Ballots will be mailed in the spring
Editor's note: Candidates for AAPG office have been given the opportunity to respond briefly to the subject: "Why I Accepted the Invitation to be a Candidate for AAPG Office." Here is the response from president-elect candidates David G. Campbell and Daniel L. Smith. Candidates were asked to limit their responses to 500 words.
Why I Accepted the Invitation to be a Candidate for AAPG Office
By DANIEL L. SMITH
Membership in AAPG is an essential part of my professional and personal life. It is the primary reason for my 42 years of being able to be an active player in the petroleum exploration business. Continuing education and networking opportunities have been the keys that have opened the doors for me. I will forever desire to give back to AAPG for providing these vital opportunities.
How the AAPG leadership responds to the needs of its members is critical to the future success and value of the Association. I would welcome the chance to be part of that leadership.
AAPG has been changing in response to a changing industry. I prefer to address change with a positive attitude, rather than a problematic one. Challenges can always be met head-on and solved with good teamwork, open communications, positive attitude and a democratic approach. Positiveness among all involved when debating the hard issues is essential. I am very sensitive to the concerns and needs of the members and will listen to each one.
The following is a partial list of challenges we face:
The opportunity for AAPG to become "Career Partners for Life" for every member, which would replace the "company base" that has virtually disappeared because of the new mobility, loss of company training and the near-end to company/employee loyalty.
This should include career management resources and educational programs that are timely, useful, state-of-the-art and cost-effective.
The digital-information-technology revolution has hit the energy sector full blast and is changing everything, including virtually all functions of AAPG. There are new ways for the association to disseminate technical information, conduct continuing education programs and reach members who are otherwise inaccessible with traditional approaches.
AAPG must catch up to the workplace as multifunctional teams continue to rule the day in business. It is increasingly difficult to separate geology, geophysics, land functions, engineering and all specialties of the geosciences. Already, multifunctional meetings, seminars, short courses and conventions are becoming prevalent.
As this trend proliferates, AAPG should be the leader, but at the same time retain its important traditions.
Why do so many geologists in the workplace have the opinion that AAPG does not meet their broad-based needs? I continue to find this to be a principle reason for non-renewal of memberships. Is this merely misperception and lack of communication about available services?
We must pursue how AAPG can better serve the membership to retain existing members. Fiscal responsibility must be the controlling factor as we fund services to members.
I continue to be very concerned about lack of proper behavior and professional conduct among some members of the geoscience community. As chairman of the House of Delegates I formed an ad hoc Committee that improved the AAPG Code of Ethics. This area needs more attention.
AAPG should be involved in public and governmental affairs that impact our ability to make a living and practice our profession. We should embrace the reality that energy companies need more freedom and less governmental regulation to meet the energy needs of the future. I fully support DPA's Governmental Affairs Committee in drafting Position Papers on important issues. The relative freedom of the computer industry has led to an explosion of innovation and productivity. The same freedom given the energy industry would lead to the same result. The new energy economy is defined by a philosophy of producing "more for less, and much faster." AAPG should do the same in its multi-functions.
Why are regulatory, legal, accounting and tax considerations deemed more critical to the success of energy companies than the technical aspects? College freshmen see their path in accounting and law. "Why bother with geology, math, physics and chemistry?" How can AAPG get the youth of America interested in geology, and why don't younger members get more active in AAPG activities?
The association is doing much in this area, but it remains a critical challenge. We must increase Web-based information specifically useful to students and provide a venue in which the students can interact with AAPG.
The challenge is enormous. The average age of an AAPG member is 49. Barring a substantial influx of younger members, beginning 2010 the association may begin to experience a membership decline of up to 30 percent. We must recognize that the member base is changing, and that the services well suited to senior members may need to be delivered differently to younger members. Both groups must be serviced equitably.
AAPG increasingly is growing into the international arena. I was very much involved in the long-standing effort to provide adequate representation for our foreign members in the governance of AAPG. A continuing challenge is to provide services to our foreign colleagues. At the same time, let us not forget the tremendous opportunities remaining domestically. I've been there, both domestic and foreign.
Finally, my past AAPG activities have provided me with a thorough understanding of how the association functions. When I think about the challenges facing AAPG and geologists everywhere, the fire burns deep inside to be even more pro-active in the search for solutions. It's this kind of intense passion that can make a difference. Together, we can build a stronger association.