It has been a pleasure and an honour to serve the Society these past three years. Reflecting back upon these years, I have noticed that the Society has changed appreciably. The Society has grown in many respects. Philosophically, it is now being run like a business. Like any business, it is essential to have suitable structure, process and systems in place in order to fulfill a primary objective. The Society's primary objective is to promote the science of geophysics and to promote fellowship and co-operation among our members. Our recently revised societal documents; our Bylaws, the Code Of Ethics, the Policy and Procedure Manual, the Committee Mandates Document, the Committee Operating Procedures Document, our Organizational Chart, our professionally prepared monthly financial statements, and soon to be our Long Range Plan, all reflect the structure and process now in place to fulfill our primary objective. The Society now has the structure and the financial means to grow and expand its initiatives and member services. This will in turn also make it less onerous upon future volunteers who wish to be involved with the Society. Due to our familiarity with how a business works, it permits all volunteers to easily step into their role to fulfill their function. To maintain our non-profit status, the Society must invest its profits in expanded member services or other new initiatives to provide even greater value to its members. The Society is focusing proactively up on identifying and pursuing new initiatives while enhancing preexisting ones.
The RECORDER has become the Society's premier publication. The membership continues to provide positive feedback regarding the quality of this product. It is now being appreciated by vendors seeking to place advertisements and the RECORDER is now in a break-even scenario.
The website has been revamped and updated. It is now perceived by members as a valuable resource for information. The Website Committee is currently investigating what new services to offer to the membership through this venue.
The luncheons have moved from the Westin to the Telus Convention Centre as we could no longer get guaranteed dates far enough into the future for our international speakers. The new laptop and projectors have increased the professionalism and value of the product we are providing our members. Additional lunches geared towards specialty topics in geophysics are being considered as an expanded member service for 2004.
The annual convention was held in May at the Telus Convention Centre. Delegates, exhibitors and sponsors all enjoyed this year's event. The Convention Committee did a terrific job handling the budgets for this trade show and realized a significant profit above their previous guidance. Historically, exhibitors at our annual convention have felt that the Society has been built financially from the support that they have provided at our past annual conventions. In the last few years, higher delegate fees have been charged to members attending the annual convention to balance the revenue flows between exhibitors, delegates and sponsors.
The DoodleTrain Continuing Educational week has just completed its second annual series of courses. Once again, approximately 350 members attended one of the 23 courses which were offered at very competitive rates. The DoodleTrain follows our societal mandate and yet provides a new source of revenue in the fall season when the Society typically spends more money than it receives. The DoodleTrain is an example of a new member service which provides value while in turn decreasing the Society's financial dependence up on the annual convention.
The Executive Committee made the decision in the fall of 2002, to expand the "business" and hire a second employee. Sheryl Meggeson, a CSEG member, was hired in January of 2003 as an Administrative Assistant/Coordinator, reporting to Jim Racette, our Managing Director. Sheryl's organizational skills and marketing background have already benefited the Society as she was instrumental in changing the printers for the RECORDER and thereby helping this publication break-even on a financial basis.
The Society hosts in the spring an annual one day Retreat for the Executive Committee and the Committee Chairpersons. Operational issues, reporting concerns and new ideas are all discussed openly and cooperatively at this gathering. The Society also hosts two Past President Council meetings every year. Comprised of the most recent ten Past Presidents of the Society, The Past President's Council has become a valued resource for guidance and direction for the current President and President Elect. At the Past President's Luncheon which follows the December Past President's Council meeting, presentations by the current President and the Vice President often solicit the seasoned perspective of all of our Past Presidents. It is a great way for them to stay in touch with the Society.
The Executive Committee is currently developing a Long Range Plan for the Society as a reference document for future Executive Committee members. The document attempts to lay out a strategic plan as guidance for the future growth of the Society. It serves as a focus for discussion and future prioritization of budgetary capital. Even in its current draft form, the document has served to provide insight and thought provoking ideas for the budgetary operating surpluses of 2002 and 2003. It will assist future Executive Committees to identify projects worthy of future financial investment. One of the things being discussed currently as a result of this initiative is the possibility of creating an Endowment Foundation similar to that of the SEG or the CSPG.
The Society is much stronger financially today than a few years ago. Some of the surplus monies from the 2002 fiscal year were placed in the Society's reserve funds. Non-profit societies are allowed to have a couple of years of operating capital tucked aside for a "rainy day". Operationally, the Society has more structure and organization which is a requirement of an entity of this size. With the initiatives taken in the past few years, the Society will be able to go to the next level. It is possible to grow in terms of our services yet maintain our non-profit status.
In short, the Society is an exciting place to be. It has experienced quite a transformation! I encourage all of you to consider volunteering on a committee. It is a great way to meet new people, support the Society, have fun and make a difference. It has been a pleasure serving you and the Society these past three years. I wish to thank the membership for this opportunity to contribute, and I hope that I have added significant value to the Society and to your membership.