From the President - November 2014

It’s November, time for Thanksgiving and giving thanks. I’m thankful for many things, but what if at the same time I asked you “What about you?” Not only what are you thankful for, but what about you? This month I want to look at those two questions. What am I thankful for? There are the big and obvious things: life, family, job, health, living in America, working in the oil industry, unconventional resources, the price of oil, and those are just the more obvious items. There are some things that are also taken for granted; friends, memories, and waking up each morning. What should you be thankful for? I suppose that depends upon whether I am asking the experienced hand or the young professional. I am going to ask the young professional because this year may be the first year that those with less than ten years’ experience get to ponder the possibility of employment changes that they have not initiated. There have not been any big employment announcements for E&P companies. There is no apparent reason that one should worry. However, some layoffs have been announced in the local paper by service companies earlier this year. And in August, by word of mouth, one company reduced its exploration staff. Never having experienced that kind of trepidation can make one think harder about what they should be thankful for each day. I bring this up because historically it has been interesting how involvement in HGS increases when layoffs occur. Membership numbers also rise. Speaking of membership, have you renewed your HGS membership for 2014-15? The HGS membership report for August showed that some 1900 members had not yet renewed their dues. If you didn’t renew, October was the last time you received the Bulletin and you lost access to the members’ only portion of the HGS web site. So as Thanksgiving approaches I would like to remind the HGS members about what you get for $28.00 each year: a first class Bulletin; a vibrant web site with lots of reference material; professional development opportunities that your employer may not be aware exist; network opportunities that you may not appreciate today or that may take some time to pay dividends; the opportunity to educate your peers; the opportunity to build not only oil industry history, but also HGS history. Why is this important? HGS will turn 100 years old in August 2023! How does my second question come about? I attended the International Dinner Meeting held on September 8 at the Westin Hotel. I was enjoying my conversation with my dinner companion, but realized that I was talking but – he was asking – he was learning, and I didn’t know a lot about him. So I turned the tables during a small lull and asked “What about you?” Those three words were an epiphany for me and I suggest that they might open doors for you.

What a surprise!! He responded and I learned that he:

•Had a geography degree from UCLA

•Had served in the US military

•After discharge had moved to Hawaii and worked for the State as a Social Worker

•Got hired by the FBI

•Moved to Houston

•Now heads the area antiterrorist task force for West Africa

in Houston

•Wanted to understand better the influence and impact the

oil industry and geology have on West Africa

•Looks at these and similar professional society opportunities as a way to enhance the capabilities of the FBI to study how possible threats might develop. Geology is coming to the forefront of the public interest more today than ever before. It is not limited to rocks and oil or gas.

We have tsunamis, volcanoes, global warming, ice cap loss, drought and shrinking aquifers, fracing reservoir concerns, and injection well concerns. Geology the science is now more than ever becoming a public and political topic. Items that used to garner five lines on the back page of the business section now become headlines on the front page. Geology and geologists are no longer “under the radar.” Amazing when you ponder all of this.

Let me return to my previous ponderings, what about you? What hidden talents are lying dormant? What “bucket” items might you check off by serving your professional society? Education? Education or public outreach? Event organization? Leadership? In the next ten years, HGS will need the young members of today to be the experienced members of tomorrow. Besides the conventions in 2015 and 2017 other conventions are scheduled for 2020 (GCAGS) and 2022 (AAPG). We have not even begun the planning for our 100th anniversary in August 2023. We need volunteers to step forward for our vacant committee posts. HGS needs young professionals to step forward and participate in committees and to stand for office. Without you, the young professionals, HGS cannot continue to grow and serve the community. Young  professionals, NeoGeos, what about you? My “Look Back in Time” articles showed the support of management and encouragement of young professionals to participate in local professional society activities in the  fifties and sixties. I challenge today’s companies to return to that time when professional society involvement was expected, not just something that was listed on a resume or vita. The African Conference seems to have been a huge success. The short course preceding the conference had 54 attendees. The original expectation was for 30. With exhibitors and walkups, Martin Cassidy reported the overall attendance was at or near 450 people. My congratulations to the Conference Chairmen and their committee for all their efforts. The Annual HGMS Gem, Jewelry, Mineral, and Fossil Show (http:// click on Annual Show) runs from November 7th through the 9th at the Humble Civic Center. Janet Combes could use some help (281-463-1564).

We finally received 25% of the expected proceeds from the 2014 AAPG ACE held in Houston. Past President Barry Katz requested those funds last May per our contract with AAPG. Given that money, what that means for our full share, and the monies received from the 100% HGS-run events at the ACE, we had a very profitable 2014 ACE with AAPG. General Chairman Steve Brachman and his entire committee deserve a big thanks for their efforts.

I have to come back to some key thoughts:

•Being a professional society member is part of your professional development.

•Professional society membership is more than having your name in a directory.

•Networking is not just about compiling a list of contacts.

•You never know which event can profoundly impact your future.

So, I ask, What about you? Will you answer the call? Will you be thankful for the opportunity to serve your professional society when it’s your turn to write this column?

Saturday, November 1, 2014
From the President