"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times....."
By Tommie Rape, GSH President
"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times...." Charles Dickens did not know that his description of class struggles in 18th century Europe was also an apt description of the recent good times and bad times in the modern petroleum industry. A comparison of the industry four years ago versus the last couple of years shows a strong contrast in the state of companies and individuals. Four years ago the industry was booming, money was flowing freely in all facets of the industry, and employment was strong. But in the last couple of years the industry was in a major downturn, money was very tight, and as some readers might attest, jobs became uncertain if not downright scarce.
Not surprisingly the Geophysical Society of Houston (GSH), due to its close relationship to the petroleum industry, felt some of the same extremes. Four years ago the GSH had a banner year financially and continued in its growth of opportunities for our members. Two years ago was a very difficult year financially for the GSH: our income was greatly reduced driven largely by significant reductions in sponsorship and advertising monies. In the past year the GSH did not suffer the significant downturn that our industry as a whole went through, thanks to its great leadership, volunteers, and staff. The GSH managed to exhibit a strong sense of frugality and ended up with a much improved financial bottom line; and the GSH did this without reducing the number of technical and social occasions enjoyed by our members and soon-to-be (I hope) members. Due to the dedication of this organization to its membership, the GSH travailed the difficult times without lessening our main objective of promoting the science and profession of geophysics and fostering fellowship and cooperation among all persons interested in geophysics.
So, why am I reflecting on this roller coaster ride? That is because, as I assume the role of President of GSH, I welcome the challenge of leading the GSH through good and bad times, and following the legacy of the many fine, past leaders of this exemplary organization. I would like to take this opportunity to give a special shout-out for our immediate past President, Amy Rhodes, who stepped up in a difficult position and led the GSH to the laudable year just completed. Amy is a marvelous example of the dedication and skill set that is required for the GSH to continually provide for the geophysical community and the youth of the Houston area. The newly elected officers of the GSH are a fine lot, well qualified to provide the leadership that will maintain the GSH as the biggest and best Section within the SEG. I am continuously amazed at the quality and quantity of volunteers that it takes (and are available) to make the GSH the high quality organization that it is. I feel confident that WE will, no matter the state of the industry, provide you with the opportunities to educate yourself, to have a great time, and to network with a broad spectrum of the geophysical community. In the coming year the GSH will continue its meritorious efforts. You can look forward, of course, to our technical lunches, SIG meetings, and our very successful webinars. We will continue our new Diversity gatherings, and we will continue the very popular social events.
In addition to these routine activities, I have several specific goals. First, we will continue our new special efforts with the Education and Career Development for the Unemployed. We will continue to offer get-togethers where we provide speakers that offer insight to attendees (especially the unemployed) on how to further their careers with skill preparations, how to market these skills, and how to best find new employment opportunities. These sessions also provide networking opportunities to meet other geophysicists and to learn from others what has worked for them. We are also looking at other possible forums that will benefit those hit hardest by the hiring downturn.
Another goal of mine is for the GSH to improve its contact with Young Professionals. I remember (OK it has been awhile) when I was a young professional; I had many reasons (excuses) for why I did not get more involved in the GSH. As I got wiser with age, I realized what a mistake that had been. So the GSH wants to make it easier for young professionals to get involved (for your benefit and ours) with the GSH. The GSH already reaches out to various focus groups, such as the Living Legends or the SIGs with various job focuses. Obviously we already have many young professionals attending technical meetings and social occasions, but we want to offer some occasions more specifically dedicated to our young professionals. These occasions will not necessarily be exclusive, as I was recently told by a young professional how important it was for the younger geophysicists to mix with and learn from some of the older, and more renowned, geophysicists. Let us know what kind of gathering would be attractive to you young professionals.
Another goal of mine is for the GSH to complete the coming fiscal year in a positive financial condition. As in the past year we will, in spite of the difficult financial times, continue to provide the geophysical community with fun and educational gatherings; and we will do this while ensuring the future fiscal security of the GSH.
We are looking forward to a new year of geophysics. So get involved and enjoy!