IT IS amazing to think that we are beginning the final countdown to the 2009 National Maintenance Engineering Conference on November 11. Twelve months of planning has gone in a blink and the event management team is deeply engrossed in the final detailed planning. Being privy to the back room developments, I can tell you that the 2009 event will certainly exceed your expectations. If you haven’t already booked, it’s not too late to ring Leanne Powley for your place at Wairakei.
The national conference is a natural extension of the Maintenance Engineering Society of New Zealand (MESNZ) – its activities and everything it stands for. Like the society, the conference takes a holistic approach to maintenance engineering in the real world. Paper selection reflects the reality that the engineering function sits in an industrial world that has a myriad of interactions with external influences completely unrelated to the technical world. Health and safety, statutes, BWOF, HASNO, customer relationships, man management, culture change, team development, employment law, training, global and local economics, business administration – you name it, there is no formal learning at apprenticeship or cadetship level.
The ethos of the conference is that engineers are solution providers. Their role is to stay abreast of relevant topics, keep the plant running, instill confidence in the operational staff, keep internal customers happy, create a proactive effect on operational efficiency and share a board room level understanding of the effect of their actions on the bottom line.
Not too much to ask is it? Unfortunately there is no formal training in this ‘savvyness’, so our goal is to provide a networking forum where engineers can tap into that kind of personal growth and bring something back to their workplace that will inject real value into the operation.
At MESNZ we understand how engineers think and what keeps their attention. As engineers we are ‘techno-nerds’ – we do enjoy a bit of technical titillation, but we turn off to presentations with excessive details, vertical corpse presenters or sales pitches. We enjoy presentations that are short, sharp and snappy, relevant and revealing.
When it comes to exhibitors, we want to touch and feel the latest products and services, or confirm that traditional suppliers are still supporting the industry. But hard sales pitches? Forget it, we would rather have a beer with you, understand your products and services and file your details in our back pocket for when the need arises.
The Conference presents an opportunity for a diverse range of cross seeding of engineers across industries, regions and disciplines – creating more cross-pollination than a genetics laboratory! I never tire of seeing engineers from one industry or region discovering that someone else has already experienced a similar problem and found a solution. Sometimes, just hearing a bit of hard advice from your own peers is the kick in the pants we all need to resolve to do something. There is nothing more reassuring when encountering a daunting new problem than knowing a supplier or fellow engineer who has run into the problem before.
The National Maintenance Engineering Conference pulls all these factions together – engineers, experts, advisors, and suppliers and intentionally blends them into one sociable group who can talk, learn, compare, establish new contacts, strengthen existing ones and take back new solutions, visions and energy to the workplace. Whether you are an engineer, an engineer’s manager or a supplier, you need to seriously think, “Can I afford to NOT be there?”
In August, the MESNZ unveiled its inaugural $5000 MESNZ Scholarship. The response has been heartening given the short run up to the national conference, with a healthy group of candidates presenting themselves to the committee. The depth of character bodes well for industry and the society is pleased to commit to the scholarship scheme going forward. The inaugural winner will be announced at the 2009 National Conference.
For further details contact
Leanne Powley (09) 296 1333, firstname.lastname@example.org or
Craig Carlyle (09) 299 3357, email@example.com Or go to www.mesnz.org.nz.