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We will Triumph

-Krista Dulon

Mark Robinson, In-Kind Management Section Leader for ITER since 1 November, is an avid motorcyclist. (Click to view larger version...)
Mark Robinson, In-Kind Management Section Leader for ITER since 1 November, is an avid motorcyclist.
Mark's Triumph Thunderbird 900 motorbike.  (Click to view larger version...)
Mark's Triumph Thunderbird 900 motorbike.
Mark Robinson is used to projects and people. He's worked in project management and procurement for over 15 years, but he sees coming to ITER as the opportunity of a lifetime. "As a Project Manager," he says, "there's no greater place to work than the ITER Project Office - it is a privilege to join such a hard working and experienced team."

As Section Leader for In-Kind Management since 1 November, Mark's role will be to keep Procurement Arrangement (PA) signings on track. These important milestones toward ITER construction mark the moment when Domestic Agencies begin procurement activities with industry. 160 PAs are planned to cover ITER construction; 29 have been signed to date, and the rhythm is set to accelerate in 2010.

Mark and his five colleagues in In-Kind Management work with the technical, quality and scheduling responsible officers from both the ITER Organization and the Domestic Agencies. Each signing is the culmination of a long, collaborative process including detailed negotiations to make sure that nothing goes wrong on the appointed day. The Section is also responsible with other groups for tracking the performance of signed PAs against scheduled milestones toward delivery, and ticking off credit as the items are delivered. "The scale of ITER can not be underestimated," says Mark. "The number of procurements is daunting and challenging - there is a procurement network and supplier chain for ITER all over the world!"

Mark will be relying on team-building and negotiating skills acquired in both the public and private sectors in Europe in the course of his career. Starting as a Chartered Engineer for the UK Royal Air Force, he worked for years in contracts and procurement with the four-nation Eurofighter project in the NATO management and procurement agency. At the private venture ASTA (supplying flight simulators to Eurofighter), he dealt with a myriad of contract arrangements and international companies who contributed to the project. And in his most recent appointment at the European Southern Observatory (ESO), where 14 partner nations cooperate to build and operate observatories in South America, his experiences included contract negotiation with the European Commission, performance and schedule tracking, risk and change management.

Mark is looking forward to settling into life in "a beautiful part of the world" with his partner, and - as the proud owner of a classic Triumph Thunderbird 900 - to touring southern France and the Alps by motorbike. Mark will also be getting to know Provence by foot, as he trains for half marathons.


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