This column is a pledge to you, the membership, from the Executive Committee and the AAPG staff, that we believe AAPG can take steps during this downturn -- and that we will do our best to deliver products and services that contribute to all the membership.
"Let's Partner For Your Success!"
All of us are too keenly aware of the difficulties facing not only the petroleum industry but also the energy minerals and environmental industries today. We are all concerned about their future and what it will mean to the geoscience profession.
Not surprisingly, stressful times like these can bring out the best and the worst in us and our professional organizations.
It is paramount that we in AAPG rise to the occasion to serve our profession and membership.
Your Executive Committee and the AAPG staff in Tulsa are striving to bring out the best in your Association to meet the current challenges to our careers and professional lives.
It is important to remind ourselves that our industry has endured hard times before -- and things do get better. AAPG can and is taking action to assist the membership as we work ourselves through yet another business cycle.
While AAPG cannot control the price of oil and gas products, there are things we can do to assist the membership. Remember Colin Powell's Rule No. 1:
It ain't as bad as you think.
For example, some of the best exploration opportunities occur during downturns because the competition is less.
This column is written to explain the basic aspects of what AAPG is doing to respond to the current business environment. Simply stated, our strategy is to communicate, facilitate, generate and selectively support financially.
When business is prosperous, AAPG focuses on its traditional core mission, that being to publish, educate and to create meetings. Nonetheless, when a downturn occurs, members naturally look to AAPG for a response.
Historically our response has not been rapid because AAPG had no infrastructure of standing committees that routinely focused on reacting to fluctuations in the business cycle.
In other words, we have not routinely produced business-related products to meet the needs associated with downturns.
Nonetheless, AAPG has substantial tangible and intangible assets that do allow us to provide services that no other organization can. Our task is to identify those programs and services that AAPG can do best.
Some that come to mind are:
- Communicate information about business-related products, services, events and jobs.
- Facilitate product movement (such as short courses) between and among other organizations.
- Generate new programs such as training for job search (outplacement skills).
- Financially support selected programs such as some computer short courses.
Elsewhere in this EXPLORER you will find a new section, "Careers," which communicates useful information on coping with the downturn. This section is also available on the AAPG Web site.
At the time of this writing, our expectations are for this Web page to evolve as you, the members, add to it. The Web page will be updated regularly and we depend on suggestions from our entire membership to provide the information needed.
AAPG also will look to financially support programs and to facilitate the availability of others. This facilitation may take the form of organizing touring short courses or supporting travel costs. These courses need not be AAPG in origin, but we will work with our sister societies to make the most useful products available to all our members.
Again, check the Web site.
The three large groups specifically needing help right now are small companies (producers and prospect generators), those changing career paths (currently unemployed or soon to be) and students.
Skills for members in small companies.
The task before most U.S. producers right now is simply to survive. How can AAPG help?
Most producers have formed regional or statewide organizations that focus on products and services to meet current business conditions. Currently those organizations are rapidly creating new products for their local audience that may have applicability well beyond their regional boundaries.
The Denver PTTC, for example, has created several schools of interest, such as how to temporarily abandon wells in an efficient, environmentally sound manner.
AAPG is working not only to advertise their availability but also to facilitate their availability in other areas.
For more information, tune in to the Web site or contact the organizations directly.
Skills for those changing career paths.
Those who are between jobs face the dual tasks of retooling geotechnical skills and searching for a new employer.
Before searching for the next job, however, many also need non-geotechnical training for the job search such as that provided by outplacement services. Still others want to prepare themselves to become independents or consultants.
AAPG is gathering data now to use as criteria in selecting courses to make available. For example, we need to know where it is most useful to put on courses such as "How to Start Consulting" or "How to Design a Job Search Brochure and Resume" (and check the Web site regularly for up-to-date information).
As many of you know, AAPG financially supports five Mid-Career Training Centers that focus on teaching geotechnical skills. AAPG will continue to support these organizations and is seeking ways to increase that support in the form of reduced tuition.
Concerning the search for a new employer, the AAPG Web site now has links to all job-listing sites that we know about. If there are more, please let us know.
Don't forget that employers may also want to find you, and we are evaluating a means for members to list or advertise their special skills.
In terms of outplacement services, we are working to expand that initiative, but are of course open to your ideas.
Finally, as members wrestle with COBRA and ongoing insurance and retirement concerns, we remind you of the excellent services available from AAPG in this area.
AAPG is better organized to provide products and services to students because we have four standing committees providing products and services to them.
We face, however, an inherent difficulty and conflict of interest, because many AAPG members who are at the prime of their careers are seeking the very jobs the students will be seeking.
Should we use valuable resources for students when some of our working members face extreme difficulty?
Our answer is an emphatic yes! We shall continue our efforts to help students, just as we always have, in order to ensure the next generation of geoscientists is available to society.
In fact, the Visiting Geologists Committee expects to double its number of visits next year -- and double again the year later.
These efforts by AAPG cannot create jobs where none exist -- but rather than dwelling on the negative aspects of another cyclical downturn, let us all focus on the many positive opportunities that either are available or can be created.
Our strategy is to communicate, facilitate, create and double again the year later.
We believe that by taking a proactive stance we will help our membership weather yet another storm. By all of us pulling together, we will survive this one as well.
We certainly do not have all the answers -- so this is both a statement of purpose and an indication of steps we currently think are effective. It is also a request for suggestions of additional programs that may add value.
We invite you to communicate with the Executive Committee or the AAPG staff. We hope to be your partners in success.
Your 1998-99 Executive Committee.
President: Dick Bishop
Vice President: Martha Lou Broussard
President-Elect: M. Ray Thomasson
Secretary: Betsy Campen
Treasurer: Terry Hollrah
Editor: Neil Hurley
Chairman, House of Delegates: Tom Mairs
Your AAPG Staff contacts:
Executive Director: Lyle Baie
Science Director: Jack Gallagher