Wow! Have things ever started off with a bang! I probably should begin with an apology. This report will likely read more like a blog. No, please don’t get me wrong. I don’t blog and have only been exposed to “blogging” a few times in my lifetime (mostly this year). Regardless, I thought this would be a nice way to connect with the CSBE membership, particularly regional members (and non-members) that might be perusing our website.
So, here we go! The fanfare all began with my nomination to the society’s Regional Director portfolio in spring this year. And yes, what a surprise it was considering the last time I actively participated in a CSBE event was in 2006 when Alberta hosted the CSBE National Technical Conference and Annual General Meeting. Prior to 2006 and since then, I’d battled with finding my identity within the society, be it the Canadian Society of Agricultural Engineers (CSAE) or now, CSBE. What was I really getting out of my association with the society? I had reviewed details of the proposed 2013 AGM and Technical Conference earlier on and didn’t find anything that appealed to me and so once again, I didn’t plan on attending this event either.
After consulting with a few prominent individuals, reviewing past and present regional director reports in the newsletter, and taking a peek at the draft revised CSBE bylaws, I proceeded to accept the nomination. Of course, this now meant I had to attend the AGM and Technical Conference held in Saskatoon in July of this year. And what an AGM and Conference it was! Obviously, I was voted into office…thank you…but beyond that was my new eye-opening, self-realization experience with the CSBE. I attended one of four workshops held on the 7th, a plenary session and technical sessions on the 8th, toured a biofuel production plant, a biogas research facility and a canola oil food processing plant on the 9th, and another series of technical sessions and a captivating education forum on the 10th. Not to mention the opening reception, AGM, barbeque, awards banquet, poster session and CSBE council meetings.
So what made the difference this time? Well, for one, I had the opportunity to be exposed to areas of expertise within bioengineering that were not familiar to me, and voilà, a connection was made. Light bulbs flicked on as my awareness grew. Opportunities for innovation, collaboration and so on came to mind. At last, I was forced to “venture beyond my comfort zone”, “think outside the box”, and I liked where it took me! Since the annual gathering I have had the opportunity to pursue some of my “newfound dreams” by meaningfully connecting with engineers and non-engineers associated with bioengineering. One of my goals as regional director for 2013/2014 is to expand this network to include as many such professionals in Alberta and to introduce or re-introduce them to the CSBE, as the case may be. I look forward to our voyage ahead and plan to keep you posted on the progress via this column on a quarterly basis. Toodles.