This month’s column is the last of a three-part series on budget, science and membership. Instead of current membership activity, I want to talk about the future of AAPG membership. I went to a big leadership conference once and the actual title for the keynote speaker was “futurist.” I’ve always wanted that title since … but I guess I never earned it.
Of course, I should mention that the current House of Delegates Membership Committee led by Bill Bosworth, John Casiano and Kristie Ferguson is doing a wonderful job contacting dropped and suspended members. We also are interviewing members to get your pulse. Please let me know if you would like to do an interview.
AAPG’s Hall of Fame
Considering the future, I found it best to look at where you’ve been before deciding where to go. To that end I began thinking about some of the great members and their accomplishments in AAPG’s history. I started making lists of top AAPG contributors The list goes on and on: top entrepreneurs, leaders, explorationists, educators, researchers, etc. I also asked several members to send me their list of top three AAPG contributors in each of the above categories – interestingly each list was somewhat different and yet each list was correct. Please list your favorites in the comments section if you are online.
What We Do Best
AAPG has a heritage of high-achieving members. As a member today you take pride in being part of that heritage. Currently, the majority of AAPG members continue to work in petroleum or petroleum-related fields. So in considering what paths to pursue, there are a large number of members who want to maintain the focus on petroleum, ride the cycles and improve our depth and deliverability of science and networking.
Some AAPG members and leadership want to adopt a strategic direction to sustainable energy to increase membership. To that end, AAPG developed the Sustainable Energy Committee and has asked the Energy Minerals Division to build new programs based on alternative energy such as geothermal and mining for rare earth minerals.
The question is, can we do both and be successful?
One of my favorite books is Jim Collins’ “Good to Great.” Based on an intensely data-driven study, he says that success for a company or association is based on three questions:
- What can we do best in the world?
- What is our financial engine?
- What are we profoundly passionate about?
What AAPG members do best is discovery. Our financial engine was and probably still is conference income. Our members tend to be passionate about their science and profession.
Personally, I am most passionate about jobs for our members. The reality is, jobs drive membership. AAPG’s membership correlates directly with the number of jobs available in the petroleum industry or related careers (see graph). The majority of AAPG members are over 45 years of age and many are still working in oil and gas.
One measure of current job availability is from the SPE-AAPG-SEG Members in Transition program. It has an excellent list of resources and potential jobs (https://toolkit.aapg.org/). Approximately 50 geoscience or geoscience-related jobs were identified through review of company and for-profit job websites. It is essential to acknowledge the job density and maturity of an industry when considering jobs and transitioning to other careers. It’s a good measure and guide for future AAPG membership. One thing we know is it will be a leaner workforce even when the petroleum industry rebounds and will be more focused on technological enhancements and greener applications.
Navigating the Future
So here we are: some AAPG members want to go deeper and some want to grow wider. Choosing the right path is difficult. Bottom line, I recommend we focus on what we do best – science, exploration, networking – and follow the jobs.
Finally, when we are considering AAPG’s future heritage, we need to be diverse, fair and mindful. There are a lot of young women and men who are making a tremendous impact on society both in petroleum and other fields. They have much to contribute as AAPG members. We want to make sure we create room and make them welcome.
Great people. Great society. Please stand with us as we navigate the future.