President's Speech Issue 17

Dear readers,

Although I have been board member of Aerius since November 1st 1997, this is my first president’s speech. In the past I have assisted Ronald and Jeroen writing theirs, but this is one of those moments that I realize that criticising someone else’s work is easier than doing it right yourself.

One of the nice things of getting certain projects done, is that you can do it in a team: of course working alone gives you more certainty on the way how things are done, but the dynamism that can arise within a group of people can be very stimulating. The last couple of months, the group of active Aerius members has extended in two new committees: besides the unchanged Aerlines- and financial committees, we now have an activities committee and one for the studytrip to Hong Kong. Including the board, which now consists of five people, this adds up to 25 (!) part time participating Aerius enthousiasts!!

I failed to introduce to you our fifth boardmember: Henriëtte Huisman. She has replaced Marcel as secretary, and he took up the post of external affairs: with his flambouyant style, this should be just his cup of tea. And for Henriëtte: she seems to be a very dedicated student with other extracurricular activities, but my impression is that especially busy people are great managers of time and can often arrange to do even more, which is a good thing, because there is a lot to do within the Aerius organization.

For over a year now, the Aerius board – stimulated by the Advisory board – has been planning and acting on the changed circumstances of Aerius. This has resulted in a ‘Business plan’ on which you can read more in the next issue of ‘Aerlines.’ As is common in strategic marketing, a SWOT analysis was the basis of the exercise: it showed there is a good market for what Aerius is, and there is also demand from the aviation-industry to become more: something like a knowledge-centre.

Keeping in mind that Aerius is (an association, so) a not-for-profit organization, the Aerius board now follows the policy rules, that when our benefits do exceed our costs, these will be invested in the further development of Aerius as a multi-disciplinary knowledge centre. Not only is this a further commitment to the statutes of Aerius and the goals she persues, this is also one of the best ways to ensure her future, because we can then count on the support from the aviation industry.

In the short term, this means that the board will actively seek more sponsoring from companies and will try to forge alliances with parties that will bring Aerius closer to its new identity. This does not mean that we will develop profoundly different kind of activities for our members and sponsors: the internships, the evening-lectures, the excursions and study-trips together with research assignments, and of course the ‘Aerlines,’ will continue to be engaged, only with similar acceleration as in ‘the old days.’ As an economist (to be) I am quite aware of the concept ‘decreasing returns to scale,’ but I hope to omit the decreasing part by setting a new (grander) scale… ?

Yours truly,

René M. Graafland

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