Proud to be a Geophysicist
By Tommie Rape, President

As we approach the end of another administrative year for the GSH, we naturally reflect back on the highs and lows of our organization.  So, I will do my part and summarize these highlights.  But, first, instead of encouraging our readers to join the GSH and become more active, I want to expound on why I feel so blessed and lucky to have experienced the past year in the GSH.  I want to tell you what I have gotten out of the last year. 

  • First, I feel a sense of accomplishment for doing my small part in helping the GSH provide another year of service for thousands of geophysicists.  Many have expressed their appreciation for the technical education and many other opportunities provided by the GSH; my pride in our profession contributes to my desire to support the GSH in its efforts to maintain the highest quality of geophysics.

  • My participation in many GSH social and technical activities has provided extensive networking opportunities.  I have extended my existing professional connections and made new connections in my main areas of technical expertise.  I have also made connections that I can rely on should I expand into new technical areas.  These connections go both ways; I can call them when I need some work done, and they can call me when they need some work done.

  • Working in the GSH not only helps in making professional connections, I have developed new friendships.  Working closely with people with similar interests, e.g. GSH and obviously geophysics, provides opportunities to develop those friendships and the opportunity to find other mutual interests.  

  • I have attended GSH events and have received GSH newsletters for many years, but I still had only scant knowledge how things worked within the organization.  But while serving on the Board of Directors as Editor for two years, I learned so much about the GSH.  I learned how the GSH planned and arranged events, how the GSH funded events, and naturally I learned much about publishing and editing a publication.  Then serving as President, I surprisingly learned so much more about how a large volunteer organization runs, including 501c implications. Not only did I find out how the organization runs, but also who runs the organization. I found out about so many people involved with the GSH.  

  • Though not exclusively during the last year, I have learned how to do new things while serving the GSH. I already mentioned learning much about editing and publishing a sophisticated publication.  I also learned much about how a website works and is organized.  Though still a novice at editing a website compared to others like Paul Schatz and Kathy Sanvido, I did enjoy modifying our website. Hopefully none of you were aware of the time when I accidentally shut down our website for a few hours.  

  • I am certainly not among the most magnanimous people in the world, much less within the GSH.  But I gained such a feeling of satisfaction while working for the GSH, by helping others.  Besides providing technical presentations/education to the geophysical population, individuals reach out to us for assistance, and we do what little things we can to help them.  Also, in these difficult times we have conducted forums for Education & Career Development for Unemployed Professionals.  Our Outreach program, led by Lisa Buckner, does a tremendous job in promoting STEM education for our area's youth.  I feel a tremendous sense of pride for the work of the GSH in helping others.  

  • Like most GSH members, my attendance at technical events is concentrated on events related to my general area of technical expertise.  Yet I have expanded my technical horizons by attending events with presentations beyond this area of expertise. Though I certainly have no expertise in these new areas, being aware of the general principles benefits my technical prowess.  

  • Even with all the highlights noted above, one of the most positive things about the last year is the wonderful time that I have had.  I have enjoyed participating in all aspects of GSH activities. I think we all can appreciate any job that is so much fun!

The GSH has certainly had an eventful year.  Of course, the most consequential event of the past year was Hurricane Harvey.  The GSH office was closed for over two weeks due to flooding in and around our office building.  The elevator in the office building was out of order for almost ten months.  Due to flooding and general chaos in the city, we had to cancel two events and reschedule two other events.  This could have been much worse if the hurricane had occurred another time.  Then, of course, the hurricane put into doubt whether the SEG Convention could occur.  But thanks to many local geophysicists, the convention was a huge success.  In conjunction with the SEG and the convention, our Icebreaker at St. Arnold's Brewery was also a big success.  We will do that again.  The GSH had another very successful year of technical and social events.  The Symposium, honoring Dave Hale, and six webinars were certainly highlights according to the very positive feedback.  We have continued our new efforts to aid some of the unfortunate unemployed geophysicists in the area.  We are currently looking at new ways to further this assistance.  The GSH is also looking at new ways to connect with the many young professional geophysicists in the area who are not currently affiliated with our professional society.  In these difficult times for our industry, not everything was positive, of course.  Financially we are having to be cautious, but we have not eliminated any functions to save money.  We have lost some membership, but other local technical societies have remarked that they wished they were doing as well as the GSH.  

Bottom line, we have had another very successful year at the GSH.  And we have only been able to be so successful thanks to the numerous volunteers who have contributed their time, money, and care to our society.  I want to offer some sincere thanks to some of these stalwarts of the GSH.  First, I want to give a special thanks to Karen Blakeman and Kathy Sanvido, who maintain our office and the day to day running of our organization.  Though they are paid staff, they perform way beyond the call of duty due to their love and dedication to the GSH.  Naturally we all owe an immense debt of gratitude to my fellow officers of the GSH.  They have all stepped up in support of me and you, and their enormous dedication keeps this organization functioning.  I want to give a special thanks to the many speakers who have made presentations at our numerous technical events.  Without the high quality of these presentations, there would be little interest and participation in the backbone objectives of our society.  Of course, I appreciate so much the financial contributors to our Society.  Without these contributions from both corporate sponsors and individual contributors, we would not be able to provide the technical enlightenment or fun social activities through which most of you know the GSH.  I also would like to thank the many participants that attend our social and technical events.  We hold these events for you, but you do not have to come; it is your active participation that makes all these efforts worthwhile.  But most of all, I want to thank the many volunteers that make the GSH deliverables available to the geophysicists of our community.  These volunteers include our officers and staff, but there are many others that step forward (or work in the background) to help make everything happen.  We are a volunteer organization that is successful only because there are people that are willing to give their time and effort for others.  Thank you to you all.

Thank you for a wonderful year!!!  May next year be even greater!!!