Change? Yes, We Can (and We Are)

As the world recovers from World Cup fever, I am amazed at the impact of soccer in the United States. A lot of people in this country who never showed any interest in “football” were glued to their TVs as the tournament unfolded.

For example, one Saturday during the middle of the tournament I went to get new tires on my van. While they were working on my car I sat in the waiting room and watched one of the matches. The mechanics kept coming out to watch the game on TV and argue its coarser points with me (none of us knew any of the finer points).

Clearly, the interest in soccer is certainly changing in the United States.


Change is an inevitable part of life and it is evolution that improves. One of the primary goals of AAPG this year will be to review our strategic plan and determine AAPG’s evolution into the next 35 plus years.

To this end, AAPG President Dave Rensink has charged the AAPG Advisory Council to review AAPG’s Strategic Plan. A key part of the review will be to consider the assumptions that were made when the plan was first developed over seven years ago.

Changes to be considered include new technologies that have allowed us to make unconventional reservoirs conventional, more young professionals in the marketplace due to that technology, and, of course, the impact that the Gulf of Mexico catastrophe of April 20, 2010, will have on offshore exploration.

There are six goal areas in the AAPG Strategic Plan. They are:

  • Advance the science.
  • Continuous professional development.
  • Public awareness.
  • Membership and membership services.
  • Financial strength.
  • Global presence.

As President Rensink said in his first column (July EXPLORER), AAPG’s key to success and growth is its focus on science. As long as we provide the best science to our members and the general public we remain a strong entity.

Public awareness or outreach is also a key goal area this year. This includes providing information to the general public on geosciences and our industry. Already, in response to questions about the Gulf spill, we have educated more people on offshore drilling than in the past 10 years.

AAPG also is committed to instructing both teachers and students about our profession. This is a critical part of planning for the future.


All of the above must contain a commitment to global presence.

Globalization is both non-U.S. and U.S. In other words, it is critical to consider a strategy to serve all of our members when we consider global development.

One key to our globalization is decentralization in the form of regional offices.

We essentially have three types of regional offices:

Type I offices are designed to have a minimum of two to three staff/consultants to provide services and products, and to be financially positive after three years. The European Region and Middle East offices are Type I offices.

Type II offices have one director/manager and provide services and some products. Type II offices are not necessarily expected to provide a significant return on investment, and are focused on service. Examples are the GEO-DC office in Washington, D.C., and the new Asia-Pacific Office in Singapore.

Type IIIoffices are designed to provide limited local support – mostly secretarial. At this time we do not have any Type III offices, but a few have been proposed.

At the request of President Rensink we currently are developing a long-range plan for opening future offices.


Of course, sometimes change is difficult. Football teams are still adjusting to the new Jabulani ball that was used in the World Cup – but this technological advancement certainly caused a lot of excitement and discussion during the tournament.

The long-term success of a not-for-profit professional association ultimately is measured by the benefits it provides to its members and society.

Evolution is usually a good thing, and it is important for us to adapt quickly and understand the needs of our membership for the future.

This will be a key year for AAPG.

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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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