I have just completed the fall convention circuit to Lafayette, La. (Gulf Coast Section), Buffalo, N.Y. (Eastern Section), and Perth, Australia (international).
Conventions are fun for your elected officers because they allow us to mingle with members, but they also are intense because of all the information and stimuli we get. It is like being a small town farmer and taking a trip to New York City. I can hardly sleep after I get back, because I have so many ideas from members.
As I have previously written, members are extremely appreciative of the officers’ efforts. They also are concerned and ask, “How are you doing?”
I can honestly tell you that I have really enjoyed my time as president. It is very challenging, and in some ways it is like being back in graduate school; your work is never done until the year ends.
At times when I start to feel overwhelmed, I remind myself of the soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan, and my responsibilities do not seem so tough.
This is the time of year when AAPG’s Advisory Council (AC) begins to collect information on potential nominees to stand for election to the Executive Committee (EC). The AC will formally meet in April to submit nominees to the EC, but the deadline for submission of names and support data is late January.
Members who would stand for office should contact their local society officers and ask them to forward a nomination and the backup materials to the AC. Or members can simply send their information directly to the AC.
(Note: we do not “run” for office at AAPG, we “stand,” which is much more civilized. Running is too aggressive and unbecoming to professionals.)
The EC functions like a board of directors, except we cannot grant ourselves large stock options. AAPG’s dedicated staff does the daily work, and it is the EC’s mission to keep the organization focused through our policies. In order to be an effective EC member or president, you do not have to be the best geologist, but you do need some of the attributes of Michael Jordan. He was not only one of the best individual basketball players, but his teams won six championships because he made other players better.
So it is with being an AAPG officer, we have a dedicated, talented staff ready to execute our policies. When asked, members are anxious to volunteer, and it is the officers’ challenge to organize both the members’ and staff’s efforts into the most beneficial tasks for the good of the entire organization.
Thus, if you are willing to help make others better or if you know a member with leadership qualities, perhaps you should ask your local society to make an important nomination.
The recently completed [PFItemLinkShortcode|id:12509|type:standard|anchorText: AAPG All-Member Survey|cssClass:asshref|title: AAPG All-Member Survey |PFItemLinkShortcode]yielded some interesting results. The following items are noteworthy to me:
- Only about 10 percent of members completed the survey, which is not an unusually low number according to our survey consultant. I do not think that 90 percent of members simply do not care about AAPG, but rather they are busy and do not have a strong opinion. They are reasonably happy with what we are doing.
- About 70 percent of responses indicated the top two categories of satisfaction with AAPG overall, and only 7 percent were in the “unsatisfactory” categories. Wow!
(But we will work toward improving the 21 percent that are ambivalent.)
- Members value the professionalism and networking promoted by AAPG.
Of all our offered products and services, our publications (EXPLORER, BULLETIN, and Special Publications) rank highest.
- Two proposed bylaws changes from the EC to the House of Delegates (HoD) received mixed endorsements by respondents: A graduated dues structure was mildly supported, but a large group was unsure; and an adjustment to petition candidate rules was mostly viewed negatively, but with a large uncertain group.
The HoD will consider both proposals in April.
- Web site usage increased. (Did we need a survey for this?) Satisfaction with Web site is good, but could improve.
- Our GEO-DC office received overwhelming support for its mission of informing both members about government and government about science and energy. Furthermore, AAPG is encouraged to take a public stance on global climate change and to generate a scientific summary for members. Message received, loud and clear.
- AAPG staff handled over 94 percent of requests or contacts from members satisfactorily.
This year’s Executive Committee is doing its best to maintain the high quality of AAPG in certain areas, to improve it in others and to take it in some completely new areas.
In this process of being AAPG president, I have come to appreciate an old saying: “When you are up to your rear in alligators, it’s hard to remember your original intention was to drain the swamp.”
‘Til next month ...