President's Blog, March 2023

An update from Brian Downes on recent activities and what's coming soon

Brian Downes, President, IAT

I know it is only a perception that time goes quicker as one gets older but with only 10 weeks remaining before I step down as President, time really does seem to be rushing by.  Having been somewhat constrained, by Covid restrictions, at the beginning of my term, I am now trying to make up for lost time.  I intend to get to as many Branch meetings as I physically can before I step down from the role. I look forward to seeing as many of you as possible over the next few months.

My first of these visits was to the Northern Ireland Branch, Training day.  The subject was Warm Asphalt and was attended by over 80 people.  The quality of the presentations was very high and covered the perspective from the Client, Contractor and Supplier perspective.  Malcolm Simms, MPA also provided an excellent presentation which provided, amongst other things, a wider international perspective on Warm Asphalt.  The day concluded with an interesting and active Q & A session, led by Lyle.  Well done to the Northern Ireland Branch for all your hard work in arranging the training event.

Recently we held a workshop with the Branch Chairs.  The session was very interactive and constructive. The focus was on how the Council and the Branches can work closer together to ensure we maximise the benefits of being in the Institute to all our members. There were a lot of great suggestions, which will begin to develop and be put in place. It was also agreed that in order to really address this matter effectively, we would require the thoughts and opinions of our members. 

In March, we will be sending out our Annual Members Survey. In this we have included the questions raised at the workshop as well as asking for feedback on the recently launched website and app.  If you haven’t got the app yet, please take a few minutes to download it onto your smartphone device.

I would also ask you to take some time to complete the survey, your opinion is welcome and the information from the survey will be used to improve the experience you get as a member of the IAT.

Following last year’s successful Annual Conference organised by the Northern Irish Branch at the Titanic hotel in Belfast, this year we will be with the South East Branch at the Courtyard by Marriott hotel, Heathrow.  More details of the event can be found on the special conference website at, but please reserve the 17th and 18th May in your diary.  During the Covid pandemic we did not hold the event, which is a great opportunity to get better informed on some of the key topics which affect our current day to day working lives and also future challenges.  The theme for this year is “Building Roads Sustainably”, we have arranged for a team of excellent speakers, on this very topical and important subject.  The Conference and Dinner is also an excellent opportunity to meet with many old friends and ex colleagues.  The details are included on the Website, please make sure you take the opportunity and book your place for the Institute’s most prestigious event on the calendar.

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