AAPG’s New Structure: Necessary, Not Easy

We are busily restructuring the way AAPG conducts business here in Tulsa and around the globe.

It’s a project forced upon us by the extended downturn in oil and natural gas prices and the impact the decline is having on our members and on the petroleum industry. Like you, we feel this impact directly, as the Association has had to reduce its staff levels in response to lower revenues.

It’s not easy, but it’s necessary.

But as difficult as the downturn is, it also represents an opportunity to look at how we do things, evaluate what programs and activities are still effective and assess what our current and prospective members need in order to be successful in their careers.

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We are busily restructuring the way AAPG conducts business here in Tulsa and around the globe.

It’s a project forced upon us by the extended downturn in oil and natural gas prices and the impact the decline is having on our members and on the petroleum industry. Like you, we feel this impact directly, as the Association has had to reduce its staff levels in response to lower revenues.

It’s not easy, but it’s necessary.

But as difficult as the downturn is, it also represents an opportunity to look at how we do things, evaluate what programs and activities are still effective and assess what our current and prospective members need in order to be successful in their careers.

That, after all, is why we exist as an Association: to advance science and the professional well-being of our members. These are the times when we can best demonstrate our relevance to you and your career.

The Fourfold Plan

There are four elements to our restructuring plan:

  • Controlling our costs and searching for more efficient ways to operate are at the heart of our current activities. How do we take a limited amount of resources – both human and financial – and derive the greatest value for our members and customers?
  • Program focus is an area the Executive Committee is actively assessing. Does our current portfolio of products, services and volunteer activities still meet the needs of our current members? How about the needs of the next generation? As we look at these activities, how can we reimagine them to be even more effective?
  • Strategic investment is important, because no organization has cost-cut its way to success. And, while we have limited financial resources for investing in new programs and services, we are evaluating opportunities to position AAPG for future success.
  • Innovation is essential to positioning AAPG for its second century. Our goal is to build a process that generates good ideas, evaluates them, then selects the most promising among them for further investment and development. This has historically been an ad-hoc process. Our goal is to systematize it and extend it throughout the organization.

Seven Themes of Our New Direction

In terms of how this affects our operations here in Tulsa, we’ve reshaped the organization along seven different themes:

  • Grouping similar job functions and developing teams to enable cross-training and backup that will enhance the resilience of our staff organization.
  • Enhancing communication and alignment between teams and product lines.
  • Establishing a member and customer experience center – a centralized communications hub for our members and customers – to provide better service when they contact the Association.
  • Focusing on marketing our products and services to support our members’ engagement with non-members.
  • Creating an innovation engine for AAPG that allows us to make these products and services more relevant to the professional development of our members.
  • Developing and focusing on performance metrics for our products and services.
  • Providing AAPG’s leaders with more effective data and analysis to assess how and where the Association should channel its resources for maximum benefit to its members.

AAPG’s New Groups

As a result of these goals, we have housed all of AAPG’s revenue-generating products in a business group under the direction of Alan Wegener. This includes all of AAPG’s events and experiences, such as ACE, GTWs, Hedberg conferences and field seminars. It includes all of AAPG’s market development organizations – our foreign offices – in the regions. It also includes all of AAPG’s technical publications, the EXPLORER and Datapages. And, this group contains a dedicated sales and marketing unit to serve these product lines.

We’ve created a new group focused on AAPG’s administration and programs under the leadership of Vern Stefanic. On the administration side, this group will be the principal liaison to AAPG’s governance units: Executive Committee, Advisory Council and House of Delegates, as well as the Divisions’ leadership groups, Sections and Regions leaders. They are responsible for all elections, honors and awards organization-wide. In addition, this group will handle the application process for voting Members.

The program side of this group is focused on all of AAPG’s programs such as the Imperial Barrel Award, Distinguished Lecturers, Visiting Geoscientists, Student Chapters, the Publications Pipeline, the new Young Professionals Special Interest Group and the 100th Anniversary Committee. Several of these are also joint programs with the AAPG Foundation.

Vern will also be the first point of contact for our office in Washington, D.C. focused on energy and geoscience policy issues, with my continued involvement.

The new corporate shared services group, which Bryan Haws will be directing, includes the new Member and Customer Experience Center (which will handle Associate and Student membership processing), along with our accounting, information technology, office services teams and building management activities.

Finally, a new science group, led by Jim Blankenship and Susan Nash, will be focused on keeping AAPG’s products and service offerings at the front edge of new science understanding, technology trends and innovative ideas. They will be the principal liaisons with our new Technical Interest Groups, technical committees and Divisions to identify relevant themes and concepts, which are then developed into products and services, such as events, groups and publications, and delivered through the business group.

A restructuring as extensive as we’re pursuing is not a simple task. But we believe this structure will enable AAPG to best serve its members and customers in the years ahead – moving us closer to becoming indispensable to you.

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