Gas Speak: a stage for young industry representatives

The AGIT Gas Speak Colloquium draws together many young professionals from across the spectrum of the Australian gas industry, where they are encouraged to expand their knowledge of the industry whilst developing their presentational skills in a professional but friendly environment.

The 2008 Colloquium, which was held from 22-24 September in Canberra, opened with AGIT Chairman Andrew Creek welcoming everyone to what was hoped to be an informative and enjoyable event. Mr Creek then introduced President of the IGEM, EurIng Robert J. Murray who delivered his keynote speech on the United Kingdom’s natural gas industry.

Gas Speak delegates spent the rest of the day learning the art of effective presentations, in sessions designed to enhance and develop the presenting skills of the delegates – notably after the IGEM President and the Chief Executive had given their keynote presentation! Delegates enjoyed the often funny yet challenging sessions and impromptu speeches that were quite literally thrown their way. The day ended with a tour of Old Parliament House, the venue for the whole event.

While Gas Speak delegates enjoyed a night to prepare for their speeches, a dinner was organised for the evening at a local restaurant with senior executives from AGIT, APIA and other dignitaries from the Australian gas industry. Even Malcolm Turnbull, Leader of the Opposition, showed up at an adjacent table!

Day two opened with a bang as the Federal Minister for Resources and Energy, the Hon. Martin Ferguson AM MP, delivered his keynote address discussing Australian Government policy, Carbon Capture and Storage and the way ahead for Australia and its gas industry under the Labor Government. This address was delivered to a joint delegation of attendees to the Gas Speak Colloquium and those attending the one-day ENA Gas Seminar, “˜Emissions trading – implications and opportunities for the gas industry.’

The Colloquium delegates then re-grouped and launched into their own series of presentations with mentoring provided by Barbara Jinks, Steve Dobbie, Andrew Creek, Ross Evans and John Williams, amongst others.

The Australian Gas Industry Dinner was held that evening at the Australian Institute of Sport where delegates were invited to test their sporting prowess in a series of exercises.

A special note should be made here of the excellent rugby ball skills demonstrated by both the President, on behalf of Wales, and the Chief Executive, on behalf of England. The “˜sport’ was followed by an excellent dinner in excellent company with welcomes and introductions by Andrew Creek and Chair of the ENA Gas Committee Peter Harcus.

As with all good events, the end comes suddenly and this was no exception. All competitions have a winner, although the judges had an extremely hard job in making their final decision. In the end, four winning presentations were chosen across four categories:

  • Origin Energy Manager, Retail Strategy, Dee Garnsworthy, was awarded Best Presentation for her speech – “˜Behavioural change towards lower emissions intensive options at household level.’
  • Origin Energy Treasury Manager Luke Adams was awarded the Achievement Award for his presentation on “˜Corporate Treasury Management.’
  • Renee Ryder, Residential Segment Manager at Mercury Energy New Zealand, was awarded Most Appealing Speech for her lively presentation “˜Gas Retailing in Action,’ in which she spoke about the company’s “˜World’s Biggest Barbeque’ campaign.
  • Jemena Integrity Engineer, Abraham Vedamonickam, was awarded Best Supporting Visuals for his presentation, “˜Confined Spaces: A win-win outcome for field staff, management and OH&S.’

The presentations were of a calibre that would have graced IGEM’s own Young Persons Paper Competition and this provided both IGEM and AGIT food for thought for the future.

The President and the Chief Executive took the opportunity to thank all involved for their dedication and professionalism and the organisers for their hospitality and consideration in hosting and organising the event. Commemorative gifts were exchanged recognising the relationships made during this event before Mr Murray and myself made our way homeward to the United Kingdom.

In special recognition of the honour of addressing the Colloquium, and the friendship and hospitality extended during it, the President presented Andrew Creek with a limited edition statuette (Grog) of the legendary Wallaby, David Campese. It would be displayed, everyone was assured, in a prominent position to be enjoyed in the years to come.

Special mention has to be made for the magnificent efforts of Moira Lawler, who co-ordinated the whole event as well as ensuring that the IGEM executives were kept fully informed of process and protocols before, during and after the event.

John N Williams IEng MIET MIGEM is IGEM Chief Executive Officer. As well as mentoring Gas Speak delegates, Mr Williams spoke at the Colloquium about IGEM, its core business and its relationship with both the United Kingdom’s gas industry as well as touching on global interfaces.

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