised a series of presentations on YP volunteering. Topics included how to organise a PATW, working with Canadian Student Engineering organisations, and how to start YP groups at universities.

The next day saw a video update from IET president Andy Hopper and chief executive Nigel Fine, and then a presentation from Steve Perry on the IET’s communities team, volunteer/staff governance structure and plans for the future. Hudson Egbert then talked about the IET’s international strategy and there were panel discussions on developing new communities and re-energising existing ones.

Volunteer Julian Harvey explained the MyCommunity platform and Ann Nann, IET community relationship manager for the Americas, explained the tools available to volunteers for marketing and events. Canadian Prairies Group of Chartered Engineers (CPGCE) member Bob Enever gave an overview on the activities of their multidisciplinary group of members from UK engineering institutions.

There were also discussions on partnerships and the final presentation was by Matthew Jelavic who spoke about what the future of the IET might look like. Matthew asserted that the IET has the unique position of being the only global professional engineering institution and the world's largest multidisciplinary, professional engineering body. Julian Harvey described Matthew’s presentation as “a particularly refreshing approach to the topic”.

Steve Perry summed up the CVC as “a really informative conference weekend with great networking and an all-round energy from people to take the IET to higher levels in the Americas”.

Steve said: “With new local networks emerging and some incredibly talented YPs wanting to getting involved, the region can only go from strength to strength. Ann Nann did a wonderful job in organising the conference, the PATW final and various meetings and worked tirelessly to make it such a success.”

Attendee David Cotton said: “We have challenges in the Americas, but the one thing that I took home from all of this is that the IET is the largest [multidisciplinary] professional engineering organisation in the world, and as an American, it is exciting to be a part of a venerable, but thriving, institution.”