Turning Pages

Every now and then I have the need to look at the CSEG Photo Directories. Generally just to look up someone I haven’t met in person in order that I will recognize him or her. Regrettably, the most recent edition has become somewhat dated, as I have noticed some members are a little older than their images would have you believe. I wouldn’t of course include myself in this category. Nonetheless, a quick stroll through the pages is sure to trigger memories involving former colleagues you have lost touch with. Inevitably this stroll will be interrupted with a phone call informing me that some report is overdue.

In the October 2006 issue of the RECORDER Oliver Kuhn wrote about the corporate changes we are seeing at both Veritas and Geo-X. Both have been standards in the industry since I arrived in the mid-1970’s. Over the last few years there has been a flurry if not a blizzard of changes from both Operators and Contractors. Recognizing that change is an essential part of life leaves us little choice other than to accept it. This doesn’t mean we have to like it though. In an attempt to quantify this change, I went to my storage drawer to undertake a completely unscientific experiment.

Grabbing a handful of old business cards that I had saved from the early 1990’s I wanted to see how many of the individuals were no longer employed in our industry, still in the business, and lastly how many were still with the same company. After shuffling them I randomly set 50 aside. Of the total only 2 were still with the same employer. Further to this I could only place a further 20 that were still active. This left a staggering 28 that I was unable to place in the business. Granted, I can’t claim knowing everyone yet, even accepting some degree of error our industry has said good-bye to a sizeable number of people over that time. At least for me forever banishing the comment I had heard, that while the corporate community changes the people remain a constant.

Back to my cards, of the 20 companies represented in the stack all but two had either been acquired or disappeared. Certainly good news if you produce business cards for a living. It is not as though we are running out of companies, new ones like road construction in Calgary, are popping up every day. In many cases their lifespan may not equal the time it will take to complete construction on Glenmore Trail.

In reflecting back on this change it brings to mind a performance review with one of the junior processors who at the time was working for me. The time was back in the late 1970’s when rumors of punch cards being eliminated were scoffed at. Detecting a certain somber tone I inquired if the young lady was feeling all right. She confided that her sadness was a product of some internal re-organization. We were actually quite shocked that some people were forced to move their desk contents down the hall. I mentioned to her, as it had been told to me, that the only constant in life was change. The last 26 years have certainly had a fair amount of that. Literally it seems any contact list composed today is simultaneously out of date.

The coming year 2007 will be the thirtieth year the Canadian Association of Geophysical Contractors (CAGC) has been around. While for many of us the CAGC seems like a constant, in reality its inception only goes back to 1977. I was informed that only one contractor that was part of the Association’s beginning is in fact still a member. That contractor is WesternGeco. Needless to say it too has undergone a series of changes.

We are fortunate some of our membership is around for guidance. Every year the senior leadership in the CSEG meets with the Past Presidents of our Society. With a great deal of experience on their side, they provide sage advice in terms of where the CSEG is headed. The collaboration between the CSEG and our sister association on the Geologists side (CSPG) has indeed been a break with tradition. The CSEG Foundation will shortly become a reality. The potential exists for the CSEG within the Canadian Federation of Earth Sciences (CFES) formerly the Canadian Geoscience Council to play an even greater role on the national scene. All changes for an Association whose mean age embraces the mid century mark. Yes, an age where change is not always greeted with open arms. The CSEG is very fortunate that during a period of dramatic change the roster of Past Presidents retain a vested interest in it’s future.

What then for the future? With the pace of change seemingly accelerating in both a technological and professional front, how do we cope? It is here that the CSEG has the potential to play an even greater role. Through conventions, monthly luncheons, and the highly successful Doodle Train, the Society is providing the means for the membership to remain abreast of technological changes. Perhaps though the social aspects of the CSEG are even more important. The face and nature of our business continues to change. Participation in the Doodlespiel, Doodlebug, and the Ski Spree provides the necessary networking opportunities. Technical luncheons, as well as other gatherings, also provide this opportunity. With the corporate world constantly changing, the CSEG has become a hub around which we can secure a line.

To those who embrace the past we still have cable television channels that focus on old programs. The radio station that use to play old songs is gone. I even read in the paper that TV Guide has ceased to exist in print form. One thing that doesn’t seem to change is my hockey skills. In spite of spending even greater amounts on equipment to halt skill deterioration it is a losing battle. And of changes there are many, and all bad. Every year is met with the sight of new younger faces. Problem is that the new faces are invariably faster than the departing older ones!



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