Dear IGS Colleagues,
2020 has certainly been a challenging year, bringing unprecedented disruption to nearly every aspect of our personal and working lives. As the last 12 months draw to a close, I want to reflect on the resilience of our society this year, and look ahead to 2021.
Firstly, I was incredibly proud to see the inventiveness and ingenuity of the geosynthetics industry as we adapted to the challenges of Covid-19. Chapters across our network found new and innovative ways to serve members, including adjusting and reshaping events so they could continue in some form, such as through webinars and virtual conferences.
A significant example of this was GeoAmericas 2020. A huge networking and educational event due to take place in Rio de Janeiro, it was transferred entirely online. This was a first for a geosynthetics conference of its kind, and I congratulate the Brazil Chapter of the IGS for their amazing efforts to make it possible.
I’m sure we will see more events delivered in this way in the future, widening accessibility and knowledge about geosynthetics in exciting ways.
Another regional conference postponed from this year was EuroGeo7 in Warsaw, Poland, and we look forward to this taking place in May, next year.
This year also had some significant firsts for the Society when it came to developing our priorities and communications.
We celebrated the launch of our first eBook on Sustainability, and more recently the creation of the IGS Sustainability Committee, spearheading our ambitions to improve the understanding and use of geosynthetics in creating more sustainable projects. The eBook has now been translated into five languages, with more expected next year.
We also launched our new digital newsletter, Chapter Chat, showcasing and celebrating news from our members. Our LinkedIn page broke the 2,000 followers barrier, and continues to grow, demonstrating the support and interest we’re delighted to nurture.
Strengthening our education efforts is also important and the launch of the IGS Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the IGS, was a key milestone. More than $100,000 has already been raised, some of which has already benefited the next generation of engineers with 19 students able to attend the virtual GeoAmericas 2020 conference thanks to Foundation scholarships.
It has been a hard year for everyone but the resilience demonstrated by members, the industry and colleagues has been truly inspiring. It is with this renewed energy I encourage you to greet the new year, and the positive possibilities it will bring.
I would like to wish all our members a happy and healthy holiday and peaceful New Year. We look forward to seeing you at IGS events in 2021.