AAPG Denver Convention: Wow!

Wow! That is the first thing that comes to mind when I think about this year’s Annual Conference and Exhibition, or ACE 2009, in Denver.

I have attended every AAPG annual meeting since 1978 and Denver definitely ranks among the very best. General Chair Randy Ray and General Vice Chair Marvin Brittnenham led AAPG to a new level.

A more comprehensive report on Denver – and lots of photos – will be included in the August EXPLORER, but for now here’s a “sneak peak” at coverage for a great meeting.


What made Denver special?

First and foremost it was the “science.” We received many comments on the quality of the technical sessions even from some of the loudest critics. Technical Chair Steve Sonnenberg and Vice Chair Paul Weimer, built a very strong program.

A close second to science were the special events at ACE 2009. Here are some of the highlights:

  • Opening Session– AAPG President Scott Tinker gave an inspiring speech on our profession and industry that will go down as one of the best in AAPG’s history. His presentation was followed by a great awards ceremony that was highlighted by Marlan Downey receiving the Sidney Powers Award.
  • All-Convention Luncheon– T. Boone Pickens was interviewed on stage by AAPG Foundation Chairman Bill Fisher and Scott Tinker, and his responses to their questions were the talk of the convention.
  • Halbouty Lecture– Guilherme de Oliveira Estrella, managing director for E&P for Petrobras, provided a talk on the history of petroleum geology in Brazil that led to the sub-salt discoveries of super giant oil fields that may be two of the world’s three biggest oil finds in the past 30 years.
  • Division luncheons– All three AAPG Divisions had great speakers. At the DPA luncheon, Denver Mayor (and former geologist) John Hickenlooper gave a great speech with a blueprint on how to become a successful grassroots leader.

These are just a few of the highlights at the meeting; there were many others, especially excellent forums on professional careers for women, discovery thinking and global climate change.

Prior to the opening ceremony the House of Delegatesdebated several important issues on Sunday morning (see related story, page 18). One of the key issues was changing the bylaw requirement for experience for active membership from three years to one.

Scott Tinker introduced the concept of a new Global Corporate Structure for AAPG and was followed by a detailed report by past HoD chair Marty Hewitt who chaired a special Presidential Committee on that subject.

Many delegates took the opportunity to provide their opinions of the new concept. The HoD Constitution and Bylaws Committee will debate the concept and develop a final proposal to be presented to the HoD in New Orleans in nine months.


Of course, the question I receive most about the convention is “what are the numbers?”

Unofficially, we had over 7,500 total registrants! Granted, these are preliminary numbers and still need to be audited – but nevertheless, this is an amazing number for a convention held during a recession.

Success is not a ladder that can be climbed with your hands in your pocket. All the organizers for the convention deserve appreciation from the membership for their great work.

In the end all members will benefit. Many of the talks, posters and results of the meeting will be disseminated through publications, online media and other opportunities for professional development.

It’s always a little sad when a great meeting is over. But now is the time to look forward.

AAPG’s International Conference and Exhibition in Rio de Janeiro is only four months away, on Nov. 15-18, and all members and guests will be asked to reconvene at the next annual meeting, set in New Orleans on April 11-14.

We anticipate more great science, superb events and excellent networking.

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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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