Are You a Professional?

Are you DPA certified?

In early August, we learned that a Texas Sunset Review Board had recommended the elimination of the Texas Board of Professional Geoscientists. This was a surprise, but I understand it was part of an annual review process. The response period was very short. Our local AAPG-affiliated societies quickly organized an information campaign and defense for the TBPG. Additionally, the AAPG Executive Committee penned a letter in support of the TBPG.

This shows the importance of strong, well organized local affiliates.

This situation also raises several questions about the professional status of geologists in our society and how we view ourselves. It is easy to work inside a company and call yourself a “professional,” and harder when you work for yourself or if you are in direct contact with the public.

Who determines your professional status? Government, the AAPG or the individual?

There are multiple answers to this question. In the end, licensure and certification help protect the public from individuals who call themselves geologists but have no credentials.

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In early August, we learned that a Texas Sunset Review Board had recommended the elimination of the Texas Board of Professional Geoscientists. This was a surprise, but I understand it was part of an annual review process. The response period was very short. Our local AAPG-affiliated societies quickly organized an information campaign and defense for the TBPG. Additionally, the AAPG Executive Committee penned a letter in support of the TBPG.

This shows the importance of strong, well organized local affiliates.

This situation also raises several questions about the professional status of geologists in our society and how we view ourselves. It is easy to work inside a company and call yourself a “professional,” and harder when you work for yourself or if you are in direct contact with the public.

Who determines your professional status? Government, the AAPG or the individual?

There are multiple answers to this question. In the end, licensure and certification help protect the public from individuals who call themselves geologists but have no credentials.

There should be a decision from the Sunset Review Committee by November.

We the Division of Professional Affairs offer certification in petroleum geology, geophysics and coal geology, and I hope we will expand this list before the end of my term. Our certification is a peer-review process and it confirms your abilities as a geologist.

If you want to become certified or have questions, please go to the DPA page on the AAPG website to review the process and download an application: AAPG.org/divisions/dpa/certification.

I would like to recognize and thank Houston Geological Society President Cheryl Desforges and DPA President-elect John Jordan for their counsel and ideas in this matter.

One last word on certification – the DPA and AAPG are looking into global certification with other international geoscience organizations.

Upcoming DPA Activities

The convention season will soon start and in the next eight months, the DPA will sponsor five luncheon meetings and two short courses at three AAPG Section meetings and the AAPG Annual Convention and Exhibition in San Antonio.

The DPA will also host a Playmakers Forum in Oklahoma City next spring. The theme of the next Playmakers will be the “business of geology.” We will present more information in the next DPA Division Column and on the DPA Correlator.

We will kick off the convention season on Tuesday, Oct. 2 with the 68th Gulf Coast Association of Geological Societies Convention in Shreveport, La. Our speaker will be Jeff Jones, technical director of Quantum Energy Partners. The title of his presentation will be “Looking into the 21st Century.” Jeff has been with Quantum from its inception. His uses his broad technical experience to help evaluate new and existing opportunities as well as existing portfolio company activity. Special thanks to Tom Wyche, the DPA luncheon chair for the GCAGS meeting. Tom is a good friend and a great geologist.

The following week, the AAPG Eastern Section will co-sponsor a meeting with the Society of Petroleum Engineers in Pittsburg, Pa. The organizers are expecting a large turnout for this convention and the DPA will sponsor two ethics luncheons. The speaker for both luncheon meetings will be AAPG Distinguished Lecturer in Ethics David M. Abbott, Jr.

On Monday, Oct. 8, Abbott will discuss “Honesty: Avoiding the Misuse of Models,” and on Wednesday, Oct. 10, he will discuss “Geoscience Ethics: Public Protection Versus Confidentiality.” Abbott started his career with the Security and Exchange Commission as a geologist and has been a consulting geologist since he left the SEC. His works include more than 50 papers on professional ethics.

The DPA greatly appreciates the work of our Eastern Section counselor, Jonathan Brady. His leadership and enthusiasm will make this program a success for both geologist and engineers.

On Tuesday April 9, the DPA will sponsor an Ethics Luncheon at the AAPG Southwest Section in Irving, Texas. This event will be chaired by Margo Liss, vice president and staff geologist for DeGolyer and MacNaughton. Margo is very close to naming the speaker and it will be announced in the next DPA Division Column. We appreciate Margo’s leadership in chairing this event.

Next May, at the San Antonio ACE, the DPA will sponsor our annual luncheon, two short courses and, with AAPG as co-sponsor, the Discovery Thinking Forum. Deborah Sacrey will be our featured speaker at the luncheon and will discuss “reinventing yourself as a geologist.” I have known Deborah for several years and I have always been amazed at her entrepreneurial spirit and ability to seek out and find new business opportunities. I thought it would be interesting to hear from one of our own DPA members on her journey to success.

Past DPA President Robert Shoup has offered to teach two courses at ACE: “Quality Control Techniques for Reviewing Prospects and Acquisitions” and “Black Belt of Ethics.” Bob is chief geologist with Subsurface Consultants and Associates.

Bob and Deborah both have served in leadership positions with the DPA, the House of Delegates and in their respective sections and regions. They are great AAPG and DPA members. They exemplify the DPA motto “From prospects to discoveries, professionalism leads the way.”

I hope you will join us at one of these events and if you are not certified, I hope you will join us.

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