From mid-September through mid-October, I had the unique opportunity to represent the Division of Environmental Geosciences at four events, and want to share some of the highlights with you. The cities included Washington, D.C.; Lexington, Ky.; Las Vegas and Houston.
Eastern Section Meeting
The Eastern Section Meeting was held in Lexington, the “Heart of the Bluegrass State.” Several of the technical sessions covered the Marcellus and Utica Shale plays in the Appalachian Basin, structural effects on reservoirs and groundwater and environmental issues. Co-Chairs Dave Harris and Rick Bowersox did a great job, and attendance was good.
I also heard the special event with bourbon sampling and palate-cleansing munchies was a hit. James McGhay chaired the House of Delegates meeting where there was a lot of discussion about issues that need to be addressed going forward.
In particular, we (AAPG and each of the Divisions) need to determine “What do we offer to our Members?” and “How do we attract new Members?”
Rocky Mountain/Pacific Meeting
Next was Las Vegas. Not much has changed since my first trip in 1976 on the way to field camp. This was a joint meeting of the Pacific and Rocky Mountain sections. The meeting was held at the Paris Hotel, which is distinguished by an impressive replica of the Eiffel Tower.
I was intrigued by several of the presentations on geothermal resources. The western United States is where activity is happening in this field, unlike the eastern states, with their relatively cooler rocks.
I was finally able to meet some DEG Executive Committee and Advisory Board members. Namely, President-Elect Stephen Testa and Allen Waggoner of the Pacific Section. Please congratulate Allen on being awarded the Pacific Section’s highest honor, Honorary Life Membership, for outstanding service and devotion to the science and profession of petroleum geology.
A luncheon was held where I spoke on behalf of the DEG, along with Division of Professional Affairs President Chandler Wilhelm and Economic Minerals Division President Anne Draucker.
Congressional Visits Day
Congressional Visits Day was held recently in Washington, D.C. It was a gathering of about 40 geoscientists from industry, government agencies and academia. The primary goal was to meet with members of the Senate and House and raise awareness among policymakers about issues affecting the geoscience industry and education.
This was my first time to get an insider’s perspective of “The Hill.” Our group was probably one of 100 or more groups meeting with congressional staff for the day, which made it a very busy place.
Edith Allison attended, and has been representing AAPG as the director of the Geoscience and Energy Policy Office with the purpose of educating government officials and helping them to rely on science as a basis for policy decisions. I certainly appreciated her help in navigating through the buildings and streets. Also, thanks to Peter MacKenzie for having us as his guests at the Army and Navy Club. During dinner, it was a pleasure to talk with AAPG’s President Paul Britt and Executive Director David Curtiss about the current status of AAPG.
AAPG’s Mid-Year Business meetings were held in Houston. The three days of the meetings were extremely busy, and it was attended by the Association’s Executive Committee and Advisory Council Members, which include the presidents of the Divisions, Sections and Regions. Advisory Council Chair John Hogg did an outstanding job of keeping the meeting on topic and on time.
The two main areas of focus were reviewing and selecting recipients for honors and awards that will be presented at the 2017 100th Anniversary ACE (see the article announcing the winners on page 6), also in Houston, and the current challenges facing AAPG and proposals for meeting them.
It should come as no surprise that membership and attendance at meetings are down. Fewer exhibitors — the primary source of income for the organization — has a major impact on AAPG’s budget.
Unfortunately, AAPG lost money last year. Much discussion ensued, scrutinizing essentially everything that AAPG provides to its Members. Clearly, some elements, like the method of accounting for the Divisions, can be changed to cut losses. New Members, especially Students and Young Professionals, need to be approached since they will become the future leaders of the organization. We need to do whatever it takes to keep AAPG alive and well for the next 100 years.