Moving Forward – What’s Next?

David Dolph, Chair-Elect 2013-14, House of Delegates
David Dolph, Chair-Elect 2013-14, House of Delegates

House Chair Larry Wickstrom certainly had his hands full with the sponsorship issue this year! At our 44th annual House of Delegates meeting in April Larry did a great job moving the sponsorship amendment forward. With our new parliamentarian, Colette Collier Trohan, Larry introduced a well-scripted agenda and allowed for formal presentations both supporting and opposing the sponsorship amendment before opening the floor to questions, comments and a vote (or two!). I think a supporting/opposing formal presentation is an excellent idea going forward for all major contentious issues before the HoD, and I would like to take this opportunity to thank Larry for a job well done.

Moving forward with the one-sponsor requirements for full membership, I understand the EC has suggested that a check box be added on the application form stating, “Need Assistance Finding a Sponsor.” AAPG staff feels in most cases they will be able to link the applicant with a sponsor. If unable to do so, they will pass the applicant’s info on to the Regions and Societies/ Sections, which are discussing the need to set up committees to deal with these cases. Also in discussion is the means to provide the applicant the ability to designate which Region, Section and/or affiliated society they wish to be associated with, as it is not always obvious based on geography alone.

I believe there can be great power in putting new, sponsorless applicants in direct contact with an AAPG Member. The Member will be able to provide information on how AAPG operates, services available, AAPG staff contacts, website layout, dates of major events, committees and functions and, most importantly, volunteer opportunities. I know many new members at first find the AAPG to be a complex and confusing association. But I think these new procedures will be an excellent opportunity to “quick-start” new members and better feed our ever-sparse volunteer pipeline!

The “Need Assistance Finding a Sponsor” check box may also help reduce the number of qualified new members who join as Associates. Perhaps when the new member application form is approved it can be the standard form included with ACE/ICE technical program material rather than the Associate member form as is currently done? It will be worthwhile to notify existing qualified Associate members of the sponsorship Bylaws change with the hope of pulling more over to the Member category with very little work required on their part. It’s all a work in progress, and I ask all delegates to get the word out regarding the sponsorship change and to be a sponsor for existing Associate members and new Members, as appropriate.

House of Delegates meet regarding the proposed sponsorship amendment.
House of Delegates meet regarding the proposed sponsorship amendment.

I have had several conversations with members, particularly Young Professionals (YPs), who feel we should have term limits on how long a Member can be a delegate. I know this topic has been discussed for several years, and there is not a simple answer. Many affiliates of AAPG are very small and may only have one person willing to assume the role of delegate. I know in the past the Canada Region has had a tough time getting new members to stand for election as delegate and we have had to ask existing delegates to stand for re-election. There is no easy answer, but let’s keep the conversation going.

As Larry mentioned in his column there are several items that have been discussed this year that I will be taking with me into my term (I heard the term “D.O.D.” [Dump on Dave] used a number of times). A few of the items follow:

  1. Electronic voting through the year for housekeeping items which usually have unanimous support (e.g. voting to remove the word “Active” from the Rules and Procedures of the House) to free up more time for discussion of issues in the HoD annual meeting.
  2. ARS (Audience Response System) electronic voting in annual meeting to speed up voting process as well as provide a more anonymous, democratic voting atmosphere. There is a cost involved, so do we want to do this?
  3. Allowing delegates to attend the annual meeting remotely, thus eliminating the need for an alternate delegate. It’s an Interesting idea, but it could be logistically challenging, expensive and likely will require major changes to our Bylaws.
  4. Development of new Technical Interest Groups (TIGs) and Special Interest Groups (SIGs). Governance issues will need to be addressed. I have heard that a Geochemistry Group is interested in starting up when appropriate.
  5. Perhaps institute a regular “Associate Member Corner” column in the EXPLORER to educate qualified Associate members on the advantages of becoming full members and possibly attracting new, non-geotechnical members to AAPG?

About this time every year the incoming HoD chair begins to think about staffing up the seven House of Delegates committees. I encourage you all to consider volunteering, especially our younger members. Feel free to review the various committees and their functions on the AAPG Houseof Delegates website. I would be delighted to hear directly from all interested members who would like to help out. It’s always a great experience and leadership opportunity.

As this is my last column as chair-elect I would like to congratulate Larry Wickstrom on his role as chair as well as Dan Billman as secretary/editor for “herding the cats” and keeping their patience! It was a pleasure working with you both. I also would like to welcome Bob Shoup, incoming chair-elect, and Tom Anderson, secretary/editor. I am very much looking forward to serving the House with both of you gentlemen.

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