Thursday, September 17, 2015

Making a real difference

Paul McLaughlin, BESA Chief Executive

Thirteen may be unlucky for some, but as I sit reflecting on my first 13 days as chief executive of the Association, I can’t help but think that I am actually very lucky indeed: lucky to have been appointed to a role where I feel I can make a real difference; lucky to have the full support and backing of my officer team; and lucky to have a team devoted and committed to helping me restore the Association to its rightful position as the leading member-focused organisation in our sector.

Earlier this week, I visited our Penrith office, where the Welplan pension and benefits operation is based, as well as our publications and registration schemes. The day before my visit, Welplan Pensions passed the Master Trust Assurance Scheme audit and will become only the fourth scheme on the Pension Regulator’s list of approved master trusts.

This excellent news will support the growth of the scheme, and I’m delighted for all the team involved in the process and was impressed by the professionalism and enthusiasm of everyone I met in Penrith. 

B&ES is a member of GCP Europe – a collective of European trade bodies in our sector - which performs a monitoring and engagement function on EU legislation.  At its conference in Edinburgh this week, I was pleased to hear that they are creating working groups to respond to an Ecodesign regulation on ventilation units and another on the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive, both of which will have an impact on our members in the UK. I will be seeking B&ES representation on both of these groups.

Our new membership director, Richard Ward, starts with us on Monday. Richard joins us with a distinguished record in our sector, and in fact began his career as an hvac apprentice. His first task will be to revise and refresh our member benefits and services and to ensure that the Association keeps members at the heart of everything that we do.

There is a lot to do at the Association. Everyone who has supported it in the past is desperate for it to update, re-engage and re-emerge. This came across very clearly at our President’s Luncheon this week.  Members are passionate about the Association and keen to enhance its position as a driver for positive change across the sector. 

Everyone I met asked what I am going to do and how I am going to do it.  I’m beginning to understand the issues and develop a view on where we need to be.  I feel that I have come on board at exactly the right time to facilitate that process and I relish the opportunity.

“But is he lucky?” is the perhaps apocryphal criterion for Napoleon appointing a general. At the moment, I feel like I could pass that test…


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