Letter from the Secretary/Editor
As we approach the time for the Annual Meeting of the HoD in San Antonio on April 20th, I have been searching for some relevant topic on which to expound in my role as Editor (and to fill the white space of this column!). This year, unlike many in the past, the House will face a relatively benign agenda. True, there are some items to address regarding changes to the Bylaws and to the Rules and Procedures of the House, which are published elsewhere in this issue of the DV, but these are absent the controversy that surrounded issues such as last year’s graduated dues proposal. In a sense, this makes the Editor’s job easier, because there are less Letters to the Editor and conflicting opinions to deal with, but it also means that there is less red meat for journalistic opinionating.
In the end, it all comes back to membership. Chair Marty Hewitt has already defined his program for a grass-roots approach to building the membership base of AAPG through the HoD, which I believe will be a significant contributor to growth. Why should we make an issue of increasing membership? It’s a free country; why not just let geologists join if they want to, or not join if they don’t? Quite apart from any benefit to the society from having a stronger membership base, the real reason most people will join and stay members has to do with personal benefits to them. Different individuals will have different priorities, and there is a list of benefits on the AAPG website- courses, publications, conventions, and networking.
I can best speak from personal experience, however. I have already shared some personal experiences with you in my previous columns, such as riding the Hotter’n Hell bike rally in August, and doing field work in northern Iraq in December. Let me now share another. At the end of February, I retired from my company after twenty years of service. My goal in “retiring” was to re-start my old consulting business and to link up with a new start-up venture. Also in February, I attended the Dallas Geological Society luncheon meeting and the AAPG Southwest Section convention in Abilene. At both meetings, I ran into numerous friends and associates from years past, as well as meeting some new ones. In the course of casual conversation, I was surprised to find that I suddenly had eight to ten valid leads or offers for future work.
Granted, we are in a boom cycle in the business, with oil currently slightly over $100 per barrel, and it is a far cry from the depressed environment of the mid-1980’s during my previous consulting experience. But what kept me alive during the ‘80s, and what led to the opportunities that suddenly appeared last month? It was my network, pure and simple. Contacts that were made through working in both the local and national societies were, and will be, invaluable in finding work, placing prospects, and operating efficiently in the industry. Those geoscientists who chose not to join AAPG, or who limit their network to that within their company, are limiting both their outlook and their opportunities for the future. For this reason alone, if not for all the others, I feel it is imperative for us to encourage our peers to join us as members of AAPG. You will have done a favor to any geologist who joins as a result of your efforts.