Comment – One Giant Leap…

The Institute of Demolition Engineers has the opportunity to assemble a Dream Team.

Comment IllustrationIt is my personal opinion that trade associations are to demolition what the moon is to Planet Earth. They exert a degree of influence but they are distant and remote; of primary interest to those stood upon them while the rest of us barely acknowledge their presence on a day-to-day basis.

There is a possibility that could change, however, when the Institute of Demolition Engineers gathers for its annual general meeting in a few weeks’ time. A new president will be crowned and – notwithstanding a last minute change of heart or an act of God, that new president will – deservedly – be David Darsey of Erith Contractors.

I was fortunate enough to work under Darsey during his tenure as president of the National Federation of Demolition Contractors. Timing-wise, he was rather less fortunate. No sooner had the chains of office been hung around his neck than the global recession turned those chains into a veritable millstone while the industry around him battened down the hatches to stave off the effects of a financial meltdown.

Despite this, Darsey achieved much. It was during his presidency that the Accredited Site Audit Scheme became a pre-requisite of NFDC membership. It was Darsey that cut the ribbon on the new Resurgam House in Hemel Hempstead, the NFDC and NDTG’s home to this day. And it was Darsey that engendered the unity required to keep the Federation together when the recession could so easily have torn it asunder.

For me at least, he was the right president at the wrong time. And his ascension to the head of the Institute of Demolition Engineers is a just reward for his unstinting commitment to the greater good of the industry.

While Darsey’s presidency is assured, the vice presidency is very much up for grabs. And the way in which the wider membership votes will have an enormous and far-reaching impact upon the IDE for the next four years. That vote will dictate whether the Institute chooses a fleeting glimpse of new school followed by a swift return to the old, or a continuous and upward path that might ultimately lead to the coveted chartered status the Institute so openly craves.

And that upward path is embodied by a potential “dream team” of Darsey as president and AR Demolition’s Richard Dolman as his vice president.

On the face of it, the two men are very different. Darsey is gregarious and passionately opinionated; Dolman is slightly more reserved, his opinions more considered. But from a demolition perspective, both are cut from the same cloth.

Both preside over companies that – in their own way – have come on in leaps and bounds in recent years. Both have based that success upon going the extra mile, on training more than is required, on exceeding industry standards, forging their own paths and setting their own ambitious benchmarks. As a result, both now have trophy cabinets that speak to a demolition, training, safety and environmental excellence that is the envy of their peers. Although their companies differ in age, size and stature, Erith Contractors and AR Demolition are – in their own way – among the best in the world; both reflect the modern face of blue chip demolition.

Hopefully, IDE members – in their infinite wisdom – will bear this in mind when they place their votes for the incoming vice president.

As a non-member, the election will have very little impact upon my life; the outcome will affect me about as much as another flag being stuck into the surface of the Moon. It will be a small step for demolition.

But if members choose the Darsey/Dolman dream team, it will be a giant leap for the Institute.