This is the last letter I shall write to AAPG members as their 89th president, and it summarizes the Executive Committee’s goals and accomplishments during the 2005-06 fiscal year.
The accompanying table provides details comparing the EC’s 11 stated goals at the start of our fiscal year 2005-06 last July 1 with what has actually been accomplished (as a percentage) during the following 11 months.
Following are some comments on a few developments not anticipated when I took office. From there I’ll move on to some observations about AAPG policies and directions, and conclude with some personal observations about my year as president.
- Fiscal year 2005-06 has been an excellent year for the Association. As promised, we stayed within budgeting constraints and will finish in the black, with an expected surplus of around $500,000 (final financial results will be reported in fall 2006).
- Although membership continued its expected decline, active new measures are under way to reverse this trend next year.
- AAPG sponsored or co-sponsored seven U.S. and international meetings during FY 2005-06. All were technically successful; six of the seven were commercially successful.
- The Executive Committee enjoyed a good working relationship with Executive Director Rick Fritz.
- All the goals that are rated in the 50-70 percent range were multi-year initiatives that made a good start in their first year. There were no major disappointments.
There were other unanticipated, but noteworthy, developments during FY 2005-06:
- AAPG undertook two legal actions -- one to protect its copyrights from unwarranted infringement, the other to recover deposits from its ground operator for the September 2005 international conference in Paris. Negotiations are proceeding in both matters and favorable outcomes are expected.
- The joint AAPG/SPEE/SPE Reserve Evaluator Training project continued to progress, implemented on behalf of AAPG by the Division of Professional Affairs and co-chaired by DPA’s Dan Tearpock. The first Geotechnical Training module was completed and presented at the Annual Convention in Houston. The AAPG/SPEE/SPE group provided the basis for proposing, with the World Petroleum Council and other sister societies, a spring 2007 conference on reserves and resources in Washington, D.C., involving three concerned groups -- accounting professionals, geotechnical/engineering professionals and government regulators, administrators and legislators.
- Proposals affecting U.S. as well as international AAPG members were suggested by the president:
- Constitutional and Bylaws amendments creating two vice presidents -- a VP (Sections) and a VP (Regions) -- were passed overwhelmingly by the HoD on April 9 in Houston.
The Constitutional Amendment was sent out to members for their approval on April 26, and final results will be known by June 30.
- Graduated dues based directly or indirectly on “ability to pay” was referred to a “blue ribbon” committee chaired by the chair of the Advisory Council, for study and recommendation to the EC and HoD leadership by Oct. 15, 2006.
- Simplifying and facilitating applications for AAPG membership was referred to Executive Director Fritz, to be implemented by Tulsa HQ. Online applications, with translations of applications into Chinese, Arabic, Russian and Spanish, plus establishment of Regional/Sectional Applications Review Committee, were all under way in the last half of FY 2005-06.
- Responding to continued suggestions and inquiries (as well as the Strategic Plan), I asked past president Marlan Downey to head a committee charged with evaluating the optimum long-term location of AAPG’s headquarters, and to report back to the Executive Committee in June 2006.
- Recognizing the long-term potential financial liability represented by AAPG’s current Defined Benefits Pension Plan, the EC established an ad hoc committee to explore procedures by which the plan could be discontinued, fully compensate participating employees and adopt an alternate 401(k) plan. This committee reported progress to the EC on May 22.
- In February, AAPG HQ received a number of complaints about our decision to award the 2006 Journalism Award to author Michael Crichton for his novels State of Fear (2004) and Jurassic Park (1991). Most of the complaints were directed at State of Fear, for its condemnation of scare-tactics employed by the environmental lobby.
Fritz issued an excellent public justification of the award, while acknowledging that it was poorly named. The EC changed the name of the award at its April 12 meeting to “Geosciences in the Media” Award.
Kudos and olive wreaths to General Chairman Charles Sternbach, vice chairs Deborah Sacrey and Dan Tearpock, and technical program chair Bob Merrill for a superb 2006 Annual Convention. Contributions chair Gonz Enciso raised a record $600,000 in corporate contributions.
HOUSTON, WE HAD A MEETING! See Report
There were 8,223 attendees who enjoyed excellent facilities, mind-boggling exhibits, a superlative technical program and every ancillary feature and event one could imagine. It was a truly memorable convention, sponsored by an outstanding host society -- so successful that crude oil went up to $75 within two weeks afterward. Now that’s performance!
Members of the HGS worked for more than two years organizing and preparing for the 2006 meeting. They deserve a warm thank-you from everyone who attended.
As a respected international association of professional geoscientists, it is now time for AAPG to adopt an informed and responsible public stance with regard to world supply and usage of crude oil and natural gas.
We should not be arguing about when “peak oil” will arrive, because that is not the critical question. Instead we should be warning the public about the steady convergence of global crude oil demand upon available world productive capacity, as expressed by the decline of OPEC spare capacity since January 2003, and rational, feasible means to alleviate the problem.
With maximum visibility we should be urging all available remedies -- conservation, increased efficiency, alternate sources, expanded access to energy lands, a more active public voice for AAPG and informed, responsible energy leadership from government.
