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Smiles, Program Shine in Dallas

Mood High for Annual Meeting

While the numbers attending may have been mildly below projections, the mood and the technical aspects of the AAPG Annual Meeting in Dallas exceeded expectations.

Buoyed by the highest crude and natural gas prices in a decade, the over 5,100 attendees from 77 countries were drawn to the technical sessions, where the program committee put together a heavyweight curriculum.

"The excellent technical program is what made this meeting memorable for attendees," said Terry O'Hare, the meeting general chairman who also headed an impressive fund-raising effort to help underwrite many meeting activities.

"A lot of money was raised through sponsorship," he said. Also, in his view the meeting succeeded because it was "well organized and had a good theme."

Image Caption

President Steve Sonnenberg, at left, opens the annual meeting that included a busy exhibits hall and poster sessions.— AAPG 2004 Annual Meeting

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While the numbers attending may have been mildly below projections, the mood and the technical aspects of the AAPG Annual Meeting in Dallas exceeded expectations.

Buoyed by the highest crude and natural gas prices in a decade, the over 5,100 attendees from 77 countries were drawn to the technical sessions, where the program committee put together a heavyweight curriculum.

"The excellent technical program is what made this meeting memorable for attendees," said Terry O'Hare, the meeting general chairman who also headed an impressive fund-raising effort to help underwrite many meeting activities.

"A lot of money was raised through sponsorship," he said. Also, in his view the meeting succeeded because it was "well organized and had a good theme."

That theme, "Embrace the Future, Celebrate the Past," was highlighted throughout the technical sessions, which were described by one of the volunteer judges as "the most impressive set of papers we've ever had."

In addition to the papers and posters, attendees had plenty to see, hear and learn about on the exhibits floor, where displays from 164 companies and 60 non-profits featured the latest in industry technology and services.

International Pavilion

Also included in the exhibits hall was the International Pavilion — a busy place, with 37 countries exhibiting, among them Vietnam and Afghanistan, both making their first appearance at an AAPG annual meeting.

International registrants totaled 810, or about 18 percent of the attendees.

The meeting also featured seven field trips and 10 short courses — and, in another of the meeting's special touches, attendees were given a first-class athletic bag to tote around session notes.

As usual, the meeting officially started with the opening ceremony, a standing-room-only event where AAPG President Steve Sonnenberg delivered a keynote address that focused on ethics and professionalism.

Sonnenberg noted in his address that education, such as that provided at an annual meeting, is a vital component of competence, a cornerstone of being a professional.

Sonnenberg also noted the other cornerstone of integrity — you "must have a code that you can live by," he said — as a base on which the pyramid of professionalism layers to a capstone of enthusiasm.

Larry Funkhouser

That enthusiasm was very much in evidence in Dallas, including the loud and long ovation given to Larry Funkhouser as he received the Sidney Powers Medal, AAPG's highest honor.

Funkhouser was one of 37 people who were honored for their contributions to the profession, science and the Association.

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