AAPG and SEG may be on the cusp of something very promising.
In late August in Houston, the presidents of AAPG and SEG (Pete Rose and Craig Beasley) and Lee Billingsley, AAPG president-elect, got together for dinner.
In our dinner conversation we traded notes about our two organizations, SEG and AAPG — lots of similarities, a few interesting differences. We talked about some concrete ways by which SEG and AAPG could cooperate more frequently and more effectively. The two organizations have a long history of working together and have many joint accomplishments in areas such as meetings and publications.
We agreed that we should try to take the cooperation further and consider a large effort such as a joint annual meeting.
Presently, there's a lot of overlap and duplication of exhibitors, corporate sponsors, and attendees at SEG and AAPG meetings. The leaderships of both outfits have been hearing a lot lately from many of those good folks: "There are just too many meetings these days! Besides, the geological and geophysical disciplines are increasingly merging, just like the industry. Why don't you SEG and AAPG folks get together and combine your annual and international conventions, so there will be just one North American meeting and one international meeting?"
One of the main problems in merging such meetings is that both SEG and AAPG derive a substantial part of their discretionary annual income from them. Obviously if you just combine meetings, each partner ends up with about half the income it used to realize on a separate basis.
- More people attend the merged conference.
- Exhibitors are willing to pay higher booth rental fees because they'll have larger audiences and, under the merged approach, they now have to pay for shipping, setting-up, tearing-down and staff costs only twice a year, not four times.
- Corporate sponsors are willing to provide increased contributions because their professional geoscientists don't have to attend as many meetings.
- Attendees are willing to pay registration fees that are a tad higher because the two conferences are bigger and better.
We all agreed: "Seems like it ought to be worth a try."
So where do we go from here? The first step is this joint letter, which will reach every member of the two organizations in early October, via The Leading Edge as well as the AAPG EXPLORER.
Second, we will each appoint a small Ad Hoc Committee of senior members of our respective organizations very soon, to form the AAPG/SEG Joint Meeting Evaluation Committee. We will be their immediate liaisons with our respective Executive Committees. Terry Young will succeed Craig in that function on Nov. 1, 2005. Lee Billingsley will succeed Pete on July 1, 2006.
Third, we will work together over the next two months to compose the Charge for the AAPG/SEG Joint Meeting Evaluation Committee, that asks for a "road-map," with all key issues identified, leading to a joint SEG and AAPG annual meeting and perhaps joint international meetings. Right now, we're thinking 2009 or 2010, but we'll listen to the Joint Committee.
This is a significant task and we do not underestimate the difficulty. Fortunately, both executive directors have embraced the concept. If successful, this step could lead to more significant ties between our two organizations. Therefore, we must investigate the possibilities and make it happen if possible.