Such a stance by AAPG also would be consistent with some policies espoused by the environmental lobby (for partly different reasons), which might provide some welcome relief to the consistently opposed positions AAPG usually finds itself taking with respect to doctrinaire environmental interests!
As I have learned more and more about AAPG over the past two years, I’m increasingly impressed with what great value AAPG provides to members for their annual dues -- much more value than do sister societies such as SPE, SEG and EAGE. But what really gets your attention is when you ask other professionals what services their professional associations provide, and what their dues are.
For example, I have a relative who is a licensed member of the American Institute of Architects (membership about 70,000). Annual dues are $700, with his employing firm also contributing additional dues on behalf of their professional employees. For this he receives services and products that are broadly analogous but somewhat reduced compared to AAPG’s.
So AAPG is a bona fide bargain; the problem is that despite repeated efforts to spread the word about our various services to members, we still get frequent critical comments from members who aren’t aware of the services and values available through their membership.
Take a look, friends! Are you taking full advantage of the service and products AAPG provides?
Fortunate circumstances made it possible for me to devote all my time to AAPG affairs, from January 2005 clear through to the end of June 2006.
For me, being AAPG president was a full-time job, and I am impressed that most of my predecessors have carried out the president’s duties while holding down their real jobs simultaneously! How in the world were they able to accomplish that?
In any case, it really is a big job. During FY 2005-06 I logged 120,000 air miles, visited all six U.S. Sections and four international Regions, made more than 60 formal presentations to professional and student audiences and participated in at least 40 business meetings. I wrote an estimated 300 pages of text for the EXPLORER and Delegates’ Voice, position papers and official correspondence, and God only knows how many e-mails!
The Executive Committee met together nine times and by teleconference three times. A substantial aspect of the president’s job is ceremonial, which I found to be demanding, interesting and gratifying: demanding, because of the required full attention to protocol and often impromptu public speaking; interesting in meeting many influential leaders; and (especially) gratifying in being able to recognize and thank (on behalf of AAPG) so many accomplished geoscientists who have contributed so much to our profession and to society. That was indeed a high privilege for me.
But I always remembered that the spotlight was not on Pete Rose -- rather it was on AAPG!
I want to thank many people who helped make this a productive and fulfilling year for me and for the Association:
- The hard-working, capable and cheerful AAPG headquarters staff, all good people who did their best to help an often demanding, occasionally impatient president.
- Receptive, intelligent and conscientious House of Delegates’ leadership and Advisory Council representatives who translated my sometimes flawed visions into useful legislation and procedural recommendations.
- Faithful, diligent and objective members of the Executive Committee, who worked collegially and productively for the good of the Association, especially Lee Billingsley, president-elect, who took on necessary special chores, provided wise counsel and support and who will serve very capably as my successor.
- Executive Director Rick Fritz, who admirably and cheerfully kept a complex organization on track while embracing and adapting to many new priorities and mandates.
- Rose & Associates LLP, which generously provided financial support for the 2006 Presidential Reception in Houston, a real blast!
- Elizabeth Sherry, my long-standing office manager, whose proficient and responsive help made my year possible.
- Alice Rose, my wife and primary support, who accompanied me on many AAPG events, brightening them up for everyone (and who looks forward to getting her husband back!).
- And above all, to 30,000 AAPG members who allowed me to represent their wonderful association during this past year. Ladies and gentlemen, it has been a privilege and pleasure to serve as your 89th president.
Human Nature, by James Trefill (2004), Times Books (Henry Holt & Co).
The first book I have yet found written by an informed, objective, broad-gauge scientist who examines the entire environmental movement from a thoughtful, calm and rational perspective, free from either doctrinaire zealotry or dogmatic denial.
Read it, you'll like it!
Taking Stock, Summing Up and Reflections on FY 2005-06
1. Digest/Consolidate/Institutionalize 2004-05 Initiatives -- Get iMIS/Great Plains, Zero Base Budgeting, new overhead systems standardized.
(95%) SUMMARY: Fully accomplished and integrated; routine use as management tool may need more time.
2. Transform Tulsa -- Work with Executive Director (ED); Finish second TacOps Committee report, start third report; staff organization and effectiveness issues: chain-of-command, initiative, delegation, accountability, responsibility, performance reviews, continuous improvement (Hermann Eben). Dedicated clerical help for president.
(60%) SUMMARY: Progress being made in adjusting culture, but uneven; need to become proactive rather than reactive; clearer performance-based culture with manifest service orientation; still a ways to go:
- Quarterly performance reviews with ED.
- TacOps Report #2 (Geoscience) completed, implementation under way; TacOps Report #3 (Business) will commence Q4.
- Staff organization and effectiveness -- Sections/Regions coordinator moved to ED supervision, responsiveness improved, some staff changes, regular staff coaching (Hermann Eben); chronic understaffing corrected by new hires, with more stringent performance measurement.
- HQ Location Committee report due June 1.
- Dedicated clerical support for president agreed as policy.
