Why Do We Do Things That Way?

Last year was an amazing year in many ways – from the economy to the price of oil to security issues around the world. I am beginning to agree with George Bernard Shaw’s saying that “everything happens to everyone sooner or later if there is time enough.”

Along those lines it has been a very busy and productive year for AAPG:

  • We have had great success with our Foundation fundraising campaign.
  • The AAPG leadership is making successful strides into globalization.
  • AAPG’s membership is growing – along with our products and services.

One of the brightest spots for AAPG has been the Foundation financial campaign. Thanks to the hard work of the Foundation leadership and staff we are now approaching $25 million in actual and pledged donations.

I wish to thank all of you who have participated with pledges – and thank all of you in advance for considering a pledge to campaign.

I especially thank the Foundation Trustees and the members of the Financial Campaign who led the way with their generous pledges.

Other highlights of the year include:

  • The lead gift from Austin and Marta Weeks, which along with other generous contributions has allowed the AAPG Foundation to increase grants-in-aid to students and help build our student programs.
  • Thanks to generous donations from John Bookout, Bill Barrett and other Trustee Associates we have increased our support of providing instruction to K-12 teachers on geoscience through the Rocks in Your Head programs and other venues.
  • The Boone Pickens’ donation has started a new Geoscience GIS Consortium at Oklahoma State University, and we will start seeing products from this consortium this year. We are in discussion with other schools about starting similar programs through the Foundation.
  • Promoting professional development and enrichment, Trustee Associate David “Scotty” Holland established the AAPG- Holland Award of Excellence at Hardin Simmons University in Abilene, Texas.
  • One of our most successful programs is providing digital geology to students and faculty through the Foundation Digital Products Fund. Nearly 50 universities around the world now have access to the entire Datapages library through this program.

The end of a year always marks a time for reflection and change, and the just-ended December was no different. We are currently considering a new corporate structure for AAPG that will develop a better worldwide business model with a stronger liability shield.

In addition, the new structure will allow the leadership and staff to work more efficiently with both the Sections and the Regions.

Anytime you are considering change, you always have to ask yourself “why do we do things that way?”

Sometimes the answer reminds me of a story I heard about a child who was watching the mother cook a roast. The mom cut off both ends of the meat and placed it in a big pot for cooking.

When the child asked, “Why, do you cut off each end?” the mother replied, “I do it because my mother did it that way, so it must make the meat taste better.”

When the child asked, “Why does it make the meat taste better?” their mother replied, “I don’t know, go ask your grandmother.”

When the child asked the grandmother she replied, “I do because my mother did it that way, so go ask your great-grandmother.”

When the child asked the great-grandmother why she cut off each end of the meat, she replied, “I do it because my pot is too small.”

In any case, we are examining our past processes – good and bad – and future needs in developing this new corporate structure.

This new year it will be deliberated by the AAPG Executive Committee, the House of Delegates, the Advisory Council and the membership at large before it is brought to the annual meeting for consideration.

We believe it will be a key item this year in improving and making a stronger Association.


Finally, thanks again for your continued support of the Foundation programs and the many hours of labor you give in building AAPG’s services worldwide.

I wish all of you a very happy New Year!

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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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Foundation Campaign Leaders

The AAPG Foundation Trustees and members of the Financial Campaign who led the way in 2008 with their generous pledges were:

  • Trustees Bill Fisher, John Amoruso, Jim Gibbs, Bill Gipson, Bill Barrett and Marlan Downey.
  • Campaign co-chairs Larry Funkhouser and Jack Threet.
  • Campaign team leaders Bob Ardell, Bill Crain, Mike Party, Ed Picou and Marta Weeks.