Denver a Great Place for New Ideas

I heard a comedian say, “Adults are always asking kids what they want to be when they grow up – ’cause they’re looking for ideas.”

If you are looking for some great ideas then I have just the place for you. It is time for theAAPG Annual Convention and Exhibition (ACE) in Denver, and we are scheduled for a week of great technical talks and professional opportunities.

ACE officially starts this year on June 7 and ends on June 10, but there will be many activities before and after the meeting –especially a number of excellent field trips.

Randy Rayis this year’s general chair, and he has a passion for developing the best possible experience for attendees. That passion starts with science and has resulted in an incredible technical program.

The development of the Denver program is led by general technical program chair Steve Sonnenberg and technical program vice-chair Paul Weimer. The technical themes are broad and include sessions from “Global Deepwater E&P” to “Unconventional Reservoirs” worldwide.

In addition to the technical talks the committee has produced a number of special events. Highlights include:

  • The opening session (Sunday) – Something new will be added to this year’s opening session: entertainment by the award-winning Rocky Mountain Children’s Choir, which will provide both pre-show music and a grand finale that could have you dancing all the way to the Icebreaker. Plan now to arrive early to enjoy the show.

Of course, the more traditional trappings of the opening session will be offered as well. AAPG President Scott Tinker will give his presidential address and our profession’s top scientists and leaders will receive well-deserved awards, including the presentation of the Sidney Powers Memorial Award to Marlan Downey.

  • AAPG’s annual Management Forum (Monday), which this year is built on the theme “Challenges for Global Energy Demand – Short-term Variability and Long-Term Solutions.”
  • There will be several other special sessions and forums, including this year’s Discovery Thinking Forum (Monday), featuring seven more explorers and geoscientists from the AAPG’s 100th Anniversary Committee’s list of “100 Who Made a Difference.” This year’s group includes Bill Barrett, Richard Findley, Steve Kneller, Doug Strickland, Ray Thomasson, Bob Weimer and Marv Brittenham.
  • The Michael T. Halbouty Lecture (Monday) will once again offer a very special guest at the podium: Guilherme de Oliveira Estrella, the director of exploration and production of Petrobras, will discuss the oil and gas potential and impact of Brazil’s newest plays.
  • This year’s All-Convention Luncheon (Monday) will feature AAPG’s own T. Boone Pickens, the high-profile entrepreneur, philanthropist and creator of the “Picken’s Plan,” who will discuss his experience in the oil and gas industry and the economic and political changes that will control our future.

    Tickets for this event are selling at a very brisk rate – the event may be completely sold out before the meeting begins – so if this is an event you’d like to experience (and who wouldn’t?), here’s a suggestion: Buy your tickets now.

The AAPG Divisions also have luncheons on Tuesday and Wednesday with good opportunities for professional development. Slated for those events are:

  • The DPA luncheon speaker (Tuesday) will be Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper, an AAPG member whose geologist-turned brewpub pioneer-turned elected official career has resulted in his being called one of the country’s top five “big city” mayors by Time magazine.
  • The DEG luncheon speaker (Wednesday) will be Mike Jacobs, with Pioneer Natural Resources USA, who will discuss the “Cooperative Aquifer Restoration Project, Fort Peck Indian Reservation – A Multi-Agency Success Story.”
  • The EMD luncheon speaker (Wednesday) actually offers an out-of-this-world experience; Jeffrey Kargel, adjunct professor and senior research scientist at the University of Arizona, will discuss “Unconventional Far-Out Petroleum and Gas: Hydrocarbons from Mars to Titan and Beyond.”
  • And as always, the latest in technology will be on display in the ACE exhibition hall. New technology is an integral component in the success of new plays, and this will be an excellent opportunity to observe and talk to those who provide the services.

Another key part of the annual meeting is the opportunity for the various AAPG committees to conduct the business of the Association.

If you are interested in serving on a committee, this is the best time of the year to become active; most committees add new members at the end of the AAPG fiscal year (June 30).

The easiest way to join a committee is to go online at, search the committee pages for your area of interest and then contact the committee chairs.

You also can contact me or other AAPG staff members and we can help with the process.

Although science and technology represent the heart of the ACE experience, the overarching importance of attending the meeting is the tremendous opportunity that we all have for networking.

Networking is extremely important as the industry cycles through the current economic conditions – and there are many opportunities throughout the entire event to greet and meet your peers, including receptions and alumni events.

Of course, Denver and the mountains are always great in June.

Please take the time and opportunity to join us for a little Rocky Mountain High in Colorado.

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Director's Corner

Director's Corner - Rick Fritz
Richard D. “Rick” Fritz, an AAPG member since 1984 and a member of the Division of Environmental Geosciences and the Division of Professional Affairs, served as AAPG Executive Director from 1999 to 2011.

The Director's Corner covers Association news and industry events from the worldview perspective of the AAPG Executive Director.

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