What value does a professional society like AAPG offer for a company?
I visited several major companies recently on AAPG business, which gave me an opportunity to explore this issue. Several companies strongly support professional societies and, surprisingly, some leave it entirely up to their employees.
The "value add" that AAPG provides is large and significant. Most, if not all, companies will not support programs that don't add some value to their company. AAPG offers the following to companies:
- Latest technologies.
- Publication of scientific research.
- High standards of professional conduct.
- Nurturing of student programs.
- Professional network.
- Public recognition of a professional.
- Prospect and Property expositions.
- Articles on exploration and exploitation concepts.
- Teamwork training.
AAPG training and educational opportunities come in several forms, including basic-to-advanced petroleum related courses; mid-career training centers; conventions; field trips; and distinguished lectures.
Our short courses and field trips are numerous and varied; the courses are a source of life-long continuing education (long distance online courses also are being developed), and the field trips provide stratigraphic and structural analogues for exploration and development.
AAPG can offer a training partner relationship with companies to do specialized in-house classes.
Today's geologist needs to keep up with the latest scientific ideas and technologies. As the saying goes, if one does not keep up, one is soon left behind.
Companies expect the best performance from their employees -- and for them to stay current. An easy way to do that is via AAPG publications and conventions, which present the latest scientific research and latest play concepts.
AAPG publications include the BULLETIN, EXPLORER, Search and Discovery, memoirs, special publications, short course notes, field trip guides and others. The publications are offered both in hard copy and electronically.
The papers in the BULLETIN are of the highest quality and cover a variety of topics. We also offer "Exploration Notes" in the BULLETIN for the latest ideas on exploration plays.
Search and Discovery is the AAPG electronic journal -- and speaking of electronic publishing, one of our newest developing programs, called UDRIL, will give members or companies an opportunity to literally electronically mine the publication data. With just a few mouse clicks all the publications, maps, cross sections, seismic data, etc. that were published in a certain area will be available for the explorer.
The latest technologies and scientific information is presented at our conventions. What a great way to see the latest in mapping programs, logging programs, geophysical interpretation programs, or other technologies than to see them in one place at the conventions. Conventions are also a great venue for education, vetting of geologic ideas, and networking. The value for the company and/or individual is enormous.
One of AAPG's newest offerings is the AAPG Prospect and Property Exposition, otherwise known simply as APPEX. These expositions, held in September in Houston and in January in London, are truly geological and geophysical shows -- they are venues for companies to buy and sell.
Company employees can network and also receive a great deal of continuing education. AAPG is offering both domestic and international meetings.
Networking is important for the professional geologist -- it is of great value for company employees to network and keep up with what their competitors may be doing. Companies should encourage their employees to build up both their in-house network and also their professional network.
Have you ever heard the old saying, "It's not what you know that counts but who you know"? If an employee goes through a lay-off, the best contacts they have is their network. If they haven't built up a network of contacts, they generally go through more difficult times.
AAPG meetings are an important way to maintain and build a network.
AAPG provides members with a professional code of conduct. Members agree that they will uphold the Code of Ethics when they sign their membership application.
Many companies also have professional codes of conduct, but few are as rigorous as AAPG's. Companies should encourage their geoscientists to be members in part because of our Code of Ethics. AAPG is emphasizing ethics and ethical awareness via publications and special lectures.
Membership in a professional society is also important for professionals giving testimony before the public, in a court of law, congressional hearing, or oil and gas commission hearing. The judge, hearing officer, lawmaker, commissioner, jurist or public will attach more credibility to a professional who belongs to a professional organization than to an individual who is not a member.
How much credibility does an "expert" have if they don't belong to the professional society in the profession in which they work? How much credibility does a company have if their employees or representatives don't belong to professional organizations?
I would argue -- not much! A great deal of credibility is attached to AAPG membership, and even more so to AAPG certification.
Students are the future employees for the industry and AAPG is providing many programs to support them. AAPG strongly supports student programs by offering grants-in-aid, mentoring, student expositions, student chapters, distinguished lectures, visiting petroleum geologist lectures, etc.
The annual Student Expos are great ways to connect a company with interns or future employees.
Here's another important value that AAPG provides for a company: Employees who are active in AAPG get leadership and teamwork skills.
The easiest way to develop these skills is to join an AAPG committee, which have diverse memberships; getting along with others is the key to getting anything done. A company's productivity dramatically increases with employees who work well with each other.
The values of having AAPG members as employees are enormous. I hope that if you are a manager of geoscientists you encourage them to become members.
If you are an employee and your company does not support professional societies, you can still get all the benefits by joining.
A poor attitude I have seen is, "If my company won't pay for it, I won't do it." I have gone to many conventions, short courses and field trips on my own nickel and my own time (i.e., vacation). Some of my best vacations have been AAPG vacations.
We reach out to companies to support many of our on-going and proposed programs. We are grateful for the tremendous support companies have given us.
Those companies who support AAPG have experienced the "value add."