Life Member of AAPG House of Delegates
This is the first year for AAPG's House of Delegates to formally
honor members whose contributions to the House have been noteworthy
and sustained. Whenever an organization makes a "first-time award",
you can bet the honoree is a very special person, whose contributions
have been indeed extraordinary. Pat Gratton is just such an extraordinary
person, HOD's first Honorary Life Member.
Pat is an independent petroleum geologist, oil and gas producer,
and consultant, with more than 44 years of professional experience,
most in geologic provinces of the American Southwest. His career
has followed the characteristic pathway of Independents, from large
corporations (Shell), to a series of smaller companies (Delhi Taylor,
Capitan, and Nearburg), to independent practice since 1970. Currently
he has working interests in about 70 producing wells in Colorado,
New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas. He and his lovely wife, Jean Marie
live in Dallas. They raised four children, Sara, Vivian, Patrick
and Lizabeth (deceased), and are proud grandparents of Brian Davis
and Julia Gratton.
Taking part in professional organizations is one of the key attributes
of a professional. Pat has always taken an active role in local
geological societies wherever he and Jean Marie lived, as well as
in national organizations such as AIPG and SIPES, industry focus
groups such as TIPRO, TPAG, PTTC, and DEC, plus his alma mater's
alumni support group, the University of New Mexico Foundation, where
he is a Director. In these organizations Pat often served as an
officer; most of them have recognized his productive leadership
and unselfish contributions through many formal awards and honors.
Throughout these activities Jean Marie has provided unwavering help
and encouragement, generously opening their home for countless meetings
and planning sessions, giving wise counsel, and sitting patiently
through countless discussions about petroleum geology, professionalism
and society affairs. The Lord only knows how many covered-dish suppers
Jean Marie has sponsored; what a support system!
A member of AAPG since 1960, Pat Gratton has served on many committees.
He was an early member of AAPG's Division of Professional Affairs
(CPG#162), and has (characteristically) remained active in DPA committee
work, even after his term as President in 1989-90.
Today, we honor Pat for his long, steady, constructive, innovative,
wise and courageous service and leadership to the House of Delegates.
He is now in his fourth term in the House. He served 2-year hitches
on the Constitution and Bylaws Committee (Chairman, 1992-93), and
International Member Participation Committee (Chairman, 1994-95).
In 1996-97, Pat Gratton was Chairman of the House of Delegates,
unquestionably one of the most productive and influential Chairmen
the House has ever had. During his term the HOD (1) restructured
its offices and responsibilities to improve continuity, communications,
and effectiveness; (2) created three important new standing committees;
(3) encouraged and oversaw the emergence of the HOD Newsletter as
an essential vehicle for discussion of proposed legislation and
overall Association issues; (4) engendered a number of important
resolutions and Bylaws changes; (5) encouraged and received the
compilation of records comprising the HOD's history from 1970 to
1995; and (6) served the entire Association well in his one-year
tour on the AAPG Executive Committee. After 1997, Pat has, typically,
continued to engage in HOD committee work, not resting on his laurels!
In the 1990's decade, the HOD has been the primary agent of constructive
change in governance and administration of AAPG favoring the interests
of the general membership. It is no exaggeration to say that Pat
Gratton, personally and through his mentoring of many others, has
been the House's most effective, influential, and visionary leader.
Organizational change is usually painful, especially when a management
system has been long entrenched, and AAPG has been no exception.
Pat has taken more than his share of hits over the past four years,
some below the waterline. Nevertheless, without complaint, he has
persevered, with manifest integrity, good faith, perceptive humor,
rare patience, remarkable insight, energetic planning, and organizational
innovativeness, serving AAPG faithfully, where those of lesser character
would have given up. Over the past two years particularly, he has
repeatedly spoken out in various AAPG venues, on various controversial
topics, where it would have been far more politic for him to remain
silent. Pat is no elitist -- his concern is always for the welfare
of the membership. He is always guided by principles of equity,
courage, candor, and constructiveness. He sets a very high standard
by which future HOD honorees will be judged.
