Divisions Report: DPA

Sponsorship Change Would Be a Good Move

This first Division of the AAPG has more than 45 years of history since our inaugural president, W. Dow Hamm, served 1968-69. The introduction of certification to AAPG required a mechanism for administration, and the DPA was organized with the principal purpose to “strengthen the professional status of geoscientists” and “to require high standards of competence among practicing geologists.”

These changes were affected through our democratic process and amended into the AAPG Bylaws by our elected representatives to the House of Delegates.

In a few short days the HoD again will consider motions that will have lasting repercussions for our organization. The proposal to eliminate sponsors for membership will remove any impediment to a speedy application process by which qualified candidates for membership in our fine organization may be welcomed.

I believe this will be good for the AAPG and good for the DPA.

Those members who wish to signify their commitment to their career and industry may then apply to the DPA and go through the rigorous process of peer-reviewed certification of their competency and their ethics.


Our bylaws require us “to communicate to the general public and to government agencies information on legislative decisions affecting the regulation of petroleum resource exploration and development.”

Indeed, we direct much of our collective energies to maintaining our obligation to educate our members and provide opportunities for them to enhance their professional development, such as at ACE 2014, where our ace DPA Vice Chair Chandler Wilhelm has assembled a significant presence. That would include:

  • Three short courses.
    • 3 Black Belt Ethics.
    • 3 Geosteering Principals, Practice and Pitfalls.
    • 3 Everything You Wanted to Know about the Oil and Gas Business, But Were Afraid to Ask.
  • Two Discovery Thinking sessions, co-sponsored with the AAPG (see related story, page 30).
  • One session on Communicating our Science, co-sponsored by the GEO-DC office and AAPG (see related story, page 28).

For our Tuesday luncheon we are thrilled to have featured keynote speaker Susan Cunningham, SVP of Noble Energy, whose address on the global impacts of our industry, “Exploration and the Oil and Gas Industry: Having a Positive Impact on People and the World,” will be a highlight of the conference. This luncheon will again be co-sponsored by the AWG.


Last January the DPA presented its second annual Playmaker Forum in Houston. Past DPA president Charles Sternbach and President-Elect Rick Fritz did a marvelous job of assembling a full day program for the Playmaker 2.0.

Titled “From Prospect to Discovery,” this forum presented a primer for exploration success.

For two years in a row this presentation has provided the DPA with significant visibility, relevance and income to allow us to continue to support our programs.

And at the forum it was a tremendous honor to present the 2013 Heritage awards to our honorees Bud Brigham of Brigham Oil and Gas, and Jim Bob Moffett of McMoRan Exploration Company, both of whom spoke to the assembly about their insights and triumphs in the Bakken and offshore Louisiana, respectively.


Plans continue to anneal for the inaugural Playmaker Canada forum, which will be presented May 27 in Calgary, Canada. The keynote speaker will be Clay Ridell, OC and CEO of Paramount Resources, who also will receive the 2013 DPA Heritage Award at the event.

Presentations by AAPG President Lee Krystinik and CSPG President Dale Leckie will forge a basis for further collaboration between the sister organizations – and discussions of recent discoveries and emerging plays cannot be missed.

Many thanks to the organizers; we look forward to toasting your success at the White Hat Round-up following this exciting event.


What can the DPA do to entice you to join us – or if you already are a CPG, how can we keep you engaged and interested in maintaining your association with the DPA?

These questions are paramount in every recent DPA officer’s mind as we struggle to maintain our membership roles.

Through personal contacts, cajoling, enlightening and, yes, even a little arm-twisting, we are staying nearly static with our membership at a time in which our industry is enjoying a global zenith of activity and the AAPG membership roles are swelling.

As prospective YP members accumulate the experience and tenure qualifications for membership we anticipate growth, yet it is essential that we maintain – and increase our relevance with current members.

If these recent forums and presentations do not appeal, then tell us what we’re NOT doing, so we can continue to provide relevant educational opportunities.


Finally, my current read is Charles Duhigg’s book, “The Power of Habit, Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business,” in which he describes habits’ mechanisms, cues and rewards.

Duhigg relates how Paul O’Neill took Alcoa from a struggling corporation in 1987 to one, which the company’s annual net income was five times larger than before he arrived, and its market capitalization had risen by $27 billion by the time he retired in 2000.

O’Neill did it by changing keystone habits. He focused on safety; he made it rewarding to achieve and changed a rigid hierarchy to build new corporate habits, which resonated with unions, workers and managers. New routines coursed through the company, costs came down, quality went up, productivity skyrocketed.

Through his singular focus on safety, he affected the dynamics of a 35,700 person multinational corporation.

Great useful insights, I recommend it.

Tell me, what’s on your night table?

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Division Column-DPA: Valary Schulz

Valary L. Schulz is DPA President for 2013-14 and is with Cinco Resources in Dallas.

Division Column-DPA

The Division of Professional Affairs (DPA), a division of AAPG, seeks to promote professionalism and ethical standards, provide a means for professional certification of petroleum geologists, coal geologists, and petroleum geophysicists, assist in career planning, and improve the professional well-being of AAPG members. For more information about the DPA and its activities, visit the DPA website.

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