Blog & News


Thu 03 December 2015

Category: President's Page

A successful year for the Society despite tough times…

PESGB President, Hamish Wilson reflects on his year in office and looks ahead to 2016 which will bring about significant change for the Society

HamishIt’s been a tough year for most people in the industry and, as a consequence, the PESGB has had to reflect on how we respond to this new evolving low-cost world. We’ve had to work hard at serving our members through producing low-cost, high-quality events which are good fun to attend.

Our results this year are a testament to the excellent work of the office staff and Council. All the events that the PESGB led, or were involved in, exceeded expectations both in terms of attendance and sponsorship. Our evening lectures in London and Aberdeen have been well supported along with the field trips and training courses. We have therefore finished the year in a financially sound position.

It is clear that the Society is doing a number of things very well. However given the changes in our industry and its wider context we felt it time to review how the PESGB is performing in terms of serving our membership. We ran a membership survey earlier in the year, which I report on in more depth in the December magazine. In summary, all members are very happy with the PESGB and in particular the fact that we bring people together as a community – networking being a particular strength of the Society. But we need to change; the survey points to several areas that need attention. These include: membership services (serving both those out of work and the increasing numbers of retired members); improving our web presence; charitable disbursements (have we defined the outcome we want to achieve from these funds?); and a request for more international events. The new council will take on the task of turning these aspirations into action through 2016 and beyond.

While on the subject of change, I am sad to report that our Executive Director Guy Elliott has resigned from the Society for family reasons. Guy joined the Society in 2008 and became Executive Director in 2011. The four years that Guy has been in post have seen substantial growth; membership has increased by over 20%; revenue has increased from £1.4m in 2011 to £1.9m largely driven by the success of PETEX. As a result, the Society has been able to distribute £1.5m to geoscience education – a massive achievement. To manage this growth, our office staff have increased from four full time staff to eight today. We have become a more professional and influential Society. Guy has made a massive contribution to this growth and on behalf of the Society I’d like to thank him for his work over the years and wish him well in the future.

The Council has appointed Maria Iredale as your new Executive Director. She has a long track record in leadership in the charity sector and brings a wealth of expertise and new ideas to help develop the Society. Maria formally starts on January 1st. However she will be attending the PESGB events leading up to Christmas in Aberdeen and London. Please welcome her into our Society.

Your next ‘word from the President’ will be from Colin Percival. I wish him well in his year as President and look forward to working with him and the Society through 2016 – a PETEX year. I’d like to thank the office staff and fellow Council members for their help and support through my term as President.

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