There is an old adage in companies that goes, "people
are your most important asset" -- but Jim Collins in his recent book,
Good to Great, suggests that this is wrong.
He builds a compelling case for a new adage: "The right people are your most important asset."
The book looks at the characteristics that make a good company into a great company. Most of the book's points are applicable for non-profit corporations like AAPG.
AAPG is a not-for-profit business that is run by its members and has a paid staff that implements the policies of the Executive Committee. The governance of AAPG is vested in the Executive Committee, the Advisory Council and the House of Delegates. The staff in Tulsa runs the association's day-to-day business.
Our executive director, Rick Fritz, heads the Tulsa staff and is the association's chief administrative official. He has a staff of approximately 65 people who carry out the purposes of AAPG along with serving the needs of its members.
There are four directors who report to Rick:
- Brenda Cunningham, global development director, oversees the annual meeting, international conventions and APPEX conferences, along with other outreach duties.
- David Lange, business director, oversees the accounting/personnel and membership departments, information systems and office services/facilities.
- Larry Nation, communications director, oversees the EXPLORER, AAPG Web site and other non-science communication and production areas.
- Jack Thomas, geosciences director, oversees the publication, services/education and marketing departments and Datapages.
I spent some time with each of our directors after a recent Executive Committee meeting. They are all extremely well suited for their positions.
All of the staff report to the directors, who then report to Rick. Rick Fritz is an excellent leader who has followed the Jim Collins' key rule in management, which is to "get the right people in the right seats on the bus."
AAPG is a volunteer-based organization and the members set policies and procedures. The Executive Committee, Advisory Council and House of Delegates' officers are all elected positions. Division members elect the DPA, EMD and DEG division officers. Thus, the members select who is on the bus.
Various committees are formed to consider, take action on or report on specific matters. The president appoints committees and committee chairmen. Currently AAPG has 30 standing and 12 ad hoc committees.
The Executive Committee has the authority to establish, maintain and dissolve standing committees -- and it also determines the number of members for each standing committee. The various committees and their mission statements are published on the AAPG Web site.
Ad hoc committees are special committees that are set up for limited time frames and to address specific topics. They may become standing committees if approved by the Executive Committee.
Members of standing committees serve three-year terms. Chairman positions are appointed annually by the president. All AAPG committee chairmen and members work hard and are the "right people."
I want to thank the following people who are finishing their service as chairmen:
- Bret Fossum (Computer Applications and Internet).
- Tom Chidsey (Convention Coordination).
- George Grover (Grants-in-Aid).
- Bob Countryman (Membership).
- Pat Gratton (Visiting Geologists Program).
- Katrina Coterill (AAPG/OTC Technology).
- P. Jan Cannon (Astrogeology).
- Erik Mason (Conventions).
(You may have noticed that Erik, Pat and Bob are new members of the Executive Committee.)
I also want to thank Bob Cowdery and Don Lewis for chairing the Educational Coordinating and Member Survey ad hoc committees, respectively. We are fortunate to have so many volunteers who are willing to generously donate their personal time.
Part of being a true professional is to get involved in professional societies. Professional societies need member participation to remain strong and viable. We are fortunate to have a large group of active members.
AAPG is a great organization and you can help keep it that way. We have many "open" seats on the AAPG bus -- and if you want to get involved, please contact me or another member of the Executive Committee.