Q&A with new CEO Colin Church

29 Oct 2018

As he takes on the role of CEO for IOM3 towards the end of November, Colin Church tells us about his ambitions for the Institute going forward and looks towards the 150th anniversary celebrations. 

Congratulations on being appointed the new CEO. What are you most looking forward to?

The thing I am most looking forward to at the beginning is getting to know the people involved with IOM3, whether as employees, Trustees, volunteers or members. Any professional institute is defined by its people. I’m also looking forward to learning more about the IOM3 programme of events and generally how things tick. Beyond that, I’m keen to get stuck in to the 150th anniversary celebrations and all the work we need to do to continue the Institute’s development.

What do you think are the challenges ahead for professional institutions going into the 21st Century?

If there was ever a time where professional institutions could rest on their laurels – ‘build it and they will come’, if you like – that time has gone. Changes in society, in people’s expectations and in the structure of our economy mean we must continually demonstrate the value we add both to society as a whole and to each and every individual member.

What are your ambitions for IOM3?

I want IOM3 to remain the premier professional institution for materials, minerals and mining in the UK and, building on its existing international networks, to be seen that way globally too. I want every member to be proud of their membership and to be clear what benefits it brings them and wider society. Finally, I want IOM3 to play an appropriate part in the public and policy debates on the role of materials and engineering in driving our transition to a low-carbon, resource-efficient economy.

How can we engage the younger generation and improve young people’s understanding of materials and engineering?

To engage with younger people, IOM3 must make sure it is listening to and acting on what they want and need, and communicating through the means and in the style that works for them. I know IOM3 already has its Younger Members’ Committee and I look forward to working with it on this – it is definitely part of the answer. Beyond that, good and extensive use of social media as a coherent part of an overall communications approach, engagement with schools and further education colleges, alone and with employers, and getting the right messages into the mainstream media all play a role in reaching out to the folk who are the future of our disciplines.

What experience do you bring to the Institute to help drive our organisation forward?

And there I was thinking I’d already sat the recruitment interview. My background suits me well to this role. I’ve worked with public, private and academic partners throughout my career, led teams and managed budgets large and small, developed new strategies, policies and products and then delivered them, led international negotiations for the UK, presented messages to a wide range of audiences, successfully influenced policymakers and reversed The Chartered Institution of Wastes Management’s membership decline. I have a real interest and belief in the role that IOM3 can play as both a professional membership body and a learned society in the UK and abroad. I’ve a track record of motivating my teams to deliver while also seeing to their individual and collective development.

How do you feel about joining IOM3 just when we’re about to celebrate our 150th anniversary?

Joining IOM3 as the new CEO at any point would be an exciting honour, but coming in with the 150th anniversary makes it extra special. It’s a real opportunity for us to showcase the value we provide our members, raise our profile and help make sure we are well-placed to thrive for the next century and a half.

What do you like doing in your spare time?

I’m married, have young twin boys and two dogs, so family time is an important part of my life. I tend to combine that with my love of cooking, but we also get out for a bike ride or a walk. I like to read when I get the time and I have been known to drink a glass or two of wine.