May 2007 President's Letter


by Steve Brachman

As President of the Houston Geological Society, one of my functions was to attend the AAPG Leadership Conference held in Tulsa in February. During the conference, I had the opportunity to brag about the HGS and all of the things we do right. As the "800 pound gorilla" of all member societies, what the HGS does and thinks carries a great deal of weight around AAPG. As always, it is easy to boast about our great volunteers and the tremendous job they do in running the wide variety of activities covered by the HGS umbrella. But I also try to share with other member societies some of what I have learned by being active in the HGS over the years. I have found that a great deal of our success comes from our reaching out to the greatest number of members and providing them with services and activities that keep them wanting to pay their dues every year. Foremost among those services are our great social activities.
During the conference presentations, I use the line, "In order to run a great luncheon meeting, you have to run a great golf tournament." The HGS holds annual golf and tennis tournaments, a Skeet Shoot, and the Shrimp Peel. I believe these activities are just as critical to the success of our society as our technical meetings. A well-run social event provides three things. First, it offers a venue for relaxed interaction among the members. Second, it provides an opportunity to make business contacts outside of the more rigid atmosphere of a technical meeting. Third, a social event provides income to the society to help offset other activities that operate at a loss and, there-fore, helps keep member dues low.
The committees that run these activities are among the busiest in the HGS. Unfortunately, I can not recognize everyone, but I hope that the committee chairmen will pass on our thanks to their contributors. Mark Dennis of Petrolog, Inc will now oversee the Golf Tournament Committee, long- and ably-chaired by Al Filipov. The Golf Tournament is a huge undertaking. It occupies three courses at the Kingwood Country Club and has over three hundred and fifty participants. The tournament is a daylong scramble with refreshments during, a buffet after and numerous door prizes and awards. Held in September, the HGS Golf Tournament has long been one of the premier golf outings in the Houston area.
The Skeet Shoot Committee, run by Tom McCarroll of Patriot Exploration, is a wonderful event held over Father's Day weekend in June. More than 100 shooters participate. Tom, with the help of Gary Martins of Live Oak Environmental, holds the shoot at the Greater Houston Gun Club in Missouri City. They provide refreshments, door prizes, awards and an excellent BBQ lunch. Shooters from novice to expert compete in different categories, so spirited competition and a great time are had by all.
In May, Ross Davis and his assistant Heidi Nasser of Davis Brothers put on the remarkable Tennis Tournament at the Houston Country Club. This event is a half day of "playing until you drop" with lunch, refreshments and door prizes. Participants play round-robin doubles, rotating partners each round, with no elimination. The top game winners at each skill level team together for a championship round. Having played in this tournament myself for many years, I can safely say it is as enjoyable as the many higher cost tournaments played in Houston. Ross has been organizing and staging the Tennis Tournament for an amazing 12 years.
Last, but certainly not least, is the Shrimp Peel, organized by Lee Shelton with Knowledge-Reservoir. The infield of Sam Houston Race Track is the venue for this great event. Not only do the over 500 participants get to eat shrimp in conjunction with guzzling their favorite liquid beverage, they can also try their luck with the ponies. Lee has a great deal of help from his committee, which includes Kent Horstman, also of Knowledge-Reservoir, Terry Neffendorf and Mack Olsen of Subsurface Computer Modeling (SCM) and Michele Wood of CGG-Veritas. Due to their superb efforts, the Shrimp Peel has become a most enjoyable fixture on the HGS social calendar.
Critical to the success of these social events is the tremendous sponsorship and support provided by numerous local companies and individuals. Each committee chair gave me a long list of loyal sponsors. Since I can not do justice to all of the sponsors individually in this limited space, I instead want to collectively thank each of them for their generous contributions to our social events and to the HGS.
So please attend these great events, thank the organizers and sponsors for the tremendous job they do, and most of all, relax and have fun!

Steve Brachman
Tuesday, May 1, 2007
From the President