Mike Bone June 2013

My third term as BIAS Chair could not have had an unhappier start than hearing of the sudden passing of Geoff Sheppard, who I was much looking forward to working with as my Vice Chair. Geoff will be greatly missed – in the meantime Ken Andrews, a former BIAS Chair and senior committee member has kindly agreed to deputise for me, as needed, until we elect his successor at the next AGM.

Geoff would have been delighted with the success of the recent regional conference in Keynsham that he had helped to plan and was to have chaired. A number of messages of appreciation were received from south-west colleagues and those who had come from much further afield. The programme, the quality of the speakers, venue, catering and attention to detail on the day were all commended and the conference team should take great credit for their efforts.

Moving on to Committee business, the reports and discussion at our last AGM provided me with a ready list of major agenda items and we have agreed to deal with one ‘big issue’ per meeting, in addition, of course, to routine BIAS business. Our first task was the conference and we then focused on the future of the BIAS website at our second meeting. In addition to expressing our appreciation for Maggie Shapland’s sterling efforts, we have agreed to improve the presentation of the site and to make secure provision for its future management and maintenance. The key to having an even better BIAS website is however CONTENT and this is where we need new and regular contributions from you – too much has been left to Maggie in the past, so please think hard about this and get in touch with Maggie with your news items, reports, photos and opinions on IA issues of the day. No IT expertise needed – Maggie will deal with the technology.

Our next ‘big issue’ is relationships and collaboration with other societies, Avon Industrial Buildings Trust in particular, and we will invite some of their members to this meeting. There are currently a number of challenges for BIAS to face – but much to gain for the IA of our area if we focus properly, take some brave decisions and engage more of the experience and expertise of the society. Geoff was always strong on this message.