From the President - May 2013

HGS President's Column - May 2013  by Martin Cassidy

Outreach to the Community -- Serve Others and Use Our Special Skills

We in the oil and gas business are fortunate in that we have special skills in science and engineering that we apply to our craft. Many of those skills are transferable to activities of the general public. This is especially true in the area of education. Not only are many of us able to explain how the earth works but also the managers among us are able to organize and lead groups in great endeavors. Consider those who direct groups in lease sales, in the evaluation of farm-out offers, or more difficultly, to sell farm-out deals. Then there are those of us who work on our own to generate prospects, construct reports, consult, or teach. All of these require self-discipline, time management, and planning, the very skills needed in volunteer activities so valuable to the community around us. Such activities can be grouped as Outreach.

As part of the Houston community, HGS reaches out to those around us who can use our help; particularly to students. The HGS has two college scholarship programs, the Calvert Fund, for graduate students of geoscience, and the HGS Foundation Fund, for undergraduate students of geoscience. They are funded by donations from our members and from companies who participate in events such as Legends Night whose profits are split between the two funds. The HGS matched the amounts donated from our general treasury for a total addition this year of $16,722 to each fund. This was made possible by the work of HGS member volunteers and staff led by John Tubb. Those of you who were at Legends Night will remember that scholarships were awarded to seven undergraduates from seven local colleges. Their pictures and biographies are on pages 11 and 12 of the March HGS Bulletin. What a pleasure it was to hand them a certificate of scholarship in that large meeting of their fellow geoscientists, some of whom later may be their employers.

On page three of the HGS Bulletin, under “Committees”, take note of the three entries heading the “E”s. First, Earth Science Week is a week in October when the HGS joins others in a celebration of the Earth. Many programs for youth are offered and volunteers are needed to staff our exhibit. Find more in the HGS website under committees.

Next on this page is Educational Outreach that includes the “Bones in Schools” program soon to be launched after the curriculum printing. Opportunities to carry the program to schools will be available to interested HGS member-volunteers with training provided. A major new Outreach is the successful effort by Linda Sternbach to undertake video-taping of HGS programs. The video of Bob Shoup’s climate presentation has been praised by many. For example, Henry Wise just returned from a long trip and opened the HGS website. When he scrolled down he found and clicked on “New Video” to view the complete presentation from the humorous disclaimer to serious close. When the program was complete Henry then forwarded it to two friends. That is successful outreach!

The third “E” is the Engineering Council of Houston (ECH) whose full title is the Engineering, Science and Technology Council of Houston. We are a member of this group along with the GSH, TSPE, AIChE, ASME, IEEE, SAME, and the HMNS and nine other groups not listed! These 15 organizations, which consist mainly of engineers, join annually to plan and fund the Science and Engineering Fair of Houston. This Science Fair, held in the spring, brings together students to compete in projects in a number of science categories, including Earth Science, in three grade levels, 7-8, 9-10, and 11-12. I judged this year and found it a very interesting half or full day.

The HGS is a Silver Level $5000 sponsor of the Fair, which is held in the George R. Brown Convention Center. This year, the awards ceremony was held in the Cullen Performance Theatre at the University of Houston. HGS presented awards to the first place winners in geoscience projects in each of the three grade levels.

The winners are invited, with their parents and their teachers, to HGS’ Guest Night this June at the Museum of Natural Science to be recognized.

That brings us to the last discussion of outreach. Reach out to your spouses! How many of you have spouses who are not much interested in the monthly general, international, Northsiders, luncheon, or dinner meetings? Quite a group I suspect! Now is your chance to do something they will enjoy; good food in a fascinating venue that is”Dining with the Dinosaurs” and includes a huge flying West Texas predator. The new exhibit is amazing! Save the date – June 8th – and come enjoy a presentation of the new findings from Mars by a person who “drives” the Curiosity rover. Here is your chance for personal outreach. Bring your spouse and family and join us!


Martin Cassidy
Wednesday, May 1, 2013
From the President