AAPG – Evolving in a Full Sprint

I love the saying, “You can’t make footprints in time sitting down.”

As I approach the end of my tenth fiscal year, I muse that we certainly have not sat down for the past 10 years. In fact, in some cases the footprints would leave no heels, as we were running!

For the last issue of the HoD Delegates’ Voice I was asked to write about the significant changes I have seen to AAPG over the past decade. The most basic change is the number of new programs that have been added by members and staff. For example:

♦ In science AAPG has added the digital BULLETIN, Datapages, Search and Discovery and the GIS program, plus our joint association with GSW – GeoScience World.

♦ Membership also has seen significant change.

  • Through the Executive Committee, Advisory Committee and the House of Delegates, new rules and procedures have improved and streamlined the membership process, including joining and paying dues online.
  • Many members are now taking advantage of AAPG’s graduated dues program.
  • Halliburton’s, and now Chevron’s, sponsorship of students has rapidly increased this member category.
  • The new Corporate and Business committees are building new bridges into companies and countries.

♦ In the area of communications, the website has been significantly improved and expanded. Many informational documents are now readily available that were not available before. The EXPLORER is now available online, and for public outreach we have added petroleumgeology.org.

♦ Considering conferences, AAPG was conducting only official annual conference and exhibition (ACE) 10 years ago, and we would add the international conference and exhibition (ICE) when there was opportunity. Now we hold ICE on a regular basis – plus APPEX London is an annual event. The European Region regularly holds an annual meeting, and the other Regions are contemplating regular meetings like the Sections.

However, the real growth has been in joint meetings with our sister societies. At the start of this decade our only regular joint society meeting was OTC. Currently, AAPG participates in NAPE, GEO-Middle East, GEO-India, IPTC, 3-P (Polar Petroleum Potential) and most recently, we’re now managing the new Arctic Technology Conference for OTC.

♦ The Education and Research committees continue to develop new program content. Now we also offer Geoscience Technology Workshops and e-Symposiums. Also new, AAPG now has oversight responsibilities for the Petroleum Technology Transfer Council.

♦ Headquarters has changed significantly as well. New staff, new advanced software, and procedures and policies are significant improvements.

There are many other new programs I have not mentioned, such as our Career Services program, and the Divisions, which have significantly increased and improved their offerings during the past 10 years.

The overarching change is global development. This path was made clear in the strategic plan developed by AAPG leadership earlier in this decade. It is important that this plan was not designed to forget our “roots” in the United States but rather to use the strength of the organization that was built by past AAPG members to plant “new roots” and grow around the globe so that we can provide better science and new opportunities.

The AAPG Foundation also has experienced significant change – raising almost $30 million to support current programs and new opportunities. Most importantly the leadership and staff of the Foundation have developed a culture of giving that will continue well into the future.

Plutarch once said that “Time is the wisest of all councilors.” We have learned a lot in the past 10 years, and AAPG continues to evolve for the benefit of its members and the general public.

The reality is, it’s hard to place a finger on one “change” that has made AAPG different. It is rather an evolution of ideas from AAPG members and staff. Each AAPG president and Executive Committee brings new ideas to build and grow AAPG. The same is true of the Divisions and standing committees.

This is what keeps AAPG fresh and new.

Geoscientists are never short of new ideas – and we look forward to the next great one.

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Director's Corner

Director's Corner - Rick Fritz
Richard D. “Rick” Fritz, an AAPG member since 1984 and a member of the Division of Environmental Geosciences and the Division of Professional Affairs, served as AAPG Executive Director from 1999 to 2011.

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

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