3. Revitalize Committees -- Motivated chairs, connected with EC liaisons; training (Hermann Eben); valid charge w/buy-in; effective decision-making, balanced membership, goals and time-tables; monitored performance by CoC.
(70%) SUMMARY: Progress being made, need more frequent reports to EC representatives; need earlier and more frequent committee meetings to plan and monitor progress; this needs continued attention.
- Revision and reorganization by EC from 48 committees to 36.
- Appointed active new chairs, connected with EC liaisons.
- Training for committee leaders re effectiveness, performance (Hermann Eben).
- Valid committee charges, re-evaluate leadership in Q4.
- Balanced committee membership -- more young professionals, international, industry representatives.
- Committee Oversight Committee monitored performance.
4. Renew Relationships with Sections -- Peter R. Rose (PRR) Section speaking dates, AAPG Town Hall meetings, emphasized Leadership Conference role, membership retention, increased nominations to AC.
(70%) SUMMARY: Progress being made, needs more work in FY 2006-07.
- PRR visited all six sections, 13 affiliated societies, ~2,000 members; repaired some relationships between HQ and Sections.
- Sections/Regions coordinator hired, ED monthly teleconferences with Section presidents, relationships improving, fewer complaints about HQ services from sections.
- Leadership Conference (Galveston) -- largest ever, useful training, “hot” topics reviewed w/reports, very successful.
- Membership retention -- expanded, reorganized Membership Committee (Dan Smith).
- More nominees for officer candidates, Honors and Awards -- still uneven, AC representatives must be more proactive.
- Need more effective communication to members about value of AAPG membership.
5. Increase International Membership -- Goal ~ 1,000 new; PRR speaking tours (2) encourage Region annual meetings; involve and invigorate regional leadership; involve with AAPG standing committees.
(60%) SUMMARY: Much progress (laying foundations), must have follow-through in next two years, two VPs proposal essential; won’t know for 6-12 months whether international efforts have been productive re membership; evidence of stronger Regional communities via meetings, committee participation.
- PRR tours: 15 countries, 19 professional societies, 17 student groups.
- PRR: 18 business meetings with international industry leaders promoting AAPG.
- Regional meetings under way in all six Regions.
- VP (Regions) important to represent and empower Region leadership.
- Graduated Dues committee set up, at work, reports to EC Oct. 15.
- Applications easier, online, regional review committees being set up by HQ.
- Emphasize international participation in committees (FY 2006-07).
- Opened London office; evaluate others (Moscow, Bahrain, Kuala Lumpur).
- Proposed company sponsored memberships to four NOCs.
- Very successful GEO conference (Bahrain) March 2006.
- Monthly conference calls with ED.
6. Increase AAPG Annual Income -- $500K annual; Sources: NAPE, APPEX, Research Conferences, GEO, IPTC, etc.
(100%) SUMMARY: Annual earned income increased ~ $400K, plus AAPG Foundation grants may be increased; expenses reduced (BULLETIN, Datapages) ~ $300K. Net surplus > $700K. Income sources diversified.
7. Establish Gov’t Affairs Office -- Set up Board of Governors, choose new director; establish relationships, priorities and values, obtain support.
(100%) SUMMARY: Board of Governors (BoG) appointed; GEO-DC up and running with excellent early results (Don Juckett, director)
- BoG operating.
- AAPG involved in government energy study.
- Advisories now regularly arriving to BoG, ED, GAC, EC.
- Reserves and Resources conference planned spring 2007 with SPE, SPEE and WPC.
8. Obtain New Contributions -- ~$4MM Foundation campaign; corporate support; PRR cultivate Foundation relationship.
(275%) SUMMARY: Greatly exceeding expectations.
- Contributions in Year 1 > $11M.
- Contributions coordinator hired.
- Campaign under way by AAPG Foundation.
- Good working relationship with Foundation leaders.
9. Practical Long-Range Plan -- Final version (2005); “Call in the Experts”; measurable and achievable mid-term strategies; sound, doable short-term tactical plan with clear goals.
(95%) SUMMARY: Essentially completed.
- Final management review finished.
- Final edit due June 30, 2006.
- ED designing business plan from the Long Range Plan.
10. Revitalize the Divisions -- Workshops; training in goal-setting, implementation, follow-through.
(60%) SUMMARY: A good start, must maintain progress in FY 2006-07.
- Divisions workshops (8-05 Dallas).
- Management training (Hermann Eben) 2005-06.
- Regular conferences with ED.
- Memberships stabilizing.
- Developing new publications.
- Focusing on pertinent tasks: DEG (field trip safety); DPA (GEO-DC; reserve evaluator training project); EMD.
11. Promote Joint Events with Sister Societies -- SEG, EAGE, SPE; Proactive pursuit of future cooperation and consolidation, especially joint annual meetings.
(50%) SUMMARY: Started, with uneven success; good ED buy-in.
- SEG -- Committee to review long-range joint plans; maybe focus on near-term regional events; apparent support for more cooperation from senior leadership.
- EAGE -- Joint conferences and workshops, possible joint overseas offices.
- SPE -- Participation in IPTC, OTC; reserves studies; joint research conferences.
- SPEE -- Reserve evaluator initiative.