Dear Members and Friends,

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This was a week when we focused on some impressive people, sadly starting with Sir Richard Paniguian. He died suddenly earlier this year and our keenly felt loss of an outstanding advisory board member and mentor was demonstrably shared by the many leaders present at his Tuesday memorial service from government, the armed forces and the energy industry.

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Ken, The D Group’s official model for its tie (and also a well-known jazz expert) visited to give his take on the Brexit situation. I think his views are pretty well-known but members were all the better informed by being reminded of them first-hand and with Ken’s inimitable delivery. Agree with him or not, it was reminder of a pressing need for clear, sensibly argued opinion and leadership.

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Grafton Street has welcomed a number of prominent US state governors in its time. Florida’s Jeb Bush a couple of times in the past, and Rick Scott last year and this time the highly impressive Doug Ducey, Governor of Arizona. This was courtesy of Strategy member Squire Patton Boggs and its London office managing partner, Robert Weekes. Doug and his team’s advocacy for the state was compelling and with the UK being the third largest foreign investor in the state and with sector opportunities in Defence, Aerospace, Infrastructure, Pharma and Services there is a strong case for more active Strategy member engagement. Doug’s team also included the charismatic owner of the Arizona Cardinals, Mike Bidwill. They are here to play the LA Rams on Sunday. Mike’s conviction about their prospects sent a few people scurrying down the street after lunch to lay a bet at William Hill.

BEI’s International Development Working Group had an active meeting on Tuesday, attended by some 40 people. There are clear challenges – and opportunities – in changes in an approach to procurement announced by DFID, combined with a clear move towards a cross-departmental approach to determining and delivering the UK’s very substantial ODA commitments. BEI is one of the leading discussion interfaces for SME and larger suppliers with DFID and we look forward to a series of important engagements with leading department officials in the next few weeks.

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Staying with BEI, I’m delighted to remind you that tables and sponsorship for the 2018 BEI Awards, the annual banner event for the international infrastructure sector, are selling fast. This event takes place in April under the patronage of HRH The Duke of Gloucester, BEI’s President, and is a great showcase for the breadth and depth of British expertise across all aspects of financing, designing, planning, delivering and running world-class infrastructure projects. It is therefore a delight to be able to announce that BRE, the UK’s global leader in raising standards of the built environment, has agreed to be overall sponsor. 

"Around the world there are significant challenges in delivering homes, buildings and infrastructure that promote better lives for people. The British Expertise International Awards celebrate companies from across the UK who are sharing their knowledge and expertise to rise to these challenges and make a positive impact on the global built environment. BRE is very pleased to sponsor these awards” Dr Peter Bonfield OBE, Chief Executive, BRE Group. 

This year’s competition is open with new categories reflecting the range of organisations in our membership and an easier to enter format on the newly created website www.britishexpertiseawards.co.uk. Entries close on the 5th of November!!

I wish you all a great weekend.

 Peter O'Kane - Chairman, Strategy International

Peter O'Kane - Chairman, Strategy International