Please send this message to as many AAPG members in your address book as possible. A personal invitation can mean the difference to a member who might otherwise overlook completing our annual survey.
AAPG wants your opinion! If you tell us what you consider important, the delegates and committees can do a better job of making AAPG the society you want it to be.
The August issue of the Explorer included a paper copy of the survey, or, you can complete it online. A few minutes of your time can have impact for years to come.
Please take this brief survey by September 30th.
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Letter from the Editor
Riding the park-n-ride bus home from work, an opportunity to complete one of my job responsibilities as an AAPG Delegate to “report the reactions and views of members” was dropped in my lap. A fellow AAPG member I used to work with was, just like me, saving gas and wear and tear on his vehicle and nervous system by patronizing mass transit.
I had recently e-mailed a personal request to my former colleague and several other folks, asking that they complete the AAPG survey issued to all members this past August. He had sent me back a reply that he had taken the survey.
“Hi! Thanks for completing the AAPG survey”, I said.
He replied, “Well, I’m not too sure AAPG will be happy to read what I think of the organization when they receive it.”
“Why is that? Really, I said, tell me what you’re thinking.”
He responded, “AAPG is too big to care about what one person thinks. The Bulletin is too conservative and won’t print articles presenting new ideas, the cost of the Geocare Insurance is too high, and we only do lip service to caring about the ethics of our members. This past June, when I received my dues statement, I came within an inch of not renewing my membership”.
My heart fell. This was a colleague I respected and knew to be a strong contributor to his science and profession, an AAPG member since the 1970s. What could I say to make a difference? I was thinking, what about Datapages, the digital literature archive, the Annual Conventions, and new initiatives, such as an online jobs page and consultant referral system that are in the works, to make the AAPG more relevant to the membership? I thought of Executive Director, Rick Fritz, who has done much to modernize the organization and his search to find a sponsor for student dues to encourage young people to join AAPG. I thought of all my fellow Delegates and AAPG Officers that care enough to volunteer their time and skills to improve and guide AAPG. I thought of the great support I have always received from dedicated people at headquarters in Tulsa. AAPG is unique among geoscience societies in that we have a legislative body of members with a voice in determining our direction. No society is perfect, but we can have perfect ideals to aim for.
There was no denying that my friend had in a few sentences summarized difficult issues that have been in the minds of many members for years. His disillusionment is not unusual. Perhaps this is why at the end of August, only 500 AAPG members had completed our annual opinion survey.
I felt that the existence of the survey and the interest I was showing in my friend’s opinion addressed his first concern to some degree. Not wishing to state the obvious, I attempted to speak to his other comments.
“Yes, I said Geocare Insurance premiums are high, but the coverage is excellent.” I mentioned another former colleague we had in common, that passed away after a long battle with cancer. He had told me before he died, that he had signed up for Geocare upon retirement. During his long period of treatment, he had never had a single problem with his insurance coverage. “It took care of everything”. He had said.
I was stumped on what to say about the Bulletin. The AAPG Bulletin is how petroleum geologists document and share the results of their research and exploration efforts. Some day, when I make that big discovery that opens up a new trend, I hope the Bulletin will be there to accept my contribution to the literature. I have no experience to speak from on the manner in which articles are screened and edited for the Bulletin. Should we as delegates consider investigating problems, real or perceived, with how articles are handled that are submitted for publication?
Ethics is the elephant in the room which we cannot ignore but would like to hope is at least tame. No one really believes that all 30,000 members are behaving themselves. We have standards for screening potential members that are designed to check into the quality of a person’s past conduct, such as three sponsors who vouch for a candidate’s record with written recommendations, but expulsion from the society for misconduct, short of a felony conviction, is something AAPG cannot do in a country held hostage by litigating attorneys.
By the time the bus arrived, I doubt I had changed friend’s mind about what was “wrong” with AAPG. It isn’t that his observations were wrong at all, some were spot on. The real issue is how he chose to act on them. I was reminded of a quote:
- “One ship sails east,
- Another west,
- On the self-same winds that blow.
- It isn’t the gales;
- It’s the set of our sails,
- That determines the way we go.”
Thank you for your service as an AAPG Delegate, and congratulations, you are part of the solution.
I look forward to serving as your 2006-2007 Secretary/ Editor.