Hello Division of Professional Affairs and AAPG members, I’d like to welcome you to the first DPA column in my term as DPA president 2022-23. As I begin this appointment, I’ve been reflecting on the events of recent years and considering the challenges and changes we’ve faced through the pandemic – personally and professionally, as an industry and as members of a global community.
Since 2020, the energy industry has faced significant challenges – the 2020 downturn, layoffs and lowered oil and gas prices. Hurricane Ida further disrupted supplies in 2021. We are returning to the office while seeking to hold on to the lessons learned while working from home. How we work has fundamentally altered how we connect, how we “team” and how we deliver. We’ve adapted and moved quickly to digitalization and technologies that enable remote working – at home, on the platforms and in the field. Today companies seek to reestablish connections and return staff to offices while also maintaining the perks of working from home. There have been mergers, dissolutions of companies and joint ventures and new companies formed. This also hits close to home for AAPG, as we considered a merger with the Society of Petroleum Engineers this past year.
I’m stating the obvious to say that we’ve lived through quite a significant and impactful time.
In addition to changes in our ways of working, our societal norms have shifted more than we could have ever imagined in early 2020. Today energy is again a household discussion. The news outlets regularly cover topics that are of keen interest to our industry – whether it be climate change, renewable energy, increased production, Russian embargo, energy equity, electrification – and of course, inflation and gasoline prices. All topics are front and center – not just here in Houston, where I reside with my family, but in conversations at dinner tables across the globe.
As I reflect, I realize that we have arrived at a fork in the road. We can choose to see it as an end to what we know and how we’ve been successful in the past, or we can embrace the changes in our current situation and choose to adapt, learn as we go and find new successes. I choose the latter and suggest that this is not just a good time to be an Earth scientist – it is a great time to be here!
It is true that we face an uncertain future, and none of us may want to take a wager on what that looks like given our recent rollercoaster – but I do see at least one key certainty: Energy is necessary now more than ever, and as a profession, no one knows how to do this better than us.
This brings me to DPA – what is it that we do, and why are we here?
“The Division of Professional Affairs (DPA) seeks to promote professionalism and ethical standards, provide a means for professional certification of petroleum geologists, coal geologists, and petroleum geophysicists, assist in career planning, and improve the professional well-being of AAPG members.”
Our community of DPA members commits to standards of competence, uphold the AAPG Code of Ethics and bring forward opportunities to continue our passion for lifelong learning and growth in professionalism.
A Fresh Start
I am truly honored to have been elected to lead DPA this year, and I’m looking forward to what we can do collectively to refresh and find renewed purpose in our mission. This year marks a few notable milestones for me professionally – 25 years as an AAPG member and in the industry, and 20 years at my company. Post-pandemic, I find myself as one of the “seasoned” folks in the office – that somehow I’ve made that shift as our workforce has changed. My reflections led me to consider what I’d like to do, learn and find meaningful in my work – and how I can make a lasting impact.
The theme I’d like to set for DPA’s focus during my term is “Renew and Engage.” As I look ahead to this year, I am filled with hope and excitement as we embark on the “new normal”: conventions and conferences in person, virtual collaborations and overall reconnection within our AAPG and DPA communities, our colleagues and longtime friends.
There are many noteworthy programs and events in the works that will further promote professionalism and enrich the careers of our members. During my term, I will strive to deliver programs that appeal to our members, entice new members and reconnect our community.
● IMAGE ’22 in Houston: DPA Luncheon, “Are Fossil-Fuel CO2 Emissions Good or Bad,” by Andy May, president of the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change, set for 11:30 a.m. on Tues., Aug. 30, followed by the annual Discovery Thinking Session, “Integrating Geology and Geophysics: Lessons from Discoveries”
● Virtual learning events: Continuation of our Great Debate series and Moneymakers, featuring topics and speakers pertinent to our industry and consideration of all forms of energy
● Continuing education: Several ethics courses have been updated and a new one added to our curriculum. They will be recorded and made available online. Additionally, DPA members are working on new courses on Petroleum Reserves and Resources Management System with aim for approval in conjunction with the JCORET subcommittee of AAPG.
● Certification: Reviving the board certification process, providing a more substantive review and global recognition utilizing an exam-based methodology
There are two additional items that I’d like to open for your consideration.
First, DPA has opportunities for members seeking to serve our community. We currently have councilor vacancies in the Pacific and Rocky Mountain sections, open alternate councilor roles in the international regions and opportunities to serve on DPA committees.
Second, new members are always welcome to join. I’m pleased to share that our DPA certification application process has been improved. The new system – now live – mitigates known issues and shortens the time from application to approval. Our membership and certification guidelines and process can be found online at www.aapg.org/divisions/dpa.
Remember, DPA also offers a provisional membership for interested AAPG members who don’t yet have the credentials for DPA membership.
See You in Houston
As I take the reins, I’d like to thank our previous president, Don Burdick, for his service to DPA, and also Diane Kiem, AAPG administrative coordinator, who already is on point and providing support. I look forward to working with our Executive Committee, councilors and committee chairs this term. It’s going to be a fantastic year.
In closing, I welcome feedback and ideas from our members to renew and engage this year with DPA. I can be reached at [email protected]. I look forward to re-connecting and meeting up at IMAGE ’22 in August.