Letter from the President- September 2011

 Come Rock with Us For 88 years, the Houston Geological Society has served its membership and the community. We now embark on another year and it’s truly an honor to get the chance to serve as your President. I’ve been asked numerous times if I’m ready. I’m not sure if one is ever really “ready,” but fortunately I’ll have a lot of help. My goal will be to have an exciting year for the members and a dull year for the Board. A society with as rich and diverse a program as the HGS requires a great deal of volunteer effort. I hope that you will take good advantage of the many events and other opportunities available to you. Our technical program consists of three annual conferences — the Mudstone Conference, Techno-Conference, and the Africa Conference; up to six technical talks a month — the General lunch and dinner meetings, International and North American Interest Group dinner meetings, Northsiders’ lunch meetings, and Engineering and Environmental Geologists’ dinners at the Black Lab Pub; and several continuing education courses and field trips. We also offer our members many social activities scattered throughout the year from Guest Night to the Christmas “Ho-Ho-Ho- Down,” from the Golf and Tennis Tournaments to the Skeet Shoot, plus the always popular Shrimp Peel. There is also the NeoGeo’s group for our younger geologists. In addition to these member activities, your society is actively working with the education community to encourage science as an outstanding career choice. At the end of last season, we asked for people to join Director Jennifer Burton as we refocus our efforts with K-12 students. We were most fortunate to have over 50 people step up to this challenge and we would most certainly welcome many more. Please contact Jennifer if you would like to make a difference in the future of our students and our country. I’m the first to recognize that my tenure here will only be as successful as the many HGS volunteers make it. If you are one of these special people, I can’t begin to thank you enough. I encourage each and every one of you to find an area that you have some passion for and get involved. We do have some initiatives moving forward that I would like to tell you about. The first is a redesign of the HGS website which is being spearheaded by Linda Sternbach. By the time you read this, we will have selected a design team and hopefully be well into the process. Our hope is to roll it out to the membership early next year and that you will find it a more user-friendly experience. As too many of you know (even one would be too many), we had some issues with the membership renewal process this year. If you were affected, we offer our apology; we trust this will fix any issues going forward. There were a number of other enhancements we have always wanted, but just never got from our previous provider. We will provide more information later as we get further into this process. The other news I want to tell you about involves the office and our relationship with the Geophysical Society of Houston. As reported at the end of last year, we went through a process to look at where we were as an organization and where we want to be. Part of this process involves the new mission and vision statements already unveiled. One of the issues we identified was that we would be better served by having our own dedicated staff. For this and other reasons, we decided it was time to sever our long-standing relationship with the GSH. A significant percentage of the Board who voted on this were members of both societies, and while this was painful for many of us personally, it was a necessary step for the HGS to move forward as the organization that we want it to be for you, our members. Seeing as we could hardly split the offices immediately, we have allowed for an appropriate period of time to minimize the impact on either organization. So it may be several months before we are ready to actually go our own ways. In the meantime, I don’t anticipate you will see any impact to the fine service we have come to expect from our outstanding staff. I’d like to leave you with this last thought. We are united by our passion for geology and the earth sciences. Get out there and become engaged. The HGS is ready to help. Come rock with us. I believe you will find it as rewarding as I have.

Steve Earle
Thursday, August 25, 2011
From the President