President's Column

Doing What We Say We Do: Volunteering? Really?

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)

This month we’re continuing to compare the record at AAPG when it comes to doing what we say we do, and we ask this question:

Are we volunteering?

At AAPG we often say that our volunteers keep the whole organization moving, and that they are a tremendous source for new ideas and new opportunities, and thus the future of AAPG.

Volunteers working diligently on behalf of AAPG, through all the various committees and subcommittees and other assorted groups across the globe number about 484, working on much of the business of the AAPG.

Now, if we add in all the folks who work on making meetings happen in any given year for AAPG, they number about another 200.

And if we now include the House of Delegates, Advisory Council and Executive Committee we can add another 250, for an approximate total of 934.

So, approximately 934 people in all of AAPG are working at any given time as volunteers for the other 39,000-plus of us.

Hmm. Let’s see … that would be about 2 percent of the total membership.

Sorry folks, but this is NOT a number I am going to jump up and down and celebrate.

So, from a governance, business and strategic perspective, what does this low number of active volunteers translate to for AAPG?

Our pool of future leaders comes from our group of volunteers who rise through the ranks of volunteer activities and show passion, leadership and teamwork skills along the way.

If you become actively involved in AAPG, you can have a surprising degree of impact within AAPG – and it can happen pretty quickly. Just ask Richard Ball, our present secretary on the AAPG Executive Committee, who has not yet seen the age of 32.

But without new people coming in as volunteers the available leadership pool dwindles – along with our ability to flexibly deal with new challenges.

Our volunteers help shape most of our business activities – this includes the EXPLORER, the BULLETIN, our hard-copy and digital publications, our short courses and our meetings, and essentially everything else AAPG does.

A small number of people working as volunteers may be able to get a job done, but fewer people produce a smaller pool of ideas and fewer new product opportunities. The same people doing the same job over and over again can result in a stagnant business and most of us know what happens to stagnant businesses over time.

We need new faces in the mix.

Strategically, if AAPG is to compete successfully in an ever-increasingly more complex and challenging business environment, we need new blood – and not just a few of you!

By the way, our volunteers designed that long-range strategic plan at the center of our three-year business plans.

We need new faces in all experience ranges, and we especially need young new blood to bring new ways of thinking to this grand old organization!

Your volunteer service can have a huge and lasting effect upon AAPG – and your choice to stand on the sidelines and watch is one less bit of energy and insight that might otherwise lead to expanding upon our past successes, or stand between us and being subsumed by a competitor.

Now, for those of you who already are part of the AAPG volunteer team:

Another component of volunteerism is for our volunteers to bring others into the fold.

You best know the work and dedication required, the occasional frustrations and politics sometimes involved in any activity where people are part of the mix, but you also know how good it feels to personally cause progress in an organization that brings a lot of good geoscience and professionalism to an industry that provides energy to power the world economy.

Please go out and seek new volunteers and mentor them into the position you hold, so that our future is assured with new, young faces coming to the fore.

Like most things in life, sometimes we have to pay to play. Volunteer for AAPG!

Your personal volunteer effort might seem little to you, but it really is a big deal in the scheme of all of AAPG.

So, to our AAPG volunteers – my profound thanks to each and every one of you!

And those of you who aren’t yet volunteers for this wonderful organization, please feel free to ping me at and let me know how you would like to help AAPG do what we say we will do by volunteering somewhere within this great organization.

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Presidents Column

President's Column - Lee Krystinik
Lee Krystinik, AAPG President (2013-14), is a principal with Fossil Creek Resources, Arlington, Texas.

President's Column

AAPG Presidents offer thoughts and information about their experiences for the Association. 


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