Presidential Goals for AAPG, FY 2005-06
As AAPG's 89th President, I welcome HoD Secretary Bob Shoup's invitation to write about my FY 2005-06 goals for AAPG in The Delegate's Voice. Having the HoD's support for those goals will greatly facilitate our chances of achieving them.
First, some historical perspective: AAPG has come a long way in the past ten years, and AAPG's House of Delegates figured prominently in this progress:
- Stemming from bold and far-seeing leadership in the House of Delegates, we established that our International members were to be directly involved in AAPG governance, with their own geotechnical communities -- the six new International Regions.
- More important, the HoD established that, as the body representing the membership, it was the ultimate authority, not the Executive Committee, and not the Executive Director and the Tulsa Headquarters organization. The HoD also strengthened the Advisory Council in its roles in nominating officer candidates and honorees for awards. Subsequent ECs have accepted the new order.
- Following the departure of a long-serving (24 years) Executive Director in 1996, the Association went through a turbulent few years. In 1999 we chose the present Executive Director, Rick Fritz, a long-time AAPG member, who was sympathetic to the reforms that had been instituted by the HoD.
- In retrospect, we can now see that the "wheels nearly came off" of our administrative function, the Tulsa Headquarters organization, in 1997-1999. The past six successive Presidents, their Executive Committees, and Executive Director Fritz all deserve great credit (and our thanks) for making steady progress ever since.
- Today, AAPG is financially secure, with increasing sources of revenue, an expanding presence in the world E&P professional community, and substantial international membership. AAPG is the foremost professional geological association in the world, with members in 115 countries.
- Pat Gratton, one of the leaders who had guided the rise of the House of Delegates during 1995-1999, was AAPG's 88th President. Pat laid out an extensive agenda and accomplished almost all his goals (for a summary read his Presidential letter in the June Explorer). His never-wavering commitment to the interests of the membership are legendary, and inspiring to those who served with him. The value that AAPG members now receive for their annual dues is simply phenomenal. However, the pace of Pat's presidential agenda left the Tulsa headquarters organization (as well as his Executive Committee) breathless by the end of June, 2005. And that sets the stage for my goals for 2005/06.
- In order to continue and build upon this record of progress, our first task is to digest and consolidate the many administrative changes brought to the Tulsa HQ operation during Pat's year, so they are in future utilized routinely and their value is widely recognized.
- Creative and productive committees are responsible for much of AAPG's progress as a growing and vibrant association. We have many committees whose dedicated volunteers function effectively, and contribute to the broad professional tapestry that is AAPG. Unfortunately, there are also some committees whose mission has now been accomplished, or that have lost their way. We need to be sure all committees have an appropriate charge which they are responding to. And we need to identify new leadership for some committees. We will, starting in fall 2005, provide complimentary training in how to run a committee effectively and get results. All committee chairs and vice-chairs will be encouraged to undertake this training. Finally, we must involve younger AAPG members in committee work. I am committed to meeting these goals in FY 2005/06.
- For many years, Tulsa headquarters was a "top-down", "silo-ed" organization, operating within long-standing and often rigid guidelines. Often it was not very responsive to members' requests and needs. Even though there have been substantial and beneficial changes in Tulsa management and staff since 1999, and performance is much improved, it still has a ways to go before it can be described as a "bottom-up", integrated, staff-empowered, flexible, service-oriented and initiative-seeking organization. We are blessed with a great many dedicated and experienced staff members in Tulsa; Rick Fritz and the 2005/06 EC are committed to providing them with the training, vision, incentives, and leadership to complete this 7-year transition, and staff are receptive.
- AAPG's three Divisions -- Professional Affairs, Energy Minerals, and Environmental Geosciences -- need various kinds of help. We will undertake workshops and training to encourage membership growth, financial health and visionary new programs and projects. The first Divisional workshop was held in Dallas on August 5. All Division leadership participated.
- A fifth goal is to get AAPG's new GEO-DC office, housed with the American Geological Institute (AGI) in Alexandria, Virginia, up and going. We will shortly announce the Board of Governors, as well as the new Director of GEO-DC, and I look forward to substantial and constructive new involvement of AAPG in various activities in Washington D.C. that involve energy and geoscience.
- There are a number of other initiatives that I intend to address in the coming year -- the declining number of voting members, the need for additional sources of revenues, increasing contributions to the Foundation and to AAPG's investment portfolio, and expanded participation with sister societies in offering joint conferences and conventions.
- Finally, I am concerned that our International membership seems to have leveled off, and some of our International Regions do not seem to be actively progressing towards becoming functioning geotechnical communities. Two that are making real progress are the European and Asia-Pacific regions, and I am planning extensive speaking tours in both Regions during the coming year, as a way of recognizing progress that is already evident, and encouraging new members there.
- At the same time, I want to be sure that we pay careful attention to our Domestic Sections. I will attend and speak at about a dozen society and section meetings during 2005/06, and am looking for new technical programs that speak to emerging U.S. geotechnologies and applications especially geared toward the Domestic scene.
It is an ambitious program, but the 2005/06 Executive Committee and I are committed to these goals. We will appreciate greatly the support of the House of Delegates in our efforts to achieve them, and I will let you know how we did in my final report to you next year. In any case, we genuinely look forward to working with the House in our joint ongoing efforts to make AAPG a better organization for the benefit of all members.