A Productive Past, a Bright Future

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Rick Fritz, AAPG’s executive director for nearly 12 years, is heading to new frontiers.
Rick Fritz, AAPG’s executive director for nearly 12 years, is heading to new frontiers.

During spring break I took my son, Ian, and his friend skiing in Angel Fire, N.M., and Ian realized five days after he returned that he had lost his credit card.

I immediately got online and checked the account and there were some unauthorized uses of the card.

I started to cancel the card, but then I realized that whoever had the card was spending less than Ian – so I decided to let it go for a while.

Sometimes the status quo is good and sometimes it isn’t.

When we started working together almost 12 years ago it was clear AAPG was on the edge of a major growth spurt. All the members and staff needed was opportunity.

I have worked with many great leaders during my tenure – from AAPG presidents to committee chairs to student activists, and also the AAPG staff leaders. It has been a privilege to work as a team through these many years.

As Homer said, “Light is a task where many share it.” This has certainly been the case during my time as AAPG executive director.

As a result we have significantly expanded our programs and operations around the globe with many new programs for the AAPG membership and non-members as well. It has been great working with members and staff to develop and expand AAPG’s digital services, workshops and conferences, and the Washington and regional offices.

That is all I am going to say about the programs – my feeling is, they speak for themselves. I also hope you have enjoyed their development as much as we have.

Now for the future: I feel that AAPG is once again poised for a great expansion. As the Ghostbusters famously said, “We’ve got the time, we’ve got the talent.”

I am proudest of the staff we developed and their dedicated service to the membership. As I am fond of saying, we have close to the same number of staff we started with in 1999 but we have nearly doubled the number of programs and services. They are a great staff.

In addition, thanks to the generosity of our membership we have the resources to grow. As announced at the annual meeting, the AAPG Foundation has received more than $28 million in endowments from individuals and nearly $6 million in donations and pledges from industry.

When the staff and financial assets are combined with the ingenuity of the membership, the Association has the opportunity to bring the best science and professional development to the geoscientists and industry professionals of the world.

My nearly 100-year-old grandma was fond of saying, “Always leave before you wear out your welcome.” I always try to do what she said.

I appreciate all of the thanks and congratulations I have received from members. Now that I am leaving I am mostly thankful – thankful to the AAPG leadership who taught me so much, thankful to the staff who gave me the power to lead and thankful to the people I met around the world who gave me perspective.

I’m most thankful to my family, who gave me the strength and time to work and travel. Mary has been very supportive, and Ian and Zoe have allowed me to tell their stories and add a little color and emphasis into my speeches and writings (Ian really does not spend a lot!)

Confucius said, “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” I have loved working for you and now look forward to going back to my first love – geology and prospecting.

I hope to see you again as a member-volunteer for AAPG.

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