From Prospect to Discovery, ‘Professional’ Leads the Way

Graphic from “Good to Great” by Jim Collins, HarperBusiness
Graphic from “Good to Great” by Jim Collins, HarperBusiness

It is a great privilege for me to serve AAPG as Division of Professional Affairs president this year. I can tell you up front that DPA has many exciting new ideas to energize AAPG and this Division.

I believe AAPG and DPA are best in the world at helping professional geologists turn prospects into discoveries. We are passionate about providing global energy while pursuing professional excellence. This success drives the economic engines of our world, our stakeholders, personal economic fortunes and yes AAPG and DPA.

I’d like to emphasize the “P” in DPA with programs that hone professional prospecting skill sets harmonious with AAPG President Ted Beaumont’s initiative that we be more effective explorers rooted in fundamental petroleum geosciences. DPA has a key role to play in the conversation about how professionals do their work and in helping to create opportunities for AAPG to better serve its members.

Author Jim Collins outlines that great success occurs at the intersection of:

  • At what you CAN be the best in the world.
  • What you are deeply PASSIONATE about.
  • What drives your ECONOMIC ENGINE.

Plans for this year build on this key intersection and the DPA business plan:

♦ Play Maker forum: This will be a NEW event featuring talks on hot discoveries by those who know them well, an industry leader luncheon and an educational program on prospect generation, evaluation and screening skills. Discussions are under way with several potential partners about co-hosting this event to expand AAPG and DPA's reach and brand.

Details to follow in future articles.

♦ Maintain and build presence on professional talks, forums and courses at all AAPG conventions. I have asked DPA president-elect Valary Shulz and DPA past-president Paul Britt to proactively seek out programs of the highest quality. DPA will co-sponsor the Featured Luncheon in September at the AAPG International Conference and Exhibition in Singapore, thanks to DPA past-president Bob Shoup.

♦ Plans are being made to expand the "Discovery Thinking" forums globally. These forums are co-sponsored AAPG/DPA (since 2008) and originated as part of the 100th Anniversary Committee (when I was its chairman).

I will chair a forum at the Singapore ICE, and have asked past president Paul Weimer to be my co-chair in Cartagena 2013. Ed Dolly will be my co-chair for ACE annual meetings, like Pittsburgh 2013.

These forums focus on professional and technical aspects of significant discoveries. Typical attendance is 500-800 professionals. An expanding legacy (currently about 20 Discovery talks) can be accessed under the Special Collection tab on Search and Discovery.

♦ DPA plans better communication through technology and web page improvements, which will broadcast videos, webinars and professional outreach. Chandler Wilhelm serves as editor of the DPA Correlator newsletter, which features outstanding articles of professional interest spotlighting role models, success stories and inspirational members.

DPA looks forward to continuing our support of the GEO-DC office and a new GEO-DC director soon

Welcome to this year’s elected DPA board members who will help make our programs thrive: Valary Shulz (president-elect), Paul Pause (vice president), Debbie Osborne (treasurer) and 32 outstanding councilors (and alternates) giving global voice to DPA. Thanks to all candidates for participating in the election.

I encourage every DPA member to serve as a councilor or board member sometime during your career. You will be glad you did – and you can’t beat the company.


Are you an AAPG member but not yet a DPA member?

Are you an energy professional with at least eight years experience (seven years with master’s, five years with Ph.D.)?

If so, Rick Fritz (membership chair) and I ask you to join DPA today.

DPA members are committed to a professional lifestyle, networking with 3,000 supportive professionals and improving skill sets to function at the highest levels of proficiency. With three references, you too can be certified by a global organization. It is not about DPA, but what creative individuals can do with DPA.


David Curtiss and I like to email each other book recommendations. I would like to share with you a few of my favorite reads (and why), suitable for summer reading. Enjoy!

  • “Good to Great,” by Jim Collins (thoughts on how mission, focus and right people yield superior results).
  • “Physics for Future Presidents,” by Richard Muller (how technology impacts public policy).
  • “The Greatest Gamblers,” by Ruth Sheldon Knowles (a perennial favorite on why wildcatters can’t quit – If you are a wildcatter, you will like it).

In closing, I would like to thank our outgoing Executive Committee, led by Marty Hewitt, for a job well done in 2011-12.

The Division of Professional Affairs (DPA), a division of AAPG, seeks to promote professionalism and ethical standards, provide a means for professional certification of petroleum geologists, coal geologists, and petroleum geophysicists, assist in career planning, and improve the professional well-being of AAPG members. For more information about the DPA and its activities, visit the DPA Web site.

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Division Column-DPA

Division Column-DPA Charles A. Sternbach

Charles A. Sternbach, DPA President.

Division Column-DPA

The Division of Professional Affairs (DPA), a division of AAPG, seeks to promote professionalism and ethical standards, provide a means for professional certification of petroleum geologists, coal geologists, and petroleum geophysicists, assist in career planning, and improve the professional well-being of AAPG members. For more information about the DPA and its activities, visit the DPA website.

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