The end of the "doing what we say we do" theme has arrived – but not the end of doing what we say we will do at AAPG!
Well, much as promised by my predecessors, the year indeed has flown by quickly and this is my last column to you as president. Soon, I will find myself with more time to explore for oil and gas and get back to riding my horse – if he still recognizes me.
So did we actually accomplish what we set out to do this year?
This year's Executive Committee addressed a broad range of items and we accomplished most of our goals:
♦ DEO-GIS – Though we hope the name will change to something more reflective of what a cool system it is, DEO-GIS (Datapages Exploration Objects) is a map-based portal into all past AAPG publications, largely for corporate clients.
With it, users have the ability to quickly find any map, cross-section or other exploration element and download it to their own desktop already in a GIS georeferenced or geolocated format.
This AAPG Datapages product ties in with our effort to make Datapages more profitable on behalf of AAPG. It is being rolled out to sales and will continue to be expanded as we head toward our 100th anniversary.
♦ Three-Year Business Plans – Three-year business plans, tied to AAPG's long-term strategy, are almost complete and will be presented to the Executive Committee as I depart.
The next near-term step is to understand the fiscal impact of each component of the rolled-up business plan and allocate resources and plan budgeting accordingly.
♦ Advisory Council Initiatives – The AAPG House of Delegates reached a consensus and passed a revision of the sponsorship requirement, reducing it to one sponsor, and membership application forms have been changed accordingly, along with an inclusion of
the AAPG Code of Ethics for all applicants and renewing members.
Other initiatives are under study and some may be brought forward next year.
♦ Fiscal Responsibility – Keeping AAPG fiscally viable is a key effort in every term. For example:
- The Imperial Barrel Award is one of our most popular programs, but also the most costly, thus highly sensitive to potential downturns in industry sponsorship.Contingency plans have now been put in place to keep the program alive and functional in the event of tight financial times.
- The 100th Anniversary Committee's planning efforts are now much more focused and we expect to see clearly defined budgets by our last EC meeting in June.
- Our financial buffer had fallen to nine months of operations, and our goal was to expand that buffer.
Here's the good news: This year we will be moving $750,000 out of our operating funds and into our investments portfolio.
I offer congratulations to all of our volunteers and staff who have worked so diligently to create this additional surplus!
♦ Cooperative Efforts with Our Sister Societies – The Unconventional Resources Technology Conference (URTeC), International Petroleum Technology Conference (IPTC) and Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) all represent very successful and ongoing joint efforts
with other societies like SPE, SEG and EAGE.
The effort to expand our cooperative efforts will continue in response to our membership and the sponsoring companies who are requesting more fully integrated technical meetings.
Incidentally, I was reminded by the OTC technical committee that the call for papers for the next OTC will be issued as this column is printed, and I encourage anyone working in the offshore arena to contribute an abstract – it is a fantastic technical venue
to showcase your geoscience!
♦ Though the EC can claim no credit, AAPG's new website also has been rolled out this year. It is a giant leap, initiating a long journey forward – and we appreciate the diligent and ongoing efforts of our staff in this huge endeavor!
There are many other bits and pieces of daily business that have been dealt with, but these are some of the larger issues addressed by the EC this year.
I wish to thank Randi Martinsen, our president-elect, along with Richard Ball (secretary), Tom Ewing (vice president-Sections), John Kaldi (vice president-Regions), Deborah Sacrey (treasurer), Mike Sweet (editor) and Larry Wickstrom (HoD chair), who all
served on this year's EC with distinction, hard work and exceptional professionalism. They have done a great job for AAPG this year!
Huge thanks also to David Curtiss, executive director, David Lange, deputy executive director, and the people of our wonderful AAPG staff for all of their hard work, day in and day out!
What about new challenges to be tackled?
♦ Inclusivity – AAPG no longer is just a North American organization, and we must continue to reach out to geoscientists across the globe, to share our science and our approach to professionalism.
This also means open acceptance of the fact that we will learn as much or more than we share – and these experiences will make AAPG far better.
Opportunities abound for us to include more young professionals, women and people of all backgrounds from around the world, and we should do so!
♦ Unity – AAPG comprises approximately 40,000 people from 118 different countries, and we are, by nature, different.
But despite the many different cultures, ways of doing business and geoscience priorities, we share a common bond of passion for geoscience.
We must find ways to communicate much more effectively with AAPG Regions and AAPG Sections. There is little excuse for failure to communicate in this electronic information age, yet we do regularly fail in this effort.
♦ Relevance – Many of us consider AAPG to be of high relevance in our careers, but that relevance may be lost on students and fellow professionals. The science they may be seeking is just a few swipes away on their pads and cell phones.
What makes AAPG so special? And how many of us can tell a layperson, in three sentences or less, why AAPG really matters to them?
One possible answer: We are special because we are a community of professionals, all with passion for applied geoscience. By passionately sharing that knowledge and professionalism within our community we continue to meet the energy needs of global society.
But we must work much more effectively at showing our relevance within geoscience – perhaps most especially to the public, who are sometimes intentionally misinformed by zealous folks who believe things like hydraulic fracturing will unhinge the planet.
I would love to see AAPG more heavily involved in activities like Geoscientists Without Borders, to help the world see that geoscience can help families avoid landslides and tsunamis, or provide children clean water versus a parasite-infested mud hole.
OK, enough rambling from your outgoing president.
We have tried hard to do what we said we would do this year. Some progress, though never enough, was made.
As I hand over the reins to Randi Martinsen, I will ask each of you to please let her know, by
sending her an email, how AAPG can continue to better do what we say we will do!
And finally, I offer my warmest thanks to you all!
Now, I think I hear my horse calling from the barn.