Following eighteen years as Chair of PIANC A&NZ, Neil Lawson achieved something no other Australian or New Zealander has achieved in the history of PIANC –becoming a Vice President of PIANC International in June 2017. Now just over halfway through his four year term we can report on the some of the activities that he has been involved in.
Since his appointment as V-P Neil has taken the opportunity to get involved in PIANC’s financial and marketing/promotional matters through FinCom and ProCom – sometimes attending meetings in person when they coincided with an ExCom meeting, or otherwise joining via Skype. These Commissions reflect Neil’s interest in finance and business marketing and growth. Moreover, he felt, rightly, that getting involved across the administrative and decision-making bodies of PIANC International would gain additional support for some of the great A&NZ initiatives.
Some of the PIANC matters which Neil has been involved in are:
- 1. Gaining agreement that summary videos and PowerPoint displays will now be prepared by each Working Group at the completion of their task. Implementation of this is now underway.
- 2. Assisting with the National Sections who do not have government support for the payment of subvention. The other major National Section that is in the same position as ANZ is the UK. This subject is still a matter for further discussion, but it has been accepted that those National Sections need some special consideration.
- 3. Neil chaired the committee that assessed the Working with Nature awards presented at the 2018 World Congress in Panama City, and this year he is the Chair of the committee considering the De Paepe-Willems Award to be presented next year in Bristol.
- 4. PIANC ANZ has been particularly successful in promoting PIANC in the region. This has been supported by the recent establishment of Regional Chapters and the increased delivery of quality technical and networking events. The ANZ model is being used to assist other National Sections to grow. Growth is an important topic of discussion at all ExCom meetings.
- 5. Singapore is about to become a full National Section with the assistance of Neil and his Japanese colleagues. This push has also been assisted by PIANC A&NZ Board member, Ron Cox who has also made PIANC HQ sponsored visits to Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand.
- 6. The decision to hold the next World Congress in Cape Town in 2022 was a big decision for PIANC. Neil Lawson, along with the Secretary General Geert van Cappellen, is very active in supporting South Africa to ensure that this is a successful event.
- 7. Neil was one of the leaders in developing and launching a new PIANC Asia-Pacific conference. PIANC APAC is the new biennial forum for Asia Pacific and beyond – focusing on harbours, ports and recreational boating in the region. PIANC APAC 2020 will be hosted in the vibrant city of Fremantle, Western Australia 16-19 June. Neil has promoted this conference internationally and it is now an accepted part of the PIANC International calendar.