Dear IGS Colleagues,
I hope this message finds you well as we prepare to say farewell to another year. And what a year it’s been with, once again, a busy diary of conferences, webinars, education and networking events, and exciting Society developments.
This year we proudly celebrated a landmark anniversary – 40 incredible years of the IGS. I hope you had time to catch the live webinars and Q&As for the IGS Birthday Week Lectures, or have caught up with them via our Digital Library. It was truly an honor for my Officers and I to speak directly with you in this important year, and I once again thank our volunteer speakers who brought us a rich range of global perspectives with their exclusive lectures, most importantly J.P. Giroud who was unequivocally the star attraction.
The anniversary was a timely reminder of how far we’ve come as a Society and as an industry and that this drive and ambition must continue into the next decades. Because of this we have an aggressive agenda at a very important time in our industry, where we must confront the challenges of plugging significant gaps in education about geosynthetics, while preventing misinformation that threatens market growth.
We’re already responding in several ways.
Most significantly we launched our Strategy 2022-2026, setting out four powerful goals to strengthen our influence, boost education efforts for professional development, improve opportunities and diversity, and ensure the IGS continues to be financially robust.
We’ve also developed three outreach projects in a bid to educate working engineering professionals:
- The IGS Sustainability Calculator, a game-changing online tool to help compare the sustainability benefits of using geosynthetics versus other materials.
- The IGS Handbook, a handy reference guide on the range and quality of geosynthetics and their applications. This will also augment the technical curriculum of future training courses.
- IGS Professional Development Courses to drive the highest quality use of geosynthetics from choosing the correct specification, design, and installation to end-of life processing.
All these projects are designed to support our IGS Chapters with technical content they can use to grow their own technical communities.
The IGS leadership has also invested in specific liaison outreach meetings with industry standardization and lobbying groups to foster cooperation and joint efforts where possible. This year I had the privilege to visit IGS individual and corporate members in China, as well as industry bodies and manufacturers, and in turn I was delighted to see a significant delegation from China at the 12th International Conference (12th ICG) in Rome.
After much postponement due to the pandemic, the successes of GeoAfrica in Cairo in February, and the 12th ICG in Rome in September were fine testaments to the hard work and dedication of the organizing Chapters in Egypt and Italy, respectively. During the 12th ICG we held the IGS General Assembly where our membership ratified long-overdue changes to our dues structure, bringing our Society into the 21st century and fostering a more stable financial future.
It was also where the new IGS Diversity Task Force held its launch event. It is currently developing guidance to help event organizers make their conferences more diverse. Related to this, the IGS is also focused on energizing our underrepresented communities around the world, with specific outreach efforts under way in China and India.
Talking global, our digital reach continues to grow. We have doubled visitors to the IGS website from 24,000 to 48,000 in the last year, added 1,000 LinkedIn followers this year to around 6,000, and published some 100 stories on our online news page over 2023.
We’re also focused on intensifying our communication to our Corporate Members with structural changes to the IGS Corporate Committee serving to include more corporate voices and input into our work.
2024 promises to be another action-packed year with the must-attend GeoAmericas2024 (5th Pan-American Conference on Geosynthetics) in Toronto, Canada, from April 28–May 1, 2024, and several planned IGS Chapter and Technical Committee events around the world.
Above all I’d like to take this opportunity to thank our Chapters, members and partners for all your hard work and continued support. I cannot think of any other organization such as ours that delivers so much through its volunteers. I wish you and your loved ones a happy and peaceful holiday season, and look forward to catching up with you in 2024.
Yours in Service,
Samuel (Sam) Allen
International Geosynthetics Society