Goals fo 2008: Membership Growth plus Historic GSA/GCAGS Convention

Goals for 2008:Membership Growth plus Historic GSA/GCAGS October Convention
By Linda Sternbach HGS President
We have an ambitious and active year ahead for the Houston Geological Society. HGS has a tradition of starting off each new year with a well-attended January meeting, and 2008 should prove to be no exception. The Monday, January 14, dinner meeting at the Westchase Hilton is “Legendary!” and features a talk by oil pioneer T. Boone Pickens. It promises to be a great start to the new year. This is just the first of many informative technical programs you can’t afford to miss, thanks to the efforts of Vice-President Gary Coburn and our technical committees.
This October, the HGS is hosting a megaconvention of geoscientists and we estimate attendance of possibly 10,000 people. HGS is the host society for the GCAGS (Gulf Coast Association of Geological Societies) which, for the first time ever, has organized a joint convention with the GSA (Geological Society of America) and their affiliate societies to be held October 5–9, 2008, at the George R. Brown Convention Center.  This mega-convention will involve many HGS volunteers planning technical programs, poster sessions, field trips and courses. Key people involved are HGS Past-President and GCAGS Convention General Chairman Dave Rensink and GCAGS President Ken Nemeth.
In addition to these dynamic events, I would like to tell you about my most important goals for the remainder of my term as HGS President.
1. “Pipeline to the Future.” Hundreds of localyoung people are now deciding to enter the geosciences. HGS needs to encourage the membership of local university students, particularly graduate students. Students join HGS as Associate (non-voting) members. We believe that introducing them to the HGS will pave the way for them to become Active members in a few years when they enter the workforce as geoprofessionals. In return, the students not only attend our technical talks and social events but they also are able to network with NeoGeos and mentors using our website.
The HGS Membership Growth committee, chaired by Charles Sternbach, has a great plan for increasing young professional membership. Paul Babcock (HGS Vendor’s Corner chairman) suggested directing some of the Vendor Corner money raised at dinner meetings to support funding for student memberships. Outreach to students is happening through onsite visits to local schools. In October, we met with 50 students at University of Houston; most of them joined HGS the same day after hearing a lunchtime “road show” presentation. We plan to take this show to half a dozen universities this spring, including Rice and Texas A&M. So far, student membership has increased 10-fold.
Greg Gregson is doing an important and appreciated job keeping up with all the new member applications. Thanks also to our webmaster, Lilly Hargrave.
2. Expanding HGS Membership base. HGS can become a more diverse geo-community by raising the visibility of our existing technical programs that attract environmental and engineering geoscientists. This fits with our efforts for the October joint GSA-GCAGS convention, which will bring thousands of non-oil geoscientists (academic, environmental, soil remediation, coal and economic geologists) to Houston. The plan for increasing the number of environmental and engineering HGS members involves recruiting at the monthly environmental dinner meetings chaired by Matthew Cowan and mailing to Texas Registered Geologists an HGS brochure that describes all the HGS programs that count for education credits.
3. Improving delivery of member services. The HGS will work on improving delivery of member services in 2008. This involves our website at www.hgs.org. Our goal is to make the HGS website more attractive and informative and to improve the administration of the database that stores member records. Geoscientists are constantly on the move, changing their e-mails and physical mail addresses. HGS needs to be able to retain existing members and reattract former members, in addition to reaching out to potential new members. Our plan is to become more effective in staying connected to our members, and members can help by responding to mail and phone calls asking them to update their current contact information.
I have great memories of all we accomplished during the fall of 2007 and am looking forward to the spring of 2008.
 I want to wish everybody a happy New Year!

Linda Sternbach President
Friday, January 4, 2008
From the President