This is my first article in the Explorer as president of the Division of Professional Affairs and I hope it conveys my deep appreciation to the membership for placing your trust and confidence in my abilities to assume this important office.
First, I must acknowledge the exemplary contributions of the outgoing President Chandler Wilhelm and Past President Mike Canich, whose efforts during this past year have greatly contributed to the Division. Their hard work, along with that of many devoted volunteers, resulted in a very successful year that included DPA events at the Annual Convention and Exhibition in Houston and Playmaker forums in Midland and Oklahoma City.
‘Provisional Member’ Status
A new president is asked to state what the “theme” of his presidency will be.
I have truly never had a theme to think about before, except for maybe survival during the hard times, so I put some thought into the concept.
What will have a significant impact on the DPA and advance the continuing health of the organization?
After attending several section meetings and talking with many people, it became clear.
The DPA now has more than 2,300 members worldwide with over 93 percent more than 50 years of age. The loss due to retirement in the next 5-10 years will be critical and life threatening to the organization.
It has, therefore, become obvious to me that we need to engage early-career professionals and provide them with a membership class that would allow them to become part of the DPA earlier than the currently required eight years of professional experience. To meet this objective, the Board has drafted and approved changes to the bylaws to create a new DPA membership status aimed at recruiting early-career professionals.
The new category of “Provisional Member” is for those young professionals that meet all the requirements for certification except for the years of experience. Although this is neither a certified nor a voting class, the Provisional class does provide the same level of discounts or free access to events, website content, publications, Playmaker and Discovery Thinking forums as full-certified Member status. It also attempts to provide an increased level of career planning by providing access to mentors to help guide personal development paths and provide career advice.
Provisional members will have access to the membership directory and can serve on committees and attend meetings at the discretion of the president, where their contributions will be welcomed.
Applications for this new member status will soon be available on the website and I encourage all who meet the requirements to join and become familiar with all that the DPA has to offer its members and the AAPG as a whole.
It has long been asked what value DPA membership and certification bring to its members?
Certification by your peers that you are technically competent and follow a code of ethics and is of great value, as it has certainly been for me over the years.
However, in my case, the additional opportunity to network and have regular contact with my peers around the world has had a great impact. Before the Internet, being a geologist in California did not build a large knowledge base in the state of Texas. When I was contracted to work a project in Texas, it was important to get up to speed as fast and as cheaply as possible. Where do you acquire logs, histories, geologic data, seismic information as well as a good base map from which to work?
Being a member of the DPA was the answer. After I called one of our members, I had a list of available resources and even some invaluable regional and local information on what was going on in the play.
The contacts that can be made as a member of the Division can be priceless. My participation in the DPA-sponsored Congressional Visit Days has continued to expand my contacts to Washington, D.C., and beyond. Walking the halls of the U.S. Capitol and speaking with Congress members and staff has convinced me that we as geoscientists can directly affect the decisions our government makes for the better of the country. Don’t just complain — get involved and make a difference.
Like any organization, the effort someone contributes to making things happen will have a positive return, sometimes for a lifetime. This is your chance to become involved and maybe better your professional career. Join the DPA! It has worked for me and I am sure it will for you as well.