As I’m writing this column the price of oil hovers around $40 a barrel. It’s been in decline all year. And the impact of this slide on our industry and our membership has been dramatic. It is directly affecting many of us, our colleagues and friends. For our business 2015 will go into the history books as a challenging year.
The challenges we’re facing are creating a lot of change.
It’s happening at the personal level as families work to make ends meet in the face of a layoff. It’s happening at the corporate level as centuries of accumulated knowledge and wisdom leave companies as the Baby Boomer generation shifts into retirement. And it’s happening at AAPG as we readjust to a new price environment that is directly affecting the business of the association.
Change is hard; particularly disruptive change. But it also can be a source of new thinking and new opportunities.
How do we best serve our members?
What do our stakeholders need from us to be successful?
How does AAPG shift its practices to more efficiently and effectively achieve its mission?
Reducing costs and how we manage the Association’s financial resources during this downturn is a principal focus of both the Executive Committee and our staff here at headquarters.
We’re looking at our various activities from events and publications to programs and services, prioritizing those programs that will have the greatest benefit to members and seeking to reduce costs where possible.
Last month we had 14 staff members elect to leave AAPG through an incentivized voluntary opportunity. These folks have dedicated long portions of their careers – in some cases their entire careers – to AAPG and its members.
While our member volunteers are the lifeblood of this association, our staff is the hands and feet ensuring that AAPG successfully delivers the high quality products and programs you’ve come to expect.
They did this work cheerfully, with pride and with commitment to you, our members.
If you had the fortune to work with them, and many of you have, you know that we owe them a debt of gratitude.
So, on behalf of AAPG’s more than 37,000 members worldwide, I’d like to say a public thank you to Debbi Boonstra, Jim Briggs, Norma Briggs, Janet Brister, Linda Burris, Mary Kay Grosvald, Veta McCoy, Carol McGowen, Sandy Meyer, Anne Pinkey, Karen Piqune, Marge Roper, Vern Stefanic and Kim Van Delft for your dedication and service.
This is a big change for AAPG, and as we adjust to these folks being gone it will lead to more changes in coming months.
First and foremost, we are looking to this transition to create focus on what AAPG does and to look for ways to eliminate complexity in our systems and operations.
As I explained to AAPG’s leaders assembled in Houston in October for the Mid-Year Business Meetings, we are emphasizing science and community as we work to create focus.
As a scientific and professional association we are meeting our mission when we are providing you, our members, with the science tools and understanding you need to find and produce oil and natural gas. That’s our reason for existing.
And we don’t do this in a vacuum. We do this in community with other geoscientists and engineers.
It’s the community – the network of your colleagues, mentors and peers – that will lead you to a new job if you’ve been laid off, or reveal an opportunity for promotion and advancement that will accelerate your career.
If you haven’t started building your network yet, it’s time to start. Getting involved in AAPG activities, serving on a committee or work group, attending and presenting at a workshop or conference are all ways that you can begin developing the relationships in this business that, if cultivated, will persist throughout your career.
As we ring out 2015, there is a lot of worry in our industry and profession. But together we will get through this downturn.
Here at AAPG we’re focused on change that benefits you.