Gary Deakin attends the CIWEM Welsh Branch Annual Dinner

Having obtained a place at the JBA sponsored table, Gary Deakin tells us what it was like to attend the CIWEM Welsh Branch Annual Dinner and Awards, on Friday 28 April in Cardiff – the branch’s key social event of the year.

What a great team

Travelling down from Warrington the night before meant that I was able to work from, and have a really enjoyable day, with the staff in the Newport office. Spending time with each member of staff, discussing the varied and exciting work that they are involved in, is always great and keeps me up to date on the diverse projects we work on.

The team covers 100’s of Property Level Resilience surveys, flood defence and mitigation schemes across Wales. They also look at high end environmental and visualisation projects. There was definitely a ‘Buzz’ in the office.

I also found out that I wasn’t the only CIWEM ‘dinner virgin.’ This was reassuring in that they didn’t know what was going to happen either. However, also scary as I was the most senior member of staff and therefore hosting the table.

Getting my game face on

I must say that getting changed in the hotel room I had more than a few butterflies. In fact a ‘whole damn zoo’ (thank you Hailee Steinfield for that imagery) had come to the party with me!

So, suited and booted I went down to the drinks reception to meet our table guests and fellow JBA ‘dinner virgins’. I was one of the first to arrive so I grabbed a drink and started to mingle. After a few minutes a couple of the JBA staff arrived along with two of our guests, David Brain, Team Leader at City of Cardiff Council, and Clive Moon, Principal Engineer from Vale of Glamorgan Council. After some quick introductions and a drink for everyone, we started to get to know each other.

It’s a small world

As the table host I felt responsible to keep the good vibe flowing. There were over 100 diners so it was a busy affair and once again it proved to be a very small world. One of our guests, Graham Hiller, Managing Director of Development Services at Tidal Lagoon Power, worked in Qatar in the Middle East for a few years in the late 1980’s, just when I was also living and working there.

The three-course meal and coffee seemed to fly by and we were soon on to the address from CIWEM President Bruce Keith. He had lots to say, with information about the work that CIWEM are doing around the world. This was made even more entertaining by his strong Scottish accent – especially at the start of his speech when he ironically struggled with the word ‘Presidential’ a couple of times.

There was the traditional raffle and donation envelopes on the table and over £600 was collected supporting WaterAid. There was also the presentation of the Morlais Owens award for best technical presentation. The end of dinner music was provided by a young talented opera singer and after a few more drinks it was all over!

I thoroughly enjoyed the event, meeting new people and discussing varying topics – both work related and extra-curricular, I look forward to the next one.

Want to know more?

You can contact Gary Deakin to find out more about the CIWEM dinner.

You can also contact George Baker for more information on how we can help you in Wales, or why not look at our recent Wales projects in the knowledge hub.

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