Institute of Refractories Engineers - Presidents Column

  • Institute of Refractories Engineers - Presidents Column

    I've been asked to write a profile about myself and it has been much more difficult than you may imagine. It has certainly made me reflect and realise that I've come across so many great characters who have been influential and that I've learned so much from.

    I started my refractories career as a Lab Technician in the R&D department of KSR in the summer of 1989 working on monolithic refractories and I was introduced to The Institute of Refractories Engineers shortly after. After a couple of years I moved to the sister company Flogates working on slide gate refractories for the steel industry although this was in the same R&D facility at Sandiron House, Beauchief in Sheffield working with the same fantastic people. During this period at KSR and Flogates I studied at Stradbroke College before studying 4 years of materials engineering at Rotherham College of Arts and Technology.

    Following the acquisition of KSR & Flogates by Vesuvius in the late 1990's and, after Vesuvius acquired Premier Refractories, started working on refractory bricks for pretty much most applications. At the time I didn't realise how diverse and complex refractory bricks are and it is very easy to make the mistake of brushing them aside as "just bricks".
    I probably learned more about refractories from bricks and brick people than at any other time.

    In 2001 Vesuvius gave me the opportunity to live and work overseas with a choice of China for 2 years or South Africa for 6 to 18 months. It really was an easy decision and I relocated to South Africa taking the role of Technical Development Manager. Whilst the period living in South Africa was supposed to have been short it actually lasted over 8 years and it was there I met my wife, Heidi and where my son was born. It was also a period where I became more involved with The Institute of Refractories Engineers as Chairman of the branch. I'm very proud of the team we had there that put so much effort into restoring the branch and significantly improving attendances. It's disappointing that this has faded away in recent years and I'd like to see it regenerate again. During my time at Vesuvius South Africa I gradually shifted focus away from a technical issues and towards operations ending my career at Vesuvius as Contracts Operations Manager at the end of 2009. I'm very grateful to the all the Directors and Managers I worked for and with at Vesuvius and Vesuvius South Africa who were all such a positive influence and whom I learned so much from.

    In the years since returning the United Kingdom I've worked in sales and market development roles for Monocon (part of IFGL) and Calderys respectively. This was such an interesting time and whilst some product groups were familiar again, there were new product groups to learn about particularly at Calderys.

    Earlier this year the opportunity to return to a more operations focused role presented itself, working for and with some old colleagues that I have the most upmost respect for, and I took the role of General Manager at Intermet Refractory Products, sister company to Sheffield Refractories. I guess my profile is really a story of learning and development, much like anyone else's. A lot of that learning has come from working with amazing people and also via the IRE which has helped introduce me to people, opportunities, new ideas and technology. It's perhaps the main reason I'm so interested in the IRE, it's a great forum for learning, sharing of information, technical discussion, networking and meeting up with people you perhaps haven't seen in a while.

    This is why the IRE remains relevant, interesting and reflects its values of existing for the benefit of its members.

    Callum Arthur

    The aims of the Institute are:

    To foster and promote the skills and science of refractories engineering.

    To raise the standard of ability and training in this field of science and engineering.

    To promote and maintain the character, status and interest of the members of the Institute

    To disseminate information, facts, ideas, news or suggestions that maybe of interest to members.

    To encourage the exchange of ideas and information among members to their benefit and to the benefit of the industries they serve.

    The Institute is a non-profit making body and its entire income is applied solely to the promotion of these aims.

    Membership confers the ability to:

    Receive a copy of the Institute's Journal the "The Refractories Engineer", bimonthly publication

    Attend local branch meetings (see IRE branches)

    Submit papers for publication by the Institute

    Network with the refractories community

    Discounted rates for meetings and other functions

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    General Secretary & Treasurer
    Postal Address: 575 Trentham Road, Blurton, Stoke on Trent, Staffs, ST3 3BN
    Email:     Tel:0044 (0) 1782 310 234     Fax:0044 (0) 1782 310 234