Letter to Delegates from the President
Thank you for agreeing to serve AAPG as a Delegate from your society to AAPG.
At the HoD's April 9th, 2006 meeting in Houston, you will be asked to approve amendments to AAPG's Constitution and Bylaws establishing a second Vice President, representing international members, who historically have been notably underrepresented among the officers on AAPG's Executive Committee. The proposed legislation is correctly seen as expanding AAPG's International interests empowering Region leadership and encouraging International membership*, at a time of increasing E&P globalization and declining US membership. To those HoD members who may have reservations about this initiative, let me review five historical vignettes that seem applicable.
- Following the Wright brothers' 1903 success, great interest developed in powered flight in western Europe. The Wrights' however, greatly limited their European interactions, instead focusing on guarding their patents and other trade secrets and engaging in endless energy-sapping and costly lawsuits with Glenn Curtis and other American inventors. Meanwhile, a vibrant, diversified European aeronautical industry developed, leaving America far behind. American aviation continued to lag until Lindbergh's 1927 flight, and caught up only as World War II started.
- In 1947 the US initiated a system of economic aid programs to war-ravaged western Europe that became known as The Marshall Plan. It enabled many European states to re-establish market economies and to resist the threat of Soviet-inspired communism. More than 12 billion US dollars flowed into Europe. Many of these investments were eventually repaid, and western Europe was saved from Communist rule. Question: Do you believe the US benefited from its initiative in sponsoring and financing The Marshall Plan?
- In the early 1990s, Apple and Microsoft engaged in a titanic struggle over world domination of the burgeoning software business. Apple's strategy was to protect all new software developments so as to control the new software market. Microsoft's strategy was to encourage the development of software by others, so it would be compatible with Microsoft products, but not to try to control it. Microsoft swamped Apple quickly, becoming the dominant software player, and relegating Apple to a niche player.
- In 1992, the American Association of Petroleum Landmen approached AAPG to join as 50/50 partners in starting up an annual prospect fair, to stimulate interest in a very slow US market for oil and gas prospects. AAPG decided that such a commercial undertaking was "beneath a scientific society," possibly too risky, and therefore declined. AAPL went ahead with the venture, entitled North American Prospect Exposition (NAPE) in Houston. After a moderately successful inaugural event, AAPL approached AAPG again the following year with the same offer, but again AAPG declined. NAPE has now gone on to become a recognized major E&P event, serving a large contingent of the E&P industry, and generating millions of dollars in revenue for its sponsoring societies. Only after protracted efforts and competing events (APPEX) has AAPG finally (2004) been able to "wedge their way" into NAPE, as a 10% minority partner.
- Tom Friedman (2005, "The World is Flat") writes about globalization: ". . . the two greatest dangers we Americans face are (1) an excess of protectionism — excessive fears of another 9/11 that prompt us to wall ourselves in, in search of personal security — and (2) excessive fears of competing in a world of 11/9 (date of fall of Berlin Wall) that prompt us to wall ourselves off, in search of economic security. Both would be a disaster for us and for the world."
Now AAPG's Executive Committee is asking the House of Delegates, on behalf of AAPG members, to approve new legislation, to create a second Vice President to represent the International Regions, and to assign the existing Vice President to represent the US Sections. This would accomplish two goals: (1) institutionalize and reinforce administrative service from Tulsa HQ to Region members and Section members; and (2) assure that International members, who make up about 30% of AAPG members, and who have been historically under-represented, will always have a voice on the Executive Committee. This will also empower International leadership because they will be involved directly in AAPG governance. The timing is critical -- competitive sister societies are already ahead in Russia and the Middle East, and AAPG-eligible geoscientists and their companies are deciding whether to join SEG and/or EAGE, or wait while AAPG dithers about embracing a global future.
Please vote for all the "Vice Presidential amendments."
Peter R. Rose President, AAPG