Annus mirabilis

My year as AAPG president started informally and unceremoniously. On 27 May 2011, while I was president-elect, my oldest son and I visited Buenos Aires so that I could teach my first AAPG Short Course at the local university. We found ourselves walking down the Avenida 9 de Julio in Buenos Aires early that Sunday morning. Suddenly, an elderly gentleman stopped to inform us frantically that – as best we understood – the local pigeons had relieved themselves extensively along our heads and the back sides of our clothing. After rapid self-examination, we returned to the hotel, where we quickly changed from our soiled clothes and took extended showers. Later, Gustavo Carstens, one of our hosts, tried to convince us that this event was a sign of good luck in Argentina. At first I was skeptical, but based on the incredible year I just had, perhaps the birds’ actions were propitious …


Accomplishments for this year were on both a personal and professional level. I am indebted to AAPG membership for allowing me the opportunity to meet and to present to so many members. Their hospitality and generosity was simply overwhelming. With so many dedicated, passionate leaders in so many countries, I believe that the future of AAPG is bright.

In this year’s columns I have attempted to keep members informed by directly discussing the major issues that the Executive Committee addressed.

♦ Budget issues: We started the year with some gloomy projections, due to a number of factors that Treasurer Jim McGhay and I reviewed in the October and March Explorer columns. Jim and AAPG staff worked hard towards resolving these issues, and we expect to end the year with approximately two-thirds of the deficit that we originally had expected. We also expect more positive budgets moving forward. My kudos to Jim and AAPG staff for this accomplishment.

♦ New revenue source: The upcoming Unconventional Resources Technology Conference (URTeC) – the inaugural event will be Aug. 12-14, 2013, in Denver at the Colorado Convention Center – holds substantial promise as a major event for industry as well as a source of financial gain for AAPG and our partners.

♦ New joint cooperation with SEG: Following the lead of former AAPG President Lee Billingsley and former SEG President Bill Barkhouse, our two societies are discussing many possible future joint efforts. I am encouraged by the possibilities that would benefit members from both societies.

♦ Membership issues: Following the lead of Jeff Lund and Andrea Reynolds, last August the EC expedited the application process for members. Subsequently, at the House of Delegates meeting April 22 in Long Beach, they voted to adopt an additional measure for membership simplification. Continuing to simplify the membership application process is crucial to growing our society. I encourage everyone to keep the positive momentum developed at this year’s meeting.

♦ Publication issues: As we discussed in the April column, I believe that prompt digital delivery of all of AAPG’s scientific information is at the heart of our Association’s value, and our ability to retain current members and acquire new ones. We have started a long process, and hope that we can continue through fruition for membership.

♦ Student Expos: AAPG currently supports job fairs in five sections: Eastern, Gulf Coast, Mid-Continent, Pacific, and Rocky Mountain. A significant amount of recruiting for U.S. members happens at these Job Fairs. To all the organizers and employers: Many thanks for providing this critical service.

♦ IBA program changes: The IBA program has become a highly successful program, especially in the Regions. Structural changes have been made and will continue next year to ensure its future success and financial well-being.


Finally, my special thanks to six groups who made this year’s accomplishments come to life.

I am much indebted, in particular, to those Executive Committee members with whom I had the privilege to serve for two years: Marv Brittenham, Jim McGhay, and Steve Laubach. We served on the executive director search together, and have worked to resolve many unanticipated issues. Thanks also to the other members of this year’s Executive Committee: Ted Beaumont, Denise Cox, Stuart Harker, and Jeff Lund. The Association has a fine group of continuing and incoming officers, and a great slate of officer candidates. The Association, as always, remains in good hands.

I thank all of those who lent me their slides for the speaking tour: Tom Ahlbrandt, David Allard, Renaud Bouroullec, Steve Cumella, Bill Fisher, Ben Herber, Jeff May, Paul Rady, Bobby Ryan, Pete Stark, Scott Tinker, Mark Williams, and Bill Zagorski.

Several people gave me much-needed input for the past year’s columns: Richard Ball, Ted Beaumont, Lee Billingsley, Ed Dolly, Bret Fossum, Gretchen Gillis, Stuart Harker, David the Hawkman, Ben Herber, John Hogg, Nick LaGrilliere, Steve Laubach, Mike Leibovitz, Jeff Lund, Jim McGhay, John Underhill, and M.S. Wacker. My wife, Laurie, served as the best editor a president could ever have – moochas smoochas. (She did not ask nor require me to write that last sentence).

A special thanks to Geovani Chang, Vlasta Dvorakova, Carol McGowen, Adrienne Pereira, and Pinar Yilmaz for their special efforts in arranging key aspects of my global travel. For the almost 200 other volunteers who served as sponsors along my trek – hugs, handshakes and/or air kisses.

Thanks to Bruce Benson, Lang Farmer, and the University of Colorado for allowing me to have this special year.

Thanks to all of AAPG staff for their incredible support during the year.

As my last official act as president, I hereby appoint Dr. Stuart Harker, Vice President of Regions, as the Poet Laureate of AAPG for 2012 to 2013. Appropriate laurel wreaths, tartans, sceptres, gewgaws, and go-go boots come with this designation.

Well, I think it’s time for my boot heels to be wanderin’ ... 100,000 thanks again for the Annus mirabilis.

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