Lemiski is on a mission

Wanted: YPs in the HoD

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)

Have you ever asked yourself, who made up that policy for AAPG?

Why are things the way they are in this organization?

Just where is AAPG headed?

New and/or younger members often are a bit bewildered by those questions – but the answer is easy to find:

Probably, the AAPG House of Delegates, or HoD for short.

Ryan Lemiski
Ryan Lemiski

And now that you know that, HoD delegate Ryan Lemiski is on a personal mission to make sure everyone knows that – but especially for AAPG Young Professionals to know that, because only then will young professionals be able to become an integral part leading the Association in the coming years.

He would know. When Lemiski was elected last year he became AAPG’s first YP HoD delegate – a proud moment in his life and a historical note for AAPG.

But earlier this year, when he attended a YP Committee meeting at the AAPG Annual Convention and Exhibition in Long Beach, Calif., he witnessed firsthand a universal lack of HoD knowledge among the group.

“It became apparent that many people in the room were unfamiliar with the duties and responsibilities of their elected delegates,” said Lemiski, a representative from Calgary, Canada, where he is an exploration geologist for Talisman Energy.

“That room contained what I would consider some of the most engaged young individuals in our society,” he added, “and if they are unfamiliar with the HoD, imagine what the less involved students and YPs must know, if anything, about the HoD.”

A Young Perspective

Here’s part of the answer: AAPG’s HoD is a group of elected individuals (delegates) from affiliated professional societies, international AAPG Regions and U.S. Sections. Each society or region is permitted one delegate for up to 70 members; delegates serve three-year terms.

As the AAPG Bylaws say: “All of the legislative function of this Association, within the scope of the Constitution and Bylaws, shall be vested in a House of Delegates.”

Delegates are responsible for:

  • Familiarizing themselves with AAPG’s policies and programs.
  • Processing requests from the Executive Committee regarding information on the eligibility of member applicants.
  • Communicating AAPG news, activities and policies to their respective Section and Region membership.

Meetings are conducted throughout the year, with the largest HoD meeting being held at the AAPG annual meeting.

“YPs should be aware of the HoD and its function,” Lemiski said. “The only way we can ensure that AAPG is the organization that YPs from around the globe wish to be a part of is by ensuring that this organization caters to the wants and needs of its younger members.”

To be fair, the initiative to expose more YPs to the HoD already seems to have had an impact – Lemiski is no longer the only YP in the house.

“We’ve had three more YPs elected as delegates in 2012, and several YPs were appointed as alternates for the 2012 meeting of the House of Delegates in Long Beach,” he said.

Lemiski also reported that the YP delegates already made an impact at the Long Beach meeting, bringing a “young” perspective to issues like the AAPG membership simplification debate.

And Lemiski believes there was “tremendous support” for a larger YP presence in the House.

“Most longtime AAPG members recognize the importance of YPs to the future of the society,” he said.

Jeff Lund, past HoD chair, also believes the YPs are key in the future of AAPG.

“Any dynamic organization needs active participation from across the spectrum of its membership,” Lund said, himself a proponent of YP involvement. “That means members from around the globe, members interested in different geological specialties and especially across age groups.”

Current HoD chair R. Randy Ray assures that the encouragement of YPs in every level of the HoD will continue.

“I am working to put YPs on each of the six HoD committees to encourage their interest in AAPG functions,” Ray said. “They bring a unique perspective and we want their views represented.”

Ray added “there is no better preparation for our future AAPG leaders” than the HoD, because there they learn of AAPG’s history and sense of professionalism.

“They will become familiar with the Constitution and Bylaws, which are the underlying structure of how AAPG is organized,” he said.

“One of the challenges is the small number of YPs which are delegates,” Ray continued. “It is difficult for YPs to get elected as a delegate when better known, longtime AAPG members are on the local ballots for delegate elections.”

“Especially in some of the smaller AAPG sections, new YPs need to talk to their society leadership and make it known that they are willing to serve,” he said, “It may require long serving delegates to step back for one term in order to allow new people to serve in the House.

“This needs to be discussed at the local society and Region level,” he said, “with a view to having that society fully represented in the transition to the future.

How to Get Involved

Lemiski and his colleagues are focused on attracting new members, but he agrees the road to success could be very difficult.

“In a digital age where many young people believe the resources to a successful career reside on the net, it’s easy to dismiss the significance and importance of membership in a professional society,” he said.

Lemiski’s response, however, is that it’s worth the effort, because the benefits of being fully involved in AAPG are endless, including:

  • Learning how the Association functions.
  • Making multi-generational and global professional network contacts.
  • Having a voice in AAPG matters.

And for Lemiski, there is one more advantage to involvement: Having the opportunity to experience meetings run under Roberts Rules.

“I’ve always been fascinated by policy, procedures, governance and high-level decision making,” he said.

“But furthermore, HoD provided me with an opportunity to meet and interact with experienced professionals,” he continued. “Much of the career advice I’ve received has come directly from conversations with delegates who have had long successful careers in this industry.”

Lemiski’s advice to other YPs who have an interest in becoming a delegate:

  • Become highly involved in your Section or Region.
  • Get to know your leaders by regularly attending their Executive Committee meetings.
  • Become familiar with the specific Association-related issues of your Section or Region.
  • Learn all you can about AAPG and the House of Delegates.

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