Science Is At the ‘Core’ of AAPG

Director's Corner: Quality Geoscience

Recently, the Executive Committee and president-elect candidates met with the Advisory Council to review AAPG’s strategic plan. As Winston Churchill said, “the farther backward you can look, the farther forward you are likely to see.”

This is certainly true when developing a strategic plan.

The core purpose of AAPG as stated in the strategic plan is “to advance the science and profession of energy-related geosciences worldwide.” This is essentially a summary of the overall mission statement in AAPG’s Constitution and Bylaws.

The strategic plan also defines six goal areas:

  • Advance the science.
  • Continued professional development.
  • Public awareness and understanding.
  • Membership and member services.
  • Financial strength.
  • Global development.

A key discussion was about AAPG’s focus. This was in the context of training received at the last AAPG Leadership Conference around Jim Collin’s book “Good to Great.”

In his book, Collins finds that the companies that made it from “good” to “great” developed good leadership that focused on the one thing that they did best. He called this the “hedgehog” technique.

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Recently, the Executive Committee and president-elect candidates met with the Advisory Council to review AAPG’s strategic plan. As Winston Churchill said, “the farther backward you can look, the farther forward you are likely to see.”

This is certainly true when developing a strategic plan.

The core purpose of AAPG as stated in the strategic plan is “to advance the science and profession of energy-related geosciences worldwide.” This is essentially a summary of the overall mission statement in AAPG’s Constitution and Bylaws.

The strategic plan also defines six goal areas:

  • Advance the science.
  • Continued professional development.
  • Public awareness and understanding.
  • Membership and member services.
  • Financial strength.
  • Global development.

A key discussion was about AAPG’s focus. This was in the context of training received at the last AAPG Leadership Conference around Jim Collin’s book “Good to Great.”

In his book, Collins finds that the companies that made it from “good” to “great” developed good leadership that focused on the one thing that they did best. He called this the “hedgehog” technique.

There is general consensus that science and people should be AAPG’s focus.

Science is especially important to the health and future of AAPG. Almost everything AAPG develops for products and services is related to good science. The success of AAPG publications, short courses, workshops and conventions all are driven by science.

Quantity is not nearly important as quality. We notice this especially with the quality of the technical programs. There is a direct relationship between attendance and the quality of the science, not the quantity.

To this end, we are redirecting staff and asking committees to refocus on the science.

This may seem obvious, but there are so many new ideas and projects in an active association that it is important from time-to-time to state the obvious and make sure we are all moving together.


One area that we want to enhance is submittals to the BULLETIN. Everyone is so busy and pressed for time that there is less time to stop and report new discoveries in our science. We ask all members to be conscious of the need to publish to keep the Association vibrant.

We especially are looking for new ideas for our “Special Pubs.” I am very excited about our new release on Outcrops of Deep-Water Sandstones, which was previewed in the August 2007 EXPLORER. This large format book is dedicated to the late Tor Nilson. Along with Tor, the book’s other editors are Roger Shew, Joe Studlick and Gary Steffens.

Outcrops are especially important for our profession, and this book has an amazing array of photographs, diagrams, etc., that depict key deepwater outcrops around the world.

This book truly advances the science, and we would love to see a whole series developed on outcrops of the world. All we need is a few champions.

Speaking of champions, I am sorry to note the sad news that one of our professions’ champions, James Lee Wilson, passed away on Feb. 13, 2008. Jim was the consummate scientist and friend, and will be greatly missed.

As I travel around the world I have many people ask about Dr. Wilson, and his book on carbonates is often discussed with real appreciation.

One of Jim’s last projects was as senior editor on a massive special publication, “The Great American Carbonate Bank.” It is a compilation of key papers on the geology and petroleum potential of Sauk sequence of North America.

The co-editors, Jim Derby, Bill Morgan, Charles Sternbach and I, along with the many contributing authors, are determined to finish the book as a dedication to Dr. James Lee Wilson. Our new timeline is designed to have it on bookshelves next year.


One of our top projects for disseminating scientific information is in its final stages of planning as you receive this EXPLORER – the annual AAPG Convention and Exhibition, or ACE, being held this month in San Antonio. I hope you have the opportunity to enjoy the program.

We will try to capture as much of the geoscience as possible for later distribution.

I once heard a wise saying that “every good and excellent thing stands moment by moment on the razor’s edge of danger and must be fought for.”

Science is that way. We ask your help in developing quality geoscience for AAPG.

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