Looking Forward to the New Year
I am just back from Pittsburgh and a follow-on trip to the Gettysburg national battlefield. What a fantastic meeting and trip overall. I’ve been to Pittsburgh many times before, but being there for an AAPG ACE was like seeing it for the first time again. I even ended up on one of those silly DUCK tours that I always made fun of in the past – and had a great time.
I was very pleased to see the HoD pass the proposal to create the new technical division at our annual meeting in Pittsburgh. We should never forget that the purpose/mission of AAPG is to foster scientific research, to advance the science of geology, to promote technology, and to inspire high professional conduct. Creating new technical divisions or technical interest groups is, in my mind, one of the best ways to foster communication and advancement of our scientific specialties.
One of the duties of the incoming Chair of the House is to fill all the vacancies on our standing committees. To assist in doing so I recently received the full listing of delegates from Linda Burris at headquarters. And, like any good geologist I couldn’t help but start analyzing the data in the spreadsheet. A number of items quickly jumped out at me.
First, the average age of our delegates is 61! I remember my first go-round as a Delegate back in ‘99 and thinking how lucky I was to be serving in the House at such a young age (comparatively). Well, there are very few delegates serving at a young age right now. Of 220 delegates, only 15 are younger than 50 and only six under 40! I and most of the House have grown gray together. This is my fourth term in the HoD in two different stints, and will be my last. When asked to run for the Chair-Elect position I did so knowing that, win or lose, this would be my last term so I can make way for a younger delegate.
This brings me to another item that jumped out from the spreadsheet.
There are some Delegates that have served continuously in the House since the late 80s and early 90s! That is eight to 10 consecutive terms. I appreciate the dedication of such members, but I also think that we should endeavor, where possible, to spread out the leadership roles in our Association and give others a chance to serve. As I stated in my stump speech before being elected, a main plank of my term will be to bring along as much youth as possible in the HoD – to increase both the numbers of younger members as delegates and their involvement in the House. If some of us older delegates don’t step off, then it is very hard for younger delegate candidates to win a seat. There are many other roles throughout AAPG where our experience and leadership can be put to good use.
In Pittsburgh, not for the first time, there was much discussion about how our Association leadership (and membership in general) is aging and that we must bring on more young members AND start bringing them into leadership roles so that we have a gradual transition with experienced individuals ready to take the reins of AAPG in a few years - when many of us retire and step down.
Finally, I come back to filling all these committee seats and another number that leaps from the spreadsheet. There are 90 delegate seats that are up for election at the end of June 2013; 41% of the House. I hope that a large number of these 90 seats up for election are filled with new faces, and that many of them will be younger members. So, I will hold off filling many committee seats until these election results are in.
I look forward to working with ALL of you this coming year.