As I write this column, it has been less than two weeks since the horrific tragedy in South Asia. So as I was contemplating what I should write about, I began reflecting on how fortunate we are and how much we take for granted. Listening to news reports and seeing pictures, I (as everyone else) am having trouble imagining the amount of devastation that has occurred and the rebuilding that will be required. At the same time, I am also struck by the generosity of countries, companies and individuals to assist with the relief and rebuilding effort.
We are truly lucky to live in and around Calgary and work in the industry we are in. Sure the oil and gas industry has its ups and downs and Calgary traffic can drive a person up the wall (pun intended!), but our quality of life is one of the best in the world. The Calgary area also has some of the most generous citizens around. We give of our time and money to help those in need and that is one of the things that I love about living here.
That volunteer spirit is also alive and well within the CSEG. I have volunteered with the CSEG in various positions and committees over the years and the energy and spirit of our volunteers is what makes our society “tick”. It is this volunteer effort that has made our society so successful technically, socially and financially.
Which brings me to my next point. As we wrap up the 2004 financials, the CSEG has again done very well. Once our 2004 audit is complete, our Financial Director, Cec Keeping, will give the membership all the details at our upcoming Annual General Meeting. Suffice it to say that we are in very good shape due to the collective efforts of current and past executives, the success of our convention and the continuing overwhelming success of our Doodletrain. Again, none of this would be possible without the tireless efforts of our volunteers and participation of our membership.
As I move out of “training” and into my tenure as your Financial Director, I am very fortunate to inherit this strong financial picture. I will do my best to continue building on this success to create value for the membership. At the same time, we still need to spend our dollars wisely, as we never know when things could change. Change is definitely the constant in our business and we need to be prepared for the possibility of a time when our finances may not be as rosy.
There are a number of strategic initiatives that past and current executives have embarked on with a view to planning for the future. These initiatives include such things as creating a Long Range Plan to provide direction to each year’s executive, exploring the idea of holding more frequent joint conventions with the CSPG, and the continuing effort to establish the CSEG Foundation.
The CSEG Foundation is one way to allocate the society’s surplus funds and build for the future. The Foundation would provide a source of additional funding for existing and new initiatives in education, research and outreach and would encompass and enhance the existing CSEG Scholarship Fund. (See details of the CSEG Foundation outlined by Bill Goodway in the 2003 Annual Report.) It would be managed by Trustees and an elected Board of Directors who would determine initiatives and ideas for project funding. I think this is a very exciting initiative for the CSEG and encourage members to provide input as we progress in the establishment of the Foundation. Please don’t hesitate to contact me or any other member of the executive if you have ideas or questions.
In closing, I want to say once again that I feel very fortunate to live and work in Calgary and to be part of such a vibrant and active society as the CSEG. Let’s not take our good fortune for granted. If we all continue “giving back” wherever and however we feel comfortable, we will ensure continued success for our society, for our communities, and provide relief for those less fortunate.