Webinar highlights how to make the most of FIDIC and its member asssociations

06 Jun 2023

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The latest event in FIDIC’s 2023 webinar series took place on 6 June 2023 and offered attendees an overview of how involvement in their local FIDIC member associations and FIDIC globally can provide opportunities to leverage many of the best practice benefits and other services that FIDIC offers.

The webinar, Making the most of FIDIC - how to get the best out of the industry's global representative body, sponsored by infrastructure engineering software company Bentley Systems, FIDIC’s 2023 webinar strategic partner, was organised jointly by FIDIC’s membership committee and its directors and secretaries advisory council (DNSAC). The aim of the event was to demonstrate the benefits of engaging and getting involved with FIDIC, while recognising that in a busy industry and commercial landscape, with limitations on time and resources and increasing business pressures, it can sometimes be a challenge to find the opportunities to engage with organisations like FIDIC to get the most out of them.

Speakers at the webinar, which was chaired by Chris Campbell, CEO of Consulting Engineers South Africa and chair of FIDIC’s directors and secretaries advisory council, included the webinar’s co-moderator Enni Soetanto, senior advisor at Mott MacDonald Indonesia and chair of the FIDIC membership committee, Helen Davidson, CEO of ACE New Zealand, Michele Kruger, function general manager - water infrastructure at SMEC in South Africa, Prashant Kapila, managing director of Intercontinental Consultants and Technocrats in India and Siobhan Robinson, project engineer at Kerr Wood Leidal Associates in Canada.

Introducing the event, FIDIC president Tony Barry said: “What we want to do today is to demonstrate the benefits of engaging and getting involved with FIDIC, while recognising that in a busy industry and commercial landscape, with limitations on everyone’s time and resources and increasing business pressures, it can sometimes be a challenge to find the opportunities to engage with organisations like FIDIC and to get the most out of them.”

Welcoming attendees on behalf of the FIDIC board, Luis Villarroya, FIDIC board member and president of Eptisa, highlighted the key role played by the FIDIC membership committee and the directors and secretaries advisory council. “They advise the board on membership matters and help us to ensure that we are delivering services that our members, their member firms and the wider industry want us to provide. We hope to show you today the value and benefits of engaging with FIDIC and your local member association through the examples and experiences of those who have benefited from that engagement and involvement,” he said.

Kicking off the webinar, Chris Campbell introduced the panel of speakers and said he was looking forward to hearing their insights on a range of issues around the issues of FIDIC, its membership and the benefits of engaging with the organisation and also its member associations.

Helen Davidson, CEO of ACE New Zealand, offered a FIDIC member association perspective, explaining what that entails as an organisation representing the industry in a country and raising awareness of what ACENZ does. She highlighted the important role of the organisation’s volunteers, who had been instrumental in transforming the association and played a crucial role in talking action on behalf of the industry. “These volunteers are excellent communicators and influencers and are really valuable to us and it’s really important that we show our appreciation to those volunteers to make their experience even more rewarding. Don’t forget that we cannot be relevant to our members without our members,” said Davidson.

The next speaker, Michele Kruger, function general manager - water infrastructure at SMEC in South Africa, looked at some of the big picture benefits to the industry that companies and their staff can get from their involvement in FIDIC. “You cannot ask what benefit FIDIC and its MAs provide unless you get involved,” she said. As a former FIDIC Young Professionals Forum member, Kruger highlighted some of the key benefits for young engineers from getting involved in FIDIC. She also said that as the current chair of FIDIC’s diversity, equity and inclusion advisory council, she was delighted to see the important role that FIDIC is playing in promoting ED&I in the global industry. “I’m especially pleased to see that the next FIDIC president will be a woman – the first in the organisation’s history to hold the role. Never let anyone tell you that you can’t make a difference,” she said.

Siobhan Robinson, project engineer at Kerr Wood Leidal Associates in Canada, talked about her volunteer journey at ACEC Canada, which had given her the opportunity to take on leadership roles in the Future Leaders grouping which will stand her in good stead as she progresses in her career. “Active volunteers in FIDIC’s member associations tend to be more motivated and they also keep those around them more motivated too. This enthusiasm can then be brought back into a volunteer’s own company thereby benefiting the industry as a whole,” she said.

Prashant Kapila, managing director of Intercontinental Consultants and Technocrats in India, explained how FIDIC operates, the role it plays in the industry and the key role of its volunteers that help to keep FIDIC relevant and help provide solutions to the key issues facing the industry. “Volunteers are the fuel that keeps FIDIC going,” he said. Kapila said that his own volunteering journey within FIDIC was enormously beneficial to his career and he had taken advantage of the many networking opportunities the organisation offers to the benefit of his career. He also spoke about the need to invest in young professionals and said that this was absolutely vital to futureproof organisations, including representative bodies like FIDIC and local member associations.

There was a wide-ranging discussion which addressed a number of attendees’ questions around how to get involved in FIDIC and its member associations, the benefits of engagement, how best to attract volunteers and incentivising them to get involved and demonstrating the significant benefits of volunteering for individuals and also companies.

Snap polls taken during the webinar showed that there was a growing awareness of the role of FIDIC and its member associations which needed to be built upon to increase the level of awareness and knowledge of the benefits of getting involved on a local and global basis.

Summing up the webinar, FIDIC president Tony Barry said that FIDIC’s member associations and FIDIC itself offered tremendous mentoring and networking opportunities that industry professionals should tap into. “These benefits were of great benefit to me during my career and I would wholeheartedly encourage people to get involved with FIDIC and your local members for the greater good of the industry,” he said.

Click here for full details of FIDIC’s 2023 webinar series, sponsored by FIDIC’s 2023 webinar strategic partner Bentley Systems.

Click on the video below to view the full recording.

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