Ah yes, geology. Never in any epoch did I see myself as being president of Pacific Section AAPG, but here I / we are. I started on my journey as a kid, playing and collecting “pretty” rocks in some great places: Yosemite, Sequoia, Death Valley, Red Rock Canyon, Tahoe, Lava Falls, Devil’s Postpile, and the rest of California. My mother had a minor in Geology and a major in Art, so she would take us to beautiful rugged places she wanted to draw, and at the same time gave us an appreciation for all things in nature; rocks to trees. There was an interesting, then-fresh, road cut of Monterey Formation on Hwy 166 near Santa Maria that got me to my first formal geological encounter. I wondered aloud, “How did those rocks get almost vertical and why are they so banded?” My friend asked, “Why not take a geology class and find out?” So I did. I took a Physical Geology course at Cuesta Junior College and never looked back.
I moved to Bakersfield and finished my geology degree at Cal State University, Bakersfield. I was an intern at Getty, where I met some great petroleum geologists. They all said, “You need to go to this dinner meeting in the old American Legion Hall, drink free beer, eat t-bone steaks off metal camp trays, meet geologists from other companies, and listen to someone give a geology talk.” How could I resist? For 25 years, I’ve been going to meetings, listening to talks, and eating off the camp trays (occasionally having half a chicken instead of the massive t-bone). Around me are contractors, independent oil producers, oil company geologists, university professors, students, and an amazing group of retirees. I’ve learned a lot about geology and about our industry at the Bakersfield American Legion Hall.
It took awhile before I realized that the SJGS dinner group had anything to do with the larger Pacific Section AAPG or AAPG. I also did not realize that the PSAAPG is made up of Affiliated Societies: Coast, Los Angeles Basin, Alaska, Northern California, Sacramento, Northwest Energy, and the San Joaquin. So, after many years of participation, and discussion, I feel there are a few things that could use some attention. I think confusion still exists about how our local societies fit in with the greater national (and international) organization of AAPG. I ran for President because I wanted to give back to a group of people who have been very active in our organization over the years, and that have given me so much in the past.
For the coming year, I will focus my efforts to encourage the new geologists in our respective areas to go to their local meetings, meet other geologists and become part of the larger organization. I am passionate about getting new geologists involved, and I am concerned that the majority of our experienced petroleum geologists are not going to be available to mentor the next wave of petroleum geologists. In addition, I want us to spark interest in geology in the K-12 age group, and to encourage more participation from the region’s universities in the Imperial Barrel Award competition. Lastly, we need to better manage and be more proactive in our interactions with the community, and tell them about what we do as an industry. The recent blowout in the Gulf of Mexico made it quite obvious that the population in general knows nearly nothing about what we do, and views us with suspicion.
I look forward to discussing these and many other topics as the year progresses, and to working with a talented and committed group of Pacific Section AAPG officers, with all the local society leaders, and the wide range of committees! We are looking forward to working with the Alaska Geological Society as they prepare for our convention in Anchorage in 2011, and working with Kay Pitts and her committee as they prepare for the national convention in Long Beach in 2012.