To Patrick J. F. Gratton, whose steady, energetic, innovative,
visionary, and courageous leadership of the House of Delegates
has brought needed and constructive change to the House and the
Association, and who has served as an inspiring example of true
professionalism to all those whom he has mentored.
Member of the House Award
Dan Smith's tenure in the House of Delegates began in 1982 as a
representative from the Houston Geological Society. Through the
last eighteen years of continuous service to the House he was Foreman
of the Houston Delegation and has chaired the Nominating Committee,
Constitution and Bylaws and the Special Resolution Committee on
International and Domestic Representation. Dan was Chairman of the
House in 1997-98, a time when controversial issues and changes to
the Constitution and By-laws of AAPG were being considered. Dan's
quiet reserve and diplomatic qualities were able to accommodate
even the most vocal personalities while he was Chairman. Even after
his Chairmanship, Dan has maintained an active role in the House,
working on various committees, such as the Committee on House Procedures.
Dan has been a very successful businessman as well. He has been
an active and productive geologist for over 42 years, starting with
Pan American Petroleum Corporation (now BP-Amoco) in 1958. From
major company to independent organization, and now an "independent"
in his own right, Dan has been a prolific oil finder throughout
the Gulf Coast.
He is a father of four wonderful children and a husband of 45+ years
to his wife, Laura.
This service to the House of Delegates has led him to be one of
the first recipients of the Distinguished Member of the House Award:
To Daniel L. Smith, who has distinguished himself as a dedicated,
selfless worker for the betterment of the House of Delegates and
AAPG, and who continues to strive for empowerment of the membership
of the Association.
Member of the House Award
A native of Great Bend, Kansas, Brenda came to Midland with her
husband Bob in June of 1974 and has never left. She earned her Bachelor
of Science Degree in Geology from The University of Texas, Permian
Basin in 1977 and started her career with Enserch Exploration. Brenda
also worked for Cotton Petroleum, Stone Petroleum and McDonnold
Companies before becoming co-founder of West Texas Digital, Inc.
in 1988. Brenda accepted a position at ARCO Permian in 1995, where
she continues to work as a Staff Geologist.
Brenda has indeed distinguished herself within the House of Delegates,
initially being elected as a delegate in 1987 representing the West
Texas Geological Society. It took very little time for Brenda to
make an impact in the House of Delegates as evident by her election
as Chairman of the House in 1989. She is serving her fifth consecutive
term as a delegate for the WTGS. In her 14 years in the House of
Delegates she served on the Credentials Committee, the Constitution
and Bylaws Committee, the Nomination and Election Committee, and
as the Chairman of the Resolution Committee. Brenda has distinguished
herself not only in her involvement and dedication to the House
but also by her presence on the floor. During debates on matters
brought before the House she has been very proactive and instrumental
in steering these discussions. Brenda's comments and advice have
been very valuable to the delegates in their deliberations on the
many and varied issues before the House.
Brenda's involvement extends to all levels of the geological community.
She joined the AAPG in 1977 and is a Certified Petroleum Geologist.
Her AAPG activities include serving on the AAPG Management Committee
and the Committee on Committees, as well as being an officer candidate.
The AAPG honored her in 1995 with their Distinguished Service Award.
Involvement with the Southwest Section includes serving on committees,
Chairman of the Honors and Award Committee, and being elected as
Secretary. Brenda has been elected to several offices and served
on and chaired various committees for the WTGS as well as the Permian
Basin Section SEPM, culminating in her election to President of
both organizations. Brenda was awarded an Honorary Life Membership
from the WTGS and the Dedicated Service Award from the Permian Basin
Section SEPM. Brenda has also shared her geological knowledge by
teaching on an adjunct basis for Midland College and the Permian
Basin Graduate Center.
To Brenda K. Cunningham whose past and ongoing distinguished service
to the House of Delegates has forwarded the professionalism of
the Association, and through her dynamic leadership has promoted
the Association and brought about constructive changes for the
betterment of the membership.
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