40 years of the IED: Mike Jessop
In the first of a series of articles featuring influential IED people and projects from our proud history dating back to 1983, we hear from Mike Jessop, a long-standing member who served the Institute as a Council/Board member over two spells.
I was first introduced to the IED (then the Institution of Economic Development) in 1987 by Derek Hughes, my manager at South Tyneside Council.
Together with my colleague Phil Payne, I joined the Institution a year later as member 239 and attended my first conference, meeting founding director Stephanie Wakefield beforehand at Canary Wharf. I recall meeting, as well, the lovely Colin Lomax there for dinner that year and began to attend almost all annual IED conferences.
I was elected as Director to the then IED Council alongside Robert Jolley at the Stoke AGM and Conference and was duly handed a mug! I served for six years as Director and enjoyed the conference format of varied locations with study tours over two days, recalling one late evening and much red wine with the wonderful Barbara Mothershaw from Chester debating the worth of transactional analysis in the workplace!
Branch development was a strong feature back then, and I and others, notably Ray Browning, created and ran a North East branch only rivalled for productivity with Barbara’s North West branch and a certain young Nigel Wilcock involved.
Council meetings were held always in the austere International Students House in London and, at times, progress was slow leading to a few fraught conversations. Chairs were annual appointments which perhaps was insufficient time for consistent impacts back in the early days. One regular debate around the use of a Chair of Office pendant seemed weird!
Around this time the most notable IED AGM ever, in Nottingham, was focused around Scottish devolution issues, a good emerging point being the ever friendly Jim McLeish as Company Secretary who I later took over from for six years.
The fantastic Brunswick pub emerged around this time as a regular IED haunt following get-togethers with branches annually in Derby. How can you forget the evening Jazz, the Triple Hop IPA or the stronger Uncle Mike? I will also never forget the IED study tour to Pinewood Studios with Colin on the bus and seeing the James Bond set and shark tank from Thunderball.
After a few years break from the Council, I stood again as Director with the new IED Board following the appointment of John Lockett as Chief Executive and Keith Burge as Chair. Under Keith we had a good phase of development, including a review of CPD and strong policy contributions from “Uncle” Derek Walker and Michael Johnson, my fellow Geordie. Maybe technology and regular updates made for better communications around Board matters. John did an exceptional job.
For me, one humorous recollection during my second spell was the arrival of Lord Heseltine, late, as opening speaker at the conference. I met him and briefed him as he seemed not fully initially aware. He then wrote down but seven words on the back of an envelope. Keith introduced him and the notes came out, a wonderful if contentious 45 minutes slick delivery and much questioning. Lord Heseltine later went on to become the first Patron of the IED.
Moves to broaden membership developed and with a greater sense of direction and consensus for me in those later years. Dawn Hudd replaced Keith as Chair and did a good job. I left the IED in November 2015, again presented with a mug (!), this time in London.
I encountered many sincere, lovely, genuine and able people as volunteers with the IED, from the founders through to my ending. Days were long, contributions immense, but a general shared feeling of moving the profession forward made up for that. I made many friends over the years and several, notably Keith had an impact, including sponsorship for his annual runs!
In my spare bedroom at home I have three framed items: one of me pictured with Jack Nicklaus at Troon in 1973, the final Lindisfarne show pictured at Newcastle in 2005, and my framed IED Honorary Fellowship. I think that says it all!
I celebrate my 40th wedding anniversary also this year, along with the IED’s milestone, and thanks to all those who worked with me over my years. Whilst many of the issues we were set up to highlight still remain, I wish all now involved in the Institute a prosperous future and another 40 years.