Profile: PIANC International’s first Vice President from Australia

At the PIANC Annual General Assembly held in Cairns in 2017, Neil Lawson was appointed to the role of Vice President of PIANC International. PIANC has four VPs each serving a four-year term. Neil, who was Chair of PIANC ANZ for 18 years, is the first VP to come from Australia since PIANC was established in 1885.

Neil said that he was honoured to be appointed VP and that he would be using his unique position to

“enthusiastically promote ANZ, look for opportunities to promote PIANC in the region, as well as bringing some of the successes in ANZ to the world stage of PIANC.”

Neil’s focus is now on international activities as well as supporting the new Chair of PIANC ANZ; Associate Professor Will Glamore.

International Expertise -National Success

Neil is, of course, no stranger to the international business of PIANC. He is now an active member of ExCom (the Executive Committee) effectively the Board of PIANC International as well as an active member of FinCom (the Finance Committee) and ProCom (the Promotion Committee).

But he also brings to the international stage his reputation and skills as a brilliant national promoter and builder of PIANC. Under his leadership, ANZ has been the fastest growing PIANC National Section with an emphasis on increasing corporate membership. This successful Australian model for membership expansion will continue to be discussed at ProCom and ExCom in an effort to increase PIANC’s global footprint.

Building regional capacity

In April 2018 Neil travelled to Cape Town with the Secretary General of PIANC, to review the South African bid for the World Congress in 2022. Subsequently PIANC International has endorsed Cape Town as the location for the next Congress. Neil’s extensive experience in managing successful conferences will be used to assist South Africa deliver a high-quality event.

PIANC Singapore are preparing to become one of the new National Sections of PIANC. Neil has already supported Singapore in the preparation of their Constitution and has travelled to Singapore with the Secretary General to assist with bringing the Singaporean peak government authority into the PIANC fold; a necessary step if PIANC Singapore is to become a successful National Section.

Early Achievements

One of Neil’s first achievements as VP has been getting agreement that all Working Groups should prepare a PowerPoint and video on the completion of their reports. These can then be used in PIANC national and regional presentations throughout the world, in addition to being of great informative use for promotion and profile raising through the PIANC international website.

Neil was the Vice President responsible for the final assessment of the winners of the Working with Nature award presented at the 2018 Congress in Panama. Neil noted that the two Australian entries from Fremantle Port Authority in WA and Newcastle Coal Infrastructure Group in NSW were of high quality and both received ‘Certificates of Recognition’.

Promoting ANZ

Neil’s work for PIANC International has also enhanced his contribution to his home team. Through his international connections he has been able to secure Mr James Dalton, Director of Civil Works US Army Corp of Engineers as the Keynote Speaker at the ANZ Coasts and Ports Conference to be held in Hobart in September 2019. Mr Dalton will be accompanied by Mr Todd Bridges who is well known in Australia as a previous Coasts and Ports Keynote Speaker. We are hoping that Mr Dalton and Mr Bridges will be able to be speakers at a PIANC Seminar on the 2 days prior to the Conference as well as undertake a short post Conference tour of eastern Australia and New Zealand.

In line with his aim to more fairly represent ANZ, Neil has introduced a discussion at FinCom and ExCom around Subvention. The ANZ National Section of PIANC, in common with the UK, Canada and Belgium, has to fund its own subvention payments. This also means that it has to fund its own secretariat to run the National Section. This new model is becoming more common around the world and ANZ, along with the UK, are leading the discussion on how this transformation might be more equitably managed.

If any ANZ PIANC member has any matter that they would like to have discussed at international level they should contact Neil at neil.lawson@pianc.org.au to discuss.