Midland, Texas, was originally founded as the midway point between Fort Worth and El Paso on the Texas and Pacific Railroad in 1881. Today, it’s more commonly known as the geographic center of more than 16 percent of the nation’s oil reserves.
But, as we’ve all seen, the downturn hasn’t been so kind to a large number of geoscientists, many of whom are young professionals. Some will leave the oil and gas industry for good, but others will persevere through these tough times by networking and staying involved as members of local societies.
In a recent talk to the Midland Southwest Section YP group entitled, “Young Professionals in the Industry: How to Survive in Turbulent Times,” this continued involvement and volunteerism is exactly what past AAPG President John Hogg urged YPs to take part in. He emphasized the importance of staying connected with the industry, because it not only provides opportunities to network with other geoscientists, but might also be what helps YPs land an interview or secure their next job.
In April, the Young Professional Geoscientists in Midland participated in the “Great American Cleanup/Don’t Mess with Texas Trash-Off,” a program that is part of the Keep Midland Beautiful annual spring community cleanup. This year, they chose to clean around the Permian Basin Petroleum Museum, which just celebrated the opening of their new petroleum exhibits. Just as the museum has become a showcase for innovative and creative thinking, the Midland YPs are striving to better the community as well as remind others, in between jobs or not, that they don’t have to be employed to add value to their resume.
Crawfish, Despite the Odds
Over in Dallas, the YPs recently hosted the Annual Dallas Geological Society (DGS) Crawfish Boil at White Rock Lake. This year marked the 17th year of the event – and it almost didn’t happen.
That might seem like a petty thing to fret over, especially during this downturn. The way the Dallas YPs saw it, however, was that these tough times made the annual get-together that much more essential. People needed a call to normalcy. They needed a night to forget their woes and kick back with a couple of cold drinks and a big ol’ plate of mudbugs.
Whereas the first 15 years of this event had been handled by a committee of “elder statesmen,” this is the second consecutive year that the reins have been in the hands of DGS YPs to organize and host the annual tradition. The event is also enjoyed by members of the Dallas Geological and Geophysical Society and the Dallas chapters of the Society of Petroleum Engineers and the Association of Petroleum Landmen, as well as numerous friends and family members.
The easy part of that responsibility was in tasks like reserving the event space, hiring a band and catering, promotion and advertising and even cleaning up the venue at the end of the night.
The hard part was obtaining the necessary amount of sponsorship this year. Anyone who has tried to make a deal in the industry recently can probably imagine the difficulty of pooling together enough money to throw a party with a five-figure price tag. We had to make some understandable concessions, but in the end we were able to make it happen, thanks to the help of many old friends and a few new ones. We had a turnout of more than 250 members, and they tore through a whopping 700 pounds of crawfish.
Conditions may presently be far from ideal in our industry, but they will get better. Downturns are always followed by recovery and growth. We take these times to learn, develop and improve, while at the same time, hanging on for dear life. Every now and then though, we need to stop, take a breath, forget our troubles and have a good time.
Want to get more involved with the YPs in your area? Visit us on online at www.aapg.org/youngpros to contact your Region or Section coordinator.
To learn more about YP events and initiatives, ‘like’ the AAPG Young Professionals Special Interest Group on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Instagram @aapgypsig.