It’s been just over a year and a half since the AAPG House of Delegates approved the formation of SIGs and TIGs, and the new classification structure is steadily catching on.
There are currently about 50 of them in various stages of development, with more expected in the months to come as AAPG Members continue to rally around shared interests and as established committees make the transition to the more nimble new structure.
Also, AAPG has a few improvements in the works to help hasten the process of forming a TIG/SIG.
What’s a TIG/SIG?
In case you’re among the quickly shrinking but still sizeable minority of AAPG membership that isn’t up to speed on the new group structure, “TIG” and “SIG” stand for “Technical Interest Group” and “Special Interest Group,” respectively.
“TIGs and SIGs are responsive, flexible, grassroots groups that can go where their members want them to go,” said Susan Nash, AAPG’s director of Education and Professional Development, who oversees the formation and organization of TIGs.
“It puts people who are interested in the same ideas in a group to talk and collaborate,” said Vern Stefanic, AAPG’s director of Administration and Programs, who oversees SIGs.
“You have access to more diversity, which brings more expertise into a group, and that’s exactly what this is about,” he added.
“The TIGs function as springboards for connecting and creating content for presentations, workshops, education, publications and more. TIGs and SIGs are all about opportunity,” added Nash.
She explained that the advantages the new group classification has over other organization models within AAPG are many. For instance, there is no membership cap on TIGs or SIGs, unlike committees, which are limited to 10-12 members. Also, they don’t have the bureaucratic hurdles or accountability to the Executive Committee that Divisions have.
And, there’s no limit to the number of SIGs and TIGs any given person can join, and AAPG membership is not a requirement for participation.
“You can participate in as many SIGs and TIGs as you’d like and there is no pressure at all. You can also involve other societies and their members. The potential is unlimited,” said Nash.
“AAPG provides a platform and place for individuals to connect, create content, meet (face to face and virtual), collaborate and start up activities that can result in enhanced exploration and development,” she added.
Progress So Far
When the HoD first approved the new structure at the AAPG Annual Convention and Exhibition (ACE) in Denver last year, the Young Professionals Membership Committee, under the leadership of Meredith Faber and Jonathan Allen, was the first to make the transition to a SIG. The YP SIG has since organized special career-focused sessions at ACE and the Unconventional Resources and Technology Conference (URTeC), YP icebreakers and meet-and-greet sessions, and YP-focused short courses.
“The YPs already are a model blueprint for committees and other groups who would like to become a SIG. They embraced the concept enthusiastically,” said Stefanic.
“The YP SIG is extremely well-organized, with groups spread around the entire globe that are active and dedicated to providing the umbrella for a variety of activities. Their groups plan and support social events, recreational activities and community service projects, which in turn has created a sense of purpose and loyalty among their members,” he continued.
“The outreach potential is unlimited and the networking potential is huge,” Stefanic added.
The YP SIG was followed soon after by other standing committees, while others took advantage of the newly afforded flexibility and autonomy to form other SIGs and TIGs without prior committees.
Examples of some of the more active interest groups are as follow:
- CO2 EOR
- Creativity in the Exploration Process
- Decision Analysis for G&G Development
- Water Issues
- Data Mining
- Deepwater and Shelf Gulf of Mexico
- Petroleum Economics/Reserves
- Reservoir Revitalization
- Drilling Issues
- Fracture Characterization
- Shale Plays
- Triggered and Induced Seismicity
Nash said there are several new TIGs and SIGs in the works, some of which are close to inception, while others are still crystalizing as ideas.
“Some of the TIGs are still at the conceptual level, with a topic and focus and leaders — AAPG helps the organizers achieve outcomes,” she explained. “For example, two or three TIGs may come together to support a Geosciences Technology Workshop (GTW) by providing ideas and suggestions for presenters, and AAPG’s science directorate supports the efforts by helping locate the latest publications and cutting edge research, and to invite presenters.”
“I’m really excited about a new TIG on drones. They are very active,” Nash said.
One such activity is a GTW in December in Houston: “New Opportunities with Drones,” which will cover technical and legislative advances enabling the use of drones to assist in exploration, environmental compliance, 3-D modeling, vegetation surveys and other applications in the field.
And, Stefanic said the AAPG Professional Women in Earth Sciences (PROWESS) Committee is the next existing group to transition into a SIG.
Improvements In Store
Nash said a comprehensive list of current SIGs and TIGs will eventually be included on the AAPG website with contact information for each interest group.
Given the autonomy and self-determinant nature of the new organizational model, she said each TIG and SIG can maintain a list of members to share with AAPG, in the interest of providing support in communication and planning meetings.
For now, she said organizers are using the LinkedIn Build Your Own Business Opportunity group for initial communication, with 509 members currently in the group.
If anyone is interested in forming a TIG or SIG, contact Susan Nash.