From the President - September 2020

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A New Year

Jim Tucker, 2020-2021 President


We can all agree this is a year we will remember for a long time.  So much has changed; some things for a while, and some others likely forever. The Houston Geological Society year runs July-June, and so this year for us began at the depth of the pandemic locally, at least we hope things do not get worse.

If it had to happen, this upsetting of so many things we are used to could not have happened at a better time.  We did have to reschedule a couple of events to a virtual format, and had already cancelled the annual Guest Night and shooting event, and the biennial Grand Canyon Raft Trip was delayed a year, since the National Park was closed.  But we had the summer to think, prepare and try out strategies, and practice.  (And renew our HGS dues, if we had not already.)

It was and is a time for creativity, and our Members got to work with some new ideas.  These provided ways to professionally enrich and entertain.  There were a series of Field Trip Fridays, where we could take a break at the end of the week to see something away from home, and a Continuing Education course on the business environment and practice as a benefit for renewing Members.  This also allowed us chances to improve our skills at conducting meetings with multiple participants and webinars with scores of observers and questions and answers.  The Communications Committee and our office staff have been developing skills and establishing protocols for effectively remotely presenting as much of our traditional professional content and activities as we can until in-person meetings are safe to have again.  If you would like to learn how to facilitate these meetings, please contact the Communications Committee, as they are having training courses so Members can learn the basics of videoconferencing and webinars.

We are not planning any in-person HGS events through the remainder of 2020, although we have the provision to do so, if conditions in the coming months allow.  Our regular technical meetings will continue, as will the biennial Africa Conference which we host in alternation with our sister PESGB society.  In June we decided to do it virtually, and creatively, planned on five Thursday mornings in October, allowing virtual attendance from colleagues in Europe and elsewhere in the Eastern hemisphere who are not travelling.  The lessons we learn from these remote events may allow us to offer remote attendance as an option for future events is things return to normal, whatever normal is.

I hope everyone is able to take advantage of the professional development opportunities available online, in addition to the HGS events mentioned above.  One thing I have tried to do is make one call per day to a colleague who I have not kept up with in a while.  The response has been very positive, and it has been refreshing to talk to folks I have not talked to in way too long, and I hope it has been for them as well.  I admit that days can still be busy, and if I get in one or two calls per week it’s a good week, but I’m glad of having a good excuse to do something I should have kept up with.  Maintaining your professional network is like gardening, something to regularly keep up with so it is not neglected.

The news continues to announce some sort of merger, purchase, or reorganization every week.  Many Members and colleagues are out of their jobs through no fault of their own, and many early career colleagues are experiencing this for the first time.  HGS, along with over two dozen upstream professional organizations, participates in the semi-annual SPE-GCS Midcareer Hiring Event.  This is a great, focused event putting professionals and hiring companies together.  It will be held virtually on 29 September, and can always use volunteers.  See the SPE-GCS website for more details. 

Be safe and volunteer for something this month.