Mary and I love to go to the movies.
Unfortunately, with an 11- and a three-year-old, what we normally
see is something produced by Mickey Mouse.
I’m always amazed by the previews that are shown
before the main feature. After sitting through eight or nine of
them I’m usually in a Sleeping Beauty trance, but not my children.
Indeed, they are ready right then for whatever’s coming next.
With that in mind, the following is a short preview
of the report I’ll be presenting this month during the annual meeting
in Salt Lake City: A report card look at how we are doing this year.
The first two questions I am always asked are “How
is membership?” and “How is the money?”
- First, membership: Currently, AAPG membership
Everyone should know by now that we are in the midst of a
membership enhancement and development program. Although we
had a slow start to the program, we are now picking up momentum
and, as a result, we have decided to extend the program for
(Don’t worry; the prizes are still in place for this year’s
contest -- in particular, the Barcelona trip. Next year we will
add a trip to the 2004 international meeting in Cancun for the
leading member recruiter.)
Our student membership is now at 3,930. We have been growing
rapidly due to the hard work of members who support student
programs, and due to the support provided by Halliburton.
- Concerning the money trail, this has been
a tough financial year because of the general economy and world
situation. We are experiencing a significant shortfall in interest
and dividends due to the declining stock market coupled with low
More significantly, we had to take $262,000 in additional
expenses this year on our defined benefit plan as a result of
three years of a “bear” market.
Although we are on track on all other budget items, we will
need a good convention and year-end sales to reach black this
Another common question concerns AAPG member benefits.
The bottom line is this: Even as we cut expenses,
we have been able to expand and add AAPG products and services.
This year we will have 17 new special
publications and four new CD-ROMs, possibly a record year for
releases of new, reprinted and digital materials. Under the
leadership of AAPG Editor John Lorenz, AAPG staff has reduced
the turnaround time for publishing in the BULLETIN from over
24 months to less than 14 months.
The EXPLORER continues to improve and
deliver timely articles to members.
AAPG’s e-magazine Search & Discovery
is growing. This year we will be adding more special geological
studies to Search & Discovery.
The Education Committee is working with
AAPG staff under the management of AAPG’s geosciences director
Jack Thomas to redesign AAPG’s education program. (See
related article) Changes include shorter courses and customized
training for companies. We are building a recommended curriculum
for all levels of experience. Certificates of completion will
be offered. We are adding several new online courses including
basic geology for non-geologists.
Online carbonate courses will be offered
through a joint venture with AGI and the Bureau of Economic
This is the year of e-commerce for AAPG.
For the first time you can pay
your dues and register
for meetings online. Very soon you will be able to register
for short courses and apply for membership over the Internet.
AAPG’s Global Development staff are
preparing for three major events this calendar year -- the Salt
Lake City annual meeting, the third annual APPEX
in Houston and the Barcelona
international conference in September.
(Remember, you can register online for both APPEX and Barcelona.)
AAPG standing committees have been very
busy. Of special note is the work of the Committee on Conventions.
The COC chairman presented a recommendation to the Executive
Committee for changing the annual meeting rotation -- a change
that allows more flexibility and reduces the number of years
that it takes for the annual meeting to return to the major
The Insurance Committee is doing an incredible job trying
to keep control of rising insurance costs while improving service.
The ad hoc Survey Committee has prepared the recent all-member
survey that was requested by the House of Delegates and approved
and directed by the Executive Committee. Each standing committee
will be asked to evaluate the survey and prepare a response,
New programs in the pipeline include
Datapages’ GIS-UDRIL (Geographic Information System -- Upstream
Digital Reference Information Library; hence the acronym). (See
related article). This program involves digital “mining,”
or, as I prefer, “drilling” of the Datapages aggregate and defining
the derived subsets by geographic coordinates for easy access.
Two new online programs that you will be hearing more about
are the AAPG Registry and Virtual Student Expo. The former is
for members who are looking for immediate jobs or regular consulting
and the latter is an online student job fair.
Intersociety cooperation is improving.
The international conference and exhibition in Cairo last year
was the first of its kind to include five geoscience societies.
AAPG, SEG and SPE have successfully shared distinguished lecturer
Other cooperative efforts are under way with student job fairs,
and digital publications and archives.
One of the most important events this
last year was the hiring of three new directors. As you know
Jack Thomas is the new geosciences director, David Lange is
the new business director and Brenda Cunningham is the new global
development director. They join Larry Nation, director of communications,
to make a formidable foursome for management of AAPG headquarters.
They allow me time to look up and see ahead.
That’s my preview from our spot on the elephant.
I did not have time to mention all of the good work in development
by committees and staff, so I will try to mention it in later columns.
So far it has been a very interesting year. As always
we ask and thank you for your support.