My Agenda: Doing What We Do Better

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)

During my candidacy and year as president-elect I often was asked about my agenda for AAPG.

My response: It is to help ensure that AAPG provides as much or more benefit to our members throughout their careers as it has for me.

I did not stand for office with any specific agenda relating to membership, governance, products or services. My year as president-elect has been very insightful, however, and provided me with a better understanding of the many challenges facing AAPG as it approaches its centennial.

What are some of these challenges?

Well, simply making sure AAPG is technologically up-to-date in how we manage and communicate our science is a major challenge.

The methods by which organizations and people are connecting and communicating are rapidly changing in response to evolving information technologies. The rate at which data and information are generated also has accelerated, and consideration must be given to making sure we deliver accurate and valuable information in a timely manner.

There also is a lot more competition - from both for-profit organizations as well as non-profit sister societies - in terms of recruiting members, developing products and communicating science.

Doing what we always have done and doing it the way we have done it may have worked great for the first 100 years, but if AAPG doesn't adapt and change to do things in line with today's highly technological and highly competitive world, we may not be around to see another 100 years.

So many things in regard to the way we do business have changed since I went to work in the 1970s. In the '70s petroleum professionals did not work in teams; rather, geologists were organizationally and physically separate from geophysicists - and both were separate from engineers.

Everything was on paper; seismic interpretation, well-log correlation, well data information (How many of you recall "scout tickets?"). Then along came the personal computer and workstations, the "integrated team" concept, widespread satellite communication, the Internet, cell phones and, more recently, smart phones.

Everything now is "real time." Employees are on call 24/7. Everything in our lives, our industry and our society is accelerating exponentially.

AAPG must be able to nimbly and efficiently anticipate as well as respond to this changing landscape, so that we are poised to take advantage of new opportunities that arise and discard outdated strategies, technologies, products and services.

One of the initiatives developed by my predecessor, President Lee Krystinik, to help AAPG thrive is the "Three-Year Business Plan," the purpose of which is to ensure that the activities of all aspects of AAPG - including Divisions, committees, Regions, Sections, subsidiaries and headquarters - are focused on streamlining and focusing AAPG's efforts to achieve its strategic and tactical objectives.

The implementation of this three-year business plan will ensure more continuity of planning and business operations from one EC to the next, as well as provide better financial stability for AAPG.

The Advisory Council (AC), our strategic planning body, also put forth a number of proposals last year aimed at discussing and evaluating options to help AAPG morph into an organization that is able and ready to take on the various scientific, technological and business opportunities the future holds.

These proposals include evaluating:

  • AAPG's organizational structure and governance.
  • The terms of office for AAPG officers and the whole election process.
  • How to best develop and incorporate TIGS and SIGS into AAPG.

Implementation of the three-year business plan and evaluation of the various AC proposals are just some of the things the EC will address over the course of the year.

Below is a quote that is often incorrectly attributed to Charles Darwin, but is actually a summation of Darwin's work by a management professor at LSU in the early 1960s.

It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change. In the struggle for survival, the fittest win out at the expense of their rivals because they succeed in adapting themselves best to their environment.

This year, we're going to do our best to make sure AAPG is ready for the future. Changes are not only on the way, they're already here.

Doing what we do better is our first step toward tomorrow.

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