Accelerating Toward the Future

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)

AAPG manages and operates a multitude of diverse programs and services – but if you were to ask me to explain what we do, I’d say we have two important tasks:

First, promoting and disseminating the science and technology needed to meet the world’s growing energy needs, particularly for petroleum.

Second, the Association has an essential role in ensuring the availability of a competent, professional and global geosciences work force to find and responsibly produce this energy.

These two tasks embody AAPG’s core purpose, expressed in our strategic plan, “to advance the science and profession of energy-related geosciences worldwide.” This purpose is as relevant today as when the Association was founded in 1917.

It is quite a responsibility and no small task.


As I was formally introduced to AAPG leaders and staff as the Association’s ninth executive director in August, I spoke about three broad themes to guide our actions in achieving AAPG’s purpose:

First, we need to build and enhance AAPG’s global brand.

Our strategic plan envisages a future where petroleum geoscientists around the world see AAPG as not just relevant, but “indispensible” to their scientific and professional development.

That means consistently enhancing the value that AAPG delivers to its members – and clearly communicating that value – to maintain and increase our membership from all sections and regions.

It also means explaining to a broad and diverse audience the role we play in society. It is our responsibility to explain to our families, friends, neighbors and politicians why what we do as AAPG members matters to them. AAPG is not simply a group of scientists who happen to work in petroleum. We are an association of professionals who discover, produce, regulate and research the energy resources that power the world.

The public needs to understand that.

Second, we must focus on quality and excellence in programming.

In an organization of 35,000 members there is no shortage of programmatic ideas worth considering – but having the human and financial resources needed to implement all of them is another matter. So, we have to make choices, be innovative, try new things and discard old things to meet the changing needs of our members and ensure the continued health and stability of the Association.

Excellence in our products and services is not optional. It is the essence of being indispensable. And we need to develop new products and services that help our current members do their jobs better, attract new members and enhance our global reputation.

Third, we must be ever faster, nimbler and embrace change.

Our focus at AAPG headquarters and in our regional offices must be on responsiveness to AAPG members, innovation in products and services and offering and embracing new ideas. The purpose is not change for its own sake, but rather to create a culture that enables us to nimbly and effectively respond to our members’ evolving needs.

Every one of us on staff plays an important role in achieving this objective.

AAPG’s Executive Committee, leaders and member volunteers work closely with the Association’s staff to identify emerging opportunities and new realities. Our world is accelerating – and I believe that AAPG’s future is tied directly to its ability to respond quickly and creatively to these changes.

This is the kind of organization we need to be. And the great news is that our Association is well on its way, thanks to the past and present contributions of AAPG’s leaders and members around the world, and the diligent and dedicated work by our staff in Tulsa and the regional offices.

I look forward to working closely with David Lange in his new role as deputy executive director, the directors, managers and staff to support President Paul Weimer and the Executive Committee as they lead the Association.

And I look forward to meeting and working with you. Because AAPG is not a building in Tulsa, or a meeting you attend, or a publication you read. It’s us – all 35,000 of us – working together to build a global association of professionals that we are proud to be a part of.

We’ve come a long way since 1917. And as we approach AAPG’s second century it’s time to hit the accelerator.

An exciting future awaits us.

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Director's Corner

Director's Corner - David Curtiss

David Curtiss is an AAPG member and was named AAPG Executive Director in August 2011. He was previously Director of the AAPG GEO-DC Office in Washington D.C.

The Director's Corner covers Association news and industry events from the worldview perspective of the AAPG Executive Director.

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