What Does AAPG Mean to You?

One of the things I became much more aware of during my years as a candidate and as president-elect is that AAPG means different things to different people.

Some people dominantly think of AAPG as a scientific association; some as a professional association; some as something that provides networking opportunities, and to some it is simply an association to which they belong.

Actually, AAPG is both a scientific and a professional organization. According to Article II of our Constitution, four of our seven goals are related to the science and three are related to professionalism – a nearly equal subdivision.


When I joined AAPG I didn’t really have a clear idea of what being a professional meant, nor was I interested in voting or holding office or in any aspect of AAPG’s governance. All I cared about was the science.

Furthermore, I didn’t have a clue about the importance of networking (unlike our YPs, however, who appear to be much more savvy in understanding the importance of networking). It was through my membership in AAPG and my interactions with geoscience professionals that I learned what being a professional is all about and came to understand the importance of AAPG as both a professional and a scientific association.

So did AAPG’s value to me change?

No. My perception of AAPG’s value changed.

As president of AAPG I wonder how others view the value of AAPG membership – and if my progression from only valuing AAPG’s science to valuing both the scientific and professional aspects is typical or atypical.

Understanding what things draw geoscientists to become members of AAPG – and what encourages geoscientists to maintain their AAPG membership, and what might attract geoscientists who are not AAPG members to join – is critical to AAPG’s future, so I’ve been spending some time thinking about that. As have our staff.


Then there is the issue of governance.

Exactly how AAPG is governed and its governance structure didn’t come on my radar until I was asked to be a delegate for the House of Delegates, and then a fuller understanding of AAPG’s governance developed when I served my two-year term as treasurer.

It seems to me, however, that AAPG’s governance is not a high priority for most of our members (including Members, Associates and Students). The fact that many Associate members who were eligible to become Members didn’t suggests to me that becoming eligible to vote and to hold office are not sufficient incentives to completing the application for Member status.

(Now that the sponsorship requirement has been reduced from three to one sponsor, perhaps some of our Associates will complete their Member application.)

The fact that only about 30 percent of our Members who are eligible to vote actually do vote is further evidence that governance of AAPG is simply not a priority for most AAPG members.

However, there is a portion of our membership that is very concerned with AAPG governance, and some members regard participating in AAPG’s governance as one of their most important professional activities.

I suggest that AAPG’s governance should be on all members’ radar, because the Members involved in it (HoD members, Executive Committee members, Advisory Council members) are in control of AAPG’s future.


So, what does AAPG mean to you? What aspects of AAPG do you value?

AAPG’s big audacious goal is to be “indispensable to all professionals in the energy-related geosciences worldwide.” If we are to even come close to achieving that goal we need to know what AAPG means to you.

Is it the science that most attracts you?

Is it that AAPG is a professional organization that promotes professional development and maintaining professional and ethical standards?

Is it the networking opportunities AAPG provides?

Is it because AAPG is a forum to help educate the public and government officials?

How concerned are you about AAPG’s governance?

Please send me your thoughts on what you value about AAPG – and perhaps what you don’t.

If AAPG is to improve on doing what it does – advancing the science and promoting professionalism – AAPG needs your input.

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President's Column

President's Column - Randi Martinsen

Randi Martinsen, AAPG President (2014-15), is principal with Hydrocarbon InSight in Laramie, Wyo.

President's Column

AAPG Presidents offer thoughts and information about their experiences for the Association. 

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