A farewell from CEO Bernie Rickinson

19 Nov 2018

Looking back over 21 immensely enjoyable years as Chief Executive at IOM3, it is hard to single out one aspect or achievement within the job that has given me the most pleasure. Some of the activities and brands depicted have been a part of the Institute’s development under my watch.

The variety has been immense and, as a role, I would recommend the position to anyone. Anyone that is who enjoys the stretched responsibility. Putting your arms around the Materials Cycle whose organisation involves 47 separate technical communities, spanning more than 16,000 individual professional members, is a part of this intense experience that provides difference on a daily basis.  

Joining the IoM (yes a single M) in 1997, I made a mistake! From a previous industry background, where three of four customers might be beating a path to your door, the IoM provided a step change in that any one of 10,000 members could request an audience, an interesting challenge to manage. I have been lucky, looking back at my working career, there have been so many new activities to develop and grow with an Institute staff team that has so much energy and potential. Membership has surged, become more diverse, more international and more active.  

Looking at the brands, it is satisfying to know I had a major hand in their origin and development. Interestingly, moving IoM from one M to the power of three to IOM3, started a change through which five inter-institutional mergers have been completed over a period of fourteen years. All were different but required the same strategic decision-making that now places IOM3 as the unique global society embracing the full Materials Cycle. 

The global importance for materials development has propelled IOM3 into the partner of choice for knowledge exchange and professional development both within and outside the UK. The World Lecture Competition running now for 14 years has provided a major positive impact on our international visibility and its development through our Younger Members’ Committee has established it as a key ingredient for overseas membership growth. Our community interaction and public engagement particularly with schools through the Schools Affiliate Scheme (SAS) has set new standards for others to follow. Operating to support teaching staff in more than 1,000 UK secondary schools has demonstrated that all PEIs have a role to play if we are indeed to succeed in developing the relevance and visibility of engineering science and technology to young people. IOM3 as a brand is being recognised as an innovator, a communicator and a fast moving service-based business. I am proud of what the Materials, Minerals and Mining community have achieved collectively. Reflecting on headline numbers and in the tripling of M’s we have doubled our assets, grown our appeal and membership by 60% with broadly based and stable income streams and with staff levels 40% less than when I started.  

I leave IOM3 with an unforgettable experience, a mix of highs and lows and ready for its 150th anniversary in 2019. Operating business numbers for 2018 will be in the black and I will certainly miss the daily buzz from such an effective volunteer and staff team. Is it retirement? Hell no, there’s another challenge out there and with luck I’ll find it. To all my friends in the M3 community - ‘we’ll meet again’.

Bernie Rickinson