September is the practical beginning of the year – for many in North America, at least: the beginning of the school year for those with school-aged children, the beginning of the program year for many affiliated societies and the beginning of many AAPG-related events.
The International Conference and Exhibition (ICE) 2016 is ongoing in Cancun as you read this issue of the Explorer. It is also host for many of the AAPG Section meetings including the Gulf Coast Section, Eastern Section and Mid-Continent’s Field Symposium in between their biennial Convention. And even though it starts in October, I would count the combined Rocky Mountain and Pacific sections’ meeting this year. While the Section meetings are not directly AAPG sponsored events, these regional meetings are always well run and well attended.
The Unconventional Resources Technology Conference was held again this year in San Antonio at the beginning of August. It is a joint AAPG-SEG-SPE conference, and was fairly well attended. This was my first opportunity to attend, and it was highly educational for me to hear talks that were outside my area of expertise as well as seeing vendors that I would not have met at an AAPG-only event. Next year, it will be held in Austin at about the same time. I’m looking forward to it.
The Membership Issue
One of the big issues confronting the AAPG leadership is membership.
As I said in last month’s column, at the beginning of this fiscal year, we lost 6,598 total Members who had not paid dues for the last fiscal year. This year, the House of Delegates is increasing its efforts to retain and grow membership. Probably due to the economic turmoil, our membership is undergoing a large number of dues statements that are being returned as undeliverable, and House Chair Jim McGhay is reviewing different ways to reach out to these missing Members.
One would be for those of you who know of a Member who has had a change of location or address to encourage him or her to notify AAPG of their new contact information, or to send us contact information for them if you have it.
I’m not trying to just maintain dues income, though. Rather, the best way we can help our membership in times of a downturn is to keep them engaged with their professional community. As a Member of the House of Delegates in the mid-1990’s, I once called on a list of unpaid Member renewals and reached a Member who commented that he had lost his job. There was little consulting work, but he was very appreciative that another Member called to see how he was doing. I don’t even recall if he renewed, as times were fairly tough then as well, but I do know that he was touched by the effort to keep contact.
The Association is largely driven by events, which fund most of the programs that do not have an opportunity to provide revenue, but are still very important programs for the membership. Curiously, at most of the events, such as conventions, Geoscience Technology Workshops, education conferences and more, nearly half of the attendees are not AAPG Members, in spite of efforts to get them to join at the events. Paradoxically, these non-Members who participate in the events to the level that they do are important to the membership, as they essentially fund the organization as much as the Members do through their participation. Many are either members of sister societies or professionals associated with AAPG Members, but they are a benefit to the membership through their support to the Association with their participation.
This is the third month I’ve talked about AAPG business and I’m sure many of you are wondering if I am ever going to go on to something more forward-looking. Along that vein (or seam or stratum, if you prefer), I am planning some discussions on the future of the petroleum geoscientist and, in line with our 100th year anniversary, geoscience in the next 100 years.
I’d like to thank the Members who have commented to me about my columns. The feedback is appreciated.