From the President - September 2015

Support the GCAGS
Welcome everyone to another great year for the Houston Geological Society membership. We have exciting events for everyone this year starting with the GCAGS Convention this month. Of course we have exciting talks for September as well.

You will find that I subscribe to the “Marlon Downey School of Short President’s Pages,” and, in fact, will be asking several of the Board members this year to put their thoughts in this space, rather than hearing from me all year. Hence, we have renamed this column Your Board in Action.

However, this being the inaugural column, I will step in and encourage everyone to sign up for the GCAGS Convention being held the 20th-22nd of September on the 3rd floor of the George R. Brown Convention Center. The HGS is the sponsoring organization, and, as such, have put a full court press in making this the best offering ever.

Larry Bartell has done an excellent job of putting together a list of volunteers to organize what could probably be the best technical and entertainment program we have seen at a GCAGS Convention in a long time! With Charles Sternbach holding court as GCAGS President, and Linda in charge of the technical side of the convention, it should be a wild success! Richard Ball has organized a fun event at St. Arnold’s Brewery, and Sally Blackhall has cool stuff working in the Hospitality Suite, which is available to all attendees, not just spouses.
The only one not having as much fun is Jeff Lund, who is our premier money raiser. Understandably, with product prices being low, finding sponsors has been tough for Jeff, but he has done an excellent job, given the circumstances.

With this in mind, I would like to appeal, on Jeff’s behalf, to those companies who have turned him down saying “I am laying off people, so why would I be a sponsor?” Sponsorship does not have to be in large amounts! One thing a company is doing when they offer to sponsor, is help bring technology to unemployed or under-employed geoscientists, perhaps the very people they have had to cut. The GCAGS Convention is a great place to network, learn new technologies, and reconnect with people from areas outside Houston. What would be wonderful is if the companies would actually “treat” their employees who have been terminated to a registration! In fact, for anyone out there – if you know of a geoscientist who is struggling due to being terminated – and you have a good job, please treat them to a registration! Sponsors also get a lot of recognition, regardless of how much you have given. If you’d like to see your company get the recognition it deserves, sponsorship is one way to get there.

The GCAGS is offering reduced rates for courses and field trips to help those who are not working right now… but they have to register to take advantage of those subsidies, which may be more than they can afford. It would be a wonderful “gift” to register a friend or a fellow ex-workmate for the convention this month, and it is not too late to do so!

Also, Jeff is not just looking for the BIG dollars. Contributions of any size are always welcome – as there are so many activities that need financial assistance. It all adds up – and it all helps! Something as small as $500 or $1000 can purchase extra food for the Hospitality Suite, or even a few extra gallons of coffee for the Convention floor. The price of coffee from the vendor for the Convention, with tax and extras is running about $121.00/gallon! That is equivalent to $5082.00/ barrel… maybe we are in the wrong business. But this is just one example of the costs associated with putting on this convention, and why it is necessary to get ample sponsorship to cover the various events and amenities. They are trying to keep the costs down for registration as much as possible… so small sponsorship amounts DO help!

So if you have turned down Jeff in the past, give him a call and offer to help our fellow geoscientists have access to great technology and networking opportunities. Who knows, in a small way, you may be helping them find a replacement job.

In closing, I will say I am working with some wonderful people on the Board this year. We have several “YP’s” (Young Professionals) on the Board, and there is already a difference in “energy” in the air. Everyone is aware of budget constraints, but no one is complaining, just looking at ways they can make a difference – so it should be a very fun year.

Looking forward to seeing all of you at one or more HGS functions this year!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015
From the President