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View from the lectern: Fred's Dave Laister on OWC 2024


Dave Laister, PR and Media director at Fred is standing at a lectern at the 2024 Offshore Wind Connections conference

Fred’s PR and media director, Dave Laister, hosted Offshore Wind Connections, a major regional conference for the Humber this month. Here he reflects on the event.  

We’re a week on from Offshore Wind Connections 2024 already, so what did we learn? 


Collaboration, communication, clustering, competition, case studies. The absolute importance of championing all that has been achieved and is still to come.  


It quickly emerged it was going to be all about the C-words, which as compere - the outward facing representative of a magnificent team that pulled the two-day conference together - made me somewhat nervous.  


Thankfully it ended there, for there was also some frustration at a feeling of governmental rowing back, the pace of delivery stalling and at times an inability to access this wind farm windfall that has done so much to regenerate and revive the Humber over the past 17 years.  


And it is the Humber. It didn’t start with Siemens. That brought the manufacturing scale, jobs in their hundreds to Hull in one fell swoop, and the attention our patch completely deserved. Well before the first blade emerged, years ahead of the first digger on site, turbines were being operated and maintained from Grimsby, sites were being assessed and infrastructure expanded.   

The strength of what is a world-leading centre of excellence in keeping these magnificent feats of engineering generating ever more efficiently was evident throughout, a theme dovetailing into the fitting finale of the Humber Renewables Awards too.   



A panel discussion at Offshore Wind Connections 2024, hosted by Dave Laister, PR and media director at Fred


With stiff competition in the UK and abroad, it has never been more important to market this cluster as one. Humber Freeport, Humber Energy Board, Future Humber and Hull and Humber Chamber of Commerce have a shared responsibility here as we head towards devolution and a clear divide in the political landscape.  


The Energy Estuary that unites us becomes a visible geographic border once again, and all eyes will be on mayoral co-working when it comes to our key asset and unique ability to lead on delivery for UK Plc on energy, on trade and on decarbonisation. 


And this is exactly why events such as OWC, from Humber Marine and Renewables, are so important. Networking, sharing best practice, and shouting loudly, together, about what happens here.  

Which brings us nicely to case studies. In winning work and then delivering, the focus can often be on ‘what next?’. The renewal, the expansion, more of the same. Reflection is vital. Demonstrate what you’ve done. Showcase you to your supply chain, and inspire others.  Growth will require skilled people, so how do you set yourself apart from your peers? What can a potential new client reference in the news, on your website?  


In a digital age the tools are here, it is a case of knowing what you want to say and delivering it. Was your business ‘born’ into offshore wind or has it been a diversification? If so, is the brand relevant and does it make it obvious you’re involved? As I half-joked on stage when the importance of this was raised by a burgeoning SME in the sector, Fred can certainly help with that.    


Illustrated freeport interest, the pipeline of projects and the hunger to do more were clear positives to take, enthusing a sell-out audience who need to ensure they are in the best shape to capitalise when it comes – which can be another difficult element to navigate.  



Offshore Wind Connections 2024 conference, hosted by Dave Laister, PR and media director at Fred


I know I can vouch for the OWC team when I say how incredibly grateful we are for the immense contributions on stage from across the sector. From those shaping policy in Westminster, to painting on Westermost Rough, representation from on high in industry to marine management on the East Coast, it was a thought-provoking day with panels covering key elements and spotlight speakers shining a light on phenomenal projects, that individually should have us excited. Together they still stagger.  

Having enjoyed a front row seat as the business journalist covering the arrival, growth and rapid maturing of this great green industry, it was a privilege to take to the stage at OWC 2024. I’m sure it delivered for all delegates, whether it was insight, understanding or a chance to connect. 

 

There will undoubtedly be slightly choppier waters ahead, with a general election and potential for policy shift clear. Again, it is vital that the Humber makes its voice heard, be it in hustings, policy or yet again in Parliament itself. 


But we need to be clear. The Humber is the place to be. Be it for manufacturing, operations, maintenance, services, supply chain, knowledge, expertise... It has all been honed here, is required here, with export capability also at the fore. The excellent crew and cast assembled over the years in port-centric offices and across quaysides, now stretches to Taiwan, Australia and the US. Well beyond the furthest reaches of Dogger Bank or Hornsea, projects that were miles away when this journey first began. 


For more information on the full range of services that Fred offers, call 01482 227227 or visit our website. 
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