Here in Oklahoma, the month of July delivers the beginning of summer, kids out of school and a unique blend of oppressive heat and sweltering humidity that makes you feel like you're in a slow-cooker.
At headquarters it's the beginning of a new year. On July 1 a fresh Executive Committee led by President Randi Martinsen took the reins, approved a budget for the new fiscal year and is beginning its work to lead the Association.
Veteran EC members Secretary Richard Ball, Vice President-Regions John Kaldi and Editor Mike Sweet are joined by President-Elect John Hogg, Treasurer Jim Tucker and Vice President-Sections Steve Brachman in this endeavor.
These are your leaders, and I encourage you to reach out and communicate with them during the coming year.
I also want to take this opportunity to thank past president Lee Krystinik for his leadership of the Association and Executive Committee, and most emphatically for his wise counsel to me over the past two years that he's served on the Executive Committee.
As past president, Lee's work isn't done yet. He now rides over to lead the Advisory Council further down the trail blazed by past president Ted Beaumont.
(You'll note the riding-themed metaphors I'm using in this column. Having incoming and outgoing presidents who are both accomplished equestrians is forcing me to learn a new vocabulary.)
When I first began to work for AAPG, back in Washington, D.C., in 2006, one of the first people I met was Deborah Sacrey, our out-going treasurer who has been involved in our policy work since the very beginning. We've worked closely over the years, and the perspective and advice she's given me both at GEO-DC and as executive director have helped me do my job immeasurably better.
Thankfully, she's still only a phone call away.
I've known Tom Ewing, who departs as vice president-Sections, almost as long as I've known Deborah. And Tom brought a wonderful balance of thoughtfulness, perceptiveness and practicality to a host of EC discussions over the past two years.
Even into the final weeks of his term he was providing me counsel on matters related to the Sections and affiliated societies.
Having the opportunity to work directly with our EC members to grow AAPG is one of the perks of my job. And it's important to recognize that they are volunteers.
Volunteerism is at the heart of AAPG and permeates our organization. It includes those who volunteer to help us advance science by giving a talk or writing a journal article, those who work on committees to build specific programs or services, and those who serve in leadership and governance roles.
When you get involved with AAPG you're serving other members and the profession. This engagement also builds your professional network and can help you develop specific skill sets, particularly interpersonal skills - after all, in a volunteer organization you don't dictate, you can only persuade.
Yes, volunteering is about "giving back." But I'd argue it's much more than that.
It is, in fact, an investment in yourself - both as a person and as a professional. And that's what being a member of a professional organization is about - helping you advance and succeed.
It's summertime here in Oklahoma. And many of us in this part of the world will be taking time this month with family and friends to vacation, to relax and recharge both physically and emotionally.
As you climb that mountain trail, cast a fly along the riverbank, listen to the waves break on the shore or simply sit on your back porch at dusk listening to the crickets chirping in the grass, take a few minutes to reflect on your career and professional life.
Where are you and where are you going?
Can you describe what it would look like to take your career to the next level?
What are the skills or contacts that you need to get there?
Is there an AAPG program or committee or group that you could get involved with to gain those skills or contacts?
If so, consider getting plugged in.
And if you don't see a program that will help you, then I’d ask you to send me an email through the website. Let me know what kind of program you'e looking for, what you believe you need to be successful, and let's talk about it. Maybe we can build it together.
This is your year to take the reins, saddle up, and steer your career into an even brighter future.