Input from Section Presidents & Committee Members
How AAPG Domestic Sections & Conventions are Organized
Survey Discussion from Sections Committee Meeting
AAPG Annual Meeting, Long Beach, CA – April 2, 2007
Section Governing Bodies
All six Domestic Sections elect an Executive Committee to conduct the routine business of the Section throughout the year. In addition, four of the six sections have a separate governing body that meets once or twice each year. The two Sections that do not have a separate governing body have unusually large (13 & 15 member) Executive Committees. The other four Sections have smaller (4 & 6 member) Executive Committees.
Officers of the Sections typically include a President, Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer. The Rockies Section substitutes a President-Elect for the Vice President, and the Pacific Section adds a President-Elect and Past President to the four more traditional officers, for a total of six. The Gulf Coast Section adds the General Chair of the annual convention as a fifth voting member. The Rocky Mountain Section and the Eastern Section include the Past President as an honorary, non-voting officer. The Southwest Section recently designated their Past President as their Advisory Council Alternate.
The Eastern Section is the only Section that recognizes their Advisory Council Representative as a voting member of their Executive Committee. The Gulf Coast Section allows their two Advisory Council Representatives to attend Executive Committee meetings and offer motions, but does not allow them to vote.
It is unclear as to how some of the different Sections actually elect their officers, but four of the six Sections set up their officer rotation and convention city rotation such that the President is always elected from the society that hosts the annual meeting.
The Mid-Continent Section usually elects all of their officers only from the larger societies that host meetings, but occasionally an officer is elected from a smaller society. The officers are elected from the Council representatives. The Section has an officer rotation and each officer is elected for two years. Thus, each person who is elected has an 8-year officer obligation. The officer rotation is set up in such a way that commonly both the Treasurer and the President are elected from the convention host society.
The Eastern Section allows every member of the Section who attends their annual meeting to vote for officers on a paper ballot. Votes are counted and the election results are announced at the annual business luncheon. The Section uses a 4-officer rotation, so only the office of Treasurer is a competitive election with the other officers moving up each year. The Advisory Council representative is elected by ballot sent from HQ every three years to all members of the Section.
The Rocky Mountain Section also uses an officer rotation, so each person has a 4-year obligation. The elections are set up in such a way that the President is a member of the society that hosts the annual Section meeting, like the Mid-Continent Section.
The Southwest Section also sets up the officer rotation such that the President always is a member of the society that hosts the annual meeting. However, they do not have a four-officer rotation. Three officers serve one-year terms and the Treasurer serves a two-year term.
The Pacific Section is the fourth Section that sets up their elections and conventions such that the President always is from the society that hosts their annual meeting. Like the Southwest Section, all Pacific Section officers serve a one-year term except the Treasurer, who serves for two years.
The Sections that have a separate governing body in addition to their Executive Committee elect those members from the affiliated societies in the Section. In general, only one person is elected from each society, although the Mid-Continent and the Eastern Section allow additional members from larger societies.
The Eastern Section is the only Section that ties their governing body directly to the national House of Delegates by having all HOD members serve on their Eastern Section Council. The Pacific Section is the only Section that has the Society Presidents representing the societies, but they serve on an expanded Executive Committee, not on a separate governing body like the Eastern Section Council. The Rocky Mountain Section also has an expanded Executive Committee, consisting of their officers plus one member elected from each society.
Section Annual (or Biennial) Conventions
Five of the six Sections host an annual convention. The Mid-Continent Section holds a meeting every two years. The Mid-Continent Section currently uses a four-city rotation to match their officer rotation, but is considering a switch to three cities with a fourth “floating” city in the rotation. The Rocky Mountain and Southwest Sections commonly hold meetings in larger cities, so not every affiliated society is involved as a host.
Conventions in the Gulf Coast also are dominated by larger host societies in Texas and Louisiana locations, with few meetings in Alabama or Mississippi. The Pacific Section holds meetings in several California cities and adds Anchorage, Alaska approximately every four years.
The Eastern Section has no set rotation. Instead, the Section attempts to rotate meetings among Appalachian, Illinois and Michigan basin cities and their various affiliated societies. Eastern Section meetings have been held in 20 cities in 10 states, plus Ontario, Canada and Washington, DC.
Profit from meetings is split in various ways among the Sections. All Sections rely on an Affiliated Host Society to organize the meeting, and reward them with differing percentages of the profit, ranging from 65% in the Mid-Continent to only 15% in the Pacific Section. The Southwest and Eastern Sections split profit 50-50 between the host society and Section; the Rocky Mountain Section gives 40% to the host society and divides 10% among the 10 non-host societies each year. The Pacific Section gives 1% to each of the six non-host societies. When Anchorage hosts a meeting, the Pacific Section gives them 25% of the profit.
All Sections except the Mid-Continent retain at least 50% of the profit from a meeting, led by the Pacific Section, which retains 79% (69% when Anchorage is the host). The Mid-Continent is re-evaluating their 65-35 split in profit.
Although the percentage of profit retained by the Pacific Section appears to be quite high compared to other Sections, it must be kept in mind that the Pacific Section commonly has a meeting co-host, and profit splits change dramatically when non-AAPG co-hosts are introduced into the equation. The Pacific, Eastern, Rocky Mountain and Gulf Coast Sections all have co-hosted meeting with trade groups or other professional societies.
The Pacific Section has co-hosted meetings with the Society of Petroleum Engineers and with the Geological Society of America. In these cases, the initial split of meeting profit is based on the percentage of registrants from both groups. When the Eastern Section co-hosted a meeting with the Eastern Region of SPE, the initial profit split was 50-50 between ES-AAPG and ER-SPE; the second split was 50-50 between ES-AAPG and the local society host.
When the Rocky Mountain Section co-hosts a meeting with a trade association, the profit split is based on registration percentages, i.e., how many from each group attend the meeting, similar to the Pacific Section model. When the Gulf Coast Section co-hosts a meeting with a group of professional landmen, the profit split is negotiated upfront.
Recognition of National Officers, Officer Candidates and Divisions
Organizers of Section meetings vary dramatically in their recognition of national officers, officer candidates and AAPG Divisions during their meetings. Although input from Domestic Section Committee members was incomplete during the recent meeting, it appears that only the Eastern, Southwest and Mid-Continent Sections commonly organize an Opening Session during which the three Division Presidents and the National AAPG President are given the opportunity to speak. Officer candidates, however, are at least introduced at all Section meetings, but not all Section meetings allow these candidates the opportunity to speak to meeting attendees. Those Sections who do provide time for candidates to speak, do so at either an opening session or all-convention luncheon.
Not all Sections recognize the various AAPG Divisions in their technical programs. Most reported that if enough appropriate abstracts are submitted by potential speakers, and if someone on the technical program committee takes the initiative to organize them into an EMD or DEG session, those sessions will be scheduled. However, only the Eastern Section appears to pro-actively recruit papers that can be organized into EMD or DEG technical sessions. Perhaps this is because the Eastern Section appears to be the only Section that judges EMD and DEG papers separately from other papers, and offers a Best Paper Award for speakers in both EMD and DEG sessions.
Division luncheons are scheduled in some Section meetings, but not in others. Most Sections seem to prefer an All-Convention luncheon to individual Division luncheons, or an All-Division luncheon, like the Eastern Section hosts. Again, there appears to be a lack of communication between the Division Councilors in a Section and the local organizing committee. If the Divisions desire more recognition at a Section meeting, then the individual Division Councilors must become more involved in the planning of the meeting.