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62nd Annual General Meeting of the Institute of Refractories Engineers
62nd Annual General Meeting of the Institute of Refractories Engineers

These are the DRAFT Minutes of the 62nd AGM of the IRE as at 18th October 2023 for publication.

  1. To receive apologies.
    • Apologies received- D. Oates, M. Walton, N. Simpson, P. Walls, S. Bhattacharya, M. Connor, T. Kikuchi, A. Buhr, R. Kennedy.
    • 7 proxy votes received.
    • It was confirmed that over 10 members were present at the start and end of the meeting.
    • Quorum confirmed.

  2. To note any declarations of interest.
    • None declared.

  3. To approve AGM minutes held on 9th November 2022.
    • No objections.
    • 1 abstaining vote made by proxy.
    • Minutes approved.

  4. To receive a report from the President on the management and operations of the Institute.
    • At the start of my presidency, I made a commitment to our members that I would endeavour to ensure the IRE would be… Sustainable, Relevant and Engaging
    • Sustainable
      • Journal Circulation
        • There is now a members area live on the website, simply head to the main site, log in using your registered email address and you can access all the back copies of the journal together with the most recent one as it is released
      • AGM
        • We are stepping away from having our AGM’s at the conferences and trying to have them earlier in the year. This means we can focus on valuable networking at the conferences and keeping our more transactional duties to online.
      • Council Changes
        • We welcome
          • Matthew Davies, Senior Process Specialist in Refractories, Tata Port Talbot
          • Mario Taddeo, President of the IRE Australasian Branch and Territory manager for Asia Pacific Region, Pyrotek
          • Greg Connor, Senior Refractory Applications Engineer with Vesuvius Australia since 2014. Refractory industry since 1983, IRE member since inception in Australia and 2 terms as president.
          • Steve James, Technical Sales and Operations Director for M&M Energy Systems Ltd (A subsidiary of Stud Weld Pro)
    • Relevant
      • Website and Branding
        • We now have Don Merritt from Australia supporting us and working with our website manager to build the members area, he is going to assist with making the webpage more international and build areas specifically to engage with local networks of the IRE such as the IRE Australasian branch.
        • There are some fantastic ideas in the pipeline for this so watch this space…
    • Engaging
      • Conference & Training Day
        • Our conference and training day held back in Nov 22 was a great success, financially it brought in more (much needed) revenue than any held within the last 10 years (
        • We have our next one planned on the 15/16th November and you can now book this online through our website, so head on today to secure your tickets.
      • Corporate Packages
        • The Corporate Packages have gone down really well, making it much easier for our members and their companies to support the IRE, with their excellent value and ease of administration we see these as the key to our sustainability
    • Honorary/Fellows
      • Sam Franklin – Honorary
        • Sam has delivered countless training days for the IRE without charge, he has kept the IRE engaging and has passed so much knowledge on to our engineers.
      • Paul Bottomley – Honorary
        • Paul was Chairman of the IRE for many years he dedicated so much time and energy to keep things going and did so, particularly through years when support in general was low. His dedication is undoubtedly one of the main reasons the IRE exists today.
      • Mike Walton – Fellow
        • Mike has been a grounding force to the Australasian branch having been instrumental in its success and building a fantastic network of refractory engineers over there. In recent years he has performed a role as Treasurer and organised many successful conferences over there.
      • On behalf of the IRE council and members we would like to thank you for your unwavering support. We would like to invite you to our Conference dinner on 15th November to receive your awards.
    • 2024
      • 2024 the council is focusing on:
        • Increasing Membership and Advertising Revenue
        • Building the website and members area
        • Building council members and roles within it
        • Training opportunities
    • InspIRE your future and be part of the IRE

  5. To receive a report from the Treasurer on the Institute’s finances.
    • In my report for the last AGM, I described the poor state of finances of the Institute, and this explained why Council has adopted some of the policies it did. Steps that have been successful in reducing the deficit Operating loss has reduced from around £30,000 to an audited figure of £16,000. We expect that if we continue along this path that, with the growth in memberships we project, then we will be budgeting break-even next year. It should be stated that Council felt that making changes in a sudden and dramatic fashion to balance the books in one year would have been counter-productive.
    • I am also happy to say that we only had one bad debt reported last year which was for a company that went into administration.
    • Key to our return to financial sustainability is clearly growing revenue. We are hopeful that we will get an increasingly useful contribution from advertising. However, much of our financial improvement will come from expanding our membership – both individual and through our increasingly popular corporate packages. I have recommended a very modest rise in annual membership fee to £99. An indication from our publishers in terms of increased printing costs means that we need to increase the price of Corporate Packages. There was a desire not to increase prices for either but financially it made little sense; however, we have still proposed a below inflation increase. We also need to see how we can structure packages to make them more interesting for the Australian branch.
    • We have also seen a very useful contribution to finances from the conference held last November which exceeded initial expectations. Due to the tireless work of particularly Katy and Georgina, we had a successful event which contributed several thousand pounds to our finances. We have looked closely at we did well and where we could improve and are looking to have a better event this year.
    • This may well be my last report as Treasurer, and I can confidently say that I will be able to pass on the finances in a healthier position than I inherited a couple of years ago.

  6. To approve Council’s recommendation that the published unaudited accounts for period ending 31st December 2022 be accepted.
    • Noted that the Institute is operating at a loss of around £16,000 which is down from a loss of £38,000 the previous year. The bad debt has also been greatly reduced along with operating costs in general. Membership income has increased and the events held last year contributed greatly to the total revenue.
    • No objections.
    • 1 abstaining vote made by proxy.
    • 2022 year end accounts approved.

  7. To approve Council’s recommendation for 2024 membership prices.
    • 2024 prices
      • Full member = £99.00
      • Members <25 undergoing training = £49.50
      • Retired member = £49.50
    • No objections.
    • 1 abstaining vote made by proxy.
    • 1 vote against made by proxy.
    • 2024 membership prices approved.

  8. To approve Council’s recommendation that Mike Lamkin is appointed as president of The Institute of Refractories Engineers.
    • No objections or votes to abstain.
    • Mike Lamkin appointed as the new president of the Institute of Refractories Engineers.

  9. To announce the newly appointed fellows and honorary members.
    • It was announced that the Institute is awarding two honorary memberships and a fellowship. The honorary memberships are awarded to Sam Franklin and Paul Bottomley. A fellowship was awarded to Michael Walton. 
    • Sam Franklin, who has delivered countless training days on behalf of the IRE and contributed significantly over the years, stated that he recalled joining the IRE many years ago and receiving knowledge from the older members, which he found very helpful. Sam stated that this is what motivated him to run the training days as a form of payback. 
    • Council thank and congratulate Sam, Paul and Michael and invite them to celebrate at the Conference Dinner in November.

  10. Any other business
    • No other business raised.

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